Writer: Jason Aaron
Art: Aaron Kuder with Carlos Magno, Scott Hanna, Roberto Poggi, Cam Smith, and Guru-eFH
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: January 26th, 2022
In Avengers Forever #2, Deathlok and Ghost Rider are held prisoner on Earth-818 by the Black Skull, a ruthless combination of Red Skull and Venom. Black Skull tortures Ghost Rider, trying to get information on where he came from and his mission, and Ghost Rider faces the grimmest and hardest test of will he’s ever had to face.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any others that were mentioned then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
Reading Avengers Forever #2 is like watching a “Saw” film, with the bulk of the issue showing The Black Skull cycling through increasing levels of torture to break Ghost Rider. In the process, we learn something about Robbie Reyes and his place in the multiverse, which is about the only plus to this issue. I suppose Jason Aaron is trying to show how brutal the Black Skull is, but do we really need to spend over half the issue showing him treating Ghost Rider like a slab of beef? I would have loved to see more of the Tony Stark Ant-Man of this world, and his band of Earth-818 Avengers. Tony makes a tiny (no pun intended) appearance at the very end of the issue, but why didn’t we get to see him formulate his plan to rescue Ghost Rider and Deathlok, or at least see him and his teammates preparing for their mission?
The Earth-818 Tony Stark was the most interesting character of the last issue. Deathlok isn’t exactly Mister Personality, Robbie’s staying mum and the Black Skull is posturing and slicing. And that’s pretty much all we get this issue. There’s a brief moment where the Earth-818 Ghost Goblin appears, who seems like another interesting character that we only get to see for a page and a half.
Deathlok seems genuinely useless here. We see him sitting in his cell like Buddha, coming to life only long enough to give Ghost Rider a pep talk before Robbie’s dragged out for another round of torture. Deathlok’s got loads of armament and armor. Wouldn’t he at least attempt to bust out? It just seems very out of character for him to just sit there. Hopefully, the next issue will focus more on the Earth-818 Ant-Man as he tries to bust Deathlok and Ghost Rider out of there. Or maybe we’ll just get “Saw 2” and another issue of torturing?
Aaron Kuder and Carlos Magno’s art for Avengers Forever #2 shows all the grim goings-on this issue in gory detail. The Black Skull is drawn to be especially imposing, his Venom form able to form giant car-sized fists that he uses to smash bodies around him. Ghost Rider’s hellfire bursts light up the page in a swirling cloud of orange plasma. Ghost Goblin, an ally of the Black Skull, has an interesting design, and hope we see more of him next issue.
Avengers Forever #2 would have benefitted from branching plotlines, with Ghost Rider’s torture sequences periodically switching to see what Earth-818 Ant-Man and his team were doing. By the end of the issue, I was saying “Okay, we’ve got it, the Black Skull is pretty terrible”, but Ant-Man’s Iron Ants are always welcome.