The Battle For The Ghost Rider’s Soul In Avengers #16

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Robbie Reyes’ soul has been sent to Hell, trapped in a traffic gridlock that stretches across an impossibly vast highway. He receives a mysterious visitor though, and it frightens him. Meanwhile on Earth, the Ghost Rider has gone berserk and attacks Thor, Captain Marvel, Blade, and Captain America with the help of the Shadow Colonel, Sarge, and the Baroness. In Madripoor, Black Panther and She-Hulk battle Snowsnake and the Carpathian to protect an enclave of vampire children. Back in Russia, the Winter Guard go about interrogating Dracula himself.

Avengers #16 cover by David Marquez and Matthew Wilson
Avengers #16 cover by David Marquez and Matthew Wilson

The Vampire Civil War marches on in Avengers #16, with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes struggling to contain a globe-spanning conflict that threatens to spill out and consume the living as well as the dead.
Robbie’s story takes center stage somewhat, with the health of his soul being a major part of the conflict. The Ghost Rider’s turn is what gives the Shadow Colonel the edge, but other forces are at play here that could turn the tide. The ending twist isn’t surprising, but it’s quite cool nonetheless.
Jason Aaron’s tendency towards wordiness in his Avengers issues does drag down the pacing in parts. The story doesn’t need as much verbal explanation as it has, and it can leave you wishing the conflict would pick up the pace a little in spots.
Avengers #16 art by David Marquez, Erick Arciniega, and letterer VC's Clayton Cowles
Avengers #16 art by David Marquez, Erick Arciniega, and letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles

I can’t praise David Marquez’s artwork enough, as there isn’t a disappointing panel in the book. His character treatments and ability to imbue texture makes every page a treat, and Erick Arciniega backs him up with impeccable color work that keeps the energy and atmosphere visceral throughout.
Avengers #16 is another strong issue from Aaron, Marquez, and Arciniega. This has become one of Marvel’s best titles in the past few issues, and I hope the team can keep up the good work through the remainder of the Vampire Civil War and The War of the Realms to come. Check this one out.
Avengers #16 comes to us from writer Jason Aaron, artist David Marquez, color artist Erick Arciniega, letterer VC’s Clayton Cowles, cover artist Marquez with Matthew Wilson, and variant cover artist Greg Hildebrant.

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