12.11.21

Inner Demons Episode 56 - "Playground Insults with Satan" and Special Guest Interview with Carrie Harris

    



Inner Demons is back with another huge Episode for the listeners and you're gonna wanna stick around for the ending!

First on the docket, Brian is astonished to see how childish Lucifer is in the concluding chapter of Daniel Way's Revelations arc in Ghost Rider Issue 19. Thankfully, things start looking up for the reader in the much better Ghost Rider Issue 20 by Jason Aaron. Of course, that's if you call Gun Nuns, Cannibal Ghosts and Killer Angels an "improvement!" I'm sure Blaze would rather be making up insults like last issue instead.

Then Brian takes a ride all the way to the year 2099 to discover some of Zero Cochrane's deep seated Daddy Issues in Ghost Rider 2099 Issue 17.

Next up, in Cloak and Dagger #18 and Sleepwalker #11...we finally get to catch up with Danny Ketch in two guest appearances he had in the 90s. But GR better watch out, because Mephisto is large and very hungry!

And in Ghost Rider Issue 20...Blaze and Daredevil finally find out the identity of the mysterious new Death's Head. They probably should have just looked at the front cover. It was revealed right on there!

There's the #PostWritersGR segment with listener feedback from fans like you and more details on our newest contest!!

And as a special treat for the listeners...we have the lovely and talented Carrie Harris stop on by to discuss her brand new novel featuring Ghost Rider called "Witches Unleashed." You don't wanna miss it, fellow Flameheads!

You can listen to the episode at the Vengeance Unbound page on BlogSpot, or you can download it from Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Podcasts.

You can also find us on Facebook, just search  for "Vengeance Unbound" and on Twitter under @InnerDemonsGR.

Thanks for listening!

21.9.21

Inner Demons Episode 55 - "Drugs N' Rugs Emporium"

   



Inner Demons is back with another Giant-Sized Episode for the listeners!

First up, Brian takes a wild ride thru Johnny Blaze's past with the Spirit in the Sky (Aka Kushala) as he checks out "Spirits of Vengeance: Spirit Rider #1." Hope he had time to grab some of those tasty Flaming Oreos from the Quentin Carnival!

Next up, in "Savage Avengers #22" Conan the Barbarian wakes up in a strange nightmare and battles an ancient armored up Ghost Rider atop a flaming spider beast. Shelob, eat your heart out!

From there we follow Johnny on his quest to destroy all 666 of Lucifer's avatars in Daniel Way's Ghost Rider 17 and 18. 'Gotta catch 'em all', I guess.

Then, in Ghost Rider 2099 Issue 16, Zero Cochrane is the Law...and everyone hates him for it. Can't that dude catch a break? Well, not with Heartbreaker around.

Lastly...Blaze is on the hunt to help save Karen Page from the new Death's Head and his fr-enemy Stunt Master in "Daredevil" #138. Hopefully, JB doesn't get any carpets stuffed with Heroin bags tossed at him. That would suck. (Unless he packed a flamethrower)

Stay tuned for a very special #PostWritersGR segment with listener feedback from fans like you and more details on our newest contest!!

You can listen to the episode at the Vengeance Unbound page on BlogSpot, or you can download it from Stitcher, iTunes, or Google Podcasts.

You can also find us on Facebook, just search  for "Vengeance Unbound" and on Twitter under @InnerDemonsGR.

Thanks for listening!

27.8.21

Ghost Rider (1973) # 76

"Half a Demon...Half a Man!"

Cover Date: January 1983
On Sale Date: October 1982

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Don Perlin
Inker: Dave Simons
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor In Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Artist: Bob Budiansky

In the nether-regions of Hell, the demon Asmodeus travels to the realm of Mephisto and offers the demon-lord a "suggestion" concerning Johnny Blaze and the Ghost Rider. Mephisto comments that the Ghost Rider's true name is Zarathos, but allows Asmodeus to continue. The lesser demon offers to lift the burden of Blaze from Mephisto, to which the Hell ruler replies that Zarathos would be crucial to Asmodeus' attempt to rule Earth. Mephisto decides to turn the "suggestion" into a contest, where Zarathos shall run a gauntlet in Hell, with his freedom as the goal. If he fails, he will belong to Asmodeus.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Johnny confronts Ralph Quentin about the incident with Steel Wind. During the argument, Blaze suddenly feels faint, so he excuses himself to go get some air. Riding on his motorcycle into a secluded area, Johnny is jumped by a pack of demons, who knock him unconscious and carry him through a shimmering gate. Blaze wakes up and is surprised to see both Mephisto and Asmodeus standing before him, as he is chained to an upright altar of sorts. Mephisto brings forth the Sword of Demonicus, which he uses to cleave the true form of Zarathos out of Blaze's body. Mephisto tells Zarathos that both he and Johnny must race through Hell to a mystic portal back to Earth. If both of them reach the portal together, they will forever be separated and free from one another.

