While hanging out in a cemetery, Danny Ketch along with his sister Barbara stumbles on a transaction between two gangs concerning a briefcase. Chaos ensues and Barbara is hit in the chest with an arrow, which leaves her severely wounded. Running for his life with Barbara in his hands bleeding profusely, Danny comes upon a motorcycle with a glowing emblem. Once he touches it, Danny is transformed into the Spirit of vengeance Ghost Rider.
After failing to capture the crafty Zodiak during their last encounter. Ghost Rider is even more hellbent on putting an end to the murderer's killing spree, but he has to find him again, which is not an easy task. Also, to make matters worst, Ghost Rider's alter-ego Danny Ketch is being plagued during his sleep, by the supernatural being Nightmare, who has appeared to remind Ghost Rider about his checkered past. And if that isn't complicated enough; an old face returns seeking to bury his past literally, the drugs on the streets are getting worst, and Black Out returns for vengeance.-summary
This second trade paper back collects Ghost Rider issues #11 - #20 and Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme #28. The stories are written by Howard Mackie with artwork by Mark Texeira and several others. The latter story is a necessary crossover that partially delves into the origin of Zodiak and his purpose. As a non fan of Dr. Strange, I have to admit that I found the story enjoyable. In addition, the Dr. Strange story also built up my hopes. Since this crossover story was added, I now believe that Marvel is going to add the X-Men crossover, when Ghost Rider teams up with them to battle against the Brood. If my memory hasn't betrayed me, the stories took place in issues #26 and #27, along with X-Men #9 and they were some awesome stories. I'll still keep my fingers crossed though.
The main focus of this book is Ghost Rider's pursuit of Zodiak. There are a few confrontations between the two, and I think the stories do a good job developing the killer. The story picks up a great deal when the former Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, appears with intentions on killing the current one. The book contains non stop action and guest stars. However, the story development happens to be the strongest, because there's quite a bit of background delivered on Ghost Rider. As well as a vast amount of character development, which takes place with both Ghost Rider and Dan. The reader soon learns that the two are indeed separate beings with their own feelings, and they're both trying to make sense of their purposes.
There was never a dull moment for me the entire time. Although there were a couple of new villains, it was an old one from the pages of Spider-Man that gripped me a little bit more. Hobgoblin makes an appearance to do battle with both Ghost Rider and Spider-Man. Now, for those who may not know, this is not the same Hobgoblin, as the character went through an unexpected, yet very interesting change. This is during the time he was in his demonic form and was heavily influenced by religion, thus, becoming a blood thirsty zealot attempting to cleanse the world of sinners. Bringing him to the pages of Ghost Rider in this form seemed like a perfect fit for me. His sinister drive was far more fitting for the supernatural and very dark setting taking place with Ghost Rider. During this confrontation, he didn't feel like a Spider-Man villain at all anymore.
The artwork has its moments were it can be pretty dull. The Doctor Strange story boasts the worst artwork for me. Other times, it can be outstanding and the style fits perfectly with the dark, gritty, and gloomy setting. The character designs are very good and the action panels are still awesome. The gore isn't very high but it didn't really need to be. The only problem that I can think of would be a small amount of the dialogue bubbles. At times, it was difficult to tell which one was next because of the formatting. But this is a small gripe though.
Overall, I found this second book to be a little better than the previous volume because it contains less filler. Now although this volume does have a little, it's good filler that kept me entertained. One chapter even examined one person's grief, and the things that person would go through to bring back their loved one. This was a very good volume and I think the next few issues later in the series were good also. I finished this entire book in one sitting and I can hardly wait for the next volume. Highly recommended to fans of the character, and other dark characters such as Wolverine, Batman, and Punisher. The book is 264 pages.
Pros: -Dark -Better than the first volume -Good guest appearances
Cons: -Artwork lacking sometimes -One uninteresting new character
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