I have to say this was an excellent read, and one that took me by surprise. I was expecting this to be a book about Lilith and her motivations; instead, I got a lot more than I bargained for, which is always a great surprise. We get to see more of what is happening with the dark realms and who is partnering with whom for their benefits. Luckily, we see some Ghost Riders in action, as well. This honestly could’ve been an issue inside the main series, but as it stands it feels like we are getting double shipments of Ghost Rider. I’ll take it!
First off, Ed Brisson is the man! He is taking the Ghost Rider legacy and doing a great job honoring what has come before and adding to the mythos. The building he is doing with the characters is astonishing to watch — this issue does a great job in particular of showcasing Lilith’s origin and ties to Mephisto. I really enjoyed how her appearance change was explained and the art creates a wild visual on that transformation. He creates a great motivation for why she is wanting the Throne of Hell along with her playing the field very nicely…by teaming up with Belasco and getting Limbo involved. That reveal just made the last issue of Ghost Rider that much more pivotal.
As I said earlier, this could’ve been an issue in the current series and I was a bit skeptical at first, but the information inside really paid off for this book. If you’re worried that it’ll just be Lilith, never fear — we get to see Johnny and Danny in action. The story does a great job showing the madness that is plaguing Johnny Blaze as he is the current King of Hell. Time behaves differently, so imagine having to fight the same fight time after time while doubt and despair invade your mind? Wow. That just made Johnny even that much more tragic in my eyes — now I understand why he is so much more erratic in the current series.
Danny Ketch isn’t getting off easy, either. Since we know he is no longer the Spirit of Vengeance and is instead the Spirit of Corruption, we see him finally transform and use his powers. It looks pretty brutal when he becomes this new entity and it looks like a damned road that Danny will walk along. I really enjoy Ed Brisson’s writing of the inner dialogues for Johnny and Danny; he makes them tragic, but also convincing. This isn’t just two guys suffering, but it’s the road to hell being paved by good intentions.