Tag Archives: Ghost Rider

Fantastic Four Monsters Unleased Trade Paperback (1992)

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I think there are times when you should totally get the monthly issues as well as any of the trades available.  I must admit – this story, to me, is one of the more underrated Fantastic Four stories.  In fact, if you ask a regular comic reader I bet half wouldn’t even know about this incarnation of the FF.

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But yes, there as a time in comic history where three of the FF was missing and a new foursome had to form to face a new threat.  The pairings seemed like an odd choice at the time but were probably the most popular characters at Marvel at the time.  Spider-Man, Wolverine, Ghost Rider and the Hulk.

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Not just any Hulk but the grey Hulk – the Las Vegas bouncer Mr Fixit!  Also one of the more memorable features is that this story arc is drawn by the uber talented Art Adams!  My copy of the trade was signed by the artist a few years ago at Boston Comic Con.

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Originally these issues were so popular they went into the rare second printing.  While that is a common place practice now second printings didn’t just happen.  I am lucky enough to have issue #347 and am looking to add #348 when I find it.

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Marvel Legends Ghost Rider w/ Motorcycle (2018)

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There are quite a few Ghost Rider figures – especially in the Marvel Legends line.  Each new release they seem to get better and better.  While I never picked up the early figures I took notice of how well Toy Biz and then Hasbro was doing with every subsequent release.  The fire aspect of the figure has especially improved leaps and bounds!  When they started using translucent plastic the figures became a thing of beauty!  I contemplated picking up the blue flame Ghost Rider from the Terrax series but never did.  They also did an orange version that looked pretty great but I still never pulled the trigger.  It wasn’t until the Rhino wave when I finally bought Ghost Rider.

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That seemed to be somewhat serendipitous as it was this latest figure that they used to give us the best Ghost Rider figure to date.  Using both the translucent plastic for the flames and a brown wash that makes the skull look like real bone  this figure is hard to ignore!  Every Ghost Rider figure, by the way, should always come with a motorcycle.

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The unfortunate part of the Rhino series figure is that it came with no real accessories to speak of.  This not only comes with the motorcycle which can be displayed with the large flames or none at all but it also comes with a flame laden chain that Ghost Rider can whip around.

 

The articulation is superb on this figure with the added bonus of the moveable jaw.  I am so happy they continued to offer that feature on the figure because it just makes it that much better!  I much prefer the new light blue paint on the leather outfit than what they offered in the past.

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I think you should go out and get this figure – this could certainly replace all the other figures you have in your collection. I’m not even sure they improve this figure as this might be the best offering ever!

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Read This/Avoid This – Volume 3

Back again for another round!  Two comics (this time two entire series) that you should read – like, right now, and the other to avoid like the plague.  Back in the 90’s Marvel handled series in a few ways and we’re going to explore two very different approaches.  One that I think they handled amazingly well and the other… not so much.  Let’s begin:

Avoid This!

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Ghost Rider & Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992-1994)
W: Mackie, Hama, Quinn
A: Kubert, Giarrano, Manley, Martinez, Williams,

Earlier in the year I highlighted “Spirits of Venom” an absolute blast of a Spirits of Vengeance/Web of Spider-Man crossover event that used every character, including Ghost Rider, Blaze, Spider-Man, Venom, Hobgoblin, DemoGoblin and the Doppleganger, to absolute perfection.  Mackie weaved an amazingly fun, hilarious and exciting story about the two world colliding as Ghost Rider and Blaze trying to stop the reincarnation of Deathwatch run into Venom and ultimately their paths cross with Spider-Man trying to protect/turn in Hobgoblin.  This event was so much fun that I decided to collect the rest of the series and make my way through it seeing if the entire run was as entertaining as this 4 issue mini.

