Damnation: Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1
Writer: Christopher Sebela
Artist and Colorist: Phil Noto
Letterer: Travis Lanham
Review by Michael Farris, Jr.
Johnny Blaze is in hell, and getting out ain’t easy. After his suicide run on Mephisto’s Inferno Hotel to save Dr. Strange, Blaze is cast down into hell and split from the Spirit of Vengeance. As he works to fight off the minions of hell in Damnation: Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1, Blaze’s other battle is—strangely enough—convincing the Spirit of Vengeance that they still need each other and should rejoin. And as he roars his way to Mephisto’s throne in hell, he doesn’t realize he might be playing into his enemy’s hand until it’s too late.
For all the demons that Johnny Blaze encounters on his journey to get out of hell, I think my favorite part about this book was the struggle he had trying to talk the Spirit of Vengeance back into rejoining. The Spirit seems just fine being in hell with all the sinners to soul-suck, but Blaze must work to convince the Spirit that they are stronger together despite all his previous desire to be free of it. It’s a little hard to convince someone to work for the greater good when their greatest good is themselves.
The artwork in Damnation: Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1 has to deal with a wide variety of demonic creatures and does so perfectly. And while I felt like some of the hellish landscape felt a little paltry, it gave it a sense of isolation and despair that no one wants to experience for an eternity.
Verdict: Buy it.
Reading Damnation: Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider #1 is like you read Dante’s Inferno, watched a couple Mad Max movies, and then fell asleep and had a dream where the two were combined. And despite this being a testosterone-fueled romp through hell, it still seemed like it had enough philosophic or internal elements to give it depth.