Johnathon "Johnny" Blaze[16] a.k.a Ghost Rider[17] is an American motorcycle stunt performer, and entertainer turned Spirit of Vengeance.[11][12] He was the son of famed stuntman Barton Blaze who tragically died during a stunt. He became bound to Zarathos the Spirit of Vengeance after making a deal with the Demon Mephisto to spare the life of his surrogate father Crash Simpson.[18] Now with the power to control Hellfire and to inflict pain on those he deemed evil with his Penance Stare, Blaze seeks vengeance riding his Hell Cycle as the Ghost Rider.[19]


Quote1.png Prepare to suffer the sting of Ghost Rider's power! Prepare to know the true meaning of hell! Quote2.png
-- Ghost Rider

 

Origins

Zarathos the demon had built a power base for himself many years ago. Zarathos had a penchant for human souls which led him into many conflicts, including against the Blood cult and his fellow demon Mephisto, who felt that Zarathos was one of his rivals. Because of these conflicts, and Mephisto's belief about their rivalry, he tricked Zarathos and enslaved him, trapping him in the bodies of various mortals throughout the years while keeping him amnesiac. The torture of Zarathos combined with Mephisto's search for a mystical artifact, known as the Medallion of Power which had been crafted by another of Zarathos' foes, the Blood, to house the essences of the original Spirits of Vengeance.[12]

This medallion had become embedded into the spiritual bloodline of two families after it was broken. The Kale family were one of these bloodlines who drew the attention of Mephisto in the 18th century after the shard of the medallion within Noble Kale transformed him into a Spirit of Vengeance known as the Ghost Rider. Mephisto tried and failed to corrupt Noble and set his sights on rest of the Kale clan, watching them from then on the firstborn Noble of every generation manifest their power.[12]

Early Life

Earlier appearance

Johnny Blaze was born the son of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale and spent his formative years growing up among the Quentin Carnival. Both of Blaze's parents starred alongside Craig "Crash" Simpson in a motorcycle show. This life seemed idyllic for a time, until Blaze's mother left him and took his siblings Barbara and Daniel with her and left him behind. Naomi was aware of her family curse and was afraid of the suffering that would come to Johnny as it had to her, she chose to leave him and to place his siblings into the care of Francis Ketch whose name they would take.[12][20]

Johnny was deeply affected by the abandonment of his mother to the point that it caused him to repress many memories he had of both her and his siblings. Shortly after the loss of his mother, Johnny would also lose his father Barton to a stun accident and came to be adopted by their friend Crash and his wife Mona Simpson. The couple hoped to hide the truth of Johnny's painful past from him and instead fabricated a less tragic backstory for him, including that his mother 'Clara Blaze' had died. Johnny grew up happy among the Simpson family and grew ever closer to his foster sister Roxanne, leading to their relationship growing beyond a familial sibling bond as they fell in love.[12][18]

Johnny's true mother would return to watch over him, pleased to discover that he was growing up happily while also remaining afraid that the Kale family curse would affect him. This drove Naomi Kale to make a bargain with Mephisto to spare Johnny from the family curse and hopefully put an end to it altogether. Naomi was betrayed by Mephisto though, the demon sweared in the last moments of Naomi's life that Johnny wouldn't become the true Ghost Rider he was supposed to become, but that he would still become 'a' Ghost Rider.[12][20]

Stunt Performer

Johnny remained blissfully unaware of his connections to multiple mystical forces and grew to follow his parents and the Simpsons into the family business, joining the Simpsons travelling stunt show, the Crash Simpson Stunt Cycle Extravaganza. During this time Johnny had come to see Crash as a father and had been taught to ride and perform stunts on motorcycles by Crash who hoped that his foster son would follow his legacy. When Johnny was fifteen this dream came to an end, when Mona Simpson was killed while practicing a stunt which also nearly claimed Johnny's life. On her deathbed Mona asked Johnny to quit riding and Johnny promised her that he would.[12]