The first thing to note is that this series was just part of the Midnight Sons line of the Marvel Universe that included Ghost Rider, Spirits of Vengeance, Morbius, Night Stalkers, Darkhold and even some issues of Dr. Strange.  Trying to read Spirits of Vengeance without reading the other titles is like an exercise in futility.  You just read small parts of a story that continues, and most of the time ends, in a different series – so you have NO idea what the hell is going on.  Something that Marvel was very aware of and used to pump up the whole line.  Unfortunately, this was a failed experiment as the most people read just the titles they want to read and don’t like being forced to have to buy extra books just to understand what’s going on in their series.  Case in point, I have come across Spirits of Vengeance #1 more times than I can count – and issue #23 (the last) I have seen exactly 3 times.  That counts the one I own.  I can remember more than one instance of reading a story line where Ghost Rider and Blaze were taking on a big bad only to have the story complete in another series and the boys were off to the next adventure in the following issue – leaving me scratching my head on what the hell just happened.  Because here’s the rub – I don’t want to read Nightstalkers, or Morbius.  I have no interest in Darkhold or even Dr. Strange.  I just wanted to read Ghost Rider and Blaze’s adventures in the pages of their own comic.  The other thing to note is how hard the whole run is to find.

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In a recent post I expressed frustration with how reboots and relaunches sort of punish the loyal readers and how I loved the good old days of straight numbering.  Marvel has pretty much destroyed their numbering system and to make heads or tails of it you need a doctorate in Marvel Continuity.  I think most readers are just as much to blame as Marvel though as #1’s sell through the roof and the last issues of a series are actually more valuable than most of the series as they are rarer and harder to find due to low print runs.

Now, it’s not all bad news for this series – in fact, the original 11 issues or so are really fun and entertaining with fantastic art provided by Adam Kubert.  The art from there on out can be hit or REALLY miss.  Kubert, before his departure, did create what I consider the ultimate 90’s character, Vengeance!  his look was Ghost Rider – just more Ghost Ridery.  Spikes?  Yup – but bigger.  Did I say bigger?  I mean – bigger than what could be reasonably expected to actually work!  Flaming head?  Yup – with SHARPER TEETH!  And blacker!  Yup – a black skull!  This was 90’s exaggeration spewed all over your eyeballs!

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I know some people will say that Marvel doesn’t care about back issues – as they sold whatever issues they did back in the 90’s – they make nothing off of back issue market.  While that is true I sort of look at the bigger picture.  Let’s just say I picked these up on the cheap and really enjoyed them – it may persuade me to check out what’s going on in the current series.  But this mess of a series not only turned me off of checking any other Midnight Sons titles – I have zero interest in picking up any new adventures starring the flame head.  Grade: D

READ THIS!

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Venom Mini-Series (1993-1995)
W: Various
A: Various

The other way Marvel went in the 90’s was to release shorter mini-series that continued the stories told previous.  It was a brilliant move as they could decide to eliminate the upcoming series if the sales weren’t there or keep them going is people keep buying.  Fortunately, for them – and us – they continued.  After the events of Amazing Spider-Man #375 where Venom and Spidey spark a truce and Eddie Brock head to San Francisco and start a new.  He is pursed by Spidey for the first mini titled Lethal Protector but also, Eddie becomes acquainted with an underground society of homeless people (who technically aren’t homeless) and tried to protect them from an evil mogul.  The guy also took bits of Venom and made an army of little Venomites – who were pretty easily beaten.

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Then, The symbiote inflicted ex-reporter crosses paths with The Punisher in The Purge, gets poisoned and battles the Juggernaut in The Madness – also meets up with Hobgoblin and Morbious in The Enemy Within.  Each mini-series has something really worthy of reading.  My personal favorite is The Madness showcasing Venom with the snaked out tiny Venom heads coming off the costume.