Blaze and Zarathos begin their race through Hell, but Asmodeus immediately sends his minions out to stop them from reaching their destination. The two riders reach a bridge, where they encounter a giant named Saturnyne, a demon with an immense hatred toward the Ghost Rider. Blaze rescues Zarathos from the giant, and the two then trick Saturnyne into impaling himself on a piece of the broken bridge. The two continue down the Road of Lost Souls, where Johnny encounters what he believes to be the ghosts of his parents. Zarathos loses his temper and blasts the two shades with hellfire, forcing them to reveal their true demonic forms.

The two continue farther, but their path is soon blocked by a twisted mass of flesh called Mount Avarice. Zarathos explains that the Mount is made of the souls of men that were concerned only with themselves, and must spend eternity entwined with each other. If the souls sense a kinship with them, then they will drag them down among them. Blaze soon experiences a feeling of self-doubt, and begins to sink into the mass of limbs. Zarathos reluctantly turns back and saves Johnny from his fate, pulling him through the entwinement of souls. The two continue their journey on foot through a narrow tunnel, only to see two of Asmodeus' demons cut the rope tying down a large boulder that takes up the entire space of the corridor. Zarathos uses his hellfire to stop the boulder's descent toward them, but finds that their path is now blocked. Blaze turns, only to find that the souls of Mount Avarice are coming up the tunnel after them. Zarathos turns to the boulder and uses all the hellfire at his command to shatter the blockade, though it knocks him unconscious in the process. Blaze drags the Ghost Rider through the tunnel, but is unable to get away from Mount Avarice. Zarathos then awakens and blasts the souls with his hellfire, forcing them to retreat. The two run the rest of the way, finally coming to the portal that will take them back to Hell. Both of them then decide, however, that only one must step through the portal, in order to ensure that they will never be bonded together again. The two struggle, and during their fight they fall through the portal together.

Johnny awakens on Earth, at the place where he was attacked and taken. Realizing that Zarathos is inside him once again, Johnny pounds on the rock furiously, and in the process transforms into the Ghost Rider, who swears vengeance on Mephisto. Back in Hell, Mephisto explains to Asmodeus that had Blaze and Zarathos simply walked through the portal together, they truly would have been freed from each other and the curse of the Ghost Rider would have been lifted. Mephisto then decides to take his prize for besting Asmodeus, destroying the demon with a bolt of hellfire. As the netherruler watches the Ghost Rider through a scrying glass, he states that as long as he rules, the Ghost Rider will never be free.

IN ALL HIS GLORY!

THE ROADMAP
Steel Wind attacked the Quentin Carnival in Ghost Rider (1973) # 75.

Asmodeus first appeared in Ghost Rider (1973) # 53, and again in Ghost Rider (1973) # 64.

Mephisto was revealed as the "Satan" responsible for Blaze's curse in Ghost Rider (1973) # 68.

This is the first mention of the Ghost Rider's true name, Zarathos, and several hints are offered at his origins. Zarathos' origin will be revealed to him by Nightmare in Ghost Rider (1973) # 77.

Believe it or not, the demon Saturnyne that appears in this issue makes a re-appearance decades later as the main villain of the X-Men: Pixie Strikes Back mini-series.  Talk about a deep cut!  Similarly, Asmodeus will re-appear alive and once again a ruler of Hell in the 2013 "Hell on Earth War" storyline in X-Factor.

CHAIN REACTION
Artist Don Perlin returns to the title he drew for so many years and joins J.M. DeMatteis for another memorable issue of Ghost Rider that gives us a huge moment in GR history. Unfortunately, the story itself is little more than a hodgepodge of issues that came before it.

The idea of Blaze and Zarathos racing through Hell isn't exactly a novel one. While the race aspect immediately brings to mind "The Salvation Run" from issue# 18, the separation of Johnny and the Rider had also been told a few years before during the Crimson Mage story. Translation? This issue is really nothing more than two previously-conceived ideas head butting together to form a "new" story. Luckily, this issue was fortunate to have the immensely talented DeMatteis and Perlin team as its creators.

Since the title's revamp under Roger Stern and Bob Budiansky, with DeMatteis following on Stern's foot heels, even the most seemingly mediocre story ideas have been shining examples of great comics. This one is no exception, because despite the retread of ideas previously shown in the series we're still given the little touches by DeMatteis and Perlin that shows why they (and Stern and Budiansky) were so perfect for this series. It's made abundantly obvious throughout this issue just how much Blaze and Zarathos hate one another, with 75 issues of struggle finally being brought to the surface in the most literal way possible: a race through Hell itself to determine their mutual survival.

