Characters Appearing: Clara Menninger, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Kodiak, Quinn McIntyre, Steel Wind, Wolff
Spirits of Vengeance #20
Issue(s): Spirits of Vengeance #20
This story begins with the action having already started. Blaze has infiltrated a top secret military base in the Adirondacks. He's being supported by his surviving circus friends.
Blaze is there to upload a virus to wipe out the data that the government has collected on the people that were part of Blaze's circus that were killed in Spirits of Vengeance #9-10. But he does want the information for himself.
This is very much an X-Men plot. I mean, it was literally an X-Men plot (Uncanny X-Men #158) but just generally speaking, the idea of treating Blaze's "carnie" friends as government test subjects takes us out of the supernatural realm that the book normally lives in. Not that it's a bad plot, and the idea of the government researching and possibly attempting to weaponize (presumed) supernatural effects could be quite cool. I just think it's an interesting turn. It also feels a little out of nowhere. This was briefly, sort of, set up in Spirits of Vengeance #12 and i guess maybe Mackie intended to do something like this all along, but Blaze has been too busy with the all the world shattering crises/crossovers.
Things do take a seemingly more supernatural turn when Blaze is trying to escape the compound and is visited by the ghosts of his friends.
The ghosts tell Blaze that the government managed to capture some of the creatures that caused the massacre - Styge's demons - alive, and they help Blaze find them so he can kill them.
Blaze is stopped by a ferocious pack of nerds.
The demons escape in the tussle, but Blaze kills them. He also comes across Steel Wind.
He doesn't kill her.
Blaze then escapes thanks to the "ghosts" who decide to go on to heaven.
The story makes it seem like Steel Wind has been here since the carnival massacre, but she appeared with no fanfare during the Road To Vengeance crossover. It must actually be the case that she fell apart again after that crossover and was captured by the government.
I've always like the "going through the government compound and seeing the creepy stuff they've been researching" type scenes but Mackie doesn't really do anything with it here, and the Friendly Carnie Ghosts are a bit much.
Quality Rating: D+
Chronological Placement Considerations: The possibility that the "ghosts" are really just a delusion that Blaze is experiencing is left open, so i'm not listing them as appearing (and neither does the MCP). Takes place before Ghost Rider #50.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
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