Sunday, March 18, 2012

Ghost Rider, Wolverine, Punisher: Hearts of Darkness, by Howard Mackie, John Romita Jr. & Klaus Janson


(pb; 1991: one-shot comic book)

From the back cover:

"Ghost Rider / Wolverine / Punisher

"A new breed of hero: Motorcycle-riding spirit of vengeance, adamantium-clawed mutant, and battle-hardened vigilante. More than their tools and their methods separate them from the rest of earth's heroes. There is something that burns more fiercely inside of them.

"Blackheart

"A new breed of villain: Evil incarnate. The insane hellspawn of Mephisto. Bent on the assassination of his father. Seeking allies, he attempts to reach into the deepest parts of the heroes' hearts and souls. . .

"Christ's Crown

"A quiet midwestern town: The residents finds themselves caught at the center of a struggle between forces they cannot comprehend. A struggle that will cause the heroes to look within themselves. A struggle that will lead to the very gates of hell itself."

Review:

A meh, tired storyline mars this cash-grab comic book that brings together three unlikely but brooding heroes, against Blackheart, and, possibly, an even larger threat.

Hearts of Darkness is disappointing and familiar fluff, when one considers the distinctive, drama-rich characters involved: even Blackheart, who, with the right key or pen-strokes, could easily be a Shakespearean villain, is treated lightly. These characters deserve better.

Intriguing artwork, an impressive, massive fold-out front and back cover, and plenty of splash page violence don't make up for the lackluster writing, but it's still cool.

Hearts of Darkness is an okay/misfire comic book, worth owning for $1 (for its solid artwork), but don't pay more than that for it.

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