This story is also responsible for two very important moments in Ghost Rider history. "Half a Demon...Half a Man!" is where we finally learn the name of the demon attached to Johnny Blaze. Zarathos was once a dweller of Mephisto's Hell, and it's made clear here that it's not just Blaze who's cursed. Zarathos is cursed as well, due to being held back by Blaze's moral conscience. Truly a nice touch that adds lots of depth to the two characters. This story also permanently solidifies Mephisto as the "Satan" originally responsible for Blaze's curse way back at the series' beginning. This was previously hinted at in Roger Stern's first issue, a retcon origin sequence, but here it's set in stone. It's unclear as to whether Mephisto had been masquerading as Satan all these years or if it's just a sort of "ignore the old stories" style of retroactive continuity patches due to Johnny actually recognizing and calling Mephisto by name when he wakes up in Hell. 

Don Perlin, probably the longest running artist in Ghost Rider history, returns for another fill-in issue after his previous collaborations with DeMatteis ("Holding Onto Sally" and "The Tears of Adam Henderson"). While the tail-end of his run as the regular artist was beginning to show Perlin losing steam, he's constantly seemed re-energized with these fill-in issues. Granted, I'm not too keen on Zarathos' bare-bone-chested loin-cloth look, Perlin still does a good job illustrating the journey through Hell...obviously not an easy thing for an artist to do.

So even though this issue is a stock-plot riffing off previous stories, it's still a stock-plot with a fantastic creative team.

Such a great transition!

26.8.21

Ghost Rider (1973) # 75

“Beware the Steel Wind!”

Cover Date: December 1982
On Sale Date: September 1982

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Bob Budiansky
Inker: Dave Simons
Letterer: Joe Rosen
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Artist: Bob Budiansky

A female stunt rider named Steel Wind appears at the Quentin Carnival, catching the attention of Johnny Blaze, Red Fowler, and carnival magician Vincenzo. Ralph Quentin tells them that Steel Wind is there at his request as a replacement for Blaze, who he fires from the carnival. Meanwhile, a mysterious young woman boards a bus with a picture of Johnny in her hand.

That night, the members of the carnival demand that Johnny be given a chance to prove himself against Steel Wind, and Ralph Quentin proposes a race between the two to decide who stays. The next morning, the two opponents ride through a hastily constructed obstacle course. Despite cheating by firing a laser into his gas tank, Steel Wind is about to lose to Johnny when his concentration is broken by a raging Ghost Rider, who demands to be set free to face the woman. Johnny loses and leaves in shame, taking reporter Cynthia Randolph with him after Quentin tells her she is no longer welcome.

Several nights later, Vincenzo goes to Steel Wind’s tent to try and talk with her and discovers her secret, that beneath her arm-length gloves are arms made of twisted flesh and cybernetic circuitry, a result of her being rebuilt after a boat explosion. She descends upon Vincenzo, who screams. Over the next few days, she begins a reign of terror at the carnival, telling them that if they don’t like her rules they can always leave, “as Vincenzo did”. One evening, Johnny and Cynthia reunite at the carnival, where the reporter explains what she’s dug up about Steel Wind, that her presence at a carnival inevitably leads to its financial ruin. They sneak in and join the rest of the carnival troupe in confronting Quentin and Steel Wind, who attacks Johnny on sight. After a motorcycle chase into the woods, the Ghost Rider manages to force the transformation and battles savagely with Steel Wind. When her motorcycle is destroyed and her ruined arms are exposed, she stops fighting and is fried by the Ghost Rider’s hellfire. A week later, the news of Steel Wind’s failure reaches her employer, the Freakmaster, who states that they will have to deal with Blaze before their plans for the Quentin Carnival can reach fruition.

Maybe she just wants a hug?

THE ROADMAP
Steel Wind's sister, Steel Vengeance, appears in Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) # 2 as an agent of Centurious, seeking revenge on John Blaze for what happened to her sister. Steel Wind herself reappears in Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) # 7 alongside her sister to destroy the Quentin Carnival.

The Freakmaster first appeared in shadow in Ghost Rider (1973) # 70, as did his aide Renaldo. Ralph Quentin's history with the Freakmaster is revealed in Ghost Rider (1973) # 79.

CHAIN REACTION

To read my review of Ghost Rider (1973) # 75 see my book Wheels On Fire: An Unofficial Guide to Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider: 1972-1983!

25.8.21

Ghost Rider (1973) # 74

“Remnants!”

Cover Date: November 1982
On Sale Date: August 1982

Writer: J.M. DeMatteis
Artist: Bob Budiansky
Inker: Dave Simons
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor in Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Artist: Bob Budiansky

A distracted Johnny Blaze wrecks his motorcycle and barely survives the crash. After losing consciousness he and his bike are dragged into the woods by a mysterious figure. At the Quentin Carnival, still reeling from its destruction at the hands of the Circus of Crime, Red Fowler is told that Johnny left and heads out to find him and bring him back. Hours later, Johnny wakes up at a campsite with a man named Old Adam, who brought Johnny to the camp to help him after his crash. After a few hours of friendship, Adam is terrified at the sight of a man entering the camp enveloped in a cloud of mist. When Johnny tries to keep the man from taking Adam he is swatted aside and almost loses consciousness again. 

