Spirits of Vengeance #1 (Marvel Comics)
The Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider will always hold a special place in my heart, so I was pretty excited to hear that the character would be making a return in Marvel Legacy with Spirits of Vengeance. The latest attempt to bring all of Marvel’s supernatural characters together, the opening installment of Victor Gischler and David Baldeon’s five issue miniseries has a really interesting hook, but unfortunately there’s too much set up in this issue that causes the action to be very lacking.
When an angel is murdered, it’s up to Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider to find the creatures responsible. Unfortunately for Blaze, he’s not exactly the detective type, so he has to go to Daimon Hellstrom for more help. The two uncover a dark secret that could cause the realms of Heaven and Hell to go to war, and they’ll need to assemble a team of beings with similar powers in order to prevent Earth’s destruction.
For a book that features Ghost Rider, Blade, Hellstrom, and Satanna on the cover, you’d expect this opening issue to be packed with awesome Marvel horror action. Unfortunately this opening issue of Spirits of Vengeance is lacking. Gischler’s takes on Hellstorm and Blaze are great (thank god he doesn’t make Blaze sound like a “good old boy”), but there’s a lot of set up that, while serving the plot well, doesn’t make the book move at a fast pace. The mystery revolving around this team is interesting, but I worry that this slow pace will lead to similar problems in the rest of the series. This issue ends with Hellstrom contacting Blade, which means that we still don’t have the full team on the cover by the issues’ end. That doesn’t fill me with a lot of hope for this miniseries.
David Baldeon’s art, however, is pretty damn great. Baldeon has the perfect style for this type of book, and his cartoony figures work wonders on the weird, inhuman creatures that Ghost Rider encounters. While Baldeon’s style doesn’t work entirely for the human characters in this series, his action is fantastic and really well drawn. I wasn’t aware of his style before hand, but if he can land on a few more titles and keep his artwork looking this good, he’s be a star artist at Marvel in no time.
While Spirits of Vengeance was a bit of let down, I’m still intrigued by the rest of this series because I love the idea of a team of supernatural Marvel characters. Now that a bulk of the back story is finished, I’m hoping that the rest of this five issue miniseries will have a little more forward momentum. Ghost Rider deserves that much.