Monday, January 29, 2018

Can't say I was a huge fan of either, but here we go:

I thought this was closer to the end, even though that wouldn't have made sense: the second modern series of Ghost Rider, the Dan Ketch version, was cancelled in 1998 with #93. Today's book is from 1995, the same year Bone Thugs N Harmony broke big. Why do I bring that up? Well...

From 1995, Ghost Rider: Crossroads, story by Howard Mackie, script by Ivan Velez Jr, pencils by Cary Nord, inks by Bob McLeod, Al Milgrom, Al Williamson, and Mike Witherby. This was a 44-page one-shot with a die-cut cover for $3.95, featuring Dan Ketch and original G.R. Johnny Blaze against the Scarecrow and Blackheart.

Blackheart kidnaps Dan, then comes for Johnny at a roadhouse diner: he tells Johnny that he had killed Mephisto and taken over hell, and was now looking into expansion. He puts the demon Zarathos back into Johnny, making him Ghost Rider again; while Dan is attacked by the Scarecrow, but seemingly ends up at the long-defunct Quentin Carnival, with the dead Barbara Ketch and Roxanne Blaze! Blackheart tells the powerless Dan that he's in his realm, and has a "deal" to take: if he can escape, he can take one thing with him when he goes. Of course, Blackheart made the same deal with Scarecrow, so it's up for grabs to whoever gets there first.

The "new" Ghost Rider is turned loose in a prison, where Blackheart tries to encourage him to murder an unrepentant killer. Dan has to fight Scarecrow, afraid he would bring something terrible back from hell, but the defeated villain says he only wanted an end to the voices in his head, the fear. Still, Blackheart tells Dan he can take one of the girls; Johnny says he can't help with the decision since he's worried he may already be affected by Zarathos. Dan is forced into the only choice he can make:

Blackheart kicks them both out of his hell, claiming they haven't won anything and there are still two dead girls so nyah. Still, as they leave, Dan seems to change without touching the gas cap on his bike, and makes a new bike out of hellfire like the old one used to! I don't know if he kept doing that, or if that was a one-off. Velez would be the regular title's writer from #70 to the end; this issue may have been part of the transition from Mackie to him.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Huh. Poor Scarecrow. I guess that's why he was evil for so long....besides being a deranged psycho. Plus wasn't he abused as a child? I remember that being mentioned in an issue of Captain America.

Funny bit with Blackheart being corrected by the serial killer.
He definitely needs to be used more.