It’s an all-out race, and the prize is… Robbie Reyes’ soul! Your Major Spoilers review of Avengers #25 awaits!
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colorist: ason Keith with Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: October 23, 2019
Previously in Avengers: The Avengers go to hell to join the wild race for the soul of Robbie Reyes, who’s desperate to learn the truth once and for all about what sort of Ghost Rider he’s become. But those sorts of answers always come with a dreadful cost…
…especially when Mephisto is involved.
AKA ISSUE #725
Last time ’round, Robbie Reyes lost his hell-powered ride thanks to the machinations of his evil uncle Eli (aka the ghost who has been empowering him and is now inhabiting the form of a dead Celestial.) But when Eli tries to crush him, Robbie reveals that he may no longer be a Spirit of Vengeance, but he’ll always be an Avenger, tearing the hybrid creature’s arm off. That’s when the cavalry arrives in the form of his teammates, with Captain Marvel piloting a ship combining ancient Asgardian tech with the Black Panther’s vibranium, Tony Stark’s rockets and a very cheesed-off cadre of Earth’s Mightiest. They’ve even brought along Cosmic Ghost Rider to handle the threat of the Celestial, allowing them to take the lead in the race for the throne of Hell. Robbie not only bests Johnny Blaze for leadership, he offers his hand in friendship, abdicating the throne of the underworld and trying to convince Blaze to return to Earth while the team searches for an answer to his Hadean dilemma. Johnny refuses, disappearing into the brimstone beneath him and leaving Robbie to decide if he’s going to be the Ghost Rider any longer.
JOHNNY BLAZE IN HELL
I have to say, even though I was bothered by Johnny being stuck in the afterlife, this arc has really sold me on the concept, especially as Robbie points out (rightfully) that the previous Ghost Riders have only been good at punishing their families and friends. This story has a number of wonderful character beats, from Captain Marvel reminding everyone that she’s the best pilot they’ve ever seen to She-Hulk providing a gamma-powered boost to the ship to Captain America’s reaction to seeing Hell firsthand: “Buchenwald in ’45. THAT was hell. This is just another Tuesday.” Add in an actual happy ending for Ghost Rider, and you’ve got a fun issue on your hand, made even more so by Stefano Caselli’s excellent art. It takes (you should excuse the expression) one hell of an artist to convey emotion, expression and drama through a skull-face, and this issue features THREE of them, each distinct and recognizable. Robbie’s face at the end of the issue when he explains to little brother Gabe that he’s sticking around in his “new job” is lovely, and the last-page reveal of where Iron Man has been during all of this is a beautiful page of comics.
BOTTOM LINE: I REALLY LIKE THIS ONE
In short, Avengers #25 balances drama, action and character moments, and even helps to clarify the issue of multiple active Ghost Riders while upping the “HOLY CRAP!” quotient with Robbie’s interim ride, all the while looking great, earning a well-deserved 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Aaron’s Avengers run has been impressive, redefining a number of characters and the role of the team itself, and they’ve even managed to please an old-school Johnny Blaze fan enough to make me a full-fledged Robbie Reyes fan, which is one of the hardest parts of writing any ongoing shared universe comic.
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Resolution in more ways than one, respect for all the Ghost Riders extant and impressive art make for a really fun, exciting issue of comics.