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Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #4

Posted: Tuesday, January 27, 2009
By: Paul Brian McCoy

Simon Spurrier
Javier Saltares (p), Tom Palmer (i)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #4 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 28.

"Addict, part four: The Jones"

Well, we're four months into this mini-series, with only one more to go, and it's still not gelling. This issue is mostly action as Danny keeps getting hits of power and hunting giant rats. This is apparently going on over a number of nights, but we don't get any real sense of how much time is passing. There's also a confrontation with his friend, Mary Lebow, the Techno-Mage, that, predictably, adds nothing to the story. She wants him to stop, tells him that Mister Eleven is dangerous, and then their breakfast is interrupted. Will these kids never get a complete meal?

Then we have the return of a character far more interesting than Danny, but she's only back so that she can die more effectively than being stabbed in the back by Albinus, the big, white rat-barbarian. Speaking of big rats, Verminous Rex (I feel embarrassed just typing that, as if Albinus wasn't bad enough - I know, I know, that's not on Spurrier, as the character's a '90s villain) is back, but he's no longer the top-hatted dandy in last issue's flashback. Now he's a giant monster rat-thing, which is at least a better visual.

Should there be a spoiler alert on that? Too bad. It's not a surprise. Nothing in this book is a surprise. Nothing is really engaging, either. There are a few good moments, particularly as Danny gets cranked up on juice, but beyond that, there's really nothing to this book. At least now Spurrier is actually using drug terminology after the toothless, boozing start of the series. But even now it has the feel of an addiction story written by a teetotaler.

Saltares' art is serviceable, and if you have that nostalgic connection to his work on the '90s Ghost Rider comics, that's probably good enough. His full-page splashes are dramatic and impressive, but the rest of the book is just boring, even when there are lots of rats getting busted up.

What I was hoping would be Spurrier's big break is turning out to be a case where I may have begun singing his praises too soon. He's done very good one-shots, and Silver Surfer: In Thy Name was pretty good, but this lacks any kind of edge. It's a story that may as well have been farmed out to anyone. I was really expecting something better.







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