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Comic Book / Blaze of Glory

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The Sensational Seven reunite for one last ride.

Men Die. Every single one of us. That's a fact and that's our fate.

It is 1885. The peace of the quiet town of Wonderment, Montana is broken violently when a group of enforcers dressed as nightriders enter the town at night, setting fire to the buildings and shooting many of the residents. They mean to drive the residents out... but the people of Wonderment aren't so easily cowed.

Reno Jones, formerly one half of the duo known as the Gunhawks, rides out of town alongside the fur trapper Marcel Fournier to recruit allies to save Wonderment. The Rawhide Kid, Kid Colt, Two-Gun Kid and The Outlaw Kid all add their guns to Reno's cause. The Indian Red Wolf as well as the mysterious phantom known as the Ghost Rider also join the fight, and together they will protect the town, or die in a Blaze of Glory. Maybe both.

Blaze of Glory: The Last Ride of the Western Heroes is a 4-issue miniseries written by John Ostrander and drawn by Leonardo Manco. A more realistic take on Marvel's western heroes, it retcons some of the original stories (most notably the aforementioned Gunhawks) as simply dime novel retellings of real events. The same creative team would go on to make a sucessor to this story for the Marvel MAX imprint, starring the Rawhide Kid and titled Apache Skies.

Tropes included in Blaze of Glory:

  • Alternate Identity Amnesia: Lance Temple remembers nothing from his actions as the Outlaw Kid, other than a vague feeling that he had been there.
  • Antagonist in Mourning: A Hero Antagonist, but Caleb is not pleased at seeing Gunhawk shoot down Kid Colt in cold blood.
  • As You Know: Clay Harder spends a panel talking about his past lives as Matt Hawk and the Two-Gun Kid, and how he buried them both so he could live a normal life. This is for the reader's sake, as Marcel is quick to point out he was there when it happened.
  • Badass Crew: Half the story is getting one of those together to save Wonderment.
  • Based on a Great Big Lie: Reno Jones and his wife comment on the inaccuracy of a dime novel he 'starred' in, and he takes the opportunity to tell the real version.
  • Big Bad: Clay Riley plots to drive the people of Wonderment out, setting the events of the story into motion.
  • Big Bad Friend: Marcel Fournier turns out to be a spy for the nightriders.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The town is saved from those who would harm it, but many of the heroic gunslingers who helped them are dead, and not every one of them went in a blaze of glory.
  • Bounty Hunter: Gunhawk is looking to collect the bounty on Kid Colt. He does kill him, but Caleb doesn't give him the chance to profit off of it.
  • Call-Forward: Two-Gun Kid states that the time of the Wild West is over and that a new kind of hero is on its way. "They'll come. I've seen them", he says. He's not being metaphorical - through Time Travel, Two-Gun has indeed seen them, and fought alongside them.
  • Continuity Nod: In Issue #2, Clay Harder mentions how he buried Matt Hawk and the Two-Gun Kid, and asks Marcel about what became of the other Sunset Riders. Both of those are events that occurred in the series of the same name, though its canonicity to this one is debatable.
  • The Cavalry: In an inversion of the trope's original form, it is Red Wolf and his tribe who show up to save the day in the last issue.
  • Dead Guy Junior: This is what Reno tried to invoke when he named his son 'Cass', after Kid Cassidy. He really ought to have made sure he was dead.
  • Deadly Distant Finale: The series stars (and kills) the majority of Marvel's Western heroes, hence the subtitle.
  • Doing In the Wizard: If you never read an issue of Carter Slade!Ghost Rider, you might not guess that there's nothing supernatural about him at all. It's just a phosphorecent costume.
  • Dramatis Personae: There is a page like this in the first issue, all in narrative captions of course. We get another one in Issue #3, after all the heroes have been properly introduced.
  • Duel to the Death: The nightriders force Caleb Hammer and Gunhawk to engage in one, but it is interrupted by Ghost Rider.
  • Dying Moment of Awesome: Two-Gun wants to die like this. Sadly, we don't get to see if he got his wish.
  • End of an Age: The end of the old western heroes, soon to be replaced by the costumed crimefighters we know today.
  • 11th-Hour Ranger: The Ghost Rider is only mentioned in the Dramatis Personae until his appearance at the very end of Issue #3, though he's not really a new ally so much as an old one in a new outfit. Better examples are Gunhawk and Caleb Hammer.
  • Enemy Mine: First Caleb Hammer and Gunhawk make a deal to hunt Kid Colt together, then both of them join forces with the protagonists to save Wonderment, Kid Colt included.
  • Evil Former Friend: Reno Jones describes Kid Cassidy as growing more and more bitter over the course of their adventures together, and it came to a head when Cassidy threatened his life and forced Jones to shoot him and leave him for dead. Cassidy still lives and searches for Jones to settle the score for good. Marcel Fournier also counts as one for Two-Gun Kid, as they were once part of the Sunset Riders.
    Rawhide Kid: Leave him be, Colt. Man just killed what he thought was a friend. Turned out to be no friend at all.
  • Final Battle: The ending of the series is one.
  • Foreshadowing: After the shootout in Issue #3, the narration describes Red Wolf descending into the gorge into which Reno Jones fell. This is to set up his return as the Ghost Rider.
  • Grand Finale: The story can be seen as this for the western side of the marvel universe.
  • Gratuitous Spanish: Rawhide Kid says Vaya con dios, mi hermano (go with god, my brother) to Two-Gun Kid in the ending of Issue #4.
  • The Hat Makes the Man: Is Lance Temple wearing his bandanna over his mouth? If yes, that means he's the Outlaw Kid.
  • Heel Realization: This is what happens to Lance Temple in the final battle.
    My mask! He'll see... Pa will see... he'll know...!
    He already knows. I killed him. Pa, I'm so sorry...!
  • Heroic Sacrifice: With a name like "Blaze of Glory", was it ever going end any other way?
  • Hired to Hunt Yourself: Lance Temple hired himself to hunt himself.
  • Implied Death Threat: Caleb gets in some pretty good trash talk while holding Kid Colt at gunpoint.
    I can take you dead or alive. I got a preference. How about you?
  • Inspector Javert: Pinkerton Detective Caleb Hammer is hunting down Kid Colt for murdering a sheriff. Colt only manages to dig himself deeper over the course of the story by gunning down Caleb's friends. This doesn't stop Caleb from avenging him in the finale.
  • In the Back: Kid Colt is shot in the back by Gunhawk in the finale.
  • It's Personal with the Dragon: The leader of Riley's gang recognizes Reno Jones, and throughout the series the reader will discover they have quite a bit of reason to hate each other.
  • The Killer in Me: Lance Temple hunts the Outlaw Kid to avenge his father's death, oblivious to the fact he is the Outlaw Kid.
  • Legacy Character: A certain Frontier Phantom's costume is appropriated by Reno Jones in the latter half of the story.
  • Loose Canon: It's left ambiguous how much of the dime novels is accurate. We're meant to assume that it's not much.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: If you exclude Red Wolf, there are exactly seven main characters helping to defend Wonderment from a gang of remorseless bandits. Marcel even notes in the first issue that he's seen this sort of thing before.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Kid Colt's description page in Issue #3 calls him Kid Colt, Outlaw, which was the name of one of his ongoings.
