Avengers Forever is a spinoff Avengers title featuring the multiverse in all its glory. Or, more specifically, one planet in the multiverse’s glory, where Tony Stark is Ant-Man and Ghost Rider is chewing out bad guys. It was a ferocious start that had Mad Max vibes. If the first issue was all bite, the second issue is a step back into the shadows as torture is the main form of entertainment.
If you’re not reading the main Avengers series, you may want to start, as two of the Multiversal Masters of Evil in this issue appeared in Avengers #52. That’s likely not a coincidence, but at this juncture, it’s also not clear where we stand in the order of the story. That’s okay though, as this issue is largely about Robbie Reyes enduring the hell of Black Skull’s worst torture. He’s trying to get information out of Robbie so he can destroy the Marvel 616 universe, but he’s not budging. Robbie’s only solace is a Deathlock imprisoned with him who feeds him info on the bigger picture.
This issue serves two purposes outside of fleshing out the Symbiote/Red Skull mashup and the evilness of his world. The first is that it sprinkles information about Ghost Rider and how Robbie may be more special than any other. The second is how this may be the start of a Multiversal uprising of heroes. Both are slowly built up to here and feel earned. Writer Jason Aaron has always had a soft spot for Ghost Rider, especially Robbie Reyes, so it’s no surprise he may be some kind of super-Ghost Rider, but the hints are dropped well enough that it doesn’t feel shoehorned in.
The art by Aaron Kuder is deliciously detailed right down to the scratches in Ghost Rider’s skull. There aren’t all out fight scenes here, but we do get to see Black Skull’s abilities which seem to outmatch what Venom typically can do. Kuder is very good at capturing flame effects, which are on full display here. Paired with inks by Scott Hanna, Roberto Poggi and Cam Smith, the book has a darker tone that’s evident in the dungeons and even in the strange, manufactured, suburban paradise. Kuder is joined by Carlos Magno on pencils, who seems to finish off the last few pages. These scenes show off some good detailing in Deathlock’s technology and the final cliffhanger page adds a nice smash cut to a very small hero.
This issue is very much about how all hope is lost, but also how Robbie’s ability to endure pain and suffering is unmatched. For that, the narrative is a deeply heroic one that builds up the reader’s anticipation for, well, avenging. Purchase Avengers Forever #2 to see how far a Ghost Rider can be pushed and also hints at more from Robbie Reyes. That and more scenes with Black Skull’s evil awfulness.
Become a patron today to get exclusive perks, like access to our exclusive Discord community and our monthly comic book club, ad-free browsing on aiptcomics.com, a physical trade paperback sent to your house every month, and more!