Things are about to get dark in the Marvel Universe.
Spirits of Vengeance is bringing the creepy and the supernatural to the Legacy relaunch. The five-issue limited series, which debuts later this fall, will feature a dream team of Marvel's most macabre characters: Johnny Blaze (aka Ghost Rider), Damien Hellstrom, Satana, and Blade are all going to hell and back to uncover an otherworldly mystery involving a murdered undercover angel, a silver bullet, and the eternal battle between the dark and the light. SYFY WIRE has an exclusive look at the first nine pages of issue #1 of Spirits of Vengeance!
All four characters are familiar to longtime Marvel readers, especially those who remember the early '90s hit series of the same name. We chatted up writer Victor Gischler and artist David Baldeon to find out why their Spirits of Vengeance isn't just a nostalgic exercise, and to get the scoop on who else from Marvel's otherwordly cast of characters might make an appearance in the series.
Spirits of Vengeance is a book comics fans of the early '90s remember fondly. And Marvel has said Legacy is about embracing its rich past. But Victor, you’ve said this isn’t some nostalgia trip. What is your goal for this book?
Victor Gischler: I've not approached it as a nostalgia trip, but that's not to say it won't push some nostalgia buttons. I'm sure there will be a good number of readers who will be thrilled to see the band's back together. The idea of bringing back the Spirits is squarely within the Legacy mission statement, but my goal is simply to tell the best story possible that fits these characters.
I've long felt that the supernatural corner of the Marvel U has been underutilized. Are you both excited to get a chance to play in this dark creepy playground?
David Baldeon: Absolutely. First, because of the playground itself. It is true that we have not seen this part of the Marvel Universe for some time. And certainly not like this, and that’s another cause to be excited! The take that this book has on the Marvel dark, supernatural corner is one I have not seen before. And of course, the chance to stretch my horror-fan legs a bit and get to play with these toys just adds to the fun and the excitement.
VG: Ditto what David said. Also, this goes with what I said above about trying to tell a story that fits the characters. We're not telling a Spider-Man story or a Captain America story here. This story goes to that dark corner you mentioned ... and yet "dark corner" horror can often be small and intimate. We're going about grander here with the tale we're telling. It's a story worthy of the powers and skills of these characters.
You’ve put together a supergroup featuring the biggest and baddest of Marvel’s macabre. Give us a tease of the kinds of menaces they will be dealing with. Can you tell us any names?
VG: No names ... but I will say this. The villains are a one-two punch of an old character from deep within the Marvel archives and a brand-new face created just for this book. As a writer, this is the best of both worlds for me. The character plucked from the past got a great new creepy makeover from David, and his design for the new villain will knock out your eyeballs.
Who is the leader? Because any of them could easily be seen as taking point in their bloody quest.
VG: Hellstrom [as opposed to Hellstorm!] is the leader, but not because he stepped up and demanded to be the boss. He simply saw what needed to be done and everyone else saw it too and followed along. As you imply, none of these other characters are really "natural followers." But Hellstrom is sort of the macabre Reed Richards of the group. His leadership stems more from his knowledge and experience than it does from whipping a fiery trident around.
As the title implies, these are not your typical heroes. They’re out for blood. How dark will this book go? And David, what’s your approach to capturing the supernatural vibe of this book?
DB: Pretty much the same as with any other project, which is character, character, character. And that’s really easy to do when all the characters are so wonderfully fleshed out in the script. They have their own voice, and a very clear one, and that translates smoothly into their own demeanors, their little subtle things that set them apart from each other. And then, yeah, they burst into flames and summon the fires of hell and behead the undead, and all that’s fun to draw. And believe me, it’s FUN to draw. But all the fun and pyrotechnics just work at their full potential when they are supported by a backbone of real characters that do what’s right with what they have. So that’s my approach, making Johnny and Daimon and the rest look as real as possible so the doing-the-right-thing part and the dark part make sense. The fact that I really like these guys as Victor writes them helps!
Also, let me mention the outstanding work that Andres Mossa is doing with the color. He’s illuminating the book, rather than just coloring it.
VG: David and Andres have teamed perfectly to nail the vibe. This is still a mainstream book, but yes, darker than average. Out for blood? Yeah. Lots of that. Oh my.