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Ghost Rider

Marvel Legends
by yo go re

Last week's Iron Man review was kind of a boring way to jump back into Marvel Legends: after all, we've had plenty of 6" Iron Man toys since ML went away. This time we've got something much cooler.

Fear the coming of the Ghost Rider, fiery spirit of vengeance!

So, let's get right to it, your #1 question: "why is Ghost Rider blue?" Like any long-running comic character, GR has a long, complex, stupid history that makes little sense when presented as a whole, but here goes: Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch are not the only Ghost Riders - there are actually hundreds of them around the world, fueled by fragments of God's own power and overseen by an angel named Zadkiel. At one point Danny was freed from being a Rider, but found he missed it. An agent of Zadkiel came to him and told him how being merged with a Spirit of Vengeance could destory a human's soul, so he agreed to work for Zadkiel, absorbing the spirits in order to save their hosts. Ketch was re-empowered as a knight of Zadkiel, and is given a new appearance in the process. Got it?

That actually does a decent job of explaining his change of costume - he's no longer a simple footsoldier or mercenary, he's now got a titled rank within the hierarchy, so it would make sense that he'd have to stop dressing however he wanted and put on the uniform of his position. Like Henry David Thoreau said, "beware of all enterprises that require new clothes." He's wearing a jacket with a high collar and long tails, which is a very Victorian sort of fashion. His belt is a thick metal band with a disc in the center and two chains hanging loosely over the hips, and on his chest is a harness that runs up to his large curved shoulderpads. The pads appear to be two layers of scarred, pitted metal, are adorned with three spikes, and have jets of flame shooting from ports on the top. He has matching metal bracers and greaves, each with their own small spikes. The ensemble is completed with two spikes on top of each foot.

The articulation is up to modern standards - which makes sense, since the body is only a few years old. Yes, hard as it may be to believe, this figure is based on a reused sculpt. You'd never be able to tell it just by looking at the surface, since all those clothes we described up above are new, unique pieces, but when you look underneath, you can recognize the distinctive armor of Ronin. Now this is how you reuse a sculpt! We once said that if all repaints were this good, nobody would complain about them, and it's worth repeating now. Anyway, Ghost Rider has a balljointed head, swivel/hinge shoulders, swivel biceps, double-hinged elbows, swivel/hinge wrists, hinged torso, swivel waist, swivel/hinge hips, double-hinged knees and swivel/hinge ankles.

The paint is great, as well. He's mostly black, with grey and silver for the armor. The flames are translucent plastic, either molded blue at the tips of the flame or painted with a clear coat of blue to create the look. There's a solid blue wash on the skull, to make it look like it belongs with the rest of the head, and blue airbrushing on the chest and neck to bring the whole thing together. It all looks very nice, and suits the character. Additionally, there's a variant Ghost Rider available: he's got orange flames instead of blue. A lot of people seem interested in the orange one, because he looks more like the traditional GR, but the blue is A) truer to the comic and 2) helps set him apart from the crowd. And if you ask us, it just looks more stylish.

Ghost Rider comes with no accessories, save for his pieces of the ML1 BAF, Terrax. He gets the arms - yes, both arms. Not just one. It's like everything about these figures is calculated to show Mattel how things are done. The arms are stony grey, with vibrant red gloves. No sculpted edges on those gloves, but the paint contrast is strong.

This release really shows you how far the industry has come. In days of yore, you'd pay $8 or $9, and get a Ghost Rider with a bike (and a comicbook!) - today you pay $15 (and up) and get no bike. Such are the harsh realities of our hobby. Danny did spend quite a bit of time off his bike when he looked like this, so at least that's something. Yeah, we wish he had a bike to ride, but we also don't want to have to pay $30 for it, either. This is a really cool figure, despite the fact that he's more of a Ghost Walker than a Ghost Rider. And besides, I can think of a bike he'll look pretty good on.

-- 03/12/12


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