The Players – Johnny Blaze (The Spirit of Vengeance), Danny Ketch (The Spirit of Corruption), Mephisto, Doctor Strange, Wolverine, Punisher, Lilith, Blackheart
The Story – Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance and King of Hell, Johnny Blaze is looking to put Mephisto out of commission and will remove any obstacle in his path be it friend, foe or demon.
The Take – Ed Brisson who has been helming the new Ghost Rider title from the first was the right person for the job as he wraps up his latest story arc, Hearts of Darkness II, a sequel in name only to that first storyline that came out so many years ago now. It is a much different story of course, but it is just as good and just as exciting as the King of Hell who is now personified by Johnny Blaze is looking to formally take the reins from Mephisto as well as capture all of the escaped demons who made a break for it during the first few issues of the series. Standing in his way are old allies in the form of Wolverine, the Punisher and the man who set him up to take the throne in Doctor Strange. Last but not least, there is Danny Ketch, his brother and former Spirit of Vengeance, depowered thanks to Blaze and now with a power-set that finds him transformed into a Spirit of Corruption, something he means to rid Blaze of. Enough cannot be said of Aaron Kuder’s artwork, both gritty and at the same time somewhat clean, it brings forth the menace that these various characters represent perfectly, making Kuder a man that now stands alongside some of the best like Texiera and Saltares. As the King of Hell, it seems a fitting evolution for Blaze’s character, something that may not have been evident from the first when he premiered all those years ago, but a role that suits him well. Factor in Mephisto and his schemings who wants his kingdom back and Lilith who is also vying for the throne and who might be in the best position to take it and Blaze has more than a little competition. As for Danny, there is obviously far more to his story as well and even if he does not get a title of his own to call home, Brisson is sure to keep him around as much as Blaze as their stories have been intertwined for some time now. Given the cliff-hanger the book is left on, there are sure to be a lot of good stories to come, especially if the creative team continues on as they have been.
Worth It? – Yes.