Racing For Souls With Avengers #23

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
A demonic entity has been unleashed inside of Avengers Mountain, and it’s slowly taking over the dead body of the Alpha Celestial that makes up the Avengers’ current headquarters. Captain America, Blade, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Thor struggle to contain this catastrophe while Hellstorm, aka the Son of Satan, tries to exorcise Avengers Mountain. Meanwhile, Johnny Blaze, former Ghost Rider and current King of Hell, has just challenged current Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes to a race across damnation. If Johnny wins, he takes Robbie’s power away from him…and the soul of his brother Gabe.

Avengers #23 cover by Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin
Avengers #23 cover by Stefano Caselli and Frank Martin

Avengers #23 deals with the fallout of the botched exorcism of the Hell Charger by Damian Hellstrom. An unholy creature is turning Avengers Mountain against its inhabitants, and Robbie Reyes must answer the Challenge of the Ghost Riders, which is a race against Johnny Blaze.
It’s an action-packed comic from the get-go, as we are thrown into the deep end almost immediately. Thor and She-Hulk return to the Mountain and find the mayhem taking place within, and it allows for Captain America to provide a quick recap for the reader.
The Challenge of the Ghost Riders is by far the more compelling of the two stories. It’s the more personal tale, and it also gives the reader a dose of Johnny Blaze, who hasn’t been in comics much of late.
We do discover the identity of the demonic spirit, and it’s definitely going to excite some people.
Avengers #23 art by Stefano Caselli, Jason Keith, and letterer VC's Cory Petit
Avengers #23 art by Stefano Caselli, Jason Keith, and letterer VC’s Cory Petit

Stefano Caselli continues to kill it in the art department. The two Ghost Riders receive an especially good treatment, and the action scenes are appropriately kinetic, if a little claustrophobic at times. Jason Keith’s color pops off the page with plenty of energy and vigor.
Avengers #23 is another great installment for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. We get an occult bash on two fronts as the Avengers and the Ghost Rider face demonic dangers on Earth and in Hell respectively. Mix that with some excellent visuals, and you have a comic well worth recommending. Check this one out.
Avengers #23 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 artists Alex Ross; Mike McKone with Rachelle Rosenberg; Russel Dauterman with Matthew Wilson; and Mike McKone with Edgar Delgado.
Final Score: 8/10

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