Marvel Comics 2018
Written by Christopher Sebela
Illustrated by Phil Noto
Lettered by VC’s Travis Lanham
Newly restored as Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange meant to prove his worth by restoring Las Vegas and reviving the citizens who lost their lives in the Hydra raid. But he paid for his overreach—as the city rose so did a little piece of Hell in the form of the Hotel Inferno. It’s proprietor, Mephisto, imprisoned Strange and began collecting souls and expanding Hell’s dominion. Stephen’s partner in the mystic arts, Wong, hatched a rescue pan that began with recruiting a new team of Midnight Sons and ended with Johnny executing the last stunt of his life—a suicide run up the side of the hotel and a confrontation with Mephisto that could only end in Johnny’s death.
When I started reading Marvel and I got into Ghost Rider Johnny was behind the mask as it were. I get the change and evolution of a character to try and revive it so a new generation may jump on board. Through it’s various incarnations one thing has always remained the same, Johnny is my Ghost Rider and seeing him in this arc with these characters I couldn’t be any happier. Christopher seems to understand Johnny and he’s does him justice within these pages.
I like the way that this issue is structured and how Christopher creates this ebb & flow throughout the book. It moves at a fairly quick pace as it should because this is not an ongoing series and I think it’s a one-shot but you never know. So that this is a just a piece of the puzzle that needed to be told outside the regular limited series. I don’t mind that either there aren’t a lot of characters in this so it isn’t flooding the stands with tie-ins, that usually don’t even tie-in, and we get this amazing look at Johnny and Ghost Rider.
The dialogue and characterisation here is unbelievably good. That Ghost Rider doesn’t want to reunite, see merge, with Johnny is sublime. So as well as they know each other it is extremely interesting to see them talk things out. This is where I think Christopher shines brightest his ability to bring the characters to life through dialogue and other interactions to make more like real people instead of some two-dimensional idea of a man. That he draws us in the way he does shows such talent, skill and chutzpah to just unapologetically takes us on a ride through hell and make it seem like a version of the Odd Couple.
Phil is an amazing illustrator and the way he brings this to life visually reminds us not to forget about him or underestimate him. His utilisation of page layouts so we see these angles and perspective in the panels shows off his superb eye for storytelling. The linework here is fantastic as he uses those varying weights to really highlight areas and just add some subtlety that is a wow factor. His own creativity and imagination of those trapped in Hell that the boys have to fight is stellar stuff. This is a ring of Hell and backgrounds don’t always happen but to see them so nicely put into the work really does set the mood, tone and feel as it expands the story.
With all the Mishegas that’s going on right now and Marvel disappointing me greatly its nice to see that there are books who and creators who remember that these characters are around, are being used superbly and in the end should make a Midnight Sons ongoing monthly. This is what my Marvel looks like and it makes so incredibly happy.