MARVEL COMICS PRESENTS # 99
The crowd then turns on the Ghost Rider hurtling bricks and other things at him. The D'Sprytes know that the Rider will not harm an innocent, and plan on using the pedestrians to kill him. The ground then begins to rumble, and the Rider's bike busts from the hole it had made in the pavement after the fall. Riding around him in a circle, the bike is used to create a shield from the mob, allowing the Ghost Rider to form a plan. Spinning his chain, he releases it as a hail of razored metal links, each one hitting a D'Spryte before reforming as the chain in his hand. With each D'Spryte dead, the crowd comes to their senses, unable to recall what had happened. Knowing he is no longer needed, the Ghost Rider rides into an alley and transforms back into Dan. Before he rides home, he sees Jack Weaver sitting back on the sidewalk. He asks Jack if he'd like someone to talk to, to which Weaver replies "yeah...that'd be nice".
Faced with an army of D'Sprytes, the Ghost Rider finds himself in a moral quandry: to defeat the supernatural creatures, he must first fight through the humans they've enthralled. While the Ghost Rider's solution isn't all that spectacular, the fight between him and the D'Sprytes isn't the true conflict of the story. Instead, through the character of Jack Weaver, we're given a look at how the homeless are viewed through often judgemental and harsh eyes of the common man. And, to Slott's credit, he manages to invoke sympathy for the downtrodden Jack as he's ridiculed for seeing the creatures that are manipulating the crowd.
In reality, despite his triumph in this issue, there really is no way the Ghost Rider could ever truly win against the D'Sprytes. The little demons are correct, human minds ARE weak, and because of this the D'Sprytes will always have their victory. Of course, this story plays up the concept that people are inherently good and intelligent, exemplified by Jack Weaver.
Palmiotti turns in another strong issue of artwork, but it's not quite as good as the previous issue. Parts of the story appear rushed, but it's still quite good.
This two-parter is a nice little side story for the Ghost Rider, and while it's certainly not as ground-breaking as other stories it still succeeds on two fronts. It entertains, and at the same time makes one think about the easy manipulation of humankind by hate and despair.
Marvel Comics Presents # 99
Title: "Fallen Spirits"