Review: Essential Ghost Rider Vol. 2

The second volume of the Essential Ghost Rider gets some major props for containing one of the craziest stories I have ever encountered.  Issues 33 and 34 by Roger McKenzie and Don Perlin are a work of genius.  Take Anthony from Jerome Bixby’s It’s a Good Life, place him in a bubble, give him a spaceship and some tortured cyborg bikers for minions and then have him battle Ghost Rider and a stereotypical (albeit psychic) prospector for 44 pages.    Oh and then throw in a random Tales from the Crypt sub-plot involving the Salem Witch trials just because there wasn’t enough going on already.

But sadly none of the other writers throughout the collection are able to master McKenzie’s over the top shtick, albeit not for lack of trying.  Michael Fleisher’s run is particularly terrible for attempting to go all but holding back in order to inject some social commentary.  Particularly bad is his issue dedicated to a cult of Death worshipers (revealed to be a pyramid scheme), that show their devotion through the time honored tradition of motorcycle jousting with flamethrowers.

So that makes 7 great issues out of 30, not a great ratio, but almost worth it.  And on a totally random note, the artists in the book can never decide whether or not Ghost Rider should be drawn with eyeballs, but whenever he is it looks ridiculous.

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