THE RIDE celebrates its 15th anniversary with a five-part story from the award-winning team of PLASTIC, Doug Wagner and Daniel Hillyard, plus a special backup feature from ADAM HUGHES!
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A Fitting Return
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Celebrating the 15th anniversary of the comic, THE RIDE, original writer/legend Doug Wagner returns with an all-new miniseries: THE RIDE: BURNING DESIRE #1. Filled with some spectacular artwork by Daniel Hillyard, this book looks like an early contender for one of the best comics of 2019. Buckle up, because it’s going to be a bumpy ride filled with violence, unicorn onesies, nostalgia, and a whole lot more.


THE RIDE follows the story of Samantha Vega, a disgraced ex-Atlanta PD detective who did a 15-year sentence for murder. Now, newly released from jail, she is making a living as a bouncer in a strip bar. As old habits die hard, she finds herself getting into an old fashion battle of fisticuffs with a couple of drunken idiots who are disrespecting one of the dancers. The cops show up minutes later and she ends up downtown in an interrogation room with an old police captain with a chip on his shoulder. This basically sets the rest of the story in motion and builds what looks to be a great new arc for Samantha Vega.

Image Courtesy of Image Comics

The Greatness of The Ride

First and foremost, Wagner has always been a brilliant storyteller/writer and this newest entry into the series legacy does not disappoint. THE RIDE: BURNING DESIRE #1 is a fantastic piece of comic literature that not only does an immensely good job at picking up where Samantha Vega’s life left off but brings her front and center with some of the major issues that still plague the world today. The book tackles topics like the criminal justice system, police brutality, and how chauvinistic men can be. It’s a story with a worldwide view that involves a lot of normalcy making it very relatable to audiences. The coolest thing about this series is that the creative team can literally take the character Vega in any direction given she’s starting her life over from scratch.

The story works on so many levels simply because bad things often happen to good people. It’s sort of a weird balance that life often provides. If you have some free time on your hands, I’d highly recommend reading THE RIDE: WHEELS OF CHANGE, parts 1 and 2. This gives you a better perspective on Vega’s past. However, reading the previous parts are not entirely necessary to understand THE RIDE: BURNING DESIRE.

The Journey

In case you’re not up to speed with this incredible series, THE RIDE first rolled into comic shops back in 2004. It was under the legendary 12 Gauge Comics umbrella which later went on to Image Comics. THE RIDE has numerous stories that include some of the biggest names in the comic industry including Cully Hamner, Brian Stelfreeze, and Laura Martin. Each story centered on a 68 Camaro that somehow made it into the storied lives of a lot of uniquely distinctive characters in THE RIDE Universe.

Image Courtesy of Image Comics

 Samantha Vega

Fifteen years have passed and Vega is now out of prison. When we last saw the character so many years ago she was an innocent detective afraid to kill a man. Her old life took a turn for the worse when she burned a man alive for killing her brother. The new miniseries looks to give her character a second chance. It looks to continue the conversation of what’s next for a person who has lost it all. Additionally, we look at the consequences of how she deals with her problems. Ever since she was a child all she ever wanted to be was an Atlanta PD detective. But, that dream has come and gone.

It’ll be interesting to see the transition of how Vega moves forward with her life. We get to spend a quick paced amount of time with the character in this issue. You sense early on that she’s a take-no-crap type of person. The two characters that helped her grow as a character are dead. So, it’ll be interesting to see how her evolution continues in the series.

The Art of The Ride

The pencil work in the book is good, really good. I especially enjoyed Hillyards look for Vega. She looks like a cross between The Fonze from HAPPY DAYS and Veronica from ARCHIE. The art designs from the strip bar to the police precinct are pretty tight. Hillyard must have spent time in a strip club or police headquarters to make the scenes so accurate.

Image Courtesy of Image Comics

The colors used in the book are a nice touch. Laura Martin and Adam Hughes are truly doing the lords work with their color usage. They use some terrific fluorescent tones to capture the dance club which was one of my favorite. The panels almost make you feel like you’re in the club yourself. They also do a fantastic job making the colors identify with what’s going on throughout the story which is pretty cool.


Overall, THE RIDE: BURNING DESIRE #1 is an excellent way to reintroduce us into the story and character. It’s got the right combination of spunk, humor, and action that will leave you wanting more. Wagner’s solid storytelling and incredible dialogue ensure that you’ll continue to read it. If that doesn’t draw you in, then the strong pencil work by Daniel Hillyard is sure to catch your attention. Make sure to grab your digital copy or stop at your local comic shop today!

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