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"King in Black: Ghost Rider #1" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by Marvel Comics

article-cover

Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Juan Frigeri
Colored by Jason Keith
Lettered by Joe Caramagna
2021, 33 Pages, $4.99
Comic released on March 31st, 2021

Review:

Johnny Blaze's reign as the King of Hell has been tumultuous at best. It doesn't help that the old boss, Mephisto, has been pulling strings from his prison in Las Vegas, not to mention Lilith trying to steal the throne. As Johnny makes a move to silence Mephisto once and for all, the sky goes black and symbiote dragons descend on the planet. What's a Ghost Rider to do but leap into action?

At this point, everyone who's anyone in the Marvel Universe has had some kind of interaction with Knull and his symbiote forces. It seems that Marvel is using this event to tie up a few loose ends that were left hanging when the COVID-19 pandemic pumped the brakes on a lot of titles. Ghost Rider was one such comic, cut short before its time. This one-shot provides some closure to that series, yet still has me aching for more.

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In the scheme of things, the King in Black stuff is just a MacGuffin to get some people together. It's a momentary detour on the story of Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, the other Ghost Rider, now going by the name of Death Rider. It's not required reading for King in Black, but it's pretty cool. Writer Ed Brisson uses this space to provide some closure for Johnny.

There's a pretty epic team up in King in Black: Ghost Rider #1 between the aforementioned Johnny and Danny, along with Caretaker and Mephisto's son, Blackheart. They join forces to take on some demons that have been possessed by symbiotes. Two horrors added together make for some pretty terrifying stuff. Artist Juan Frigeri gets creative with these designs, showing the mix of of evil at work. Either one would be scary on their own, but together it's something else entirely.

Mephisto is a character you love to hate. He's an absolute slimeball, but he's also the Devil. There's a great moment where he escapes from Johnny's clutches and he's basically running through the streets looking for anyone who might be able to help him. Fortunately, there are a few demons around. Otherwise, who is going to help the Devil when the world is ending around them? It's characterization like this that helped make Brisson's run on Ghost Rider so entertaining.

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Since we're dealing not only with Knull's forces, but with demons too, colorist Jason Keith provides a suitable amount of fire and brimstone. It's a cool mix of the fires of Hell and the slick darkness of the symbiotes. There are some great uses of reds, oranges, and yellows that provide that foreboding, supernatural tone.

Letterer Joe Caramagna adds a bit to the terror with the demonic voices of the creatures the heroes encounter, not to mention the likes of Mephisto and Blackheart. This is a dangerous group and it shows in how they speak.

King in Black: Ghost Rider #1 serves as an interesting crossover between the spirit of vengeance and the otherworldly symbiote army of Knull. More importantly, it ties up a few loose ends for Ghost Rider and opens the door for more stories. It's unfortunate that that series was cut short, as there's clearly plenty of gas in the tank (no pun intended). Is it too much to ask for more demonic horror in the Marvel Universe? Judging from this one-shot, there is definitely some potential.

Grades:

Story: fourstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US.
Cover
Buy from Amazon UK.
Cover
Tfaw Buy Button
Art: fourstars
Overall: 4 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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