The multiverse is vast and infinite, which is more obvious than ever in Jason Aaron’s ongoing epic story arc in Avengers. An army of Mephistos are up to no good, but thankfully the Avengers are trailing them, attempting to slow them down. In The Avengers #58, out today, the heroes may have encountered something even more powerful than Mephisto: Ghost Rider of Japan in the Edo Period.
This issue works well within the construct of the series since it focuses mostly on the Samurai of Vengeance. Similar to Avengers #56, that gives the issue a satisfying beginning, middle, and end while further developing the larger plot in small ways here and there. The issue opens with two Avengers following Ghost Rider, but they are soon being followed. The Samurai of Vengeance is just that good.
Aaron’s captions for the Ghost Rider’s scenes are well written and, at times, poetic. They create a mythical nature to the character while building up his notoriety. The Ghost Ronin is a cool concept that could fill a full series, and Aaron makes you wish for one by how much he builds him up.
He’s also incredibly powerful, which Javier Garron captures well visually. Colors by David Curiel use hues of blue that help distinguishes this Ghost Rider a little different. He’s not filled with rage, but seeks peace. Even though he can do horrible things to the enemy and tear a giant boat apart, the visual design still imbues a sense of calm.
If you are wondering what a samurai Ghost Rider would ride…fear not. There’s an answer for that too, and it’s just as poetic. Aaron has thought this out.
There are three instances where it’s difficult to determine what the Ghost Ronin is doing in a given scene. You know enough from the damage he’s dealing that he’s swinging chains or other weaponry, but the rendering of the character is a bit blurry or confusing. It’s relatively minor–everything up close is always well rendered–but it’s a hiccup visually that throws things off.
Outside of Ghost Rider, there’s a good scene with Phoenix and Namor. They connect in their unique warrior ways while reminding us of their battle earlier in the series. Aaron smartly uses these two and their bravado to build up Ghost Rider, who impresses even them.
Captain America and Nighthawk also get some one-on-one time, cementing that they gel well together. The boy scout and the darker hero is a combo we’ve seen work with Batman and Superman, and it’s neat to see them connect here. Props to Aaron for throwing in a Batman nod as well.
There are also hints at where this story is going–which you’d know about if you’re interested in solicits–with a conclusion that naturally moves the plot along. Much of this issue is a pit stop, but with Ghost Ronin being so cool and well crafted, it’s an enjoyable side quest. For an Avengers book, it is a little weird most of the team are relegated to standing around for a few panels, but Jane and Thor get a moment thrown in too to develop their growing conflict.
Your enjoyment of The Avengers #58 will hinge on how much you like the samurai Ghost Rider. Luckily it’s rather easy to like the character since he’s described so well, visually awesome, and is a unique twist on what we know of the Ghost Rider.
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