Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1
THE ONE YOU'VE BEEN WAITING FOR - THE RETURN OF VENGEANCE!
MICHAEL BADILINO was a bad dude in life... and that landed him in hell. But not just any old rung of hell, a layer so deep it's reserved for those special enemies of hell - one where a former SPIRIT OF VENGEANCE may suffer for all eternity!
As LILITH's gambit against JOHNNY BLAZE and MEPHISTO for the throne of hell heats up, you can bet other players will enter the arena... and Badilino will find a way to ride again as VENGEANCE!
Fan-favorite GHOST RIDER creators Howard Mackie and Javier Saltares return to the saga of the Spirits of Vengeance in an all-new tale as Vengeance brings his own brand of hellfire to the Marvel Universe!
See our interview from last year with writer Howard Mackie HERE!
VENGEANCE has returned! But you could probably tell that just from the title alone. Fans of the ’90’s Marvel Ghost Rider comics are sure to pick this comic up after the many years since the character’s disappearance, and the creative team is set on delivering a satisfying return for Badilino.
But do they succeed?
For this issue, I would say the success of bringing Vengeance back into the fold is questionable. Mackie’s script makes sure the return of Vengeance is spectacular, there is no denying that. Seeing him trapped in Hell and forced to fight his way out makes for an action-packed issue filled with hellfire fury. But it also feels like a comic that is stuffed with dialogue that isn’t always crucial to the events at hand and distracts from the story happening rather than adding substance to it.
There are a few callbacks to what happened with Vengeance and the fight against Hellgate and even how Lilith escaped from hell during the 1992 Spirits of Vengeance title that do well in tying the story to the character’s overarching narrative. As we play catch up with where Vengeance has been and try to learn more about his current outlook, the story begins to feel conflicted with explaining too many events in midst of an adrenaline-fueled escape from hell. Sometimes comics can only fit so much in a limited number of pages that it can feel like nothing is as important as it should be. That doesn’t mean Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 is a bad comic, because it really isn’t. It’s just burdened with so much that the execution feels unwieldy at best.
Great lettering can often do wonders to help with pacing in comics, but the work of the usually consistent Sabino in this issue comes across as overloaded. Trying to fit so much dialogue, sometimes really stylized, onto a page of artwork that feels more focused on the intense fight at hand creates a combative reading experience that hampers the excitement we should be feeling at such an epic moment. The depth of lore that is explored in Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 is impressive nonetheless. Everyone involved obviously loves not just the Ghost Rider but the grand mythos that these characters were born from as well.
For those who followed the latest and unfortunately cancelled all-too-soon Ghost Rider series, this issue doesn’t really tie in all that much, but it does pose some interesting questions about what comes next for the different players involved. The stage is set for a battle of Spirits from Hell that any fan would love to get their hands on, but we still don’t exactly know when or if that is going to come to fruition. What we have in Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 feels like a setup for greater things to come while also trying to cover lost time by bringing the Vengeance character back. This is where the issue starts to lose its balance and we end up with a story that mainly packs a punch in the premise alone.
This makes Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 a must read for longtime fans who have been hoping for the return of Vengeance after so many years, but arguably not as important of an issue for fans looking for a continuation of the latest Ghost Rider series or maybe a jumping on point. This is nostalgic and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, in fact that will most likely be where a lot of enjoyment is had as fans dig into this modern vision of Vengeance. I only wish it had more substance to offer in the current Marvel Universe following the wonderful series that just ended. This is a fun book that makes for an entertaining read but likely not too memorable aside from the fact that Vengeance is indeed back.
Ghost Rider: Return of Vengeance #1 (Mackie, Saltares, Prianto, Sabino) brings plenty of hellfire-fueled action to make for an exciting return of the character from the 90's but loses a lot of momentum trying to find its footing.
Ghost Rider Return of Vengeance #1: Back to Hell
- Writing - 7.5/107.5/10
- Storyline - 8/108/10
- Art - 8.5/108.5/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 8/108/10
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