    • Matt Hawk's new identity Clay Harder is the same name as as an earlier version of the Two-Gun Kid published by Marvel's predecessor Atlas in the 1950s.
  • Never Found the Body: Reno Jones is left for dead only to come back for the finale.
  • Nothing Personal: Caleb Hammer says these words to Gunhawk in their Duel to the Death, and promises to Get It Over With quickly.
  • Oh, Crap!: This is Riley's face when he sees his old nemesis has come back for him.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted
    • A visual gag in issue #4 has all four heroic Kids in the story respond to hearing the yell "Hey, Kid!". Kid Cassidy also counts, though he ain't what you'd call heroic any more.
    • Two-Gun Kid's new cover identity of Clay Harper shares a first name with Clay Riley, the villain of our story.
    • The haunted horseman Ghost Rider shares his first and last names with the native girl Ghost Wind Rider.
  • The Only One Allowed to Defeat You: The leader of the nightriders is glad to see Reno Jones alive for this reason.
  • Pinkerton Detective: Caleb Hammer.
  • Pre Ass Kicking One Liner: So, so many. But the best are courtesy of the Outlaw Kid.
    C'mon, you owlhoots! C'mon! You want a piece of me?! C'mon!!! I may be bound for hell but I'm Taking You with Me!
  • Pre-Battle Banter: This is how the final issue starts.
  • Put on a Bus: When asked what became of the other Sunset Riders, Marcel Fournier explains that Walking Fish is with his tribe and Hijiro went to San Francisco, so they can't participate in the events to come. Granted, this could have easily been Marcel lying out of his ass.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: Caleb expresses this sentiment to Rawhide in the ending. Indeed, half of Wonderment and the majority of the cast are now dead, so the reader may be left with this sensation as well.
  • Rag Tag Bunch Of Misfits: A former slave, a criminal running away from the law, a crazed gunfighter running away from himself, an unscrupulous Bounty Hunter and a Pinkerton Detective chasing after the aforementioned criminal, a lawyer who moonlights as a vigilante, a Noble Savage indian, a creepy guy in a ghost outfit, and The Team Normal, Rawhide Kid. What a crew.
  • Refusal of the Call: Clay Harper rebukes Fournier's request for aid initially, only to join the group later after some soul-searching.
  • Retired Gunfighter: The Two-Gun Kid is "dead" as the series begins, buried by Clay Harper. The burial didn't take.
  • Retired Monster: Clay Riley, a.k.a. Tarantula, is looking to break into the white-collar criminal area, and turning Wonderment into a smelting factory is the first step.
  • The Reveal: Ghost Rider unmasks in the final issue, revealing the face of Reno Jones underneath.
  • Revenge Before Reason: Riley could have just sat back and let Wonderment be destroyed, but decides to lead the battle personally just so he can murder his old nemesis the Ghost Rider himself. This turns out to be a rash decision.
  • Spaghetti Western: Most Marvel Comics stories set in The Wild West are typical westerns with very heightened reality. This story is very pointedly not.
  • Speak Ill of the Dead: Gunhawk calls a certain someone "saddle trash" as justification for why their death shouldn't matter.
  • Split Personality: The Outlaw Kid became this to Lance Temple after his father discovered he was the Outlaw Kid and died from shock. The trauma made Lance separate that side of himself into a different person entirely.
  • Split-Personality Team: Lance manages to deal with his issues just enough to let the Outlaw Kid ride shotgun in the final battle.
  • Sympathetic Inspector Antagonist: Caleb Hammer is this to Kid Colt.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Caleb Hammer spent a long time chasing after Kid Colt because he murdered a sheriff. During the series, Colt also murders some of Hammer's comrades in anger, and they are not on good terms come Issue #4. But even so, that doesn't mean Caleb wanted him to go the way he did.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Caleb Hammer and Kid Colt agree to a temporary truce to save Wonderment. Colt tries to bury the hatchet, but Hammer responds with:
    "I only drink with friends, and because of you, Colt, I got fewer of those. So, no sir, I will not drink with you."
  • Tempting Fate: Kid Colt is shot In the Back by Gunhawk just he says things look to be working out fine.
  • That Man Is Dead: Clay Harper claims to have buried Matt Hawk and the Two-Gun Kid two years ago. Of course, few things ever die in a Marvel Comic...
  • Title Drop: In the last issue's Pre-Battle Banter: "Me, I'm just looking to go out in a blaze of glory."
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: Kid Colt suggests this in Issue #3, but he draws the line at teaching Reno's son Cass how to fight, because he won't let him go down the same path as he did.
  • The Trope Kid: The main cast has four of the most noteworthy Kids created by Stan Lee back in the day, as well as one on the bad guy team.
  • Twilight of the Old West: The story is set in this period. The heroes of the Old West die to make way for a new age. Two-Gun even says in the last issue that the way of the Old West is over, and that new villains require a new breed of hero.
  • Was It Really Worth It?: Caleb Hammer asks this question to Rawhide Kid.
  • We All Die Someday: And Rawhide responds with this sentiment, shown above as the page quote. It's also the final line of the series.
  • Western Terrorists: Though not fighting for any idealistic cause, the enforcers hired by Clay Riley to drive out Wonderment's residents, who dress like KKK nightriders to scare the city's minority populace, and kill and burn the town and its people indiscriminately solely to scare them into leaving certainly earn the name Terrorists.
  • Worthy Opponent: Caleb may not show it much, but he displays this opinion about Kid Colt in the finale, yelling at Gunhawk and saying Colt was a better person than he, no matter what he did.