Appearing in "Life's Blood"
- Barbara Ketch (First appearance)
- Stacy Dolan (First appearance)
- Mrs. Ketch (First appearance)
- Captain Dolan (First appearance)
- Deathwatch (First appearance)
- Kingpin's Henchmen
- Deathwatch's men
- Kingpin (Wilson Fisk)
- Cypress Pool Jokers (First appearance)
- Unit 265
- Unit 317
- Unit 54
- Martial arts trainers
Races and Species:
- United States of America
- Ghost Rider's Motorcycle (First appearance)
Synopsis for "Life's Blood"
After a seven year absence from comics, the Ghost Rider returns in a new role as the Spirit of Vengeance. The reemergence occurs on Halloween night in the Cypress Hills area of Brooklyn, New York. The new beginning of the Rider in Marvel Comics starts with Barbara Ketch dragging her younger brother, Daniel into the Cypress Hills Cemetery to visit Harry Houdini's grave. Daniel continues to try and talk Barbara out of the excursion as he follows along with the camera bags. Cypress Hills is known for its cemeteries; this cemetery, however, is one of the most notorious for tales of witchcraft, cults, and religious fanatics; child abductions have been attributed to all the above. One year previous, five kids from Rockwood disappeared here and Daniel is, rightfully, scared.
Ignoring Daniel's pleas, Barbara insists on seeing the psychics attempt to contact the magician, Houdini, from beyond the grave-with pictures for proof. While walking through the graves, a group of masked teenagers calling themselves the Cypress Pool Jokers jump from behind the tombstones and scare Barb and Danny. After making fun of Danny and the fact he almost jumped out of his skin because of silly masks, they attempt to steal the camera bag strapped over his shoulder, but Barb is too quick for them and fights off the teens. Daniel was no help and he knows it. The Jokers run off and Barb and Danny continue toward the gravesite until a gunshot and scream stop their trek. Barb thinks it is something exciting and she has a camera, Danny does not have her enthusiasm and wants to leave. Barb is older. Barbara Ketch does not need her brother's help. Barb wins.
Following the sound of the gunshot, Danny, going along with his big sister, finds himself at the edge of the graveyard staring down into Gallagher's Junkyard next door. The Cypress Pool Jokers are also watching the events in the junkyard unfold. Unfortunately for both the Ketches and the Jokers, they stumbled on the beginnings of a war between Deathwatch and the Kingpin. Deathwatch killed one of Kingpin's couriers (the gunshot) and Kingpin's men are in a heavily armed showdown with the masked villain. The courier was carrying a briefcase and both parties want it. Kingpin’s henchman appreciated the new player in the New York game, but killing a courier is frowned upon, and rules are rules in the underworld... They aimed their weapons. Deathwath, expecting this turn of events, snaps his fingers calling forth masked assassins who take out one of Kingpin's men, Deathwatch kills another.
In the ensuing battle, Barb screams as Deathwatch breaks his opponent's neck. It was the last sound she made. Seeing visitors in the graveyard, an unnamed masked assassin fires a crossbow arrow through Barbara Ketch's chest. The firefight continues and the Jokers steal the briefcase thinking it may be drugs or money. Daniel drags his sister away from the assault and carries her deeper into the junkyard. The Jokers run off with their prize. Deathwatch splits up his men to acquire the briefcase and to eliminate all witnesses.
The masked assassins found the Joker, Paulie, with the briefcase, near the spot where Daniel was trying to hide his injured sister. Scared and telling himself he would save Barbara, Daniel pulls her into a large pile of wreckage. The assassins try to coax him out by telling him they only want to help, but Daniel is scared; so much blood, Barb's blood, is on his hands. The assassins have the young Joker, Paulie, with a katana at her throat; Barbara is dying, Danny is scared, and the junkyard starts to light up. Headlights from dead cars light the blackness and Daniel sees a motorcycle in the heap. The bike is pristine. It should not be there, but Daniel drags his sister to the bike. So much blood. Innocent blood. He touches the medallion on the bike. The ground shakes and a light pours from the junkyard as the assassins throw grenades into the wreckage. The Ghost Rider emerges.
The Spirit of Vengeance hosted by Danny Ketch comes out of the wreckage on a bike with flaming wheels to match the hellfire on Ghost Rider's skull. He takes out the assassins, giving one the Penance Stare making the assassin’s soul feel all the pain he has ever caused in his life. New York's finest show up on what they think is a routine public disturbance call. They surround the Rider thinking him to be in a Halloween costume. The arrest did not go to well. The Rider says the girl (Barbara) needed medical attention and fought off the police. Several cruisers chased him but were not able to catch the hell fired motorcycle.
Later that night, in the Salem Fields area of the Cypress Hills Cemetery, another transformation takes place as the Ghost Rider became Daniel Ketch once more. Daniel, still with blood on his hands, ran. He left the motorcycle in the graveyard and ran in a daze to St. John's Hospital. He came through the emergency room doors, covered in blood, into the arms of his mother, Mrs. Ketch; his girlfriend, Stacy Dolan; and her father, Captain Dolan of the NYPD.
Meanwhile, Deathwatch and Kingpin both learn of their henchmen’s failures-Deathwatch through his ability to read others minds by looking through their eyes, and Kingpin through his assistants, who are always present and informed. Both are after the Rider and the Cypress Pool Jokers.
The Cypress Pool Jokers meet in their hideout in Salem Fields and discover neither drugs nor money in the suitcase. They find three canisters. Instead of just ditching the briefcase and its contents, Paulie and the Jokers decide to hide the three canisters in different areas of the cemetery so no one will find them.
Daniel, recovering in the hospital, goes to talk to Barbara. She was brought in by the police with serious injuries and is in a comatose state. He explains how he wanted to help her, protect her, and that he needs her. He leaves on his new bike hoping the "magic" in the motorcycle will save her.
Still later that night, Deathwatch's assassins and Kingpin’s men track down the Jokers on Jamaica Avenue. An attempted interrogation of the Jokers results in another shootout between the rival gangs, and Ralphie, a Joker, is stabbed in the chest with a katana. Again, Danny Ketch turns into the Ghost Rider to help the Cypress Pool Jokers. When the Rider shows on Jamaica, he handles both gangs and tells the children (the Jokers) not to be afraid. He then takes the injured teen to the same hospital where Barbara lays in a coma.
The next day, the Daily Bugle gave the Ghost Rider the front page. Was he a deadly criminal who fought off the police with a flame wheeled motorcycle, or a hero for saving a kid's life? The Kingpin nor Deathwatch cared; they wanted the canisters, the Cypress Pool Jokers, and the Ghost Rider. Danny Ketch, on the other hand, sat in the hospital and listened to his sister's heart monitor wondering why he could not save her and what he had become.
Links and References