Monday, March 29, 2010

The Long Box #6

Words: Howard Mackie
Pictures: John Romita Jr.
December 1991

Back in the 1990's it was all about the bad ass characters. Heroes who would do what needed to be done to save lives and kick as much ass as possible.

The story of this one shot special is simple enough: Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, wants to kill his dad and take over his realm. He feels his father is outdated and he claims he doesn't want to be the devil dad is.
The quickest way out of this situation is to kill his father. Yeah, I know, how can you kill a being that represents evil and technically isn't a real being? It doesn't matter, really, one can figure only Blackheart can kill Mephisto because Blackheart is already wanting to take over.

To achieve his goals, Blackheart sends letters to three of Marvel's biggest bad asses: the Spirit of Vengreance: Ghost Rider, the X-Men's resident ass kicker: Wolverine and everyone's favorite gun man: The Punisher. He promises to give to thm ethe one thing they each want: An origin, memories returned and a family saved. He lures them to a small town called Christ's Crown and makes the offers which are promptly refused.
Blackheart doesn't take rejection well and takes over the town leading the trio to a final fight in hell itself.

The story focuses more on Ghost Rider than the others. This came out towards the end of Ghost Rider's second year in comics and not much had been revealed about his origins yet. In his monthly title we had John Blaze, the Ghost Rider in the 1970's thru 1980's, show up thinking this Ghost Rider was the same demon that made him Ghost Rider. That is one thing that carries over in this one shot as Blackheart promises to return Ghost Rider to his former glory and the devourer of souls who was Mephisto's greatest rival: Zarathos. This was one of the first times we started to get the idea that this was a different demon, if, in fact, this was a demon.
So, Dan Ketch, this Ghost Rider's human host, learns he doesn't really need the bike to transform, which wasn't something that really impacted the book for a while after this came out... and we also see Ghost Rider to head to head with Blackheart. He takes his gloves off and punches Blackheart's 'face' off literally.

Overall, it was a nice story although in retrospect I don't understand why this couldn't have been a done in one story in the monthly or maybe part of an Annual but it's a fun read. The main draw back I found was the story was pretty short. From the three main characters showing up to the resolution of the conflict, it just seemed to neat.
But that's what sequels are for I guess...

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