At the end of the last issue readers might recall that Blackheart, the son of Mephisto, had summoned the antitheses of each of the four heroes starring in this series. What does the Ghost Rider, Red Hulk, Venom and X-23 do when each are faced with their greatest fears and weaknesses? It would make sense that the antitheses for Venom would be on point since Remender has been crafting an absolutely phenomenal VENOM series. The antitheses to Venom is perfect: The Evangelist strips Flash of Venom, leaving him laying on the ground physically crippled. He then proceeded to tear into Thompson, breaking him down mentally by bringing up his addiction to alcohol and comparing him to his Father. Remender also ropes Doctor Strange and Daimon Hellstrom into the issue and considering their respective backgrounds it makes a lot of sense.
This story is a little bit darker, taking four characters from very different corners of the Marvel Universe and bringing them together to fight a common adversary. All have very similar challenges and disadvantages, too which makes the fact that they are working together so interesting. Lee Garbett's pencils are a little bit rough in this issue, and the style is very appropriate for the darkness of the book as a whole.
Although the heroes may be dealing with the possibility of Earth becoming completely consumed by Hell, they still find the time to crack a few jokes. This book is all-around action packed fun. Remender, for the most part, really gets these characters and what makes them tick.
As amusing as the scene between Red Hulk and his antitheses Encephalon was, I was really expecting him to pose a great mental challenge over Ross as opposed to just demanding he "be depressed" and "drop and give [him] twenty." I was not too impressed with the X-666's cheer, either, and thought it was a little bit corny. Aside from that, however, I really enjoyed this issue.
It's great to see a character like Ghost Rider take center stage after having had her series canceled, and she is really the star of this issue. This is especially evident in the final pages of the book -- she's pretty fierce. The idea of pitting this particular group of characters against their antitheses is kind of perfect, too. This is proving to be a really fun mini-series and I am definitely looking forward to issue 13.2 next Wednesday.