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This was a brilliant move by Marvel.  Instead of making a whole new series that they might cancel in a few years they continued to release 3 issue story arcs that showed off a new Venom adventure.  If readers lost interest they didn’t have to cancel a whole series – AND, to boot, even easier to read!  Back issue bins are filled with these minis that, most of them, are easy to find a complete run for every series!  That’s sort of a big deal only because you don’t have to search everywhere for that rare final issue!   So, if you’re looking to spend a bit of money on some 90’s comicy goodness check out these great stories.

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Lethal Protector: B
The Purge: C+
The Madness: A-
The Enemy Within: C+
The Mace: B-
Separation Anxiety: B

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Glow in the Dark Covers…

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Gimmick covers ruled the 90’s comic stratosphere.  Everything from chromium covers, die cut covers, embossed, bronze, and silver covers, gate-fold or wrap around covers or a combination of any of these graced every title on the stands at one point or another.  Usually saved for #1’s, big issues – or when they were looking to have a sales bump – some of them made sense and were really cool – others were so corny you were worried people could hear your eyes rolling as you looked through the new release rack.  But I did love one gimmick… the glow in the dark cover.

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I think every one and their mother remembers the Ghost Rider cover at the top – and the second print that followed – because it just made sense to have the flame head really glow.  Even though this comic was released in an age of the over-hype I don’t think I have come across one person who doesn’t have fond memories of owning this issue.  Mixed with the art of the uber talented Mark Texeira this cover can still make people want to read Ghost Rider – just because of how cool this cover really is!

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Now, I don’t have a complete run of glow in the dark covers – I think I have all the ones that Marvel offered – and none of the DC but the ones I do have are because I thought they made sense and blew you away when you looked at it.  Save one… one of the covers I own completes a run – one that will be reviewed very shortly – it is the Spirits of Vengeance #12 which have slices through the cover between Ghost Rider and Vengeance… and the hook just doesn’t work.  The end result is just terrible.

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The best cover – the one that makes the most sense – is Daredevil #321 that shows Daredevil vs a demon.  The reason why it makes sense is because the demon didn’t set off Daredevil’s radar sense – and if you make it glow you would see that the demon disappears.  It’s a brilliant way to say exactly what the comic is about with a fantastic gimmick plastered on this – WRAP AROUND COVER.  Woah!  Combo gimmick alert!  Only thing is… there is no reason for this to be a wrap around cover as there really is nothing on the back, as you can see here:

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Venom was delivered his due – not that he would glow normally or even that it makes sense – but damn, it looks really great!  You can still even see the tongue when it glows.  It really is one of the best uses of the technology.  If the Ghost Rider Cover didn’t exist then this would be the coolest cover to find.

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Lastly, the only non-Marvel glow in the dark cover I have is The Maxx #1.  Released years after the original #1 the glow in the dark cover is just one gimmicky version of the premiere issue that has been released.  They have a 3-D version that is just brilliant also!  It would be better if the entire figure somehow glowed – but instead the title, the splat and his mask and gloves are the visible parts when the lights go down.

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These are my glow in the dark covers – how many do you guys have?  Which one is your favorite?  Which one do you guys have that I don’t?  Let me know in the comments what you think!

Mini-Series: Spirits Of Venom (1993) – The Review

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Spirits of Venom

W: Howard Mackie
I: Kubert/Reinhold
(Spirits of Vengeance)
&
Seviuk/Rubenstein
(Web of Spider-Man)

There isn’t a whole lot of favorably memorable 90’s mini-series.  Most of them are downright laughable when you start to think about them – but there is one that I don’t think gets enough credit.  Now, hold on to your hats because here’s the crazy part – this doesn’t feature the Hulk at all – and I love this thing!  No worries, I am not going soft, I just thought I would take a post off from the Hulk to revisit one of my favorite miniseries from good ‘ole 1993.

