So, stop me if you’ve heard this one before. You’re sitting in a diner, and a random guy shows up. He’s not looking so hot, and he hands you a piece of silver shortly before exploding in a ball of fire.
You walk outside in understanding confusion, and a couple of cops show up who don’t look quite right. It turns out they are straight-up demons. Thankfully, you are the Spirit of Vengeance, the Ghost Rider, so handle people like this all the time.
This is the setup to Spirits of Vengeance #1 by Victor Gischler and David Baldeon, the Marvel Legacy mini-series starring Ghost Rider, Blade, Satana, and the Son of Satan.
In a supernatural, demon-filled adventure like this, Marvel has the holding pattern of providing glib humor to cut the damnable implications of what is happening in the comics.
Admittedly, if you read Jason Aaron and Chris Bachalo’s Doctor Strange, you’d probably be under the impression that most characters in this sphere are either dead or powerless by this point due to the Empirikul. If you’re expecting a reference to anything like that here, you’ll be sorely disappointed.
It is a fun read, though. There are a few good one-liners, and Johnny Blaze and Damian Hellstrom are fun characters to read about.
Hellstrom himself has been somewhat reinvented once again. Here, he is a suit-wearing dapper devil as opposed to the shirtless and rebellious hell-raiser we most recently saw in comics such as Venom and Fearless. Of course, even that was a recreation of the original reluctant child of the Devil who operated almost exclusively as a hero and war a snazzy cape.
The plot is vague and intentionally elusive. There’s something about the silver. Damian isn’t sure what it is. He takes it to others in his circle who may be better informed. They’re vague about it too. Zero points for guessing this has something to do with Judas Iscariot. Though, I’m guessing this won’t turn into the Son of Satan/Phantom Stranger crossover of my dreams.
Action is light excluding the beginning and the ending, but both scenes are worth the wait. Flaming damnation and evisceration are in abundance in the beginning and ending, respectively. It’s all a bit bloodless to prevent a higher age rating, which is a bit disappointing in a comic about demons, devils, and vampire hunters.
Baldeon’s art work is a bit reminiscent of Humberto Ramos. Forms are very fluid and cartoon-esque. Ramos isn’t generally my cup of tea, but Baldeon doesn’t fill his comics with wiry figure in the same way, thankfully. He has more of a love of geometric shapes than Ramos has, which isn’t exactly a good thing.
However, the action scenes were done well, and the style isn’t unappealing. If you can get past some slightly blocky figures and odd facial expressions, you could get attached to this artist pretty easily.
The color work is very strong, with flashy scenes and good contrast of black with reds and oranges.
Spirits of Vengeance isn’t brilliant, but it is pretty damn fun. With good one-liners and great action, the heavy metal momentum overcomes the overly-vague plot. The artwork is solid and shines in the action sequences. This one delivers what it promises, and, if it looked appealing on the announcement, then you’ll enjoy it.
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