Monday, July 14, 2008

Ghost Rider: The Road To Damnation


I've read pretty much everything I can get my hands on by Garth Ennis. He's one of my favourite writers, and he's very talented. That doesn't mean he's perfect, though, by any means. Case in point, the first six issues of the
Ghost Rider ongoing, titled The Road To Damnation.

Ghost Rider has been stuck in hell for two years with no way to escape, but two scheming angels devise a way for him to help them catch a demon on the loose on Earth, a demon who threatens to expose the secrets the angels are keeping. Hell sends Hoss a fat Southern demon on the trail of this demon and Heaven sends Ruth, a ruthless (ugh) archangel who will stop at nothing. It's a race against the supernatural to who will get this demon.

So, uh, yeah this wasn't very good. The plot seems sort of reminiscent doesn't it? Yeah, it sounds like the beginning set up of Ennis' classic
Preacher. Except this series has terrible art. Terrible.

This mini-series was terrible. If I hadn't read
Preacher, I might have enjoyed the story, considering that there's quite a few twists and turns in the mostly creaky plot. But since I have read Preacher (a bunch of times), I was more distracted by comparisons. Ghost Rider is no Jesse Custer. In fact, Ghost Rider is nobody. He's not given any character development in the slightest. He could have been anybody. He doesn't have his own voice, or his own anything, for that matter. Hoss, the Southern demon in the form of a fat man, has more character development than anybody in the entire series, and he's the comic relief. Yikes.

And the art is terrible. Absolutely terrible. Did I mention that already? Clayton Crain, who's not very prolific apparently, has the muddiest murkiest art I've ever seen. You can hardly make out anything. It doesn't help that his anatomy for humans is way off and his perspectives are wonky. It also doesn't help his style that he relies on a buttload of computer graphics as opposed to pencils. On top of that, the computer stuff is very poorly integrated into the actual pencils, making things look more fake. Jesus.

I don't think I've ever hated a Garth Ennis comic more than this, and I love the guy. It is going to be a chore to read the prequel,
Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears, but a reviewer's job is important and I can't let myself or my readers down.

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