With his first explosive arc featuring Earth’s Mightiest Heroes concluded, writer Jason Aaron takes a step back in AVENGERS #7 to tell us a tale of one of the prehistoric Avengers. This issue’s story dives into the history of the first Ghost Rider, a nameless Neanderthal who gained the powers of the Spirit of Vengeance. He also rides a mammoth, which is cool.

With so much energy having already been established with the “Final Host” arc, I was wary of Aaron’s intentions to take a pause and deliver this story. I worried it would come as too much of an abrupt halt in the action. But, as a matter of fact, this is the perfect time to take a break from the main story, and the prehistoric Ghost Rider’s tale is one to enjoy.

Joining Jason Aaron for this prehistoric venture is artist Sara Pichelli. If you know anything about comic book art, then you know she’s one of the modern greats. Her art perfectly captures the dreary environments of 1,000,000 B.C., and her character designs utterly shine (with hellfire, to be exact).

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Who is the Prehistoric Ghost Rider?

When I say this Ghost Rider of old was a nameless Neanderthal, I mean it. As people didn’t really have a grasp on language way back when, the pack the soon-to-be Rider belongs to identify each other with grunts and recognize faces. However, the boy that would become the Rider is special. He actually has the ability to speak. Because of this, he is an outcast in his pack.

One day, another special visitor enters the cave of the boy’s pack. This mysterious figure also has the gift of speech, among other things. He is a skilled fighter, wielding intricate weapons, and wearing fine pelts and clothes (at least, fine for B.C. times). This stranger is obviously more than he appears to be, though. He is, in fact, some kind of monster, and as he departs from the cave, he taunts the boy to find him someday and learn his real name.

AVENGERS #7
AVENGERS #7 page 6. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The boy wanders through the snow-ridden wilderness, also known as the “Big White.” He encounters a white snake, which whispers sweet words to the boy. The snake promises power and vengeance. Once the boy utters the name “Mephisto,” the powers of the Ghost Rider are granted to him.

The Rider seeks out the monster, who is revealed to be Wendigo. The two commit to a fierce battle, one which ends poorly for both parties. But, in the end, the Rider is alive and well, and he is greeted by his soon-to-be fellow Avengers, Odin and the Phoenix.

Enhancing Aaron’s AVENGERS

As I mentioned in my review for AVENGERS #6, Jason Aaron seems to love making Marvel books that feature parallel storylines from different timelines. Since his THOR: GOD OF THUNDER series, he’s been playing with both the past, present, and future, and he always manages to make these storylines converge in some way. He’s done a beautiful job with that in all of his Thor material, and I can easily see it working out well for his Avengers material as well.

AVENGERS #7 is a testament to plain and simple yet powerful storytelling. The Ghost Rider’s story immediately gripped me. I didn’t expect to be nearly as interested as I was. But, Aaron delivers a compelling story, filled with a surprisingly interesting character with an understandable goal and plenty of well-timed action.

Simply put, Aaron continues to prove why he’s one of the hottest names in comic books right now.

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The boy’s journey from outcast to scared wanderer to haunted warrior is very fluid and natural. It may feel fast since it’s all delivered over the course of about 20 pages, but it’s well-paced, too. By the end, I really wanted more from this story and more from the prehistoric Avengers in general. There’s so much potential for great storytelling in this era, and Aaron has only begun to scratch the surface.

Whatever his plans are next for the Avengers of old, you can be sure it’ll be something worth reading about.

Sara Pichelli Needs to Be an AVENGERS Regular

I recently handed out a boatload of praise to Sara Pichelli for her work on FANTASTIC FOUR #1. If her work on that book (or any other book, for that matter) doesn’t impress you, then I should hope the pages of AVENGERS #7 do.

Pichelli’s art is utterly perfect for the tale of the first Ghost Rider. Her character designs really pull you into the time the story takes place in. The colors from Justin Ponsor add a whole other layer of depth, as well. There’s an overwhelmingly strong sense of presence and space in AVENGERS #7.

AVENGERS #7
AVENGERS #7 page 9. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Wendigo and Mephisto are particularly menacing. I absolutely love Wendigo’s human appearance; his look pulls me into the kind of story that takes place in some fantasy realm. Mephisto is just straight up terrifying, and he’s only in the book for two or three pages.

The real kicker, though, is the Ghost Rider himself. To repeat myself from earlier, he rides a freaking woolly mammoth! It’s undeniably awesome! The Rider dresses simply, which is something very unusual; it’s more common to see Ghost Rider wearing a leather jacket. But this Rider’s look is very fitting.

I mean, really, I’m just not over him riding a mammoth. He can dress up however he wants, as long as he keeps the mammoth, and he can stay up there in the top three best Ghost Riders, no problem.

AVENGERS #7
AVENGERS #7 page 14. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The big point here, though, is that Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor dominate AVENGERS #7 with their stellar artwork. I sincerely hope these two are featured in any future prehistoric Avengers tales (or any future Avengers tales, period).

We Need More Stories Like AVENGERS #7

Via a tweet from Jason Aaron himself, we have some semblance of confirmation that we will, in fact, be getting more stories like those from AVENGERS #7. He said we’ll be getting a prehistoric Iron Fist story next, which sounds awesome.

Whatever comes next for the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C., AVENGERS #7 stands in defense of how epic that team is. This introduction to the first Ghost Rider is an absolute gem. It excels as a standalone story, while also adding a whole bunch to the overall plot of Aaron’s AVENGERS. This Rider has won me over, and I’m sure he can win you over, too.

Sara Pichelli and Justin Ponsor steal the artistic show. Their pages will immediately pull you into the world of AVENGERS #7. And, like I already said, they really need to be featured in more Avengers issues. It’d be a sin to hold back such amazing talent from adding to the story of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.

Up next in AVENGERS #8, we get to see Avengers Mountain. You heard that right: Avengers. Mountain. Are you as excited as I am? I don’t think you are.

AVENGERS #7 by Jason Aaron, Sara Pichelli, and Justin Ponsor
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Characterization
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Summary
AVENGERS #7 will quickly grip you with the story of the first Ghost Rider. It's a genuinely sincere tale, one that perfectly paints a picture of who this prehistoric hero was.
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A Mammoth of a Tale

One Comment

  1. […] AVENGERS #7 gave us our first in-depth look into one of the prehistoric Avengers. We got to learn a thing or a few about the first Ghost Rider, who epically rode into battle on a freaking woolly mammoth. In AVENGERS #13, writer Jason Aaron takes us back once again to learn the origins of the very first Iron Fist. […]

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