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Ghost Rider

Ghost Rider Retro Collection
by yo go re

Oh, now this is something!

Wielding supernatural abilities and weapons from the back of his flaming motorcycle, Ghost Rider roams the mortal world as the Spirit of Vengeance.

So this is the newest part of the Marvel Legends Retro Collection, this time based on the Ghost Rider line from 1995. Which, okay, cool, fine. Not that we needed more Ghost Riders, by any stretch of the imagination, but this one does offer some new things that we'll get into later in the review. Thing is, when I opened this and started playing with it, my first thought was that, since the Ghost Rider who headlined the mid-90s line was not goofy-ass Johnny Blaze the stuntman, but instead Danny "Remember, I Exist" Ketch, that fans of the good Ghost Rider were finally getting some love in toy form. But then I did research (like we always do for these things) and found that the vintage line actually had a "the Original Ghost Rider" toy in Series 2 that was revealed, by the bio on the back, to be Blaze, so that's probably what this is referencing. Poop!

Surpring absolutely no one, this figure uses the same mold we've seen on Star-Lord and the AIM Scientists... and the two previous GR figures. As we've surely mentioned before, when Johnny Blaze was the Ghost Rider, he dressed like a stunt man: you know, blue spandex with a popped collar; it was Danny Ketch who first had the black leather jacket and spikes that are now indellibly linked with the character, which is why there was a chance this would finally be him. But that's such a smarter design, it was retroactively applied to Johnny when he started "flaming on" again, and the big rectangle on the chest is a Johnny design. So we will continue to wait.

The ToyBiz Ghost Rider line used glow-in-the-dark plastic for its Riders' skulls, but sadly, Hasbro had not opted to do the same. Or wait, have they? *walks away from the review to find a perfectly dark room* No, they have not. And this skull isn't even as detailed as the "Ultimate Riders" one, because they painted it solid white to simulate the old toys. Well, bone white: his teeth are actual white, so we're doing better than the Spider-Man Legends Series 2 figure. And hey, for the first time, they've actally painted the vertebrae in his neck, something we've talked about in the other two reviews! Probably because you're more likely to see them this time.

Since this figure is basically just a rehash of one we've had twice before, Hasbro needed to come up with some gimmick to help it sell. Since apparently GitD plastic was out of the question (for some reason), they took a different tack: an alternate Johnny Blaze head! No, it's not the plain human one we asked for in a different review, because the fiery neck is still permanently attached into the figure; it is, instead, a mid-transformation version, sculpted with a look of anger or pain, bright orange eyes, and flame erupting from his scalp. It's not as violent or horrifying as the variant ToyBiz made (possibly because we might see it again some day as Johnny Storm), but it does help make this Ghost Rider unique.

Furthering thst, we also get new alternate hands, which have removed his gloves to reveal more bone and flames. Add to that the regular ML energy swirls, and you've got a very flamey Ghost Rider! Since the gimmick on the 1996 ToyBiz "Original Ghost Rider" was that he was covered in flames, this really helps cement the idea that that's what this toy is homaging. (For what it's worth, this figure also has grey pants instead of black, which is another feature lifted from Danny Ketch, but was also true on that old toy.)

Ghost Rider still has his chain wrapped around his chest (assembled over her the left shoulder this time instead of the right), and the flaming chain accessory introduced with the deluxe figure. They even made sure the new bony right hand was still shaped to hold something, so he can use the whip in that mode if you want. And naturally, all the existing articulation is intact, so "Retro" Ghost Rider moves just like "Ultimate" Ghost Rider and "Plain" Ghost Rider.

We remain stuck in a place where the only Danny Ketch figure Hasbro has made is this dumb look no one remembers. If he and his bike are too expensive or large for stores to carry, then do that as your HasLab offering, not an overly-expensive Dodge Charger with unnecessary lights and sounds. The Legendary Riders GR cost $40 when it came out, and a lot of stores seem to be trying to get $45 for this newer one, but don't fall for that: MSRP is $28, which is still too high for what you get, but not ridiculous. Hasbro really strove to make this Retro Collection toy something new, and he does stand out, though I'm 100% certain we have enough Johnnies Blaze to hold us for a while. At least since they're all the same body, you can mix and match to make your best one? You know, lend the new transformation bodyparts to the one on the bike, and just keep this one as a Danny stand-in until we hopefully get him for real.

-- 12/26/22

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