King in Black: Ghost Rider #1
All Ghost Rider wants is to destroy Mephisto, round up an army of escaped demons, and secure his seat on the throne of hell. Is that so much to ask? But now a dark god from space has shown up to throw the world into chaos, and some of Johnny's old friends have come to ask for his help. It may take everything they've got to stop this madness. Maybe even...the devil himself?
Come hell or high water, Ghost Rider is finding his way back into Marvel’s lineup.
The story of Johnny Blaze as the King of Hell and his brother Danny Ketch’s recent turn into the Spirit of Corruption is finding a way to continue amidst Marvel’s always shifting titles. After an untimely early cancellation of the flagship Ghost Rider ongoing series after just seven issues, Brisson and company are back in a King in Black tie-in issue that does its best to tell the story at hand while balancing the ongoing symbiote problem from the evil Knull.
Before we get into the execution of the King in Black Ghost Rider #1 issue specifically, it’s worth mentioning that this is a continuation and even to some degree, a finalization, of a narrative that should for all intensive purposes be happening in an ongoing series right now. Ghost Rider set up an epic exploration of the throne of hell under Johnny’s new rule with Mephisto, Lilith and others lurking just behind to take over. It’s easy to see that Marvel has at least made an attempt to allow the creative team to allow this story to unravel, just not in the way it was intended. While I’m happy to see any sort of continuation, the entire horror side of Marvel would be much better suited to giving this creative team the freedom needed in an ongoing series.
After the Return of Vengeance one shot in January that brought back the classic 90’s character Vengeance we’re back with another standalone issue pushing the story forward. It’s got a lot to balance as the issue attempts to pick up on threads previously left off to bring some sort of closure while also bringing in the King in Black influences. Brisson does a great job in making sure all the right moments get enough attention, delivering powerful character beats that feel significant. New readers might be curious as to why Ghost Rider is dragging Mephisto around by a chain, but the issue is accessible enough to anyone interested in picking it up regardless of how much you’ve read so far.
Frigeri and Keith’s work is expectedly solid, though nothing that will blow you away like unforgettable splash pages. It’s a strong outing that tells a fast paced story that knows when to slow down at just the right time to help flesh out the most important of developments. The best part of the artwork is the consistency it brings to the overarching narrative though. Not necessarily the King in Black story, but the one from Ghost Rider that is being pieced together here and there within issues like this. It’s an element that makes it a lot easier to appreciate what the creative team is trying to do with the cards being dealt to them by forces undoubtedly out of their control.
And with this execution, I’m very happy to say that the King in Black Ghost Rider #1 issue isn’t just a throwaway tie-in issue that is destined to be forgotten and overshadowed by the main event. For fans of the Ghost Rider series, this is a must read. Too much happens of remarkable significance to skip this one that is sure to have a lasting impact on not just the horror side of Marvel but the greater universe as well. Things are in motion now that cannot be undone.
Though it’s connections to the King in Black event are primarily superficial, some of the action oriented moments are enough to make it worth you money if you are following for the Symbiotic side of the story. Ultimately, it’s a comic that is sure to entertain and that’s really the most important part. It might even inspire you to go back and read more of Brisson and company’s work on the character so far as well because it really is that spectacular, even if it didn’t get the time it really needed to flesh out the story.
King in Black Ghost Rider #1 might not be the best comic of the year, but it’s a necessary step for the character and a story that we almost didn’t even get to continue in the first place. Don’t miss out!
King in Black Ghost Rider #1 isn't a tie-in issue to be overshadowed by the main event, it's a powerful elevation of a story that deserves to be back in its rightful ongoing series.
King in Black: Ghost Rider #1 – Demons Will Have to Wait (SPOILER FREE ADVANCED REVIEW)
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 8.5/108.5/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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