Comic Book Review: Ghost Racers #3
Robbie Reyes finds himself in a not terribly great place to be on Doom’s Battleworld, the latest hotshot of the hyper-violent, hyper-entertaining Ghost Races. Every night, Robbie must match his pedal metal with the more fearsome drivers in the world, wielding spirits of ignition which give them supernatural powers. But that’s alright, as Robbie never loses and makes certain his winnings go to his little Gabriel, if it wasn’t for one thing. Arcade, master of the Ghost Races and his superior Zadkiel don’t intend to let Robbie come in first every time. They’ll let him rack up a reputation that makes his winning odds irresistible, then have him crash and burn before he can drive off into the sunset. The Ghost Races are fixed! And the racers fixed on Reyes with first place to whoever can throw him off the road. Now the only thing between Robbie and damnation is his spirit of ignition Eli, who mysteriously draws his powers from somewhere other than Zadkiel.
All-New Ghost Rider writer Felipe Smith writes this issue and as to be expected he has a special attachment to Robbie Reyes. After teleporting outside of the Ghost Races, Robbie finds himself hunted through the streets of Doomstadt with his fellow racers hot on his tail. Though Smith is throwing every outrageous idea he can get onto page, the real thrust of this book, much like All-New Ghost Rider is the tense level of trust between Robbie and Eli and who far they’re willing to go. There’s some scant character development given to the other Races and it’s delivered well, enough to make me want them to come back after Secret Wars however unlikely for some that may be. The villainous pair of Arcade and Zadkiel are somewhat absent and little more than bad guys to shout loudly from on high but that’s mostly what they need to be for this type of story.
The artwork by Juan Gedeon and colors by Tamra Bonvillain continue to impress. Gedeon throws a hundred and half amazing ideas into the fray. There’s everything from motorcycle sharks, dudes riding giant chainsaws and a flaming metal gorilla atop his Ghost Racer train, no really. The book is filled with energy, flames, skids, sparks, and all between. The light oranges and shades of grey by Bonvillain risk becoming a tad repetitive. However, when giving glimpse of the Ghost Racers’ old lives there’s a change for brighter blues and greens that shows what a harsh and unforgiving city Doomstadt is. I will say also that Gedeon’s artwork risks being cluttered when depicting Ghost Races in formation. Given how much care and craft has been but into these flaming nightmares, it would be nice to have a chance to see what they look like under sixty miles per hour. I’m hoping there’s a chance to see many of their vehicles in proper, especially that gorilla ghost train.
Ghost Racers #3 is a turning point for this series as Robbie now must face the runners of the Ghost Races head on while locking horns with his fellow speedsters. The issue reads like a special issue of Felipe Smith’s shortly lived All-New Ghost Rider, putting Robbie and Eli’s connection to the center of conflict. Juan Gedeon and Tamra Bonvillian as always fill every issue with invention and madness. I wasn’t expecting to like Ghost Rider so much this year but here you have it.