The Avengers have been brought back to prominence under Jason Aaron’s guiding hand. Bringing in the Celestials as the first big threat that the newly formed Avengers brought a lot of previously unknown information about the Marvel Universe to the forefront. With the new information that we learned there were a lot of questions brought up when it pertains to the true history of the Earth in the Marvel Universe. That is something that seems to be tied to the Avengers 1,000,000 BC team that Aaron introduced in the Marvel Legacy comic. Now Aaron is going to, hopefully, offer a few answers with Avengers #7 that seems to spotlight Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC. Let’s see if what we can discover about Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC with Avengers #7.
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Sara Pichelli
Inkers: Sara Pichelli and Elisabetta D’Amico
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the 1,000,000 BC time period somewhere in a cave on Earth one of the kids living in a cave has develop an intellect that allows him to have complex thoughts and speak a form of English, something he keeps from his fellow cavemen.
One day an unknown person shows up in the cave and kills several cavemen to become the leader of the pack. While the other cavemen celebrate their new leader the kid from earlier is the only one to show fear for him.
The new leader confronts the kid and reveals he can also speak and have complex thought. After telling the kid they are the same the new leader says they are the masters of this world. He goes on to say the cavemen are just tools to make them stronger, specifically by dying.
The new leader suddenly transforms into a monster and eats all of the cavemen. He eats all of them except the kid and leaves.
Now alone the kid decides to venture out into the world. When he collapses from the intense cold a white snake wraps itself around the kid.
The snake starts talking about how he is the only one that can give the kid the power to cause pain, punishment and vengeance. All the snake wants is for the kid to say his true name. Dying of the intense cold the kid says “Mephisto.” The kid then transforms into the Spirit of Vengeance, now going by the name “The Rider” because he is known to ride mammoths.
Five years later The Rider finds the man who killed his pack and threatens to kill him. The man transforms to his monster form and reveals his true name is Wendigo.
The Rider and Wendigo start fighting. Thanks to his experience Wendigo easily gains the upper hand. Even when The Rider creates a chain out of the bones from Wendigo’s previous victims The Rider still can’t stop Wendigo.
The Rider’s mammoth stabs Wendigo with one of his tusks. Wendigo quickly breaks the mammoth’s tusks. Wendigo then pushes the mammoth and himself into a gorge. While he falls the Wendigo promises to The Rider that he will return.
Feeling alone once again The Rider is suddenly confronted by Odin and Phoenix. They both tell The Rider that they need his help to save the world. End of issue.
The Good: Avengers #7 gets the job done in terms of providing an origin story for Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC. Though it is questionable given what we learn, or don’t learn for that matter, if an entire issue needed to be dedicated to this character. That is a question that Avengers #7 never gets past as the layers in the storytelling from previous issue are not present in this issue.
One of the good things that Avengers #7 has going for it is the pacing. The story moves at a brisk pace that even if you don’t care about this version of Ghost Rider the story itself goes by quick. The quick pace made it easier to get through as you weren’t reading walls of dialogue. That lead to making this version of Earth feel like the the environment was the most dangerous thing in the world.
The other positive that can be said about Avengers #7 is the use of Wendigo. Putting Wendigo in the role of the first Earth based villain actually adds to what was previously established with the character. This is something that makes sense for the character to exist in this time period. It also builds him up to be a bigger threat in the future. That is something that couldn’t be said about Wendigo, who has been more of a secondary villain for most of his career. Aaron elevating Wendigo deserves a lot of credit for.
Sara Pichelli provided Avengers #7 consistent artwork that brought to life Earth in 1,000,000 BC. Pichelli did a particularly good job with how she showed the fear of Ghost Rider before he became the Spirit of Vengeance while witnessing Wendigo eating all of his people. She got across how new of a feeling this was for Ghost Rider to experience. And even though Ghost Rider’s design does not leave a lot of room to have the character show emotion Pichelli did show through the character’s motions he was driven by revenge in his fight with Wendigo.
The Bad: Though Avengers #7 has a few things going for it Aaron never got passed this issue feeling like a filler story to buy time for the next storyline. A large part of that is due to there being zero build up to this big origin story for Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC. Up until now outside of the shots of the Avengers 1,000,000 BC team shot this version of Ghost Rider has not appeared in a story in any form. That lack of build up made it tough to connect with this Ghost Rider since we did not have anything to be invested in.
It is even more confusing given that Avengers #7 would’ve worked much better if it was a spotlight issue for Odin or Phoenix from this time period. Both these are characters that Marvel readers have some connection or knowledge of. Especially with Odin being a present in what the current Avengers conflict with the Celestials it would’ve made sense to spotlight who he was during this time period. If that was the route that was taken then Aaron could’ve planted seeds as to why Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC is someone readers want to learn more about.
Not having that investment in Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC made the begin portion of this issue to lack momentum until Wendigo revealed his true form and ate the kid’s pack. Until that moment both the kid and Wendigo were nameless figures that were just acting as narrator’s for this world. Again, this falls on the lack of a connection with this time period since we don’t have a character like Odin or Phoenix that could shepard the reader into the dangers of this time period.
It does not help that once the kid does become Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC he is still not shown to be competent with his Spirit of Vengeance powers. This is particularly problematic since Aaron does state that there was a five year period that the kid had his Ghost Rider powers before meeting Wendigo again. It makes the reader immediately question what this Ghost Rider was doing for this five years because the way he was easily overpowered it did not seem like he did any training. This just made it even harder to get behind this version of Ghost Rider since even with five years to get a good handle of the powers that is not something that is ever apparent.
Aaron driving home how Ghost Rider got his name by Wendigo calling The Rider a ghost was eye rolling. It just screamed of trying to be clever rather than the name of the Ghost Rider being something that is a natural part of the story. For this naming to be effective it would’ve been better if there was a slow build to what the kid’s name is. And given what Mephisto told the kid it actually would’ve made more sense for him to go by the name of Spirit of Vengeance than Ghost Rider.
Additionally, while Ghost Rider’s mammoth’s sacrifice was intended to be an emotional ending to the fight with Wendigo it just didn’t hit that note. That is due in large part to the fact that we don’t know if Ghost Rider had an emotional connection to this mammoth. Even the dialogue before the fight seemed to imply this wasn’t the first mammoth that Ghost Rider rode. Without spending time seeing their relationship develop and what they’ve been through together the mammoth’s sacrifice lack the emotional resonance it should’ve had.
Overall: Jason Aaron clearly had his best intentions in mind by trying to use Avengers #7 to reveal Ghost Rider 1,000,000 BC. Unfortunately this is something that was not built to, making it tough to actually connect with this version of Ghost Rider. It does not help that certain story choices just further drove home how uninteresting this version of Ghost Rider is. That all added up to Avengers #7 turning out to be nothing more than a filler comic book that you can pass on reading.