Over the weekend I read Ghost Rider #33. Wow. Just Wow. Jason Aaron has now officially joined that fraternity of upstart creators who I think should just be handed the reins of Marvel Universe to do with as they please.
Imagine Jason Aaron, Jeff Parker, Paul Tobin, Matt Fraction and Fred Van Lente in control of everything - - the mind boggles. It would be goodbye to the dour, stiff-upper lipped seriousness of the reign of Brian Michael Bendis and hello to the wacky, fun, plain cuckoo-bananas era of the crazy gang! Don't get me wrong I do enjoy Bendis stuff at Marvel but these guys would turn the MU on it's ear and fill it full of crazy fun, laugh-out-loud gags and that good old fashioned comic book goofiness we all know and love.
So what's so good about Ghost Rider #33 then? Well ironically this issue is what most other series would consider a 'filler' story. The lead character does not appear, the story is instead about a supporting character, Caretaker's daughter Sara. Also there's not a lot of action involving Sara, instead the issue is focused on her struggling to make the decision whether or not to follow in her father's footsteps.
In Aaron's hands however this 'filler' is weaved into pure gold with little vingettes that show us the many different Ghost Rider's there have been down through the years.
Yeah, I know it doesn't sound all that great but trust me - it is. These guys are equal parts awesome and hilarious. I was hard pressed to pick which ones to post here because they're all so great. I'd buy a mini-series based on any one of these guys:Like Big Chief Blazing Skull here. He sticks it to toothless yankee baby scalpers with his hellfire bow and arrow and his bad-western-style indian war-cry - and how! And how! How! Get it?
...how about this guy:That's right folks no morally reprehensible Prohibition era gentleman's club was safe from the firey righteous wrath of Undead G-Man and his side-car riding sidekick Knuckles O'Shaugnessy. Those guys brought the thunder to crime-commiting mooks everywhere with the most sophisticated weapons in the afterlife's arsenal: a hellfire Tommy Gun and a baseball bat with nails in it.
Those guys are great and all, but are they better than:Smokey and the Hellfire Bandit? Not only is this a Ghost Rider who drives 18 Wheels of Justice but it's a chance to bust out all that old CB radio jargon we haven't seen in comics since the disappearance of CB-radio enthusiast and sometime Spider-man foe Razorback. And the fiddle playing devil on the side of the Devil's Rig? That's some funny shit. I can't remember the last time I read a comic with a good Charlie Daniels Band reference in it.
To appreciate the full glory of this page try reading it with the theme from the movie 'Convoy' playing in the background.
Still haven't had your fill? How about Penance Fist?He's a foul-mouthed, redneck Billy Joe Shaver fan, dressed in a cowboy shirt embroided with pentagrams, having a bar-room brawl with a bunch of zombies armed with nothing but his ten gallon hat and hellfire brass knucks. That good buddies is a big tall drink of awesome!
As I said, apart from these little 'Ghost Rider Hall of Fame' vignettes not at a lot happens to our heroine Sara in this issue, but what little does happen, like everything else in this freaking book, is awesome.
I mean everybody knows that for your horror comic to truly shine you really gotta shoehorn a convent full of dead nuns into your story somewhere.
Mr Aaron knows this, but he does us one better.
His convent full of dead nuns was no ordinary convent. This convent was populated by an order of badass, fighting nuns! An order of badass, fighting nuns who died locked in mortal combat with a supernaturally powered engine of destruction called the Deacon armed only with their trusty....nunchucks!!Nuns....with NUNchucks!! BWAH HAH HAH HAH! Funny funny funny.
I could go on and on and on about how fantastic Jason Aaron has been on this series (and this issue in particular) but frankly I'm a little tired out from all of this pure unadulterated awesomeness.
If M.O.D.O.K. had've shown up I may have just keeled over.
Til next time you crazy sumbitches.