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Avengers #24: Review

Sep 2019
Jason Aaron, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

Challenge of the Ghost Riders Part 3: Cosmic Ghost Rider vs the Avengers

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #24 Review by (October 5, 2019)
Robbie Reyes parents have been missing since long before we 1st met him. Uncle Eli has taunted him with knowledge of what happened to them. Now they are seemingly dead. But you can't trust anything you see in Hell.
In fact to be pedantic Johnny Blaze admits the parents aren't really here when he says he'll bring the 'rest' of Robbie's family to Hell. 'Rest' implies more than 1, but the only member of the family who isn't supposedly here is brother Gabe.




 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #24 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Motorcycle-riding Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze is now King of Hell. He's abducted our Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes and his Hell Charger car to Hell and challenged him to a race, the winner of which absorbs the other's power. But Blaze has used his command of the terrain and denizens of Hell to damage the Hell Charger during the race. However a chorus of previous GR's have arrived to cheer Reyes on.

Robbie is surprised by the existence of all these other Riders, going all the way back to the original 1 Million BC version on his mastodon. They hint that there are some other Riders who they don't want to talk about. And as Hell Charger repairs itself they warn Robbie not to trust Blaze. He doesn't really want Robbie's power to keep peace in Hell. And they also hint at an even scarier GR ...

... who is the Cosmic Ghost Rider who is currently fighting the She-Hulk and Thor in Avengers Mountain HQ. CGR claims to have come back from the future (at the end of time in an alternate timeline in the 2017 Thanos series via his own mini-series and the current Guardians Of The Galaxy series) and doesn't appreciate having to kill the Avengers all over again. He also remembers being taken to Hell by Blaze (GOTG#6) but is unclear how he got *here*.

The Rider uses the Power Cosmic to blast Thor through a wall leaving his hammer Mjolnir behind. Shulk slams his head to the ground piercing Mjolnir's shaft up through his blazing skull and out of an eye-socket. He sends his hellfire to drive her off but then Thor returns and calls Mjolnir to him, taking the skull with it. The Thunder God wants to know why the trespasser is attacking them but the skull's current position makes his reply unintelligible. Instead he spews hellfire at Thor making him release the hammer again and allowing the skull to drop free. Meanwhile CGR's headless body continues to fight She-Hulk.

Thor makes to smash the skull with Mjolnir but the body apes Thor's signature move and calls the skull to *his* hand. He hits Shulk with it before replacing it on his neck. Now the Rider wants to know why they brought him here and why they're working for Blaze. Thor denies the accusations but then continues the fight by combining powers with She-Hulk to produce a gamma lightning blast. This time it's CGR's turn to be slammed through walls until he ends up in Iron Man's workshop where he's greeted by Captain Marvel.

Back in Hell Robbie Reyes is on the move again in Hell Charger. A wall of demons have been ordered with threats to stop him. They bitch about wishing Mephisto was back in charge but are ready to obey. But then the other Ghost Riders help Robbie bull his way through. Johnny Blaze is riding confidently ahead allowing himself to feel a bit of regret for what he's doing to the boy, but laying the blame squarely on Robbie's Uncle Eli Morrow (the original spirit possessing the Hell Charger). Then Hell Charger lands on top of him after driving off a cliff, and drives off leaving Blaze mangled. But Johnny plays his ace card. A giant Celestial rises out of the ground. It is Callus The Void, 1 of the Dark Celestials of the Final Host who fought the Avengers in #1-6. But more than that it is now possessed by the vengeful Uncle Eli.

Last issue Daimon Hellstrom exorcised the spirit possessing Hell Charger but it transferred to the Avengers HQ which is the body of a dead Celestial. Boy-Thing drove it out of there and it became a physical being which turned out to be not Eli Morrow but Cosmic Ghost Rider. Now Black Panther reports that they've regained control of the HQ's systems including comms. Carol Danvers says she's found the intruder and he seems immune to her photon blasts. T'Challa warns her that the CGR has the power of a Herald of Galactus, but Captain Marvel is enjoying the fight until the Rider pulls out a gun he built from Tony Stark's tech and summons his space-faring Hell Cycle.

Now Panther and Captain America join in the fight. BP has modified their costumes to harness the power of the dead Celestial, and it is with this that they punch the foe. Hellstorm and Blade are keeping out of the battle because it is more super-science than the supernatural that they are suited to. But then Blade's pet Boy-Thing (a juvenile Man-Thing) makes his play. Normally beings burn at his touch, but the Rider knows no fear and it is Boy-Thing's turn to burn. This inspires Blade to take a hand, and his Breathing Gun stops CGR's bike and then drills a hole through the Rider himself.

CGR now expresses grudging respect for the team and suggests they quit working for Blaze and come work for *him*. Again Thor is affronted at the suggestion they work for the King of Hell. At last their foe pieces together what's happened to him (including Blaze putting him in the Hell Charger - apparently back as far as #14 after which the car's voice changed) and realises that he and the Avengers have a common foe. He tells them about the race in Hell (although I'm not sure how he knows about that) and offers to take them there. But they'll need something to ride (which we won't see until next issue).

For the final scene we return to Hell where Robbie the Ghost Rider confronts Uncle Eli the Celestial. Eli had tried to make Robbie a genuine sinner-frightening Ghost Rider but Robbie had resisted him and had seemingly gained control of the car and his Ghost Rider-ness. Now he wants to get rid of the GR power, and is only trying to win this race because Blaze threatened his brother Gabe. Eli laughs that if he wins he'll become even more of a Ghost Rider (or maybe that *to* win he'll have to become more so). Angry Robbie-GR leaves his car to attack Eli-Celestial directly, which is what Eli wanted because now Robbie's long-lost parents are suddenly there to see what their son has become. Robbie is stunned to learn that they are actually dead (and in Hell). The Eli Celestial stomps Hell Charger into the ground as Blaze rides past promising to bring the rest of Robbie's family to Hell when he wins.


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Stefano Caselli
Luciano Vecchio
Jason Keith
Stefano Caselli (Cover Penciler)
Stefano Caselli (Cover Inker)
Frank Martin (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Cory Petit.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: C. B. Cebulski.

Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Captain Marvel
Captain Marvel

(Carol Danvers)
Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider

(Johnny Blaze)
She-Hulk
She-Hulk

(Jennifer Walters)
Son of Satan
Son of Satan

(Daimon Hellstrom)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Boy-Thing, Cosmic Ghost Rider (Frank Castle), Ghost Rider (Robbie Reyes).