Jason Aaron taking over Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has made the series feel epic again. These are the summer blockbuster stories that merit these heroes teaming up and facing true evil. Speaking of evil, in this set of issues they are pitted against a mad Ghost Rider who happens to be the new King of Hell.
Within this trade is a collection of back issues from the 2018 run of Avengers featuring issues #22 – 25 and also a reprinting of the 2014 All-New Ghost Rider #1, which featured the first appearance of Robbie Reyes. There are also a couple of pages devoted to variant covers from this series. Jason Aaron is teamed up with artists Stefano Caselli and Luciano Vecchio, so you’re in good hands when it comes to the art pages in this set. The overall collection is pretty basic so if you’re here for story, drama, and action then that will be the main selling point.
I myself came to this story-arc for the continuing saga of Johnny Blaze post-Damnation. Blaze is one of my favorite characters and it was interesting to see his interactions here in these trades; plus, it helps that Jason Aaron had written Ghost Rider before and did quite a job on the character and mythos. Johnny Blaze also has to share the spotlight with other Ghost Riders in the form of Robbie and (Cosmic) Frank Castle. I like the idea of the Riders clashing and the moments between Johnny and Robbie are very tense as Johnny wants to take Robbie down and add that power to his own. With this looking to be a Johnny story and myself coming into it as a Johnny fan, I was pleasantly surprised to be walking away with quite the respect for Robbie Reyes as a Rider.
This story arc gave Robbie some great character growth and also established him as quite the team player and risk taker. This was very much his coming-of-age story, which is great to see with legacy heroes as we don’t want to lose ours, but it is nice to see growth. Robbie really comes into his own with his powers and his sense of self. I especially like the fact that the curse of his powers is finally gone with him beating his evil Uncle Eli; it’ll be exciting to discover what Robbie can do now that he is in control. Robbie also steps up the role of hero very nicely as he still offers to help Johnny Blaze once he beats him at his own game. It was nice to see that Robbie and the Avengers were offering to help Johnny with Hell.
Now, if you’re here to see Cosmic Ghost Rider in action, you’ll get it in one issue, but otherwise he really doesn’t have much to contribute. We do get a great moment of him taking on the Avengers and when Cosmic GR confronts Blaze in quite the moment, and I really hope we get a second round of it in the new Ghost Rider series. If you are a fan of Jason Aaron’s run of Avengers, you should add this to your collection since it does a fantastic job of showing how the Avengers are a family of their own. As for fans of Ghost Rider, it does have merit since it will bridge the gap between Damnation and the new Ghost Rider series for Johnny Blaze, but even more importantly, this story brings Robbie Reyes into his own as a Rider and a hero.