Characters Appearing: Caretaker, Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze), Seer, Varnae, Vengeance
Spirits of Vengeance #19
Issue(s): Spirits of Vengeance #19
The first few pages are a dream sequence. Johnny Blaze is having a nightmare about Dan Ketch getting absorbed into Zarathos (as happened last issue) and the fact that Blaze is made of pure Hellfire nowadays.
Blaze wakes up, realizing that he's still a cyborg in real life. He goes to the cemetery and meets up with Vengeance.
Elsewhere in the cemetery, a boy is pushing his girlfriend to have sex.
A guy shows up introducing himself as Lord Varnae. He kills the boyfriend and starts ranting nonsense.
Either because she's scared or because she's just too dumbfounded by his archaic speaking, the girl doesn't respond, so Varnae turns into a generic vampire form and flies away, still rambling incomprehensibly.
By generic i mean it's not Varnae's usual bloated self. The fox-bat form for vampires has been used more frequently lately too, but i still find it weird.
Varnae comes across Blaze. who is still in the cemetary (Vengeance has left at this point).
Varnae tries to bite Blaze, but since Blaze's blood is Hellfire it doesn't work out for him.
Blaze and Varnae fight for a bit, with Blaze hilariously complaining about Varnae's speaking patterns.
Varnae eventually leaves, still yammering.
Caretaker shows up at the end. Blaze complains that Caretaker was keeping the truth about his relationship with Dan Ketch but Caretaker gives him a lesson. Apparently the point of all this was to create a parallel between Varnae, who has lost all of his family due to the Montesi Formula, and Blaze now that Dan is presumed dead.
From the art there's no indication that this is Varnae, and i wonder if the script was modified to make it Varnae as a way to increase his profile while he was simultaneously appearing in Nightstalkers #16-18. The cover of this issue does a similar tease as the Nightstalkers issues, promising a return of the Lord of the Vampires while showing a vampire that looks nothing like Varnae.
Statement of Ownership Total Paid Circulation: Average of Past 12 months = 306,106. Single issue closest to filing date = 216,400.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: Seer doesn't appear on-panel, but Caretaker says that she helped Varnae's female victim home. This should appear before Varnae's appearance in Nightstalkers #16-18 since Varnae is presumed killed at the end of that story.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Varnae's elaborately pretentious speech patterns here remind me of how David Quinn also scripted the demonic arch-villain M in his creator-owned series Faust: Love of the Damned. Faust co-creator Tim Vigil once commented that M is in love with the sound of his own voice. Varnae obviously suffers from the same affliction :)
Posted by: Ben Herman | October 11, 2017 4:12 PM
I wonder if Verdelet (a character that will be introduced in Midnight Sons Unlimited #6, cover date July 1994) was created to attempt to explain this discrepance somehow, and then the editors and writers forgot about it?
Posted by: Luis Dantas | October 11, 2017 6:35 PM
Luis, I don't think so- if you look at the scans fnord posted of Nightstalkers 16-18, in one of them Varnae mentions experimenting with shape-shifting forms. I think that line was meant to explain the discrepancy in Varnae's appearance in this story.
Posted by: Michael | October 11, 2017 7:55 PM
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