Hero Overview

Had no idea all those years back... when I smeared a pentagram on my chest and called forth the Devil. When I traded my soul to save the man who'd been like a father to me. When I damned myself to an eternity spent in servitude to that bastard Mephisto. Back then... I never once thought... that all this time later... I'd rise through the ranks from servant... to King of Hell.
~ Johnny Blaze.
Imagine if you knew of the existence of people...creatures of the night...who thrived on human suffering...on pain, on the deaths of innocents. Now imagine that you had the power to hunt them down...to stop them...to avenge the suffering they had caused. Could you? I can. I am called Ghost Rider and...vengeance will no longer be denied!
~ Danny Ketch.
Everyone keeps telling me that I'm the worst Ghost Rider that's ever lived. Like that's supposed to be some kinda insult. But what the hell have the Ghost Riders ever done? Except bring misery to themselves and everyone they love. Except die alone or go bat-$%#@ crazy. Well, That's not me, Uncle Eli. That's not how I'm going out. To hell with being a Spirit of Vengeance. I'm an Avenger. And I'll be damned if I'm losing this race.
~ Robbie Reyes.

Ghost Rider is the name of the fictional superhero and anti-hero from Marvel comics and its universe. The Ghost Rider is Zarathos, the spirit of vengeance who goes into host and battles against his archenemy Mephisto and punishes evil when around it.

There are multiple incarnations of the character, the first being Johnny Blaze, a stunt motorcyclist who made a deal with the devil to save his adoptive father. The second incarnation was Danny Ketch, who was later revealed to the younger brother of Johnny Blaze, who gained the power of the Ghost when coming into contact with a motorcycle that had the essence of the Spirit of Vengeance. The third and current Ghost Rider is Robbie Reyes, a young mechanic and street racer who gained the power from a car he used in a street race.

Johnny Blaze was created by Roy Thomas, the late Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog, and first appeared in Marvel Spotlight # 5 in August of 1972. Danny Ketch was created by Howard Mackie and Javier Saltares, and first appeared in Ghost Rider Vol. 3 # 1 in May of 1990. Robbie Reyes was created by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore, and first appeared in All-New Ghost Rider # 1 in March of 2014.

Biography

Zarathos

Zarathos was a demon who fought the ancient Spirits of Vengeance, and corrupted a number of their overseers which were called his "Fallen". Although Zarathos promised to increase their power, but he was actually using their powers to further augment himself. After gaining enough power and worshippers, Zarathos challenged Mephisto for ownership of his realm, but he was tricked by the demon by having Centurious. Due to the Centurious lacking souls, Zarathos' powers were useless, and his followers abandoned him when they realized they couldn't beat Mephisto.

After defeating Zarathos, Mephisto would forcibly bond him to mortals a mockery of the Spirits of Vengeance. He was contained inside a mystic relic known as the Soul Chamber, but he was once released by the Beyonder in an attempt to tempt Spider-Ma into allowing the death of the Kingpin. On one occasion, Mephisto made a deal with a mortal named Johnny Blaze, and had Zarathos bond to Johnny when Roxanne Simpson attempted to stop him. It was later revealed that the angel Zadkiel was called by Roxanne, and decided to place the spirit of vengeance into Johnny. Zarathos hid inside Centurious until he was freed by Lilith, and joined her in trying to take over Earth. The two were opposed by the Midnight Sons, and was destroyed by the team and the destruction of the Fallen.

Incarnations

Johnny Blaze

Prepare to suffer the sting of Ghost Rider's power! Prepare to know the true meaning of hell!
~ Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider.

Jonathan "Johnny" Blaze is the son of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale, and is the older brother to Barbara and Daniel. Johnny and his family spent their early years in the Quentin Carnival, but when his father died in a stunt accident, his mother took his siblings and left. He was then adopted by the Simpson family, and became close to Craig "Crash" Simpson's daughter, Roxanne. Johnny became close to Crash, who taught him to ride a motorcycle and made him a member of his stunt show. When he was fifteen, Crash's wife Mona was mortally wounded when Johnny was nearly killed when practicing a dangerous stunt. On her deathbed, Mona asked Johnny to quit riding, and he swore to her that he would.

Over the next five years, Crash became frustrated with Johnny since he refused to take part in the show or do any stunts. Despite this, Johnny continued to practice at night, and honed his skills as he started a relationship with Roxanne. When Crash revealed that he was dying of cancer, Johnny turned to the occult and summoned Satan himself to make a deal. Unbeknownst to Johnny, he actually summoned Mephisto, who had cheated Naomi Kale of their deal for Johnny not to become the Ghost Rider. Johnny made a deal with Mephisto to cure Crash's cancer in return that Blaze served him when he called, but Crash died immediately afterward in a stunt accident.

Mourning the lost of his adoptive father, Johnny honored Crash by making the jump, but had to accept that the devil was coming to collect his soul. Mephisto would have succeeded if Roxanne hadn't intervene and drove Mephisto away, and if Zadkiel hadn't came to put the spirit of vengeance into Blaze. Despite Mephisto being driven away, Johnny later turned into a skeletal being with his skull on fire, which would be known as the Ghost Rider. Johnny didn't understand what happened, but came to understand that an entity had bonded with him and he would transform when around evil.

