Marvel’s “Agents of SHIELD” threw down a flaming gauntlet at Comic-Con International in San Diego, confirming weeks of rumors about a new addition to the cast. It’s official, Ghost Rider is joining the ABC series in Season 4.
The show’s annual panel revealed the character’s inclusion in the cast, but word quickly surfaced that this wouldn’t be the version of the character some fans were likely expecting — or the other one. Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, the two characters best known as Ghost Rider, aren’t in the plans (for now). The show is instead introducing Robbie Reyes, the latest of Spirit of Vengeance.
If your first reaction was, “Who?!”, you’re not alone. CBR gives you everything you need to race up to speed on the Dodge Charger-racing Spirit of Vengeance.
Marvel Comics gave readers a new anti-hero to love in 2014’s “All-New Ghost Rider” series when they introduced Mexican-American teenager, Robbie Reyes. While many Ghost Rider fans know Johnny Blaze, a stuntman who sells his soul (and the basis for two feature films starring Nicolas Cage), Robbie puts a new spin on one of Marvel’s legacy characters.
Created by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore, Robbie Reyes is a teenager from East Los Angeles who splits his time between high school, working in a body shop, and taking care of his physically disabled younger brother Gabe. When a sleek, black hot rod comes through the shop, Reyes seizes the opportunity and enters a street race, hoping to use the prize money for a better life. Little does he know that the car he has boosted is bonded with a deadly spirit — and a trunk full of drugs.
Unfortunately, his hot-headed nature leads to a confrontation with a group of miscreants following the outcome of the race and when he accidentally gets involved in the drug operation, it results in is his untimely death. When he is gunned down and set aflame, the spirit inside of the car revives him as a bloodthirsty entity with a flaming head. It’s later revealed that the spirit is his estranged uncle, Eli Morrow, a man who dabbled in Satanic rituals leading to 37 murders.
As they fight for dominance of Reyes’ body, he also has to deal with Gabe’s rising suspicion that something isn’t quite right, the drug lords of the Los Angeles underworld, and a meeting with Johnny Blaze. Thankfully, his good heart trumps all, and Reyes successfully bonds with Eli, promising to sate his serial killer thirst with the souls of the evil as they clean up the streets of L.A.
“Ghost Racers” saw Reyes tossed into a Killiseum alongside the others who have held the Ghost Rider mantle, including Johnny Blaze, Carter Slade, Danny Ketch, Kenshiro Cochrane and Alejandra, the Ghost Riders were forced to entertain the masses by participating in gruesome races. It’s a grim place as it’s revealed the losers of the races are subject to torture while the winners walk free until the next event under the sadistic host, Arcade. It’s as the undisputed champion of the races that Robbie continues to care for his brother Gabe, but that reckless spirit of his rebels against the rules and regulations of the races in a daring escape.
The charm of Robbie Reyes is, without a doubt, the love he has for his brother. Gabe is a die-hard superhero fan, and idolizes his older brother. It’s a sweet peek into the normal lives of those called to greatness, and one that’s not seen very often in the pages of heroes. Without a motorcycle, deal with the devil, or even years of life experience, Reyes seems like a perfect addition to the group of misfits under Director Coulson’s wings.
This becomes even more clear when considering the easy link to his potential introduction, Kyle McLachlan’s portrayal of Calvin Zabo from “Agents of SHIELD.” Zabo’s drugs were in the trunk of the stolen car that set everything in motion, and it was Zabo’s brigade of gangsters that gunned down an innocent teenager trying to build a better life. The only issue is, the McLachlan’s character exited the series on a pretty positive (defending his daughter, Daisy Johnson), so it’s possible the show would either need a few episodes to bring him back around to the dark side or may opt for a different introduction for Reyes. While Reyes would be a dynamic addition to Daisy’s Secret Warriors team, only time will tell what kind of role he will ultimately play in Season Four.
“Agents of SHIELD” returns Tuesday, September 20 on ABC.
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