|“||Prepare to suffer the sting of Ghost Rider's power! Prepare to know the true meaning of hell!||„|
|~ Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider.|
|“||When we get where we're going, the Rider's going to come out. And when he does... he'll destroy whoever's got it coming.||„|
|~ Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.|
Ghost Rider is the name of many antiheroes appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. Marvel had previously used the name for a Western character whose name was later changed to Phantom Rider.
The first supernatural Ghost Rider is stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who, in order to save the life of his father, agreed to give his soul to "Satan" (later revealed to be an arch-demon named Mephisto). At night and when around evil, Blaze finds his flesh consumed by hellfire, causing his head to become a flaming skull. He rides a fiery motorcycle and wields blasts of hellfire from his body, usually from his skeletal hands. He eventually learns he has been bonded with the demon Zarathos. Blaze was featured in the Ghost Rider series from 1972 to 1983. The subsequent Ghost Rider series (1990–1998) featured Danny Ketch as a new Ghost Rider. After his sister was injured by ninja gangsters, Ketch came in contact with a motorcycle that had somehow been mystically enchanted to contain the essence of a Spirit of Vengeance. Blaze reappeared in this 1990s series as a supporting character, and it was later revealed that Danny and his sister were Johnny Blaze's long lost siblings. In 2000s comics, Blaze again became the Ghost Rider, succeeding Ketch. In 2013, Robbie Reyes became Ghost Rider as part of the Marvel NOW! initiative.
Following the western comics character who originally used the name, the first superhero Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, debuted in Marvel Spotlight #5 (August 1972), created by Marvel editor-in-chief Roy Thomas, writer Gary Friedrich and artist Mike Ploog. He received his own series in 1973, with penciller Jim Mooney handling most of the first nine issues. Several different creative teams mixed-and-matched until penciller Don Perlin began a considerably long stint with issue #26, eventually joined by writer Michael Fleisher through issue #58. The series ran through issue #81 (June 1983). Blaze returned as Ghost Rider in a 2001 six-issue miniseries written by Devin Grayson; a second miniseries written by Garth Ennis in 2005, and an ongoing monthly series that began publication in July 2006. Johnny Blaze was the son of Naomi Blaze and Barton Blaze, Naomi being the previous Ghost Rider.
The next Ghost Rider, a young man named Daniel "Danny" Ketch (Johnny Blaze's long lost little brother), debuted in Ghost Rider vol. 3, #1 (May 1990). This Ghost Rider was nearly identical to the previous, although his costume was now a black leather biker jacket with spiked shoulder-pads, grey leather pants, and a mystic chain he wore across his chest, which responded to his mental commands and served as his primary melee weapon. His new motorcycle resembled a futuristic machine and the front of it could lower to serve as a battering ram. Like the original Ghost Rider's bike, the wheels were composed of mystic hellfire. Unlike the relationship between the previous Ghost Rider and the demon with which he was bonded, Ketch and his demon—who in vol. 2, #91 (December 1997) is revealed to be Marvel's incarnation of the Angel of Death/Judgment—are cooperative with each other. At the close of the series with vol. 2, #93 (Feb. 1998), Ketch apparently died. The following year, however, Peter Parker: Spider-Man #93 (July 1999) revealed Ketch was still alive. Nearly a decade later, Marvel published the long-completed final issue as Ghost Rider Finale (Jan. 2007), which reprints the last issue and the previously unpublished #94.
During the 2011 storyline "Fear Itself", a Nicaraguan woman named Alejandra Jones becomes Ghost Rider through a ritual performed by a man named Adam. Though she demonstrates many previously unknown powers of the Ghost Rider entity, she is deprived of its full power when Johnny Blaze takes back most of this power.
In 2013, a new character took on the Ghost Rider mantle: a Mexican-American resident of East Los Angeles named Roberto "Robbie" Reyes, who drives a black classic muscle car reminiscent of a modified 1969 Dodge Chargerrather than a motorcycle. Robbie Reyes was created by writer/artist Felipe Smith and designed by Smith and artist Tradd Moore.
1,000,000 B.C. version
Due to the Celestial Progenitor presence influencing human evolution, in 1,000,000 B.C., certain humans were much more intelligent than others and became able to speak a language but had to hide that gift from their brethren for fear of being ostracized. One day a boy that was gifted with the ability to speak is approached by a mysterious stranger that also possess that gift, only to witness the stranger transforming into a beast and devour his entire tribe. The stranger allowed the boy to live and names him "Ghost" and told him to challenge him when he is worthy. After getting exhausted in the harsh environment, he is approached by Mephisto in the form of a snake who tells him to say its name. Ghost does that and is bonded with a Spirit of Vengeance where he imbued his hellfire onto a woolly mastodon he befriended. Other humans had never seen someone ride an animal before and began referring to Ghost as "The Rider". The Rider continued his search and five years later, eventually caught up with the man who devoured Ghost’s tribe. The man transformed, revealing himself to be the first Wendigo. During the fight, the Rider took the bones of the dead that Wendigo had killed and used them to form a weapon, the earliest version of Ghost Rider’s signature chain. The Rider fought Wendigo until finally Wendigo and the Rider’s mastodon tumbled over a cliff. Afterwards, Ghost was approached by Odin and Lady Phoenix to join the prehistoric version of the Avengers.
Upon imbued his hellfire onto another woolly mastodon, Ghost Rider assisted the prehistoric Avengers in fighting an out of control Celestial called the Fallen which resulted in his woolly mastodon getting killed in action. Ghost Rider swore revenge and assisted his teammates in defeating the Fallen and sealing it away underground in what would become South Africa. Ghost Rider later assisted the prehistoric Avengers in fighting the First Host.
