We learn of the extended story of the pieces of silver, given to Judas Iscariot in exchange for the life of Jesus Christ. More specifically, we are shown how Necrodamus got his hands on the 30 pieces.
Necrodamus needs all 30 pieces for the weapon he wishes to create, and he has sent his ally, Razan, to hunt it down. This leads her to the Spirits of Vengeance, as Daimon Helllstrom finally gets a bead onto what is going on.
I really wanted to like this series. I still want to like this series. I love Ghost Rider. Blade is awesome too. Satana has a special place in my heart thanks to her Thunderbolts days. Hellstrom is a cool character too, even if writers generally have very conflicting visions of who and what the Son of Satan is.
In fairness, this issue is far better than the previous installment. In fact, Spirits of Vengeance #3 isn’t strictly bad. However, it still has some glaring flaws.
The first and most glaring of these flaws is how it really does not want to be about its lead characters. This issue still manages to center around Necrodamus and Razan far more than it needs. We get very little interaction between the Spirits of Vengeance. What is there is a series of aimless one-liners that just aren’t very funny.
Even the explanation of the Judas Iscariot story is riddled with unearned smug editorializing, namely one about how cheaply Judas sold off Jesus. I’m not saying that a joke like that could never work, but it doesn’t get a laugh here.
That points towards this comic’s need to have its cake and eat it too. It wants to be this epic story about a looming war between Heaven and Hell. It wants to have all these occult and dark plot lines. However, it doesn’t want to take any of it seriously while not letting itself lean into full-on satire. I may not like Deadpool, and I’m not saying I’d rather be reading Deadpool. However, it at least knows what it wants to be.
This battery against the book aside, it does at least have some solid fight scenes. You get to see Ghost Rider and Hellstrom cut loose in a spectacular fashion. The plot also advances a decent amount, building up to the inevitable showdown between the Spirits of Vengeance and Necrodamus.
The art still doesn’t do it for me, and it honestly gets messier in this issue. Some panels are visual messes of black demons and black costume, making it hard to understand what is going on. That being said, David Baldeon does put together some rather awesome scenes of Ghost Rider in pursuit. His flowing, pseudo-solid style of displaying moving characters works really well for flames and energy. Andrea Mossa also provides a lot of great color work which helps bring the comic to life in its strongly contrasting colors. It just comes down to the inconsistency of the rest of the comic’s visual elements.
I still can’t recommend this issue. #2 was a combusting mess, and this one is more coherent and focused. However, its story elements just don’t jive together, it still doesn’t use its characters enough, and the art is inconsistent in quality. I want to like it, but I can’t. Give it a pass.
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