After he recovers, Johnny follows a trail of dead plant life to a decaying plantation house. Inside he discovers a dinner party of sorts, hosted by Centurious, who has placed Adam as his servant. The rest of the dinner guests, including Centurious’ “wife” Tara, are nothing but soulless husks animated by Centurious’ power. When Centurious attempts to take Johnny’s soul he unwittingly frees the Ghost Rider, who attacks Centurious. When Red appears, having followed Johnny’s trail, Centurious orders his soulless thralls to tear the man apart, which the Ghost Rider agrees would be a fine sight to witness. Ghost Rider attempts to fry Centurious with hellfire but finds that the man has no soul of his own and is overcome by the spirits trapped within the villain’s Soul Crystal, changing the demon back into Johnny. Adam sees one of those spirits is Tara, his sister who Centurious took as his bride, and realizes that he will never be able to free her. He sets the plantation house on fire and Centurious is buried beneath a collapsed ceiling. Johnny and Red escape, while Adam remains behind to perish with his sister. After Johnny and Red depart to return to the carnival, a path of dead foliage coming from the ashes of the home show that Centurious survived.

What's a party without dancing zombies?

THE ROADMAP
Centurious returns in Ghost Rider (1973) # 80.

CHAIN REACTION
To read my review of Ghost Rider (1973) # 74 see my book Wheels On Fire: An Unofficial Guide to Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider: 1972-1983!

24.8.21

Ghost Rider (1973) # 73

"Tears of a Clown!"

Cover Date: October 1982
On Sale Date: July 1982

Writer: Roger Stern
Artist: Bob Budiansky
Inker: Dave Simons
Letterer: Diana Albers
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Editor: Tom DeFalco
Editor In Chief: Jim Shooter
Cover Artist: Bob Budiansky

Trapped in the void, the Ghost Rider rages about the events of the previous issue. Johnny, meanwhile, is tied up and unconscious in the trailer of the Circus of Crime. The Circus members (Live Wire, Fire-Eater, Strong Man, Cannonball, and the Gambonno Brothers) elect the newly returned Clown as their leader. The Clown leads the group back to the Quentin Carnival, where he has a private discussion with Ralph Quentin, Cynthia, and Red. Back in the trailer, the Ghost Rider's astral form forces Johnny back to consciousness. Blaze unties his ropes and heads out for the Carnival, refusing to let the demon out.

Quentin holds an assembly of the Carnival workers, with the Clown standing behind him. He tells them that the Circus of Crime has offered to help keep them going. Ralph then declares that he refuses to touch their dirty money, and the Clown continues by saying that the Circus are responsible for his dad, Corky, being in the hospital. He tells the carnies that he's brought the criminals to them, and for them to take them out. The carnies revolt, and one by one the Circus of Crime members are taken out. Eventually, the only one left standing is the Fire-Eater, who proceeds to burn down the Carnival as the Clown pursues him. From the hill overlooking the Carnival, Johnny sees the flames, prompting the Ghost Rider to demand his freedom. An explosion from below knocks Blaze to his feet, where he sees his cycle leathers lying in the glass, blown to him from the explosion.

The Clown catches up to the Fire-Eater, but before the two can fight, a wall of fire cuts off their only way of escape. The Ghost Rider flies through the wall on his bike, and upon stopping picks the vehicle up to throw at the Fire-Eater. The criminal attempts to fight back, but quickly realizes that his inferno discs do little against the demon. The Rider gives him a choice: face him, or jump through the wall of fire. The Fire-Eater chooses the latter, jumping through the flames and burning most of his body. The Ghost Rider then grabs the Clown and fries his soul with hellfire. As the demon revels in his victory, Red Fowler comes through one of the tents and says that the Clown led the Circus there so they could be captured. The Ghost Rider has punished an innocent man, and upon learning this, the demon is taken aback in guilt. Using this chance, Johnny fights his way back into control. He and Red talk about what's happened, unsure of what to do now that the Carnival has been destroyed.

Poor Johnny, he never stood a chance.

THE ROADMAP
Elliot Franklin, the Clown, arrived at the carnival in Ghost Rider (1973) # 70. The Circus of Crime soon followed, arriving in Ghost Rider (1973) # 72.

Red Fowler learned that Blaze housed the demon in Ghost Rider (1973) # 65, when he witnessed Johnny's transformation.

CHAIN REACTION
To read my review of Ghost Rider (1973) # 73 see my book Wheels On Fire: An Unofficial Guide to Marvel Comics' Ghost Rider: 1972-1983!