Johnny was eventually killed and sent to Hell, where he managed to escape but brought Lucifer along the way. Though Johnny returned to Earth's plane intact, Lucifer did not, and exploded into shards that would possess six hundred and six bodies. Once Johnny learned about Lucifer's plan to have him kill every possessed body so he could form on Earth, he and the Ghost Rider agreed to work together to stop him. When confronting the last bodies of Lucifer, he learned that Zadkiel was called by Roxanne unknowingly, and that he the angel had played a part of Blaze receiving Zarathos.

Danny Ketch

I am Ghost Rider, the Spirit of Vengeance!
~ Danny Ketch/Ghost Rider.

Daniel "Danny" Ketch is the son of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale, and the brother to Johnny Blaze and Barbara Ketch. Danny and Barbara were given to a widowed woman named Francis Ketch when they were young, as Naomi wanted to rid them of the family curse. Years later on Halloween night, Danny and Barbara went to a graveyard where they stumbled upon a confrontation between two gangs. One gang was led by Deathwatch and the other was made up of people that belonged to the Kingpin, and the two gangs began to fight each other. Deathwatch became aware of Barbara when she cried out, and she was shot in the chest with an arrow by a henchman.

Danny grabbed his sister's body and ran away to a nearby junkyard, and hid there until he noticed a motorbike with a glowing gas cap. Danny touched the gas cap with his blood-strained hand and transformed into the Ghost Rider, due to him having his sister's blood on him. The Ghost Rider proceeded to torture and fight Deathwatch's henchman, and later turned back into Danny. Barbara was taken to the hospital, but was killed by Blackout, who had learned of Danny's secret identity. Danny and his friend, Jack D'Auria worked together to fight Deathwatch to avenge Barbara.

Robbie Reyes

I'll hold out forever and a half, you #$%&. I'm a Ghost Rider now. I can handle anything you dish out, Eli... you'll never make me crack.
~ Robbie Reyes/Ghost Rider to Eli Morrow.

Roberto "Robbie" Reyes is the son of Alberto and Juliana Reyes, and is the brother to Gabe, who lived in California. Both their parents died, and the two lived in a corrupt neighborhood called Hillrock Heights, where gangs would fight. Robbie started to work as a mechanic in East Los Angeles, and Gabe looked to him as a hero. Eager to move him and his brother to a safer neighborhood, Robbie entered a street race to earn fifty thousand dollars so he could move out of Hillrock Heights. Unbeknownst to him, the car he used for the street race was inhabited by a ghost, and the ghost possessed Robbie when he was nearly engulfed in fire that was started by his pursuers. Robbie transformed into the Ghost Rider, and gave chase and managed to take out a handful of his attackers, but some got away.

Portrayals

Films

  • In Ghost Rider and its sequel, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, he was portrayed by Nicolas Cage, who also played Ben Gates in the National Treasure films, Balthazar Blake in The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Big Daddy in Kick-Ass, and voiced Noir Spider-Man in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
  • In Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, the Danny Ketch version was played by Fergus Riordan.

Television

  • In the Fantastic Four animated series, the Danny Ketch version was voiced by Richard Grieco.
    • Grieco also voiced the character in The Incredible Hulk and voiced a Johnny Blaze version in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
  • In Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., the Robbie Reyes version was portrayed by Gabriel Luna.
  • In Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H., the Johnny Blaze version was voiced by Fred Tatasciore, who voices Damon Baird in the Gears of War series, and voiced Zeratul in the StarCraft series, Mario Auditore in the Assassins Creed series, Zeus in God of War: Ghost of Sparta and Tai Kaliso in the Gears of War series.
    • Tatasciore also voiced the character in Marvel vs. Capcom: Infinite and Marvel Ultimate Alliance 3: The Black Order.

Video Games

  • In Marvel: Ultimate Alliance, the Johnny Blaze version is voiced by Nolan North, who also voiced Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, Primis Edward Richtofen in the Call of Duty zombie series, Desmond Miles in the Assassins Creed series, and Superboy in Young Justice.
    • North also voiced a Johnny Blaze version in Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
  • In Lego Marvel Super Heroes, he was voiced by Andrew Kishino, who also voiced Saw Gerrera in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Janja in The Lion Guard.
    • Kishino also voiced the character in Marvel Heroes.

Quotes

Feel the pain, killer! Feel it burn through your mind and into your soul. Feel what you have inflicted on others!
~ Danny Ketch.
What is it that you fear...that I should harm these two any more than they would harm themselves? Perhaps I should turn my cleansing fire upon those who would chase a speeding car into an area crowded with innocents. Perhaps I'am punishing the wrong people? Be warned next time you risk the lives of others...I will be there...and there will be a reckoning!
~ Danny Ketch.
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.

Trivia

  • Ranked 90th on IGN's "Top 100 Comic Book Heroes" list.
  • Blaze was ranked 5th on a listing of Marvel Comics' monster characters in 2015.
  • 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.

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