Wait a second… since when is Ghost Rider a girl?! Apparently since the start of this series! The new Ghost Rider is an 18-year-old named Alejandra, raised and abused by a tyrant named Adam. Johnny Blaze helped set Alejandra free, but when he offered to help her contain Zarathos, the Spirit of Vengeance, she tore off on her own, not wanting to be controlled by another man.
In this refreshing one-and-done story, she arrives in the New Orleans swamp, just as a hurricane approaches, and encounters a voodoo priestess who entices her to enter a sacred circle. Once within, Alejandra loses her connection to Zarathos. She’s nearly eaten by an alligator, but is saved by the timely intervention of Earle, the “Mayor” of a small shanty town set up in the swamp. Alejandra soon learns that all of the residents of this small village are killers, but Earle insists that their time there has changed them, that they’ve paid their dues and are now honest, kind people. Earle certainly seems so, even after admitting that he killed his own family! He also reveals that the voodoo witch is responsible for the town’s existence. After her daughter was raped and killed, but the killer escaped, she cast a spell gathering every murderer in the area, whether they had been caught or not, and condemned them to live in this ramshackle village.
(Spoilers from Hell ahead!)
As the hurricane rolls in, the other residents eye Alejandra more suspiciously. They gather and plot against Earle, then in a supernatural twist, they all combine, mentally and physically into a grotesque creature and go after Alejandra. They reveal that the witch told them that if they could kill another person, she would set them free. Thus these killers went to town murdering one another in a vain attempt to free themselves, but she had also cursed them by making them unable to kill one another! But now here was Alejandra, a stranger, not so cursed! Earle maintains that he’s a changed man, as the creature chases the still-powerless Alejandra. She races away, crossing over the voodoo threshold and instantly ignites again with the power of Ghost Rider. She quickly dispatches all guilty parties and I do mean all, before taking her leave.
I haven’t read a ‘Ghost Rider’ comic since the early 90s series starring Danny Ketch, so I had no idea what to expect going in, but this issue reminded me of an episode of ‘Tales From The Crypt’ with its reveals and twists and dark justice. It also reminded me a bit of ‘The Spectre,’ which I was a fan of. I think during the 90s, Ghost Rider became one of those characters that was just dark, violent and gritty because that was the flavor of the day. This Ghost Rider is more a supernatural righter of wrongs. No matter how much a person thinks he’s changed, a horrific crime is still just that and feeling at peace with it, doesn’t undo the injustice.
Alejandra is an interesting character! She’s a bit lost and conflicted, but smart and accessible. I might become a fan! We’ll see.
What I really dug was that this was a one-shot story! Beginning, middle, end; all in one issue! Nobody does that anymore, at least not in regular super hero comics. I’m struggling through the decompressed 6-part storylines in every other book, waiting to see what happens next and then here comes this nugget, delivering one entertaining and satisfying tale in one issue! Take note, every other writer out there! It can be done!
The art is the typical “rough” look of most supernatural comics. It fits the tone perfectly. The storytelling is great. It’s just a perfect fit for the book. I like that overall, Alejandra isn’t a sexual character. She has short boyish hair and doesn’t seem to be wearing makeup. She’s completely covered from the neck down. Yet… sigh, her boobs are both bigger than her head. She’s stated to be an eighteen-year-old. That just doesn’t seem to fit. It’s almost like they took away all the exploitative factors that bog down so many other female heroes, but felt they needed to make this concession to make up for it. It might seem to be a silly complaint, but the fact that they popped out so apparently to me, bugged me.
Overall, though she seems to be a very cool character, so I think I’ll check out the next issue and see where that takes me. I’m not completely sold, but the sheer fact that this is such a satisfying, one issue story, I must declare…
GHOST RIDER #6
Written by Rob Williams
Art by Dalibor Talajic
Cover by Arturo Lozzi and Frank D’Armata