Thursday, October 1, 2009

Ghost Rider: Trials and Tribulations TPB

Talk about perfect. Is there anyone more suited to fighting Ghost Rider than a trucker who has made a deal with the devil? That's the high point of this trade, where Jason Aaron has Danny Ketch, now back on his heroic road, go up against a demonic trucker. The conflict is violent and savage, reading it, I could practically smell the brimstone and asphalt. This was exactly the kind of battle that makes Ghost Rider work, this was a fantastic issue.

There is also some focus on Johnny Blaze as he confronts a flesh-warping demon and runs her out of town. Again, Aaron makes this conflict work because the demon is so into Johnny, it makes their interaction creepy (and unique). She's a flesh-shifter, but she knows that Johnny's flesh already belongs to something else (the Ghost Rider) and she's overcome with her desire for him. The grossness is amped up by the demon's horrific Barbie-like looks. The Caretaker gets a little bit of screentime too as she works to refocus the Ghost Brothers on taking on Zadkiel now that he has conquered heaven. This book is an odd mix of road-rage and supernatural conflict. I honestly can't believe more people haven't picked up on what a treasure this book is. (I will admit the Annual included in this trade isn't as strong as the other issues). This trade collects issues 33-35 and Annual 2 of the ongoing series.

Tony Moore comes aboard as penciller in this volume, and he's perfect. The transformation to Ghost Rider is repulsive in its detail, with Danny's flesh-melting being tremendously gross. The design of the possessed trucker and his ride are wonderful too. The 8-track player is a mouth and the gear-shift is a baby-skull! Now that's one evil truck! This would have been an excellent for me except that the Annual brings it down a bit.


1 comment:

Ian from Westfields said...

Never been a Ghost Rider guy myself, but the strength of Scalped and other work Aaron has done had me jumping on his GR run.

Some totally fun grindhouse stuff that seems to fit perfectly with GR. His entire run has a "hiding in plain sight" vibe--which is to say why didn't anyone else come up with this. And Aaron makes it seem so effortless.

His run wraps up in the Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire mini and that should give my first serious foray into GR a nice exit strategy as well.