Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: David Baldeón
Color Artist: Andres Mossa
Letter: VC’s Cory Petit
With Marvel’s Legacy being released, Victor Gischler and David Baldeón’s Spirits of Vengeance #1 is a breath of fresh air in their superhero selection by diving into Marvel’s recently less explored territory: The supernatural.
Gischler wastes no time opening the issue with the mystery of a murdered Angel. This mystery will inevitably cast a team of supernatural heroes to stop the world from ending. Unfortunately, the Spirits team isn’t fully formed by the end of the issue. Though Gischler takes his time to employ some interesting thematic tricks.
Gischler uses dialogue to explain the grey area of morality that will reflect his band of unlikely heroes own methodology. A diner owner tells Blaze about the negative health effects that coffee can afflict. When Blaze asks how the owner of a diner who knows the problems coffee cause can still sell it, he simply answers, “What a guy can’t earn a living?” It’s subtle and packed in the first few pages to let the reader know that the journey they’re about to witness will not be your typical Good vs. Evil narrative.
As Gischler gives us his thesis statement along with his noir-like staging, Baldeón takes his time as the mortally wounded angel lumbers over to the diner. He lets the moment breath as much as it can before the ticking bomb of an exploding angel’s death loosens the tension of the introduction. He gives us emotive character expressions while color artist Andre Mossa fills each room with warm yellow light and shadows that blend in with Blaze’s black leather jacket. Mossa is playing with the light of the story to effectively let the reader in on what they should be looking at. He accentuates Baldeón’s art by ensuring that when light is used in the story that it gives the line art and inks a pop while ensuring moodier scene set ups.
It’s an incredible opening scene that unpacks much of the narrative and thematic qualities of the comic before reminding us of Blaze’s fiery powers as Ghost Rider. From there, the investigation of this angel’s death spirals into a world filled with demons and clandestine organizations affected by the coming apocalypse.
The interactions between Johnny Blaze and Daimon Hellstrom are a bit exposition heavy, but clearly demonstrate the nature of their relationship. One is the suave Private Investigator while the other is the less tactful hothead, but both together make for a great contrasting dynamic. Future issues will hopefully flesh out these character dynamics. Though without Baldeón and Mossa’s efforts on the art, the reader might feel like they’ve been knocked over the head with a lot of information.
Unfortunately the pacing of the issue lags when the villains of the book are introduced. They’re too one-dimensional, simply the catalysts of this coming apocalypse without any other motivation than they’re evil. While their characterizations are on the slimmer side, their illustrations and gothic influenced designs are excellent. One of the characters is reminiscent of Penguin from Tim Burton’s first Batman movie.
The plot doesn’t explain the bullet that killed the angel, but it does move the pieces enough to warrant starting to build of their team. The book is still one character shy of having the team fully formed by the end of the issue. Hopefully, the pacing picks up soon and does a better job of employing the tension that will inevitably plague this team. Still, it’s exciting to see what the team will be like once it’s fully formed and how they tackle this world ending catastrophe headed toward them.
Check it out! If you’re a fan of Justice League Dark or enjoy supernatural stories featuring vampires, angels, or demons then this is the book for you. It’s a part of the Marvel universe that hasn’t been as heavily explored lately, so there’s a chance for something more innovative to be designed. It’s a bit of a slow burn, but it is setting up the bigger conflict and building a world that those who love the supernatural would love to dive into. So far it has my attention and seems like it will give us a high octane supernatural mystery when it decides to pick up.