Last time on All-New Ghost Rider: Engines of Vengeance, Robbie Reyes became the Ghost Rider after he was shot dead and burned in a street race.Now he battles Grumpy, a drug leader and another drug lord, Dr. Zabo aka Mister Hyde.
Issue #4 begins with Robbie back at home shaving his head and notices some scars on his forehead, which Eli calls a symbol of their bond. It then flashes back to four hours ago where Ghost Rider if fighting Grumpy. The fight seems to be going towards Grumpy and his WWE moves, until Ghost Rider hits him with the car and goes to break his neck. Grumpy then mutates two extra and beats Rider into the ground, then he just walks away for some reason. I’ll just chock that up to his horribly drugged mind.
We then see Dr. Zabo back at his lab trying to fix a defect in the pink pills. He realizes that increasing the dosage of Ana-Xilix-32, the key ingredient of the Mister Hyde formula, he will create a completely stable weapon. Cut to Robbie and Gabe rolling down the street (Smokin indo and sipping on gin and juice) where they notice Guero and Dr. Zabo making a deal. Zabo offers Guero money and power in exchange for the location of Grumpy and his crew. The issue ends with Zabo promising that the “city of Hillrock Heights will burn,” which sounds like a great movie trailer ending.
Issue #5 begins with Grumpy rampaging through Hillrock Heights until Dr. Zabo walks towards him. He transforms into Mister Hyde and proceeds to rip Grumpy in half. The next day comes around and Guero is spotted by Grumpy’s gang and is about to be killed when McCallum, the leader of Dr. Zabo’s Urban Alliance, appears. A full on gang war is going when a school bus with Gabe riding in it tries to come through and crashes. Guero’s crew try to rescue Gabe and the other children on the bus when McCallum goes to shoot Guero.
Robbie finally comes in to save the day and wraps up McCallum with his chain whip and slams him into the ground. He takes out the rest of Zabo’s Army (he even blows up a rocket from a rocket launcher by throwing his chain at it.) He teleports Gabe to safety and Mister Hyde crashes down from a helicopter to fight Robbie. In another amazing fight scene, Robbie manages to get the upper hand using his car as a weapon. Mister Hyde decides to take a bunch of pink pills to try and gain the advantage. This backfires and he overdoses by upsetting the perfect balance of Ana-Xilix-32 in their body. He reverts back into Dr. Zabo who is then curbstomped by the crowd of people on the street. The issue ends with Ghost Rider getting revenge on Guero and getting Gabe’s wheelchair back.
Before we get to the review points let me reveal the censor counter:60
Plot: I really enjoy the plot of this book. Ghost Rider battling drug lords in a crappy neighborhood while trying to be a good brother creates a good story.
Characters: Robbie is a pretty likable protagonist, and his connection to Eli and his brother seems genuine. Dr. Zabo/Mister Hyde make a good evil scientist and muscle man team. Guero makes an alright rival to Robbie.
Action: This is the high point of the series. Robbie’s weapons and acrobatic skills make interesting fights. Most battles are against giant,muscled guys but the human fights are pretty interesting. The speed lines and sparks flying make the fights look very fast, which is essential to a Ghost Rider series.
Art: Now this is the thing that might turn some people away. The book has a very cartoony look to it, with comical expressions and sounds effects. I really enjoy this as it makes the book more lighthearted, but those looking for a darker look probably won’t like it.
Ending: I like the closure given to the situation with Gabe’s wheelchair, but I thought the book was trying to redeem Guero near the end. I guess that’s just my slant on it.
Final Thoughts: All-New Ghost Rider is a very good book. The change to a car and making a new Ghost Rider might turn off the casual fan, but I think he is a good edition to the Ghost Rider lore. With the upcoming Ghost Racers series, I’d like to see Robbie meet the other Ghost Riders. If you like an action packed comic with some heart and grit, I recommend All-New Ghost Rider.
Rating: Full Price