By Andy Frisk
March 11, 2009 - 23:27
Any time a comic book story deals with angels, demons, wars in heaven and/or hell I’m there. Must be the Miltonist in me, since Paradise Lost is the greatest work of literature ever, or at least my favorite, and has lots of angels, demons, etc. etc. in it, I guess I’m just drawn to those types of stories and Ghost Rider, of late, has been full of these characters and themes.
The Spirits of Vengeance, of which there were many, many of around the world, served as protectors of the innocent, and punishers of the evil. Recently revealed to be agents of heaven, rather than hell, and watched over by the angel Zadkiel, they've meted out justice since just after The Flood (as in Noah and The Ark Flood, folks). Throughout the ages those possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance meted out justice believing their “curse” was borne of Hell as punishment for some sort of past sins, or for selling their souls to the devil, or some such nonsense, when they were deceived by Zadkiel to believe so “making sure their origins stayed shrouded in mystery and that God’s name remained off the books.” They were “the CIA of the after life, Heaven’s Black Ops.” Zadkiel though, manipulating Danny Ketch, another American Ghost Rider, stole all the Spirits of Vengeances’ power for himself, and knocked down the walls of heaven. Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch and Sister Sara, the last Caretaker of the current Spirits of Vengeance, went their separate ways after the walls fell believing all hope to be lost.
|That's some nun! Wouldn't want to cross her!|
But is it? Sara discovers that not all may be lost, and along the way to this discovery, fills us readers in on Ghost Riders past and present, and some of them look like they just might have some interesting tales.
We see Spirits of Vengeance, or Ghost Riders, who have been active in Biblical times, ancient Central Asia and the Americas. There’s a Native American Ghost Rider, a colonial Ghost Rider, a Civil War Era Ghost Rider (who is a former African-American slave), a WWI “Ghost Flyer,” a WWII tank crew of Ghost Riders, and what appears to be Smokey and the Bandit era Ghost Riders. All of which look interesting, and honestly just down right cool in some instances, for their historical time periods. All of these characters are seen in flashbacks of what was, but when Sister Sara gets a glimpse of what might still be, she sets off to reunite Blaze and Ketch and fight for the future, not just of the Ghost Riders themselves, but for the existence of a Zadkiel-free heaven. The adventure begins anew one might say.
Overall, we get a pretty decent tale setting us up for some more angels vs. demons/wars in heaven and hell tales that could prove to be worth the read, at least for its escapist fun. Milton might frown on his readers and admirers for reading such trifles but, hey, he’s the one who go us hooked on Satan, his rebel angels and their wars in the first place. Tony Moore’s pencils are definitely not Gustave Dore’s woodcarvings, but they are incredibly detailed as far as the Ghost Riders of different time periods go, but he’s better at conjuring images of fancy than true to life human faces. For a series that’s all about the fanciful, he pulls off the fancy, but leaves the rest lacking. A decent if not literary loaded read, but all comics can’t be Watchmen can they? Or Paradise Lost for that matter.
Rating: 7 /10