Finally, Marvel and ABC let the cat out of the bag. Our first full look at the Robbie Reyes incarnation of Ghost Rider who will be playing a major role in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD. As a Ghost Rider fan, this author can say that they did a good job. As a Ghost Rider fan, this author can’t help but feel a bit disappointed they didn’t follow through completely with the original character design.
In the comics, I wasn’t at first thrilled with the idea of another person taking the Ghost Rider mantle from Johnny Blaze or Dan Ketch. I wanted either to reprise their roles in a new volume after the flat result of having a Nicaraguan woman named Alejandra take that mantle. But I was intrigued by the idea of this Ghost Rider riding a car resembling a 69 Dodge Charger. The story was engaging and relatable. It’s almost like Spider-Man with Robbie as a working teenager struggling through high school with the sad touch of caring for a paraplegic brother. For those who aren’t familiar with this incarnation, he’s been around since 2014 and was central to a Ghost Racers mini-series during Marvel’s Secret Wars comic event.
But back to the character design, he looks great overall, except for the flaming skull. When ABC was showing early promos, they showed a CGI blazing skull which I figured was just to tell everyone that AOS will be featuring a Ghost Rider. Never thought they’d actually use it over the original flaming mask/helmet worn by the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider in the comics. The flaming mask seemed cool which was meant to further differentiate this character from the other Ghost Riders. The mask/helmet is still a stylized skull which is great. Some have even pointed out that the mask looked like a take on the Hollow creatures in the popular anime Bleach.
The car also looks great, and it’s clear that ABC’s not pulling their punches on the effects. I was afraid they weren’t going to set fire to the car when they showed the early promos and set videos. One of those videos was the car driving off into the darkness with no flames and the other with Daisy, clinging onto the car’s roof while the car was moving. Between Ghost Rider and Daisy going goth, we’ll be seeing some real action this coming season.
SHIELD taking on Ghost Rider was already tackled in the comics in the Betrayals storyline of Ghost Rider volume 3. SHIELD went after the spirit of vengeance (Danny Ketch version) when he accidentally killed a police officer. They managed to take him down with special energy weapons and imprisoned him in a place not unlike the Raft (featured in Captain America: Civil War). Ghost Rider redeemed himself in the eyes of SHIELD and the Avengers by helping expose illegal prisoner experimentation in the prison and saving several lives.
Chloe Bennet who plays Daisy says that Ghost Rider is tied into the show’s new 10 pm slot as the show is going to be in a darker tone. It’s actually more worrisome since 10 pm is past most people’s bedtime. If Ghost Rider is going to be the vehicle for AOS to get back to prime time, hopefully, they give this character justice and successfully tie their own covert spy stories around the character. Hopefully, Kyle Maclachlan makes a comeback for added star power since Mr. Hyde is this Ghost Rider incarnation’s main antagonist in the comics. After all, Coulson proved TAHITI was not that magical a place. It would be interesting how Daisy would feel.
And speaking of magical, AOS will practically usher in the world of mysticism to the MCU before Doctor Strange, unless The Hand in Daredevil Season 2 didn’t do that already. Robbie Reyes will be played by Gabriel Luna who played various TV roles in shows like Wicked City and True Detective. We’ve seen Ghost Rider in two not-so-great movies. Let’s hope they don’t screw this one up. He has the potential to become a hot property for ABC.