Characters Appearing: Carver, Centurious the Soulless Man, Clara Menninger, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Kodiak, Miranda Woods, Quinn McIntyre, Steel Wind, Timothy Woods, Witch Woman, Wolff
Spirits of Vengeance #23
Issue(s): Spirits of Vengeance #23
In a symbol of how this series has failed to do anything with Blaze, Blaze's wife, Roxanne Simpson, was killed in Ghost Rider #50, and his children went missing. This series is left dealing with the aftermath of that, and isn't a direct continuation of that story.
Blaze asks Clara Menninger to search for his kids, but her psychic powers instead tell her that Centurious is still alive. Blaze goes to Steel Wind, who is still recuperating at his carnival, and accuses her of knowing about Centurious. But she's surprised.
As for Centurious, he's using Demons of Styge to collect people so that he can drain their lifeforce and recover from his injuries. He's also working with a "Witch Woman". I wonder if she is meant to be Linda Littletrees. Or maybe just an Easter egg nod to that character from Blaze's early days. Or, most likely, some random lazy word choice by Howard Mackie.
Blaze goes after Centurious but winds up getting caught by the demons. They bring him to their boss, who is about to kill him when Steel Wind arrives.
Centurious assumes that Steel Wind is ready to work for him again, but she instead helps Blaze.
Steel Wind considers killing Centurious for robbing her of her humanity. Blaze convinces her that doing so would be the opposite of what she needs.
However, Blaze doesn't see the same opportunity for redemption in himself.
It's a very grimdark kind of ending, and it's a weird contrast with the very end of the book, which says that Blaze is going to try to rebuild his carnival so that his kids will have a place to come home to.
I could see becoming a heartless killing machine and dumping the supporting cast, or showing Centurious mercy and rebuilding the carnival. But as written, the two events feel random and contradictory. Maybe Howard Mackie was constrained by what was already planned for Blaze's solo series (by Larry Hama). In any event, it's an appropriately thematically confused ending for this confused, messy series.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Takes place after Ghost Rider #50. It's been at least several nights since that issue.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The carnival, the only life Johnny has ever known. Except for all those years at Crash Simpson's cycle show. And really, everything that ever happened to him prior to Ghost Rider 63. The only life besides that.
Posted by: Mortificator | December 11, 2017 8:11 PM
Okay, this one I do remember because of the ending.
Checking on Wikipedia, it seems Centurious later returned from the dead with no explanation (of course) and was among the numerous other villains inexplicably working for the Hood during Bendis' run on Avengers.
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 11, 2017 9:19 PM
@ Ben Herman:
Posted by: Midnighter | December 12, 2017 9:12 AM
@Midnighter: That explanation would work. I just wish Bendis himself would have given as much thought to this when he was writing those New Avengers stories.
Posted by: Ben Herman | December 12, 2017 9:23 AM
That's one of the things that drove me away from Bendis' Avengers: pointless appearances of villains who had no business in being in Hood's army. Another blatant example: Doctor Demonicus...
As for this series: what a mess. BTW. I actually do think that Mackie meant to reference Linda Littletrees with this "Witch Woman"...
Posted by: Piotr W | December 12, 2017 4:34 PM
Except that Linda had a completely irreconcilable appearance in a Ghost Rider Annual around this time.
Posted by: Michael | December 12, 2017 11:28 PM
I'm confused- Steel Wind talks about how Carver tore off her limbs. When did he do that?
Posted by: Michael | December 12, 2017 11:57 PM
Hey, maybe Carver used to work for the Freakmaster.
Posted by: fnord12 | December 13, 2017 1:13 PM
@Michael: I'm not saying that this *is* Linda Littletrees. I'm just saying that Mackie was probably intending a homage here or something like that...
Posted by: Piotr W | December 13, 2017 4:30 PM
Comments are now closed.
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