In his sadly canceled run on Ghost Rider, Ed Brisson built up on the idea of really exploring the levels of hell and even ideas that there are more spirits than just vengeance, as Danny Ketch became the Spirit of Corruption. Issue #7 of the last volume was the final issue, and we might be doomed to another cliffhanger ending with Ghost Rider. At least Brisson is able to give us a Ghost Rider tie-in with King in Black this week, with art by Juan Frigeri.
King in Black: Ghost Rider comes at us right where we last left off with Johnny Blaze and Mephisto while recognizing that Hell needs to be cleaned up and the demons sent back. I’m really glad that Brisson catches readers up with events in the form of Johnny’s thoughts and sets the stage to showcase the giant symbiote dragons that are engulfing New York. Brisson has quite a few pots on the stove with those previous two characters, and now you add on Danny, Caretaker, Blackheart, and the King in Black event for quite a feast. Thankfully, Brisson is a great cook.
As a Johnny Blaze fan, I was happy with the conclusion that he sneaks in for Ghost Rider, set to the backdrop of King in Black. It plays nicely with Johnny’s title as King of Hell and where he stands with the living and the dead, all the while creating a situation that forces Johnny to choose what the mission is: save people or control Hell. I think fans of Danny Ketch will want to check this issue out as it also set his future up and there are some surprises for us that will hopefully come to play later somewhere else.
There is also a great exchange between Johnny and his brother Danny about their actions and their roles in Hell coming to Earth that works very nicely to explain their behaviors in the last volume, while also setting the characters free of those plot points for wherever they end up next. The best part is the demons aren’t just forgotten since this is not the main series, but instead our heroes are faced with two horrible situations which makes for amazing art within.
Artist Juan Frigeri continues to light it up as one of the best to handle the Riders, and the issue is nicely illuminated by colorist Jason Keith. I appreciate the point of view distortion in the motorcycle-centric panels, as it adds a depth to the image and creates “travel” in the panel. I like the reversal of color as the fire is bright while the skull is darkened as a great way to showcase Johnny’s features — plus, the crown is still present, which I would keep an eye on in this issue. Juan and Jason do a fantastic job of reminding us just how deadly and scary these symbiote dragons and demons can be, which just amps up the danger perfectly.
I am so glad that we are getting an ending to the last volume of Ghost Rider without having to wait years like we did with Vol. 3. If you want to find out the fates of Johnny and Danny, check this out! If you’re wanting to get some Mephisto in your life, check this out! King in Black: Ghost Rider #1 is a good story with beautiful art and a hard choice dilemma.
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