The Penance Stare is a supernatural ability that incapacitates victims and is only performed by the Spirits of Vengeance or Ghost Rider. When in close combat, the Ghost Rider locks eyes with his opponent and induces self-mortification by imposing him or her every negative actions, behavior and sensation, and sins to the pain of others that individual has ever committed in their lifetime. Its effects are similar to the soul searing effect of hellfire. It can, however, backfire with certain individuals.
While normally used on the "innocent", Ghost Rider seeks to punish those for their sins through this ability. The host will seek to punish those they deem guilty, however the spirit may choose to use the stare on anyone they judge guilty of sin, whether they be hero or villain. In its default usage all life is considered a sin to the Penance Stare, however the host of the spirit of vengeance tempers and focuses the ability based on their morality, and can thus be used to focus on specific sins as well.
Recently, this ability can paralyze multiple individuals without locking into their eyes but still causing great sorrow.
- When used on Mr. Hyde, it triggered his transformation back to his unpowered state, though Mr. Hyde may have fled before it could take full effect.
- When used on The Punisher it failed, as Deadpool used an angel feather on the Punisher before his encounter with the Rider, as Ghost Rider's abilities fail on those who have divine protection on their soul. The Penance Stare was later shown to work on Punisher, causing him to throw up from the pain.
- When used on both the original Venom, Agent Venom, and Carnage, the Penance Stare backfired due to their symbiotes.
- When Sarge controlling Robbie Reyes used the stare on Carol Danvers trying to punish her for being half-kree and the sins of her people, she was able to push through the pain due to numerous traumas inflicted on her due to her identity, citing being tired of being punished for existing, enough to knock the Ghost Rider away, avoiding further damage.
- Noble Kale used the penance stare on Wolverine, focusing on the sins he committed on only one day during World War I to break him free from mind control.
- When used on Deadpool, it showed him a "highlight reel" of the events that lead him to him becoming what he was and turned the Ghost Rider back into Johnny Blaze, showing that Deadpool's greatest victim is himself. The Penance Stare was also used similarly on Terror which allowed him to remember the past lives of his body parts.
- When The Rider, a version of Frank Castle with the combined powers of Ghost Rider and a Herald of Galactus, tried to use it on a baby version of Thanos after being sent back in time by Odin, it didn't work because Thanos was still innocent at that point in time.
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