With Infinity, and the Paguro family, in the rearview, Thunderbolt Ross (hilariously NOT the original founder of the ever-shifting team) can focus on internal problems. Internal problems like Mercy, originally intended as his ace-in-the-hole, has become an unstoppable instrument of uncontrollable mass-murder. Their solution is decidedly old-school: send her to Hell where she’ll have a limitless supply of souls begging for death. And who better to be her ferryman than the Ghost Rider? Charles Soule knows exactly where the comedic line is and when to not cross it. The reference to Johnny Blaze making “two crappy movies” was that line, but it falls perfectly in with the general tone of the book, a tone of hilarity and satire. Every single team member, besides Deadpool of course, wrote the book on stoic anti-heroism, but in this book their self-seriousness is turned perfectly against them and played for just the right amount and kind of laughs. The book isn’t purely funny, though, and the humor does a great job of juxtaposing some very legitimate drama and an absolutely amazing storyline that all centers on a character who, until now, had been all but forgotten by Marvel.
Carlo Barberi brings his beautifully detailed, cartoonishly stylized linework to this issue, and it’s a seamless transition from the wild, jagged lines of Jefte Palo, bringing a more structured tone to a more down-to-Earth issue (that’s right, an issue involving a bottomlessly powerful alien deathseeker and a vengeance-obsessed hellbiker IS comparitively down-to-Earth…) I’ve been a big fan of Barberi on Scarlet Spider, so having him switch to a DIFFERENT underappreciated title is all good news in my book. Isreal Silva handles colors and handles them gorgeously. The use of shadow in this book can’t be downplayed and the ways they compare to how much color is popping out of even the darkest panels is a thing of beauty. Their work on the smooth, kinetic action is equally great to behold, everything being kept in its place and with a clear progression from one action to the next. Deadpool’s hat returns, which is always a cause to celebrate.
There’s very little to not like about this issue and the only thing I can come up with is that it’s a little weird seeing Johnny Blaze go back to stunt-biking. Do people REALLY not know that he’s the Ghost Rider? Even if they don’t, does he really need to resort to things like ridiculous stunts to make ends meet? I get the notion of superheroes still needing to eat, and I love the opportunities afforded to poke fun at the character, but the whole thing feels a little contrived.
This book remains one of pure, violent fun. It’s not so vicious as to need warnings, other than for those who can’t handle any kind of humor with their dead serious characters. The art is over-the-top enough to suit the satirical nature of the book, and anytime this team travels in a van, it perfectly communicates the kind of team they are. They don’t have a Quinjet, they don’t even have a super-practical Quinjetta, they have a van. They’re the antihero supergroup and if they were a band, they’d be playing amazing fairground shows.