WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers #700, by Jason Aaron, David Marquez, Ed McGuinness, Frazer Irving, Adam Kubert, Andrea Sorrentino, Justin Ponsor, Erick Arciniega, Matthew Wilson, Giada Marchisio and VC's Cory Petit, out now.
In the latest Avengers run, Robbie Reyes has set out on a road of self-discovery. Not only is the young Ghost Rider figuring more about his potential to be a superhero, he's finally honing his powers. From the Penance Stare to riding a Celestial as a vessel, Reyes is coming into his own, truly believing he can be one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes.
In Avengers #700, though, as Robbie continues this journey, he finds himself in trouble. Luckily, he ends up with brand-new mentor of godly proportions along the way when he partners with none other than Thor's dad, Odin.
The last time we saw Odin, he was wallowing in his self-pity and overall failures in the ruins of Old Asgard. There, he helped Thor and She-Hulk power up to take on the Final Host which Loki brought to Earth so the Dark Celestials could purge the planet. As that battle raged on, Odin was left alone in his desolate throne room, contemplating what could have been.
In this giant-sized issue, Robbie is attacked out of the blue by Odin, just outside th your Avenger's apartment. It turns out the All-Father is out for revenge for Robbie killing the last Starbrand in last year's Marvel Legacy #1. Robbie's beaten, but just as Odin is about to finish him off, he confesses the killing was an accident. And it was; Robbie's Penance Stare manifested out the blue during the confrontation with the Starboard, overloading and killing him. With this revelation coming to light, Odin decides to spare Robbie, realizing he isn't a murderer after all.
IAs he calms down, Odin blames himself for Starbrand's demise as he's the one who buried the Progenitor (aka, the dead Celestial that invited Loki's horde over) to Earth in the first place, and it seemed that this recent Celestial invasion terrified Starbrand, driving him mad. After all, these cosmic entities killed the Starbrand in the primitive era where Odin and he were part of the Avengers of 1,000,000 B.C. Nonetheless, Robbie comforts Odin, recognizing the Norse god is simply drunk and in need of a shoulder to lean on.
Odin and the young man exchange histories, with the All-Father offering the young hero advice on fighting the good fight. More so, Odin warns the newcomer that because his own Starbrand and mammoth-riding Ghost Rider didn't get along, there's a chance the next Starbrand could return to seek vengeance on Robbie. The new Rider, however, shows no fear and Odin gains immense respect as he sees a warrior in him.
In a potentially major character changing moment, Robbie asks for mentorship, seeing as the All-Father has witnessed Midgard's entire history unfold and led his own Avengers. Most of all, though, Robbie is curious how the other Riders came to be, because unlike them, he died and was reborn as the Spirit of Vengeance, never making a deal with any demonic entity. Odin does tell him maybe he did and he just can't remember, which inspires Robbie to want to become his protégé and gain wisdom for what's to come.
The veteran warrior, however, tells him they'll reconvene at another time, asking Robbie to take him on a joyride for now. He encourages him to cut loose as well in a warm, bonding moment that provides Robbie with the father figure he's been seeking in Cap and Iron Man, while offering Odin a sentimental moment with a "son" again, a moment that's likely to have major repercussions on his life as Thor and Loki no longer share any emotional connection to him.
What's worth noting is Odin promises to make a "survivor" out of Robbie because they both sense a dark future is looming, something a surprising oracle -- the Phoenix-powered Wolverine -- already pointed out to Loki. If that's the case, the Avengers will need all hands on deck, and the new Ghost Rider couldn't ask for someone more helpful than the former King of Asgard to show him the ropes.