WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Avengers #24 by Jason Aaron, Stefano Caselli, Luciano Vecchio, Jason Keith and VC's Cory Petit, on sale now.
Robbie Reyes' career as an Avenger has certainly been one of the most life-changing experiences ever. Not only has he been levelling up and unlocking more of his potential, but Robbie's also discovering bits of information hinting that he may be the most powerful Ghost Rider ever.
This has led to Johnny Blaze, the King of Hell, forcibly challenging Robbie and his Hellcharger car to a race in the fiery pits of his kingdom. But in Avengers #24, Robbie gets a lot more than he bargained for in the form of a family reunion that may have well broken him for good.
With the Cosmic Ghost Rider up top on Earth fending off the Avengers, Robbie's left on his own to defeat Johnny, who wants to win the race and claim Robbie's powers. As much as they're a burden, though, Robbie knows he needs them to protect his brother, Gabe, and the rest of the world alongside Earth's Mightiest Heroes. But just when Robbie seems to be getting an upper hand against Johnny's bike, the Spirit of Vengeance that belongs to his rival calls up a familiar face in Robbie's uncle, Eli Morrow.
Eli was the satanic serial killer who possessed the Hellcharger and bonded to Robbie when he became the Rider initially. Eli would try to corrupt Robbie thereafter, but the hero would dispel his uncle's attempts to take over, realizing that Eli may have actually had a hand in getting the spirit to bond to Robbie in the first place. With clues pointing to Eli setting up Robbie's fate from the start, other details suggest he may have even helped kill his brother, Alberto, and wife, Juliana -- Robbie's parents. For some time, Robbie has suspected his uncle orchestrated his bonding but he didn't know if Eli helped arrange the deaths of his parents, with fans speculating that Eli's words about the parents abandoning the Reyes brothers being some sort of charade.
That said, as Robbie tries to fight off Eli, who's occupying the body of Callus, the Celestial from Jason Aaron's "Final Host" arc, he realizes his uncle is more powerful than ever. And should Robbie lose, Eli makes it clear he's going up top after Gabe too. Robbie, however, promises to fight on and defend his brother to the very end.
But when Eli summons the soul of Robbie's parents in hell, he's left frozen in his tracks. We don't know what happened to them and while Eli could be playing a trick -- creating illusions -- there's a possibility they did end up there on their own volition.
The sight of them breaks Robbie's heart and with the wind knocked out of him, Eli's ready to pounce and finish the job. It's a low blow but one endorsed by Johnny, too, suggesting it's all real. Hopefully, we'll get the truth soon and the full story into why Eli was using his entire family, especially because it's clear Eli was the puppet master all along.
And as it stands, Eli's continuing to pull out all the demented stops so he can get the upper hand on Robbie and take the Rider for himself, ready to offer the powers up to Johnny for whatever reward he can get. As things heat up, we can tell Robbie won't be the same again because now, the scene he's tried to avoid all his life has become a living nightmare and through this reunion, let's just say Robbie's spirit inside may have just been shattered permanently.
Avengers #25 goes on sale Oct. 23.
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