Just as Jason Aaron did earlier with Wolverine, he never fails to get any certain character absolutely right. Whether it be the tone and feel of a particular comic book series he is writing or the characters a book is based on, he always nails down exactly what the character is in his head and goes ahead to put together new twists and other cool details into his stories to push it over the top. Ghost Rider is a horror book, or at least the best Ghost Rider books are always horror books with a supernatural slant to them, and Jason, as his blog posts suggests, knows that like it's on the back of his palm.
Just as Jason got Wolverine going in Manifest Destiny with a strong sense of mythos along with a fun, twisted take, he got Ghost rider going and, as it turns out in the final pages, going hard. It is a surprising and uncannily effective fit for Jason's style, as he conjures some of the most charming (and wickedly fun) characters out of thin air, without prior reference or foreshadowing. But it works terribly well here within the Ghost Rider monthly. In fact, didn't the early runs, featuring either Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch, feature the Ghost Rider in random bike races? Through these five issues, it is obvious Jason wants to bring back the excitement into the Ghost Rider book and what could be more exciting than a quest to find the angel who done him in right in the beginning, when Mephisto first made the ghastly deal that stripped Johnny of his life?
Yes, an angel, not a devil orchestrated the whole episode, and Johnny knows that in his guts, in his whole being, a fury so great even the flames in his skull can't contain it. The search for Zadkiel, the arch angel who wants to rule all of Heaven, begins with such a bang, even just the art for the flame trail of the Ghost Rider speaks volumes about the tone and mood of the book, a ass-kicking, name-taking rollicking good time, matched with crisp and terse dialogue. The Ghost Rider's quest starts with a mid-southern local kid with Zadkiel's cursed symbol tattooed onto his chest, and indeed he finds him in a hospital run by murderous (and yet unassuming on the outside) nurses submitted under the rule of Zadkiel himself. The Gothic aspect of the Ghost Rider is in full effect.
Almost in unison, the battles and physicality of the conflicts do follow down that Ghost Rider path as well, not withholding any of the conventional ways that Ghost Rider uses his powers in every single fight, a perfect example being a three panel sequence of him staring across an apparition-laden desert plain and unleashing a vicious salvo of Hellfire on the hungry spirits that happened upon the boy so crucial to Johnny's search. If anything, never expect anything more sophisticated than the portrayals of mere human instinct in a Ghost Rider book, much less here, where everyone seems hellbent on destroying the Ghost Rider and bringing their allegiances to Zadkiel to their graves. Even when Johnny ends up in solitary confinement later on in these five issues, his fellow inmates want a piece of him. The quality never wanes but grows stronger with every page, riding (pun intended) the raucous and destructive motif to the end.
This could very well be the most excitement-inducing first arc Comics has seen in a very long time, and for a horror-themed book, nothing brings in readers more than sheer, blood-filled energy...