Saturday, March 12, 2016

Ghost Rider Special Edition (1995) # 3

Cover Artist: Geoff Isherwood
Published: 1995
Original Price: N/A

Title: "To the Rescue"
Writer: Chris Cooper
Artist: Geoff Isherwood
Inker: Dan McConnel
Letterer: Janice Chiang
Colorist: Jim Hoston
Editor: Glenn Herdling

While riots rage in Brooklyn, John Blaze hears a woman screaming from help inside a high-rise building. Blaze rides his bike up the side of the building and crashes through a window on an upper floor, where he finds rioters attacking a young woman. Surprisingly, though, the rioters recognize Blaze and immediately attack him. He holds them off long enough for him to rescue the woman; her name is Lynda, and she senses that John is the reason she was drawn to this part of the city. Blaze thinks to himself that she must be connected to the supernatural, due to him being a sort of magnet for magical beings.
Blaze and Lynda ride up to the building's roof, but the attackers bust their way through the rooftop to find them. This tells Blaze that they're not normal people, they're either superhuman or supernatural, most likely the latter. Blaze whips out his hellfire shotgun and blasts them, revealing them to be demons as they're destroyed. However, the weakened roof collapses beneath Blaze's bike - and though he's able to land without harm to himself, Lynda is injured during the fall. Blaze decides to take her to a hospital, where he'll protect her from any more demon attacks.
This mini-comic was the first in a series packaged with Toy Biz's line of Ghost Rider action figures. This issue came with the Blaze figure.
There's really no place to fit this series into established continuity. It obviously takes place after "Siege of Darkness" and Ghost Rider (1990) # 50, but the relationships between Ghost Rider, Blaze, and Vengeance certainly don't fit the characters at the time.
Blaze learned that he was a magnet for supernatural magic in Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) # 1.
Lynda's connection to the supernatural is revealed in Ghost Rider Special Edition (1995) # 5, which focused on Skinner of the Lilin.
Chris Cooper continues his series of Ghost Rider toy tie-in comics with John Blaze and an artist who I was surprisingly familiar with: Geoff Isherwood.
Following last issue's disappointing introduction story for Vengeance, Cooper gives a much stronger showing with a much stronger character in John Blaze. Not only is Blaze immediately more interesting than last issue's star, we also get an advancement in the plot (paper thin as it may be). Lynda is introduced as an unknown variable thrown against the riot plot, where we also get to see our first example of demonic intervention amidst the rioting humans of the previous issues. Most importantly, while the first two issues seemed to be severely lacking in story, even for a 6-page comic, Cooper finally shows a glimmer of being the great writer I know he is from his work on Darkhold. I'm actually invested in the storyline now, believe it or not!
Even more of a surprise is the artist for this issue, Geoff Isherwood. Unlike the last two issues, which featured artists I was largely unfamiliar with, Isherwood had been the artist for Marvel's Dr. Strange and Namor comics for extended runs. His work helps to elevate the story in this issue, as it lacks a lot of the amateurish elements of the previous artists. I'm not sure what happened to Isherwood after the 1990s were over, but he was a solid artist who does a great job on this assignment.
So the mini-comics are getting better, people!
Grade: B+