Writer: Ed Brisson
Artist: Juan Frigeri
Colorist: Jason Keith
Cover Artists: Will Sliney & Chris Sotomayor
The Ghost Rider is back! Not Robbie Reyes. Not Danny Ketch. The first Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze is back and he’s the King of Hell. It’s been a major responsibility keeping the denizens of Hell under control but some of them got loose. Now Ed Brisson will be able to continue his Ghost Rider story in the tie-in King in Black: Ghost Rider #1.
If you’re interested in this comic or any of the others mentioned, simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon.
So, I’ll be real with readers. This comic is not really about the King In Black event. It barely has anything to do with this story. This is really Ed Brisson getting the chance to wrap up the story in his 2018 or 2019 Ghost Rider series that was canceled right around when the COVID-19 pandemic started. Heck, some sources say that it was even planning to be canceled even before that. But Brisson uses every opportunity here to conclude his story.
From the beginning, we see a familiar sight of Johnny Blaze, Ghost Rider and present king of Hell, dragging Mephisto, former Lord of Hell, with chains while riding to hunt down escaped demons. Then all of a sudden, he almost runs into one of Knull’s symbiote dragons. That’s how this comic kicks off right into the meat of it. From there, Johnny meets up with his brother Danny Ketch as the new Death Rider, another holdover from Brisson’s story, and Blackheart, Mephisto’s son trying to help him return to power.
Naturally, Johnny doesn’t trust Blackheart and is about to go town on him but Danny and their ally the new Caretaker convince him to put that aside to fight some symbiote-infused demons. The fights are cool especially when Johnny’s powers are put on display in certain moments. Juan Frigeri does amazing work in this comic, especially in drawing all the main characters and the monsters here too. Jason Keith’s colors are also pretty great when showing Mephisto, Blackheart, and Johnny Blaze as the Ghost Rider with his Hell crown.
Ultimately, this story concludes restring Mephisto back to power while Johnny, Danny, and the Caretaker go help out fight Knull’s invasion. It doesn’t hide the fact that this is less about the Ghost Riders helming out during Knull’s symbiote invasion and more about Ed Brisson finally resolving his story. Mephisto’s back on the throne ruling Hell with Blackheart, while Johnny has to give up the rule of Hell that he’s fought so hard for.
It’s clear that this isn’t what Ed Brisson exactly wanted to happen. The comic even highlights this after Johnny releases Mephisto and Danny says to him, “I know this isn’t the ending ending you wanted. It’s messy. and we all hoped it could go a different way. But sometimes you have to take what you can get.”
The comic then has 2 epilogues. The first is just one page showing two characters, Danny’s bar keeper Emma and his ex-girlfriend Stacy, waking up in Danny’ s bar safe and sound after being temporarily possessed by Blackheart. With Stacy advising Emma to find a job somewhere else and not hang around Danny if she doesn’t want to deal demons in her life. The second is just two pages showing Mephisto settling back on his throne in Hell.
King In Black: Ghost Rider #1 gives Ed Brisson the chance to conclude the story he started in his Ghost Rider series. You get demons, symbiote dragons, and Ghost Rider all illustrated by Juan Frigeri and great colors by Jason Keith. The comic takes advantage of the wider King In Black event to resolve most of the plot lines from Brisson’s previous Ghost Rider series here. Of course, some parts of the story feel rushed and force certain resolutions to happen. Overall, fans of Ed Brisson’s Ghost Rider series will find some payoff here, even if it’s not the strongest it could be.