Johnny would continue refusing to take part in the Simpson families shows for the next five years, placing a strain on his relationship with Crash who remained unaware of the reasons behind Johnny's refusals. Crash also remained unaware that Johnny had been keeping up his practicing at night and had honed his skills to the point of surpassing his foster father. Unbeknownst to Crash, who had accused his son of cowardice, Johnny was also keeping other secrets, such as the nature of his relationship with Roxanne. Johnny would come to learn that Crash had developed cancer and was going to die from it, which drove Crash to once again ask Johnny to take over the family show, Johnny continued to refuse which disappointed Roxanne. Johnny was unable to live with the idea of Crash dying and ultimately chose to study the occult, hoping to find a mystical way to save his foster father. The magic that Johnny discovered including a spell to supposedly summon Satan, the demon that Johnny raised though was in fact Mephisto.[12]

Mephisto and Johnny made a deal which cured Crash of his cancer, as long as Johnny promised to serve the demon. Despite their deal, Crash would die almost instantly after, while attempting to set a new world record with a 22 car jump. Johnny was devastated by Crash's loss and while seeking to honor the memory of his foster father, attempted and made the jump himself. Johnny then came close to losing his soul to Mephisto, had it not been for the timely intervention of Roxanne proclaiming her love for him and temporarily driving Mephisto away by the purity of her love.[12]

Becoming the Ghost Rider

After Crash's death Johnny transformed into Ghost Rider for the first time, causing him to believe that the flaming skulled skeletal being was a demonic manifestation of the evil within him. Johnny soon realised that this was not true and that the being he became at night was an entirely different entity which had become bonded to him. Johnny would then become involved with a local motorcycle gang who called themselves Satan's Servants during his nightly transformations. Their leader, a man named Curly Samuels gained the Ghost Rider's trust up until Johnny learned that within Curly's body was the soul of Crash Simpson. Mephisto had enlisted Crash in his efforts to gain hold of Johnny and offered him new life as long as he betrayed his adopted son, a bargain that Crash accepted. After being cast into Hell the Ghost Rider was able to reason with Crash, reawakening his love for his son and his sense of honor. Crash would then sacrifice himself to allow Johnny to escape from hell, while also making the Ghost Rider promise to protect his daughter Roxanne.[12]

Johnny would begin a journey through the American Southwest alongside Roxanne where he would first battle a Satanist known as Witch Woman while transformed into Ghost Rider. Johnny stayed near Copperhead Canyon for a time and came across Daimon Hellstrom, the Son of Satan who he would also fight. Johnny and Roxanne would continue travelling the West seeking to escape Mephisto and stay safe. After making their way to San Francisco, Roxanne was tricked and renounced for love for Johnny, allowing Mephisto to seemingly almost claim Johnny's soul. At the last moment they were saved by a mysterious long-haired and bearded mystery man who would only tell them that he was 'a friend'. Johnny believed this man to be a heavenly figure, someone helping them and offering hope and salvation. There would come several more run-in with this man before he would come to be revealed as a trick of Mephisto's. Johnny became discouraged when he learned the truth about his 'friend' and when combined with his fear of the growing difficulty in controlling the Ghost Rider, he came to the decision to leave Roxanne and strike out on his own, which he would continue to do for the following years.[12]

Champions of L.A.

Johnny would come to team up with the Black Widow, Angel, Iceman and Hercules to help stop Pluto's attempts to invade Olympus. This group of five heroes then founded the superhero team known as the Champions.[21] The champions attempted to be "super heroes for the ordinary man," but suffered through too many tensions amongst themselves to truly work together as a group. After working with the Champions for a few months, Johnny came to realise that as Ghost Rider he had become too much of a lone wolf to work as part of a team and bid the group farewell as they disbanded.[22] Ghost Rider would also unwillingly become a member of the Legion of Monsters during this time, fighting and killing Starseed alongside them.[15][12]

Leaving Stunt Riding

Ghost Rider on his cycle

Johnny came to find that his demonic half, Ghost Rider, was able to exert more and more control over both his actions and his personality. Because of this Johnny was unable to keep up with his career as a professional stunt rider, losing his title as 'World Champion Stunt Rider' to Flagg Fargo after a series of losses. Johnny would then go on to join the Quentin Carnival, although he didn't remember it from his childhood it felt like home to him in his demoralized state. While Johnny was a member of the Carnival he formed a friendly rival with Red Fowler, a fellow rider, and flirted with Cynthia Randolph, a journalist for Woman Magazine who had been assigned to follow the Carnival. Johnny would also come up against Centurious who fed off souls imprisoned by an ancient artifact known as the Crystal of Souls; an encounter that would bring up dark memories within the Ghost Rider. Johnny would also be captured being the being known as Nightmare who revealed to him the name of the demon bonded to him to be Zarathos.[12]

