December 1, 2022

Gabbing Geek

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Comic Review: Avengers Volume 5

There's a race between Ghost Riders in Hell, and the Avengers will stand by their teammate.

Apparently, I only write these reviews anymore when I have, like, five books to review all at once and can get a week of columns about them.

So, let’s start with another Avengers trade from the current series written by Jason Aaron, subtitled Challenge of the Ghost Riders.

Current Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes is a bit unique among the various Riders in that he didn’t make a deal with the devil to gain his powers.  It just happened somehow.  That doesn’t mean the current King of Hell and also Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze doesn’t want something from the young man.  Robbie is trying to have his superpowers removed, and it isn’t going well.  His car, the Hell-Charger, seems to have a mind of its own.  And while the Avengers will stand by their teammate no matter what he decides to do, that doesn’t mean they’re equipped to do anything about it.  Johnny wants a race between himself and Robbie to determine who will be the King of Hell, and he isn’t above threatening Robbie to get what he wants.  Robbie will race for personal reasons, but can he prevail when Johnny Blaze cheats?

So, it’s probably worth noting that most of the current Avengers are featured in solo books.  As such, there’s probably only so much Aaron can do with most of the team.  As near as I can make out, the only Avengers he has free reign to do whatever with are Blade, She-Hulk,  and Robbie, so he gets to play around a lot with Ghost Rider lore here.  Aaron’s Avengers likewise plays around with a lot of the characters of the Marvel Universe, and it does seem as if any character can show up to help.  Here, for example, we learn that of course the team chairman Black Panther has Damien Helstrom on speed-dial as an expert on exorcism.  Likewise, that also means we get the future Cosmic Ghost Rider to come in and mess with the Avengers in his own loopy way.  Between learning a lot about the history of the Ghost Riders, a fairly well-done road race, and a solution at the end that shows Robbie can win and still be himself, well, it mostly works.

That said, this is another very short trade.  Why are Marvel’s trades so short?  This one actually padded out the length a bit with a bonus story reprint of Robbie’s own first appearance.  That doesn’t help when it feels like just as I started to get into the story, it was over.  I really think some of these trades need more issues in them, so maybe Marvel won’t have to pad out their trades with various other issues of varying levels of quality.

7.5 out of 10 “this should have been longer” thoughts.

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