Ghost Rider #27

Story by
Art by
Tan Eng Huat
Colors by
Jose Villarrubia
Letters by
Joe Caramagna
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Jason Aaron’s work on “Ghost Rider” has made the title one of Marvel’s sleeper hits, and surely its popularity would be assured if only people could find it in themselves to look past their preconceptions and pick up a Ghost Rider series. There’s a lot of bad karma surrounding the character, but after a two-year run, it’s undeniable that the series has finally carved out a niche for itself.

There’s a whole generation of fans for whom Danny Ketch is Ghost Rider, and his return to the series will surely resonate with a number of fans. As if anticipating the arrival of Ketch’s fans, Aaron also takes the opportunity to give them what they want, re-introducing a bunch of old “Ghost Rider” characters alongside Ketch (including Blackout and The Orb) as they make an attempt on The Caretaker’s life.

Blaze eventually shows up for a trademark badass showdown with his adversaries, bringing the book’s new character, Sara, in tow. Sara is a Nun that knows Kung Fu (featured in the issue’s brilliant opening scene) who is also the only living relative of the Caretaker. It’s this mixture of comedy, action and mythology that gives Ghost Rider its individualistic tone, and similarly might leave some readers finding it cold.

Huat’s fluid designs give the title an almost disturbing aura, working in perfect tandem with the horror elements of the character’s world and lending a surreal tone to proceedings. It’s debatable whether it would work on any other series, but Huat’s work seems to be an excellent fit for “Ghost Rider.” His storytelling is especially strong, even if his characters aren’t as fully-rendered as they could be, and this issue alone contains some top-notch choreography and timing, both in the more frantic scenes and those which are more reflective. Huat clearly has a talent for the medium, and it’ll be good to watch his style further develop on “Ghost Rider.”

While the book’s persistent quirkiness might put some readers off, it’s still far more appealing than it currently appears. After years of titles that hit the skids a year after their inception, Marvel’s second- and third-tier characters are finally pulling their weight as bastions of quality writing, free from excessive crossover interference. The best thing about “Ghost Rider” #27? Not a Skrull in sight.

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