Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Original Ghost Rider (1992) # 15

Cover Artist: Walter McDaniel
Published: Sep. 1993
Original Price: $1.75

Title: "...And Lose His Own Soul!"
Writer: Tony Isabella
Artist: Jim Mooney
Inker: Jack Abel
Letterer: A. Kupperberg
Colorist: Phil Rache
Editor: Roy Thomas
Title: The Curse of Quetzalcoatl, Part 1: "Head First"
Writer: Dan Slott
Artist: Dick Ayers
Inker: Rich Ayers
Letterer: Dave Sharpe
Colorist: Mike Worley
Editor: Evan Skolnick
"...And Lose His Own Soul!": As the Zodiac member Taurus roars out of the bank he's just robbed on his motorcycle, he is confronted by the Ghost Rider. Surprisingly, Taurus knows about Johnny, saying the two have much in common. The Zodiac leader roars off down the street, with Blaze in hot pursuit behind him. As Taurus rides off, he thinks to himself about how the documents he stole from the bank will make certain that Cornelius Van Lunt, the original Taurus, will spend the rest of his life in prison.
During his escape, Taurus rides past an autograph signing that's being held by the Stuntmaster, a former villain that had reformed with the help of Daredevil. Now a television star, the Stuntmaster decides that if he helps the Ghost Rider, maybe it will give him an opportunity to repay some of the good that had been done to him in the past by heroes. Still pursuing Taurus, Blaze thinks back to the original Zodiac, who were all defeated and captured by the Avengers weeks prior. Before he can think about the mystery more, the Stuntmaster rides up beside him and offers his assistance. Johnny reluctantly accepts the help, and the two proceed to knock Taurus off his bike. To the two heroes' astonishment, however, Taurus changes before their eyes into yet another member of the Zodiac, Scorpio, who uses his Zodiac Key weapon to knock the two unconscious.
When the two heroes awaken, they are chained to posts in a waterfront warehouse, the Zodiac member named Aquarius standing before them. With Aquarius is the demon Slifer, who served the monster Roulette before the Ghost Rider killed him. Aquarius tells the two heroes his story, about how Cornelius Van Lunt betrayed his fellow Zodiac members by getting himself cleared of his criminal charges and leaving his teammates to a life behind bars. As a result of Van Lunt's betrayal, Aquarius contracted a rare lung condition, giving him one year to live. Swearing vengeance on Van Lunt, Aquarius' shouts were heard by Slifer, who offered him a deal. For one year, Aquarius would possess the powers of the combined Zodiac, in order to gain vengeance, but at the end of that year he would forfeit his soul to Hell. Having already used the powers of five Zodiac members, Aquarius says that his vengeance on Van Lunt is almost finished.
At the end of the story, Blaze uses his hellfire to burn through the Stuntmaster's chains, allowing him to break free. Aquarius transforms into Cancer, who crushes Stuntmaster's ribs with his claws. When the Ghost Rider rushes forward, the Zodiac member transforms into Capricorn, who uses the unconscious Stuntmaster as a projectile. After checking on the injured Stuntmaster, Johnny races out of the warehouse, but doesn't spot Aquarius anywhere. He asks a young woman if she's seen anybody, but the woman tells him to get lost. Blaze jumps on the Stuntmaster's bike, but before he can ride off he realizes that one of the Zodiac members was a woman. Transforming from Virgo, the woman, into Aries, the villain uses his horns to batter the Ghost Rider senseless. When Aries attempts to run, Johnny tackles him off the pier and into the water. Instantly, Aries transforms into Pisces, a fish-man, but Blaze turns the tables on him by super-heating the water into a furnace with his hellfire. The two make their way back onto the dock, with Aquarius again assuming his true form. However, Slifer appears, saying that Aquarius' time has come and that he owes his soul. Aquarius argues he made the deal only a few weeks ago, not a full year, to which Slifer replies that the villain has assumed the form of each Zodiac member once, making a Zodical year. Despite Aquarius' protests, Slifer touches him and the two disappear, leaving Johnny to ask "what next?"...the answer to which coming in the form of a towering Satan before him.
"The Curse of Quetzalcoatl, Part 1: Head First": Phantom Rider arrives in la Boca del Dios. El Aguila watches him scare off an attacking desperado from afar. Carter Slade arrives at Enrique Montoya's camp and they plan to search for the temple of Quetzalcoatl. Meanwhile, el Ojo and his desperados that Enrique hired to help with the excavation plan to steal any treasure they find.
This issue is a reprint of Ghost Rider (1973) # 7.
This issue also included an all-new back-up story featuring the old western Ghost Rider, Carter Slade, now re-named the Phantom Rider as of West Coast Avengers # 19.
The synopsis for the Phantom Rider story comes from Ghost Rider: The Official Index to the Marvel Universe.