As much as I loved the beginning of Jason Aaron’s run on “Ghost Rider,” the recent turn towards the “Zadkiel/war in heaven/Ghost Riders of many nations” plot had me considering dropping the book. Gone was the grindhouse horror fun of those initial issues with Roland Boschi, replaced with a bland story that, while executed well, was something I’d seen before in various forms. That story ended strongly, though, giving me hope that the two subsequent issues have solidified, as the grindhouse horror fun is back.
“Ghost Rider” #34 has Danny Ketch cursed once again as the Ghost Rider and facing off against a demonic trucker known mostly as an urban legend called the Highwayman. The Highwayman was once a regular trucker who, as he got older, began to lose out to younger men with more stamina for long hauls. In a fit of desperation, the trucker sold his soul to the devil and, now, drives across the country harvesting souls for his master in hell.
That story is related to us by a trucker as you can read for yourself in CBR’s preview and, of course, just after it’s been dismissed as an urban legend, the Highwayman shows up and kills everyone. Oh ho ho! It’s a dark kind of funny, but funny nonetheless. From there, Aaron doesn’t let up in a full-on conflict between Ketch as Ghost Rider and the Highwayman.
A demonic trucker versus a biker with a flaming skull. Is this not the best issue of “Ghost Rider” that has ever been penned?
Tony Moore on art is exactly what this book needs. Like Boschi and Tan Eng Haut, his work isn’t traditional superhero comic book fare, but far more unique and quirky. There are obvious inspirations from Kevin O’Neill throughout this issue, that same off-kilter love of the grotesque and horrific with sharp angles and a wonderful sense of absurd humor. The hilarious stickers on a bus full of alien enthusiasts are all Moore and make for the best little bonus of the issue with slogans like “We brake for Spaceknights,” “Pip the Troll was right!” and “I’ve been probed by Oneg the Prober.” Moore’s art is very loose and fun to match Aaron’s writing. It’s a rare case where the art and script are in perfect sync.
If you didn’t buy this issue this week, buy it next week. If your shop doesn’t have a copy, demand they order you one. If they say no, find another shop. All over this comic, because it’s that damn good.