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When Venom was introduced in the late 80’s he was an instant hit – mainly due to McFarlane using his rock-star status to create an evil, muscular, black-suited Spider-man that could fight with regular Spider-Man.  In the beginning, you could tell Brock adored the power that the symbiote gave him – it wasn’t until Erik Larsen drew him that he started to show a disgusting, humongous, non-human tongue and started acting more like an monster than a man – claiming he wanted to eat Spider-Man’s brains.  You’ll be pleased to know that his craving for brains is sedated by chocolate.  Of course, it was only a matter of time that Marvel turned their newest fan favorite baddie into a watered down version who really wanted to do good.

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In this excellent series – which spans across 4 books in 2 separate titles (Web of Spider-Man #95-96 and Spirits of Vengeance #5-6) – Venom is treated as the wild card he is – and truly should be.  He isn’t ever a welcome part of the team – but sometimes used as a necessary evil – and he actually is more trouble than he’s worth.  But I digress, let’s begin with the story.  Spirits of Vengeance, which employs Ghost Rider and a total bad-ass, the non-superhero Johnny Blaze, were hot on the trail of the Deathspawn, an army of dark minions who, with the help of Hag and Troll, seek to bring their master, Deathwatch, back to life.  They cross paths with Spider-Man as he is trying to protect the Hobgoblin from the Demo-Goblin, (with the cheesiest, best Spider-Man foe of the 90’s in tow, Spider-Doppelganger) who is trying to “cleanse” the world of the Hobgoblin’s existence, while also trying to turn the foe over to the authorities.  Of course, things get real hairy when Ghost Rider and Blaze run into Venom… who, for some reason, is hanging out in the sewers.

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The only thing this mini-series may be guilty of is having too many awesome side stories cluttering the plot.  Spidey, Hobby, Gobby and Doppy all get dragged into the Spirits of Vengeance quest as they get intertwined and the Deathspawn, needing life force to reanimate Deathwatch, kidnap whomever they can.  Venom is in full force here as he has a hankering to kill Hag and Troll but then gets sidetracked when he notices Spider-Man has joined the fray.  Everything else is a second priority to killing Spidey – but he continues to get denied – first by the Doppelganger who wants a piece of Venom for itself (this is a fantastic match up I would love to see play out in a full length comic), then by an accidental grazing of Blaze’s bullet, and finally, by Ghost Rider, multiple times, snatching his jaws away from Spidey’s skull with his chains.  Venom is both a hindrance and a help the entire, action packed, four issues and it ends with another full-out brawl where Blaze has to weigh the options of letting Venom loose once again in order to save Spider-Man, even though, in turn, it will put Spider-Man in more imminent danger with Venom on the loose.

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This mini-series not only hold up over time it also had me energized enough to begin picking up the whole Spirits of Vengeance run again.  I can’t even tell you a whole lists of negatives because I think the only small criticism I have is that I wish Kubert did the art for the whole run.  Since the installments traded between the Web of Spider-Man and Spirits of Vengeance (which was aptly switched to Spirits of Vengeance Venom for two issues) he only graces the pages of parts 2 & 4.  Every issue of the 4 parts sports an impressive cover.  I have no other words to describe this forgotten gem from the days of “grunge” except: Absolutely Stellar.  I mean, it is filled with awesome enemies with classic 90’s names Llike Deathwatch… and Deathspawn!  Hag!  Troll!  Wait – those last two actually sound like things my mother called me back in the 90’s.  Seek these issues out right away and enjoy the short but sweet taste of  what the 90’s did right.  Grade: A+

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Worth Sharing… a few hidden treasures!

The Original Ghost Rider vs The Incredible Hulk #18

With all the talk about Gary Friedrich lately I was a little buzzed to find the above little gem!  Yes, it’s something I have been looking for and was refusing to simply pick up off of ebay.  I wanted to find this issue in a long box somewhere – and this week I did!  Not to mention I found this gem:

The Punisher Kills the MU! First Print!

That’s right!  The Punisher Kills the Marvel Universe!  Yes, both copies of the books are not in great condition – but who cares!  Score is a score I say!

Oh yeah – picked this up too…

2nd print to issue #3