Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Aaron Kuder
Colorist: Jason Keith
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: October 2, 2019
The King of Hell part 1
After the events in Doctor Strange: Damnation Johnny Blaze takes the Throne of Mephisto and names himself King of Hell. Now it’s time to see if he is a just ruler or if he just rules with a devil horned heavy metal iron chained fist.
We open in the pits of hell with Mephisto loyal demons performing a ritualistic sacrifice on a Ghost Rider loyal demon. This sacrifice gives them the power needed to open a portal to Earth, but before they are able to pass through the vail their unelected King comes to reclaim their damned souls in a glorious ferocious flurry of chains.
Arriving too late to stop all the demons we get our first arc plot thread of this new flaming skull series. King Blaze must cross through the vail and collect the demons and return them to whence they came.
I can already tell you in this first four-page opening sequence I am completely sold on this comic. The comically grotesque demons, the Spawn like chains, the radiant colored flames, with just the right amount of informative narration from our king of hell draws you right into this number one. And if that is not enough we end up getting two Ghost Riders in this book!
Johnny moves through New York re-acclimating himself to his human form and to the stench of human sin. The scene moves to Danny Ketch at his bar the Fadeaway. Danny has picked a fight with a couple of his bar patrons for being overly handsy with his bartender. But before he is able to unleash hell and fury upon these two bozos Danny’s ex-girlfriend, Police Officer Stacy Dolan steps in to stop the scuffle and to deliver some much-needed exposition. ( I know next to nothing about Danny Ketch Ghost Rider, so this helped me a great deal).
Apparently, Danny’s mother has just recently passed and he has been taking it hard and hitting the bottle even harder. So he transforms into the Ghost Rider to go out into the world and find something evil to punch in the face. Luckily for him, demons have just escaped hell making it so he doesn’t have to look far. Unluckily for him, he just happens to stumble upon one of the bigger ones to make the escape. With some quick thinking, and a can-do attitude he is able to get this big boy to his recital exam on time.
Johnny makes his presence known to Danny to once again ask him for help rounding up more of these demons, but Danny refuses to help. This leaves Danny on Earth rather than at home gathering and consolidating his power as King and if he isn’t going to do it maybe its time for a Queen to rule.
I am super stoked for this series. I have been missing some Kuder in my life since he stopped being the full-time artist on Guardians of the Galaxy. His phenomenal, bombastic energetic art style is quintessential comic storytelling match it with Jason Keiths vibrant color palette and you can practically feel the heat off the page. Brisson’s story with Caramagna’s letters flow through this issue at a breakneck pace. This is how a #1 should be done! They even give you an overall breakdown of Hell in the Marvel universe at the end for better understanding. Plus a sample of the art you can expect from the other full-time artist of this series Juan Frigeri.