SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE #2
Writer: Victor Gischler
Artist: David Baldeón
Colorist: Andres Mossa
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Release Date: 11/8/17
Plot: Heaven and Hell have called a truce for millennia, but a new weapon could change all that and shift the balance of power. After assembling Johnny Blaze and Blade, Hellstorm takes the team to find out about the mystery of the magic bullet. They escape near death, but Necrodamus’s evil plot moves forward and the team must bring in Satana to stop him.
Story: Heaven versus Hell isn’t a new story, but Spirits of Vengeance #2 presents a fun take by looking at what would happen if there was a weapon that could lead one side to victory and throwing in Marvel’s supernatural characters. Part of what makes this book easy to pick up and read is the familiarity of the tale. Most readers will have been exposed to biblical concepts through other literature, so Gischler doesn’t have to spend too much time setting up that history and can just make references.
What Gischler could spend more time on is setting up the villains. Writing this review I had to go back to the issue several times to remember their names because they were so forgettable. While we know what they’re after, I don’t yet know their true motivation.
And while the team of supernatural beings has some chemistry and there are plenty of humorous moments, this issue focuses a lot on Hellstorm and Johnny Blaze. Blade has yet to play a significant role and it feels like he was just thrown in because team-ups usually have at least four heroes. Satana has some great scenes in the book, but we don’t see yet how she’ll fit in with the others. Readers want to believe in the heroes, but right now it doesn’t feel like they even believe in what they’re doing and are just being dragged around by Hellstorm.
I hope things start to come together because I’d love to see Marvel continue to play in this space more. However, that’s not going to happen if they can’t even get these concepts to work in a mini-series.
Art: The art shines in larger spreads instead of the details of action sequences. The action scenes seem messy and muddled and don’t highlight and balance the strengths of the different team members. It also doesn’t help all the demons look exactly the same, adding to the confusion about who they’re actually fighting in this series.
Non-action scenes, however, feel much more at home in this book building up the fantasy of the world of angels and demons. The panels of the ancient scrolls within the story look authentic and ancient, contrasting against the glossier style of the art. Andres Mossa’s coloring really does a great job of making the atmosphere with his coloring and shading, bringing flames alive so that you can almost feel the heat emanating from the pages. This is especially true in the bonfire scene where it starts zoomed out on the cold blue night before zooming into the cult’s ritual.
Verdict: If you love supernatural stories, or just want something different than the normal superhero stories Marvel focuses on, pick up this book. Marvel doesn’t do a lot with these characters in the universe overall, so it’s fun to see them get to play in their world of angels and demons. However, even with an interesting concept, there are some weaknesses the story is still working on including lackluster villains and a lack of chemistry in the team-up.
Rating: 3.5/5 Stars