Ghost Rider Volume 1: The King of Hell
Writer – Ed Brisson
Artist – Aaron Kuder
I recently read Doctor Strange: Damnation for the TO Comic Book Club Discussion and I decided to read the first volume of Ghost Rider from Ed Brisson and Aaron Kuder since it deals with the ramifications of the Damnation crossover event. To help save Las Vegas and the souls of the population from Mephisto, Johnny Blaze sacrificed himself during the course of the final battle and took over as the Ruler of Hell.
Demons have taken advantage of the change in leadership in Hell and open a portal to Earth to find a new way of life for themselves. Johnny Blaze is hot on their trail to find and punish them for their insolence. Johnny reaches out to his stepbrother Danny Ketch for assistance. Mourning the loss of his mother, Danny tries to focus on his own life and happiness and rejects Johnny’s request for help. While Johnny is away on his mission, Lilith decides to make a play for the throne of Hell. You might be asking yourself, where is Mephisto in all this? He is still imprisoned in the Hotel Inferno under the watchful eye of Wong, Doctor Strange’s friend and partner in the mystic arts. It’s only a matter of time before he gets involved with the War in Hell, but not in the way you think.
This volume was a great follow-up to the events in Damnation and a perfect choice for the winding Road to Halloween. I really enjoyed the redesign of Johnny Blaze when he transforms into Ghost Rider. He is scary, sinister, and more demonic looking than previous iterations we have seen before. Kuder’s artwork of the demons and monsters that inhabit Hell are hot to trot and eye popping. By the end of the four issues, Brisson sets Johnny and Danny on a collision course with one another. There are other ominous forces that will try to take advantage of this sibling rivalry and are a nice addition to the classic Ghost Rider mythos.
As much as I like Robbie Reyes as the Ghost Rider in Avengers, I miss Johnny and Danny as the Spirit of Vengeance. Sadly, this volume of Ghost Rider was short-lived and cancelled after only seven issues. I hope we get to see Johnny and Danny again sometime soon. I’d like to see all three Ghost Riders together in one title. I would also like to see an anthology miniseries of the previous Ghost Riders that were teased in Damnation. It was recently announced that Marvel is releasing a Midnight Sons video game in March 2022. I have a feeling that there will be a comic miniseries that will be a prologue to the video game or a tie-in at the very least. Here’s hoping we get to see the return of Ghost Rider sooner rather later.