When it was announced at this year’s San Diego Comic Con that fan favorite Marvel character Ghost Rider would be appearing in Season 4 of Agents of SHIELD, a contingent of fans collectively yelled, “YES!……….wait………who the hell is Robbie Reyes?” Here is everything you need to know on the newest addition to the MCU.
***POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR AGENTS OF SHIELD SEASON 4 & MARVEL COMICS***
When most Marvel comics fans hear the name “Ghost Rider”, their minds immediately run to Johnny Blaze, the Spirit of Vengeance, a flaming skull & a motorcycle, and the God-awful Nicolas Cage movies inspired by said character. But when Marvel comics launched the Marvel NOW! initiative in 2012, a new face was added to the Ghost Rider ranks in All-New Ghost Rider.
Roberto Reyes was a loving older brother taking care of his younger brother Gabe. He was a part-time mechanic, but wanted to get his sibling out of the gang corrupted neighborhood in which they lived, so he also partook in illegal street racing for money. Entering a race that could’ve won him fifty thousand dollars, he drove a ’69 Dodge Charger that unbeknownst to him, had drugs in the trunk. During the race, Robbie pulled over for fear that the car that had been tailing him was the police. With his hands on his head, the drug cartel members that were actually following him opened fire, killing Reyes and taking the drugs from the car. End of story.
No, of course it’s not the end of the story, this is a comic book, and NOBODY stays dead in a comic book! (except Uncle Ben. RIP Uncle Ben). Naturally, the Charger Reyes had been driving was possessed by a ghost, which quickly bonds with Reyes body, turning him into the newest iteration of the popular vigilante Ghost Rider. The ghost vows to track down the cartel that killed Reyes and exact vengeance.
It isn’t long after that, Robbie finds out that the ghost that possessed his “Hell Charger” was not a spirit of vengeance, but the ghost of dead serial killer Eli Morrow. Following a struggle for Robbie’s body & soul, Robbie and the ghost make a deal to ride as the new Ghost Rider, but only kill those who deserve it.
Now, many will wonder why the first Ghost Rider to be brought into the Marvel Cinematic Universe is not the well known Johnny Blaze, but that of a relative newcomer. The answer to this more than likely comes in a variety of different forms. The Robbie Reyes version is a mask wearing, car driving vigilante, but his character may fit in better with the world Agents of SHIELD creators Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen are building. His look and powers might also fit better with the TV special effects budget that the show has going for them. A Dodge Charger with wheels on fire might cost significantly less than a completely CGI character with a flaming head riding a motorcycle. And for as far reaching as Agents of SHIELD is with references to the larger MCU & the introduction of the Inhumans, the Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider seems slightly smaller scale than the Johnny Blaze version of the character, which would seem right at home with the “big hitters” such as Cap, Iron Man & Thor on the big screen.
Also, the movies, Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, were not critically well received films. It is possible that Marvel is trying to distance itself from the Nicolas Cage version of the character, and are looking at the Robbie Reyes version as a “reboot” of sorts. People questioned why the world was getting the Scott Lang version of Ant-Man instead of the more universally known Hank Pym embodiment, yet Ant-Man was still a certifiable box office hit and Paul Rudd’s superhero is now one of the most well loved characters in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Marvel We Trust, right?
This author has high hopes for Gabriel Luna’s turn as the Ghost Rider, and is optimistic that the character will be done justice by the relative newcomer, as well as by the writers and creators.
Agents of SHIELD season 4 returns Tuesday, September 20th on ABC.
What do you think of the Ghostrider joining Agents of SHIELD? Leave Lou a comment below.
Lou Mattiuzzo is a full time husband, full time father, full time teacher and a full time superhero lover & comic book nerd.