Powers and abilities
The Ghost Rider is a human who can transform into a skeletal superhuman wreathed in ethereal flame and given supernatural powers. The motorcycle he rides can travel faster than any conventional vehicle and can perform such seemingly impossible feats as riding up a vertical surface, across water surfaces and leaping across great distances that normal motorcycles cannot. The Ghost Riders are virtually indestructible and notoriously hard to injure by any conventional means, as bullets and knives usually pass through them without causing pain (knives are seen to melt while in their body). It is possible that they are genuinely immortal, as it is said that God created them and only God can destroy them.Despite being composed of bone and hellfire, the Ghost Riders possess formidable superhuman strength, enough to easily pick up a truck and hurl it across a road. It has been stated that Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider can press around 25 tons (50,000 lbs) (or more as seen in World War Hulk).
Each Ghost Rider entity also had abilities specific to him or her.
- Johnny Blaze
- Originally when Blaze transformed into Ghost Rider, his body changed but not the clothes he was wearing. In his new incarnation, this is different and his clothes take on a different appearance with a spiked leather jacket and chains. As Ghost Rider, he can cause his motorcycle to transform and surround itself with hellfire or he can create a new cycle from pure hellfire. He is also capable of projecting hellfire as a weapon. Hellfire "burns the soul" without leaving physical injuries on the victim and its effects have been seen as similar to the "Penance Stare." In his new incarnation, Blaze is now possibly the most powerful hero on Earth. During "World War Hulk", it was stated by Doctor Strange that Ghost Rider might be equally as powerful as the "Green Scar" persona of Hulk and could possibly defeat him. During this series, Dr. Strange states that Ghost Rider protects only the innocent, which none of the Illuminati are. In recent comics Blaze's Ghost Rider has been given the "Penance Stare" and mystical chain, both of which were specific to the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider. Blaze also uses a shotgun and discovered that he can discharge Hellfire from the weapon when he first encountered Ketch. He also now has new abilities including hellfire breath and the ability to produce chains from either his throat or chest. He is also now able to travel between the incorporeal realms.
- Danny Ketch
- When Ketch transformed into Ghost Rider, his clothes changed with him, taking on the appearance of a spiked leather jacket with chains, gray leather pants and spiked gloves and boots. Likewise, his motorcycle underwent a radical transformation, changing from a conventional into a high-tech motorcycle (this transformation was not strictly limited to the motorcycle he found in the cemetery as he was once seen to be able to transform another cycle in "Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness"). Along with flaming wheels that allow the bike to nearly fly across surfaces, the bike included a shield-like battering ram on the front. As the Ghost Rider, Ketch used a mystical chain which responded to his mental commands. It could grow in length, alter direction while in the air, stiffen into a staff or spear, and separate into several links which can strike like shrapnel and then return to their original form. Daniel's most famous power was the Penance Stare. By locking eyes with a target and mentally focusing, the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider was able to make the target experience all the pain they had ever inflicted on anyone else. Some beings have shown resistance to this ability, such as Venom and Carnage as their alien symbiote "costumes" do not technically have eyes; and Madcap who is so masochistic he claims to enjoy the experience. In the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series, this ability was shown to be powerful enough to bring down the mighty Galactus, as Ghost Rider forced Galactus to feel the pain of all those who had died as a result of his feeding on their planets. As Ghost Rider put it "A billion souls". This display of power, though, appeared to simply be a rewrite for the animated series, as the original storyline in Fantastic Four issue 243, has Doctor Strange casting a spell that causes all of the souls of those Galactus has killed by his feedings to be visited upon him, at once. Originally, this incarnation of the Ghost Rider could only be summoned if Danny was present when "innocent blood was spilled" (an innocent simply being threatened was not enough), at which time Danny had to touch the gas cap of his motorcycle for the transformation process to occur. Later, he was able to summon the Ghost Rider without touching the gas cap but still needed to wait for the innocent blood to be spilled. Later still, he was able to summon the Ghost Rider by willpower alone.
- Robbie Reyes
- The ghost of Eli Morrow that inhabits Robbie's body is not, according to Johnny Blaze, a true Spirit of Vengeance. Regardless, he gives Robbie several abilities similar to that of other Ghost Riders, including the power to manifest and control chains ending in thin knives or sickles. The black muscle car that Morrow's ghost initially inhabits is linked to the Ghost Rider, allowing Robbie in his Ghost Rider form to instantly teleport to and/or merge with the car. The car can also be driven remotely, and Robbie's Ghost Rider form can pass harmlessly through it, allowing it to drive into foes. The car's trunk, when opened, acts as a portal, allowing the Ghost Rider to transport anything, including people, to any location. Though it is initially unknown if Robbie's Ghost Rider form possesses the divine powers of his predecessors, he eventually displays the ability to use the Penance Stare during a battle with Star Brand. Eli is able to take full control of Robbie's body when the teen gives in to his negative emotions, signified by a pallid skin tone and both of his eyes turning orange. His Ghost Rider form also displays the ability to change into a more powerful and demonic form when Robbie is sufficiently angered. To prevent Darkhold from being used again, he slung his flaming chains in the same manner as the use of a Sling Ring, allowing him to travel the Multiverse, taking the book with him.
- Zarathos is often depicted differently in comics and media, as shown in the marvel films.
- Johnny dislikes Matt Murdock/Daredevil due to thinking his hero name is more suitable for himself.