Johnny and Zarathos' struggle for control of his body would continue until the return of Roxanne Simpson. Roxanne sought Johnny out for aid when a small town had been overrun by Centurious and Ethan Domblue known as Sin-Eater. Johnny became Ghost Rider to fight Centurious one again and learned through him that he had a feud with Zarathos that had been going on for centuries. Their fight ended when the demon Zarathos and Centurious became bound within the Crystal of Souls, freeing Johnny Blaze from the Ghost Rider. Johnny bought the Carnival and settled down with Roxanne, who he married and had two children with, Craig and Emma.[12]

Meeting Dan Ketch

Years after becoming free of the Ghost Rider, Johnny would learn of a new Ghost Rider operating in New York. Johnny was afraid that the demon Zarathos had become free of the Crystal and become bound to a new Rider. Johnny was so concerned that he captured the new Ghost Rider, Danny Ketch but quickly learned that Zarathos wasn't within Danny. During their fight, Hellfire passed through Johnny's Hellfire Shotgun into him, revealing to Johnny that he was still able to discharge Hellfire from his gun. Johnny took the shotgun and a mystical motorcycle and went on to become a mentor to Danny, teaching him about his Ghost Rider powers and guarding him against those evil forces which would target him.[12]

Johnny had once again become involved in the world of the supernatural, entirely against the wishes of his wife. After Johnny joined with the Midnight Sons to fight against the Mother of Demons Lilith, their Carnival became targeting by the enemies that Johnny was accruing. Vengeance, blaming Johnny for the downfall of his father's career, went on to target the Carnival. Johnny continued to team-up with the Midnight Sons to stop an alliance between Centurious and Lilith who were aiming to free Zarathos. Carver, an agent of Centurious, aimed to cut a fragment of the Medallion of Power from Johnny. The wounds that Johnny earned were burned with Hellfire and he had to be encased in a cybernetic shell to save him. A member of the Blood, known as the Caretaker would then reveal to Johnny and Danny that they were in fact brothers, a fact that would further strengthen their bond. Johnny and Danny worked together to destroy the physical form of Zarathos, causing the temporary loss of Danny.[12]

Johnny grew closer to Danny but at the same time life with his family was falling apart. Johnny's children were taken from by a rogue Blood known as Regent. After Johnny rescued his children he learned that Roxanne had made a bargain with Regent to remove the Kale family curse from them. Just as Johnny and Roxanne had begun moving past this, Roxanne was killed by a foe of Danny's, Anton Hellgate, and his children were once again kidnapped. Johnny killed Centurious and swore ON Roxanne's grave that he would rescue their children and rebuild their Carnival home. Johnny removed his cybernetic shell and went to confront Icebox Bob, an undead skiller killer who would reveal to Johnny that Emma and Craig were being held by Ba'al a Mesopotamian God who had become a demon. Johnny crossed dimensions to free his children on a mission with a mystic Wendigo spirit and the Angel Uri-El. Johnny was reunited with his children but this would prove temporary as they would yet again go missing, just a few months later.[12]

Johnny Blaze's human form

Johnny went on to help his brother Danny to learn the origins behind his Ghost Rider spirit and discovered that Jennifer Kale, a sorceress, was their cousin. Jennifer would help Johnny to search for his children but even together they were unable to return them to their father and ultimately had to admit they had been defeated. Roxanne was returned to Earth during this time to serve as a demonic servant to Blackheart, going by Black Rose. Roxanne initially had no memory of her past life on Earth and after Noble Kale, the current Ruler of Hell, gave her back her memories and decided she would let Johnny continue believing she was dead as she felt he had moved on.[12]

