Spirits of Vengeance: Rise of the Midnight Sons

spirits of vengeance rise of the midnight sons cover trade paperback tpb
6.5 Overall Score
Story: 6/10
Art: 7/10

Somewhat interesting characters, nostalgia

Typical of 1990s comics

 
Comic Info

Comic Name: Ghost Rider (Volume 2)/Ghost Rider & Blaze:  Spirits of Vengeance/Morbius (Volume 1)/Darkhold/Nightstalkers/Web of Spider-Man (Volume 1)/Midnight Sons Unlimited

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer: Howard Mackie/Len Kaminski/Christian Cooper/D.G. Chichester

Artist: Andy Kubert/Adam Kubert/Ron Wagner/Richard Case/Ron Garney/Alex Saviuk/Klaus Janson

# of Issues: 14

Release Date: 2016

morbius #1 cover rise of the midnight sons review

Morbius (1) #1

Reprints Ghost Rider (2) #28, 31, Ghost Rider & Blaze:  Spirits of Vengeance #1-6, Morbius (1) #1, Darkhold #1, Nightstalkers #1, Web of Spider-Man (1) #95-96, and Midnight Sons Unlimited #1 (August 1992-January 1993).  Danny Ketch is dead.  Unfortunately, Ghost Rider and Johnny Blaze won’t have time to deal with the crisis since that an older evil has returned to Earth.  Lilith the Mother of Demons has been reborn and is trying to reestablish herself and the Lilin as the rulers of Earth.  It is up to Johnny and Ghost Rider to assemble a team of “heroes” to stop the Lilith…and the Darkhold Redeemers, Morbius, and the Nightstalkers must find a way to work together if they want to stop the darkness from rising!  Plus, Ghost Rider and Blaze must work with Venom and Spider-Man when a danger arises.

Written by Howard Mackie, Len Kaminski, Christian Cooper, and D.G. Chichester, Spirits of Vengeance:  Rise of the Midnight Sons was a 1990s Marvel event series.  The collection features art by Andy Kubert, Adam Kubert, Ron Wagner, Richard Case, Ron Garney, Alex Saviuk, and Klaus Janson.  The original issues were polybagged with a collectible poster. The “Spirits of Venom” storyline was also collected in the Spider-Man vs. Venom Omnibus.

In 1992, Ghost Rider was a hot commodity.  The “Dark ’90s” were swelling and leather coats, chains, shoulder pads, and lots of fire really seemed to sell.  While Image was taking off, Marvel’s idea was to go dark and gritty with characters like Ghost Rider, Venom, and Punisher.  The Midnight Sons was an attempt to turn Ghost Rider into a “family” book and bring other titles under its mantle…which was so-so in its success.

In 1990s, a series pretty much seemed to get twelve issues or so to prove itself as opposed to the five or six issues received today, and that is why Midnight Sons was somewhat successful since most of the titles did pass the twelve issue mark…but none of the spin-off titles really soared.  The collection features the core six issue storyline which assembles Midnight Sons and then the following issues of the Ghost Rider/Blaze…but it is so ’90s in its delivery and storytelling that it is both fun and frustrating.

nightstalkers #1 cover rise of the midnight sons blade

Nightstalkers #1

The Midnight Sons storyline reintroduced Morbius and the Nightstalkers (which included the return of Blade who continues to be used).  The story also introduced the rather interesting Darkhold Redeemers for which I had a soft spot.  The series was essentially an X-Files (or Friday the 13th:  The Series) type of show with the characters hunting down cursed items.  They didn’t really fit in well with the other Midnight Sons and rather interesting, they revealed the lead character was a lesbian which was ahead of the time.

The second part of the collection features a Venom story so with Venom and Ghost Rider together, it couldn’t get much more ’90s.  It is an average story, but most of the comics from this period are.  There was a big focus on art over substance and Marvel lost a lot of the big artists to Image…so they have a tricky balance between art and story.

Spirits of Vengeance:  Rise of the Midnight Sons is a great example of the success and failings of the 1990s.  While even in the 1990s, I could recognize that the stories lacked a lot of depth and the characters were rather one dimensional, the comics were comics and still had fun.  Much of the stories today seem to forget the fun and go for realism (appealing to older readers), but older readers often want the escapism that is provided by earlier issues.  I look with nostalgia back on collections like this even if they are the strongest (which is a little sad itself).

Related Links:

Ghost Rider:  Danny Ketch Classic—Volume 1

Ghost Rider:  Danny Ketch Classic—Volume 2

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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