Tuesday, May 15, 2018

We saw the 1994 Warren Ellis written one a couple years back, and I swear I have another one lying around somewhere, but today we've got another Ghost Rider annual: from 2008, Ghost Rider Annual #1, "The Eleventh Hour" Written by Stuart Moore, pencils and tones by Ben Oliver, color art by Jose Villarrubia.

At that time, Johnny Blaze had escaped from hell but released Lucifer in doing so. Lucifer's soul was broken into 666 pieces (that's a little on the nose, don't you think?) and each piece went into a recently deceased corpse. Johnny had to hunt down and destroy each one, although every one he killed, the rest got stronger. That sounds like the plot engine for a mid-budget TV show, but doable; yet it's only the background for this issue. A Lucifer avatar hits a bar, and kills everyone in it for kicks, except for a man he recognizes and calls "Eleven." Eleven wants to set up a meeting, I think with Johnny Blaze? It's not entirely clear. The avatar thinks he doesn't need Eleven around to double cross him, and then kills him when he backtalks with some scripture. But, after what would be low-budget effects on TV, Eleven comes back to life in the body of the dead bartender. He remembers being there for Jesus's crucifixion, and seems to also remember time in Hell and Heaven. But he seemed to on the outs with both.

For whatever ulterior motive he might have, Eleven wants to ingratiate himself to the Ghost Rider, and intervenes in his fight with this Lucifer avatar. Seemingly mortally wounded, he asks the Rider to show him what he really is, and the Rider uses what I'm guessing is the Penance Stare, even though the Blaze Rider didn't have that back in the day. Eleven appears as a devil, then as an angel, the latter he did not intend to show: imploring himself to "keep it together," he tells the Rider Heaven deserves his wrath more than hell.

As a confused Johnny considers what happened, Eleven moves into a seagull, plotting to see Johnny again. I don't know if he did, or if Johnny wrapped up all the Lucifers, since Ghost Rider has probably had two resets since then. I also don't know how I got this comic; I'm betting out of a quarter box. It's bland and confusing: I think Eleven was supposed to be a disciple, but looking it up the eleventh was usually Jude, who I don't think traditionally had powers or was interesting. The bar scene is derivative as all get out: one character's trying to have a conversation on a pay phone during the mayhem, while another at the bar doesn't seem to notice what's happening until his heart is punched out. Oddest of all, the color palette is really subdued. A guy with a flaming head should maybe pop a bit more.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

Probably, but I actually like the palette they went with here. Sounds like a legit good, solid story. I remember this plot around the time of the 1st Civil War. I liked then, still do, just need to play catch up I guess unless it's all collected in trade.