Comic Book Throwback Review – Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76 (Marvel Comics)

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Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76

Script: J.M. DeMatteis
Plot: Don Perlin
Guest Pencils: Don Perlin
Inker: Dave Simmons
Colorist: Bob Sharen
Letterer: Dian Albers
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Maturity Rating: Everyone

Johnny Blaze finally gets his wish and is separated from the Ghost Rider but, once in Hell, Mephisto has some other tricks up his sleeves.


Wild for the Night: Ghost Rider

So, guys, it’s wild out there (especially for people like me that work in healthcare). But COVID-19 is affecting us all in different ways. Most of you probably know, if you are reading this, that we are not getting any new comic books until who-knows-when. So, that means here at Word of Nerd, no review copies and obviously, I can’t go out to my local shop and pick up any new books. Well, I am not going to let that stop me from delivering what y’all want: fun comic book reviews! Luckily, I have a wealth of back issues that I have been wanting to do some type of review with, so this is the perfect time to try it out! The format may be a little different than my other reviews, but we are going to try to have some fun, so let’s get going with some Ghost Rider!

Ghost Rider, Motorcycle Hero

Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76 (Marvel Comics) cover by Bob Budiansky
Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76 (Marvel Comics) cover by Bob Budiansky

Look, I am a big “bronze age” (1970-1984) Ghost Rider fan! These books are absolute bonkers! This is the “OG” Ghost Rider series. Johnny Blaze and all of his stunt-cycle majesty. Now, if you have never read some bronze age Ghost Rider you are in for a treat! The writers make the Ghost Rider talk like a snarky, old English demon, which is just delightfully fantastic! He yells out some of the goofiest things as he blasts away with his hellfire. Blaze also works for the circus for a while in this run, which I guess makes sense if you are working as a stunt cyclist. So basically we are looking at a stunt-cyclist carny, who also turns into a flame-headed demon. With a bit of a depression problem.

It is just all sorts of fun and I always love digging through bins to find something that was missing from my collection. So we are going to start the inaugural Comic Book Throwback Review with Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76. J.M. DeMatteis scripts, Don Perlin plots/guest pencils, Dave Simmons inks this wild story with Dian Albers on letters and Bob Sharen on colors. 

Also, Ghost Rider has his own song, just FYI.

The Hell Song

Now, Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76 delivers exactly what the cover says. Johnny Blaze separated from the Ghost Rider in Hell. This cover is all sorts of awesome, with Blaze and Zarathos battling on a ledge in Hell over a boiling pool of water with hands coming out. The imagery is fantastic, with Mephisto standing with his hands raised.

It seems another one of Mephisto’s demons wants to control the Ghost Rider, making a deal with Mephisto. You would think he would know better. But anyways, Mephisto is like “yeah, I’m bored, let’s do this”. That is it, too; Mephisto is bored and wants to goof around, basically. So Blaze gets brought to Hell, separated from the Ghost Rider by the aptly-named “Sword of Demonicus”.  

That is where Mephisto lays out his plan. Zarathos and Blaze just simply have to team up and drive through hell on their bikes. They make it out, they both get what they want: separation from each other. Simple as pie. Well, except all those tricky demons and minions of the underworld trying to stop them.

Drag Me to Hell

I love the imagery in Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76 they play up Mephisto as the “devil” so well. He has the delightful dark red textured color to him. Mixed with the dark black inks, he really just jumps off every page he is on. It is something about the way the pencils, inks, and colors work with the old newsprint of these comics that just works so well. 

As the two race across Hell, we are treated to a variety of inner workings in the underworld, from crafty demons to seas of undead souls. The full flaming skeleton body of Zarathos delivers some macabre imagery throughout the issue. 

Blaze also has this wild look in his eyes for much of the issue. As much as I would like to forget those Nicolas Cage Ghost Rider movies exist, this issue, in particular, he has those wild Nic Cage eyes that just let you see inside the madness. Well, I guess maybe this is where Nicolas Cage got that from? He has got those crazy eyes and, as goofy as it looks, it does convey the madness of what is going on.

Like, Blaze lives a wild life. Being a stunt cyclist in the circus, he has naturally seen some stuff. Turning into a flame-headed demon as well, Johnny Blaze has lived quite a life. He has fought all other sorts of Marvel Universe’s heroes and villains. But this ride through Hell has caught him off guard. The art does a great job of conveying that.

Find It

Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #76 is worth some back-issue-diving for. From just the madness of the scenario to my all-time favorite scene in a comic book—Zarathos smack-talking another demon yelling “taste my hellfire idiot!”—just that image alone is worth the price of the book. Sadly, this issue is not yet available on Marvel Unlimited, but I urge you to check out any Vol. 2 of Ghost Rider they have!

It is all just over-the-top wackiness that I love. From the narration boxes describing Hell and Mephisto’s doings, to Johnny Blazes circus friends being like “he is acting weird again”, this is just another terrific issue in this series. I give it four and a half flaming skulls out of 5.

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