[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Robbie Reyes is taking his little brother, Gabe, to school when the Hellrider begins talking. It wants blood and restrains Gabe with flaming chains. Robbie is terrified that the car will kill his little brother, but it all stops suddenly when Robbie and Gabe get to the school. Robbie then goes to the Avengers for help, but things seem to go wrong immediately. Thankfully, the Black Panther has called a consultant. Meanwhile, Thor, Iron Man, She-Hulk, and Okoye investigate a cave in Turkey that send Wakandan miners screaming in terror.
Avengers #22 begins the next big story for the series, which finds the spirit of the Ghost Rider haunting Robbie like never before while Thor and Iron Man find a strange relic. It’s a story that spotlights Robbie Reyes more than any other member of the team, and I begin to wonder if Jason Aaron took on this series specifically to write about Robbie Reyes–if so, mad respect to the man.
In all seriousness, it is an engaging issue for sure, and Robbie is a great character. The strange mystery uncovered by Okoye makes for an interesting new lead in Iron Man’s part in the team.
Blade gets plenty of good moments in this book as well, but he’s not the most supportive person when it comes to Robbie’s Ghost Rider problems.
Stefano Caselli is the artist on this issue, and his style suits the Avengers excellently. It’s dynamic, detailed, and expressive, and there’s an appealing smoothness to many scenes which is balanced out by nice texturing. Jason Keith’s color work is great too, and it adds a warmth and liveliness that oddly suits the story’s theme of damnation.
Avengers #22 gives a strong start to the “Challenge of the Ghost Riders” story. Robbie is more frightened than ever of the powers that possess him, and Iron Man must question his place in the universe as he knows it. It’s a damn solid read, and the series earns another recommendation. Check it out.
Avengers #22 comes to us from writer Jason Aaron, artist Stefano Caselli, color artist Jason Keith, letterer VC’s Cory Petit, cover artist Stefano Caselli with Frank Martin, and variant cover artist Jung-Geun Yoon.
Final Score: 8.5/10