Spirit of Vengeance (Ages 4 and Up)

In conjunction with the launch of the "Month of Midnight Son-Days," I thought it would be fun to take a look at my Danny Ketch era Ghost Rider action figure. 

Toy Biz had very successful lines based on the X-Men and Spider-Man (and their respective animated series), and by 1995 were looking to expand into other popular titles. At first glance, Ghost Rider -- a book about demonic skeleton on a hell-powered motorcycle who exists for the sole purpose of extracting brutal vengeance -- doesn't seem like an obvious choice for a kids toy. 

But then again, this was the 90's, not only the birth of comic speculators but also the "adult collector" market for kid's stuff. Toy Biz would eventually move on to hyper detailed highly articulated book shelf statues marketed directly at (sort-of) grown ups, but at this point they were kind of straddling the line -- picking a more "mature" character but giving it the full toy treatment. 

GR is about 5 1/2 inches tall and has 11 points of articulation, including multi-directional movement at his hips (so he can straddle his bike), and swivel joints at his wrists (for the handle bars). He also has an action feature where you can wind up his right arm at the shoulder, then release it by pressing a button on his back so he can flail around the chain whip accessory he came with (mine is unfortunately missing). If that's not enough, his skull also GLOWS IN THE DARK!

His bike is set on wide yellow wheels surrounded by glow in the dark flames. The wheels roll well, so you can race him across the kitchen floor in pursuit of vengeance, but they are also wide enough to support the bike easily for display. The bike has its own action features -- a sort of battering ram effect with the front of the bike and disc launching thing, but its real appeal is simply being itself -- Ghost Rider really needs a motor cycle to be complete, and this one fits the bill really well. Its very on-model for the comics with the small exception of the small glow in the dark flaming skull that's stuck on the sides.

Toy Biz's early Marvel figures definitely show the learning curve the company went through, but by the time they were making the Ghost Rider line, they'd gotten to be pretty proficient in sculpting and manufacturing. Unfortunately, development meant that they're scales were all over the place.

However, it kind of works in GR's favor when he's compared to other characters. He's pretty imposing next to his Hearts of Darkness pals.

 He's a little more out of whack with most other figure scales unfortunately. On the bright side, he's very pose-able, but not so much so that he's made unstable.

"But what about due process, Ghost Rider? Don't you believe that all Americans deserve equal protection under the law?"

Its a really pretty great figure -- very detailed, on-model representation of the character with a lot of play-ability. Not as common as some of the other 90's Marvel toys, but not so rare these days that it would cost you an arm and a leg when you found one.