Ghost Rider #8-9 (1990-1991)

Love how this story opens.

Danny Ketch is struggling with his inner demon, still resisting the curse, but over the course of this issue he starts to accept this role a bit.

We also meet the HEART team for the first time—a group of female vigilantes out to protect poor neighborhoods from crime, but who also want to hunt down Ghost Rider because the demon Blackout keeps following him around and killing people, making it look like Ghost Rider is doing it.

During his first battle with HEART, The Morlocks rescue him by bringing him to their underground lair in the cemetery—so this Morlock band doesn’t live in the NYC sewer, but does continue to live in tunnels.

X-Factor has learned that these Morlocks have been kidnapping people (they’re doing it to protect them from Masque, who keeps targeting humans to make them ugly, but X-Factor doesn’t know that yet), so we get a mutants-and-Ghost-Rider story.

Blackout keeps stalking and fighting Ghost Rider.  HEART attacks both Ghost Rider and X-Factor.  X-Factor and Ghost Rider fight the Morlocks until they learn the truth, and then they take on Masque.  In the end, though, Masque just runs away and X-Factor doesn’t pursue him, and then the team leaves Ghost Rider’s book.

This is the first of the new Ghost Rider issues that wasn’t really, really good.   It feels like a forced guest appearance by X-Factor to boost sales.  Howard Mackie is doing a good job rebooting a character who never really got a great story written about him—Marvel editorial should leave Mackie alone and let him do his job.

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