The GeeksverseFlashback Review: Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #23 (1994)

Flashback Review: Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #23 (1994)
Published on Thursday, December 2, 2010 by

Johnny Blaze has been drinking again and wants Ghost Rider dead (again).

The cover is fine but generic amid this superhero revamp of 90s Ghost Rider where the horror comics were infused with even more super hero than it had had in the 70s.

The first page is Blaze screaming “Roxanne No!” with his sun glasses reflecting the past which would work better as a cover image. Pages two-three are a dream recap of the major characters in the comic mythology which makes issue #23 a decent starting point for a new reader or—in the case of this flashback review—someone who hasn’t picked up an issue in a while.

Drunken Johnny wakes up from his memories and goes to visit Clara, who is upset that he’s been drinking again. One eyed Johnny Blaze is in full super hero swag with his midnight sons belt buckle and chromed arms. Clara looks powerful in her static poses. After a shoving match Blaze leaves and runs into Steel Wind (pictured on the cover) and a trench coated stranger:

Cut to the underworld and old foes are being revisited and their obsessions are being remembered and reexplored. All of it comes crashing down as the characters collide into a long fight scene. Steel Wind amid her odd spike wheeled trike running down the road and through buildings, following Blaze to ensure she doesn’t miss the fight.

Howard Mackie Writer
Henry Martinez Penciler
Bud Larosa Inker
Bill Oakley Letterer
John Kalisz Colorist
Bobbie Chase Editor
Tom DeFalco Ed in Cheif

Part of the fun of a vintage serial book is the ads:
Beavis and Butthead trading cards
Chef Boyardee and X-Men cross promotion
First Quest CD Game
Inaugural Edition of Marvel Flair cards with Venom and Cable showingGub Terrana on Genesis
Marvel afternoon cartoons
Crunch n’ Munch w/ Spidey cross promotion
America’s Funniest Kids by Laffy Taffy

The Bullpen Bulletins is a capsule of what else is shipping in June 1994. It also commemorates Jack Kirby 1917-1994. Several notable names contributed quick thoughtful blurbs (I’ve selected a few you will know:

Concluding our month-long tribute to Jack Kirby, the legendary King of Comics who passed away this past Feburary…
Jim Steranko: Artist, writer, architect, inventor, visionary: Kirby was all of them and more, the ultimate comic book techno-wizard a pop-culture Leonard da Vinci who explored our collective fantasies on the palette of his imagination.

Steve Rude: My dear mentor and friend, Jack Kirby, will exist in my heart for all time. Last night, I relaxed after work by looking through my “King” Kirby portfolio. It seems clearly there was not a man in history who destined to create comic books. Were there no such art form to exist for him at the time Kirby would’ve created one. And in creating his worlds, he gave us, those touched by his magic, a place to exist in as well.

Neal Adams: Jack Kirby,a fter Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuester, is the person who created the world that all comic book writers and artists live in. He has not only helped us grow and become better, he has taken us along a path of imagination that is beyond anything we’d ever seen before. He’s had to let go our hands, and I think he hopes that we move forward with the same kind of energy that he was able to put into his work. I think that we will. Tanks, Jack.

Larry Hama: Jack Kirby quite literally put the POW in comics y interjecting them with action, power, and grandeur. He wasn’t trying to do magazine illustration or story boards of movies–he was reinventing comics as a separate medium with its own graphic language. Before Kirby comics characters stalked and conversated sedately: Kirby them jump and shout.

Overall not a great comic but a nice time capsule all the same.

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