Credits: Howard Mackie (writer), Alex Saviuk (breakdowns), Joe Rubinstein & Dan Panosian (finishes), Steve Dutro (letterer), Bob Sharen & Renee Witterstaetter (colorist)
The Plot: Spider-Man teams up with Ghost Rider and Blaze to rescue the innocents kidnapped by the Deathspawn, as Demogoblin and Doppelganger torture the Hobgoblin. Venom comes across the villains and attempts to defend Hobgoblin. Spider-Man overhears Hobgoblin’s screams and races to rescue him. Hobgoblin’s saved from Demogoblin by the Deathspawn that consume the demon in darkness, but after Venom dispatches Doppelganger, he turns his attention to Spider-Man. Ghost Rider arrives to aid Spider-Man, provoking Venom into another fight.
The Subplots: None.
*See _________ For Details: Spirits of Vengeance #5, the previous installment of this crossover, receives three footnotes.
Review: It’s hard to believe a crossover called “Spirits of Venom” isn’t very good, isn’t it? Obviously, it was crassly commercial from its conception, but that isn’t my biggest problem with the story. “X-Cutioner’s Song” went out of its way to pair off popular characters -- even making Bishop, Wolverine, and Cable the temporary stars of X-Factor, a book that didn’t belong to any of the characters -- and I can live with that crossover. This one has no personality, no humor, no theme, and no purpose outside of shoving some of the “darker” Spider-Man villains and Ghost Rider into the same storyline. A “storyline” that mainly consists of crowded fight scenes. At no point does this read like a Spider-Man comic, except perhaps for the lip service paid to Spider-Man’s respect for all human life, and I can’t imagine it was gothic enough to please the Ghost Rider fans. I would have to nominate this as the weakest issue of Howard Mackie’s run, which means he’s going out on a particularly low note.