Saturday, November 7, 2015

Comic Book review: Ghost Racers

Within Battleworld, there exists the Killiseum, an arena where all manner of deadly sporting events are held. Notable among them are the lethal, high-speed free-for-alls that pit a half-dozen Ghost Racers against one another. Classic Ghost Rider characters like Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch take to their flaming bikes, dodging environmental hazards that stand between them and the finish line. But the main character, and hero of the day, is Robbie Reyes, the most recent host to have taken up the mantle of the Ghost Rider before the collapse of the multiverse resulted in the formation of Battleworld.

Much like his introduction in the Marvel NOW! series, Robbie Reyes is a caring older sibling to his brother Gabe, their parents absent, and their home located in a neighborhood that is anything but glamorous. Robbie takes to the race in his sporty muscle car, with the spirit Eli guiding him, and is currently the favored racer. But those who lose are subjected to a number of torture devices below the Killiseum. The Ghost Racers are also – to a certain degree – under the control of the sadistic Arcade, and should one of them get out of line, he can easily sick the others on them. All of this makes for a considerable threat when Robbie and Eli hatch a plan to escape Arcade’s perverse sport once and for all.

The art direction and dialogue in this limited series wonderfully match the grungy atmosphere that has often been associated with the Ghost Rider comics, as well as other Marvel tales aimed at teen audiences on up. Character designs do well to present a variety of Ghost Rider styles, while also paying homage to the series’ long history. Ghost Racers is not an overly-complicated story, but it does present a sufficient number of hurdles for Robbie to overcome. As lead protagonist, Robbie is just as likeable a character as in his Marvel NOW! debut. Ghost Racers proves an entertaining read – one that is surprisingly well-paced, given its smaller scope when compared to many of the other Secret Wars tie-ins.

My rating: 8 (out of 10)

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