“Buchenwald in ’45. That was Hell. This is Just Another Tuesday” (Avengers #25 Comic Review)
Avengers #25 Comic Review
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colorist: Jason Keith with Erick Arciniega
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover: Stefano Caselli & Marcio Menyz
Variant Covers: Alex Ross; Jay Anacleto & Romulo Fajardo Jr.
Challenge of The Ghost Riders Finale
Spirits of Avengeance
“Buchenwald in ’45. That was Hell. This is Just Another Tuesday’”
What You Need to Know
Johnny Blaze has continued to use every underhanded trick he can to win the Challenge of the Ghost Riders. The cavalry finally comes to assist Robbie Reyes in the form of The Avengers. Cosmic Ghost Rider is even along for the ride to get his own revenge on The King of Hell. Amidst all the chaos, can Robbie win the race of his life/afterlife?
What Just Happened
The issue begins with Robbie’s car being badly damaged by his Uncle Eli. The Avengers arrive in Hell with a ship that Robbie can use to finish the race, thanks to Cosmic Ghost Rider. Johnny Blaze continues to lead the race and he has to tell himself that he’s not a monster and he is doing the right thing to keep Hell in control. Blade and Thor attack Blaze and destroy his bike. Blaze turns his bike into a hammer to battle Thor.
Cosmic Ghost Rider destroys the celestial that Eli inhabited and tries to attack Blaze. Blaze uses demons as a distraction to get away and get back to the race. Robbie uses his hellfire to power up the ship and speed past Blaze as he approaches the finish line. Blaze wins the race but Robbie refuses to take the throne of Hell. Blaze escapes before Cosmic Ghost Rider can kill him. Robbie reunites with his parents and the Ghost Riders of the past escort them out of Hell. Robbie decides to continue to be an Avenger and takes his younger brother on a road trip.
Cosmic Ghost Rider leaves Earth and states that the planet smells like Mephisto. Iron Man continues to investigate the cave where he found the fossilized version of his helmet. The helmet activates an energy source that zaps him back to the Prehistoric Age. Tony keeps a journal that states that he has been stranded in the past for about 6 months and he has been able to keep his armor online. Tony also notes that “The Devil” has been attacking every Blood Moon.
The Challenge of The Ghost Riders has finally concluded, and while the finale lacked a lot of explosive developments when it comes to the Ghost Rider lineage, the issue still ends with a helluva cliffhanger. The issue was a Ghost Rider fest, with Robbie Reyes, Johnny Blaze, and Future Frank Castle all given major moments in the issue. Between this arc and the new Ghost Rider ongoing, it is a good time to be a fan of the Spirits of Vengeance. The Avengers play mostly a supporting role in this issue but still had their moments. Thor and Captain America being not amused by being in Hell were hilarious but actually make sense for their characters. Cap has seen the worst of mankind by fighting in a World War, while Thor has probably been to multiple Hell realms and the ruler of one of the realms is his niece.
Captain Marvel lived up to her name as usual by captaining the ship used by Robbie Reyes to win the Challenge of The Ghost Riders. She-Hulk provided an engine boost and not much else. Black Panther and Blade were minor players in this issue but Blade was still able to squeeze in more trash talk that has been consistent with his character throughout his term as an Avenger.
Robbie Reyes has seemed to finally come into his own as a Ghost Rider. Robbie is no longer defined by his Uncle’s influence or the legacy of the Blaze family. Robbie can be his own man or rider so to speak. I’m also happy that Robbie will continue to be an Avenger. Johnny Blaze’s fate seems a little more open ended and I was hoping we would get more information on what his future will be as the King of Hell if he continues to sit on the throne. Maybe we’ll learn what happens to him in the Ghost Rider ongoing. Cosmic Ghost Rider seems to be heading off planet and will probably see his fate tie in with the end of the current Guardians of The Galaxy run.
The surprise of the issue is we get to finally see what’s in the cave that Iron Man is investigating so to speak. It seems the helmet is cursed by some strange magic and all I will say is that Tony Stark is probably off the board for the foreseeable future. Iron Man is in for a harrowing adventure, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Stefano Caselli and Marcio Menyz combine to contribute art worthy of the underworld in this issue. Caselli’s art is perfect for characters tortured by darkness, and the artist is particularly talented at displaying that darkness in characters’ facial expressions. Jason Keith and Erick Arciniega contribute colors that illustrate the fire and brimstone of Hell.
Summary Robbie Reyes has determined his own destiny as a Ghost Rider. The Avengers have gained one member back, but have potentially lost another. How will the Avengers regroup from their harrowing experience in Hell?