We have two Marvel books here, both of which I picked up on a whim last Wednesday. I know next to nothing about both series going in, so we'll see if either one impresses me. Both are written by Rob Williams, who Marvel seems really high on nowadays, so this should give me a good feel for his work. Or maybe not...
Ghost Rider #0.1:
Summary: We kick this one off with a retelling of Johnny Blaze's origin, but with all that “Ghost Rider is an angel now!” stuff thankfully omitted. Johnny whines about the Ghost Rider curse, as well as the fact that every woman he meets usually turns out to be some sort of monster(literally). While sitting in a bar moping, some guy named Adam approaches Johnny and offers to take away the Ghost Rider curse. Johnny figures there's a catch and blows the guy off, but after catching a beating from a drunk, Johnny decides to take Adam up on his offer. Adam tells Johnny that the only catch is that the Ghost Rider curse would randomly attach itself to somebody else, and Johnny, class act that he is, says that's fine by him. With that, Johnny follows Adam's words and is stripped of the Ghost Rider curse, ending this issue.
Thoughts: Huh, I really hated Johnny Blaze in this issue... What the hell happened to him?! I mean, I'm not the biggest fan of his, I've always favored the Danny Ketch version of Ghost Rider, but I don't remember Johnny ever being portrayed as an annoying, slack-jawed hick... I mean he literally screamed, “Yee-Haw!” at one point in this comic! The hell?!? After reading this issue, and seeing what's in store for this series, I don't see myself sticking around for very long. I'll pick up the first few issues since they tie into Fear Itself, but that'll probably be it, unless the new female Ghost Rider really wows me, which I don't expect. I don't get why Danny isn't getting to be GR again if they're done with Johnny... Again. While I'm on the subject of things I don't get, why the HELL is Marvel making the new GR female? What is with their obsession with taking established characters(Mr. Sinister, Bullseye, Loki, Wolverine, Ghost Rider) and changing their sex? Why not, oh, I don't know, CREATE a NEW character! I know, crazy...
Score: 5 1/2 out of 10.It's a random scan of Ghost Rider!
The Iron Age Alpha #1:
Summary: While attending the opening of a library in Harlem, Tony Stark is attacked, knocked out and kidnapped by a bunch of Iron Man looking robots. Upon waking up, Tony finds himself in an underwater laboratory and is soon confronted by an older man named Donald Birch. It seems that Birch used to be a villain named the Phantom, but wound up discarding that nickname and heading underground since he realized he just wanted to be alone. Birch's feelings changed after he learned he had terminal cancer, and he decided that he wanted to end the world... And he wanted Tony Stark to be there, since Tony was his reason for becoming a villain. To this end, Birch leads Tony into a room with one of Dr. Doom's time platforms and has his robots bring Jean Grey, back when she was Dark Phoenix(!), to the present. Birch has his robots blast at Dark Phoenix, which does nothing but anger her. Realizing what was going to happen, Tony runs to the time platform and is shunted back in time just as Dark Phoenix sends out a massive wave of fire which ultimately destroys the Earth. Now trapped in the past, Tony wanders the streets of New York, ultimately heading back to his old apartment, where he finds a passed-out drunk younger Tony Stark.
Thoughts: Now this was more like it! This was a nice set-up issue for the forthcoming Iron Age mini-series. With a name like X-Man, you KNOW I'm a big Jean Grey fan, so it was awesome to see her return and destroy the Earth, even if it was only a past version of Jean, and only for this mini. I can see loads of potential here, with the older, more mature Tony having to contend with his younger, drunken self. Yeah, there are things I see that I don't necessarily like(Captain Britain...), but for the most part, I'm looking forward to this one.
Score: 7 1/2 out of 10.So long, earthlings!!!