Johnny decided to start over and found himself a new job working as an accountant as well as a new girlfriend, Chloe. Johnny still had a connection to the demon Zarathos, allowing Zarathos to begin reconstituting itself within him. This would cause Johnny to again begin transforming into Ghost Rider, leading Johnny hit the road and quit his job. The reborn Ghost Rider was different than it had been before, with a less talkative and more indifferent personality, caring less for the safety of innocent bystanders. Johnny again became desperate to escape the curse of the Ghost Rider and went as far as hiring Gunmetal Gray, a mercenary, to kill Ghost Rider. Gray enjoyed the pursuit of of the Ghost Rider in a particularly malicious way and finally had him cornered at a biker convention. Despite Johnny's previous attempts against Zarathos' life the two of them made peace and truly merged together, defeating Gray.[23][12]

Once again became bonded to the Ghost Rider, Johnny ended up in Hell. Due to the machinations of Lucifer, Johnny was set free, and began hunting down fragments of Lucifer's soul. This also led to a confrontation with Doctor Strange.[24]

Fragments of Lucifer

Johnny continued his search for the fragments of Lucifer in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois during the first Superhuman Civil War. Johnny discovered that a local serial killer, who had been decapitating children, was in fact Lucifer within the recently dead body of the supervillain Jack O'Lantern, who had been murdered by the Punisher and had his body returned to his home town for burial. Johnny was initially suspected of being the killer by the towns sheriff but the truth quickly came out and Sheriff Harry O'Connor worked alongside him to defeat the Lucifer possessed Jack O'Lantern.[25]

Johnny attempted to save the lives of innocent passengers aboard a plane while Ghost Rider fought the fragment of Lucifer within the pilot. Johnny agreed to go after Lucifer when his indecision led to the possessed pilot getting away but soon changed his mind after seeing that the Hulk was in New York City. Johnny exerted control over Ghost Rider, fighting against Zarathos' will and engaged the Hulk in Battle. Their fight was monitored by both Dr. Strange and Reed Richards, who witnessed Johnny fall to the Hulk. Dr. Strange knew that residing within a human host tempered the power of the Ghost Rider and that without Johnny Blaze conscious to hold him back, the Riders 'godlike' power might defeat the Hulk. Once Zarathos was fully in control of Johnny's unconscious body though he chose to leave New York and continue his hunt for Lucifer, as the Ghost Rider only protects the innocent and in this situation the Illuminati, who the Hulk was seeking vengeance upon, were not innocent.[26]

Johnny continued his fight against Lucifer, engaging help from his then girlfriend, Dixie. Johnny tracked down another of Lucifer's fragments, this time residing within the body of a man who owned a sports team and was planning to blow up a packed stadium. Johnny was forced to leave this fragment though when he was told that another person possessed by Lucifer was a little league coach holding his team hostage. Johnny arrived at the barn where the children were being held and fought Lucifer as Ghost Rider, realising that the barn had accidentally been set alight during their battle. The children Johnny had come to protect were saved by two Angel brothers of the Malakim, Emmael and Vraniel, who had been reborn on Earth for atonement and to fight against the evil fallen angel Zadkiel who they'd previously been aligned with.[27]

Ghost Rider brought the two Angels with him when he returned to the sports stadium to stop Lucifer from destroying it. After learning that the two Angels were harboring a secret the Ghost Rider used his penance stare on Emmael, destroying him. Johnny also learned that the Ghost Rider was in fact an agent of Heaven, created by God, who had been bonded to him by Zadkiel after Roxanne prayed for Johnny's soul to be saved and that Lucifer had aided in his escape from Hell so that he could also be freed. After learning this, Lucifer attempting to ally himself with the Ghost Rider, as he was also an enemy of Zadkiel, having been betrayed by Zadkiel during his war against Heaven. The Ghost Rider responded to this offer by blowing up the building with both himself and Lucifer still inside.[28]

Johnny was down to two avatars of Lucifer and was able to defeat the 'final' Avatar as he had kept the second to last brain-dead but alive,[8] which split Lucifer's power in two. The now truly final avatar of Lucifer was killed shortly after when it was shot dead by incompetent cops in the hotel room where Johnny had Dixie keeping it alive. During the shooting Dixie was also shot and died. Johnny had defeated Lucifer, stopping his rise to power on Earth and returning him to Hell where he belonged but had also lost the few things he had to care about once again, causing him to decide to turn the Ghost Rider loose on Zadkiel next.[29]

Zadkiel

Johnny learned of a young man, Lucas Collier, who had briefly died and gone to Heaven, only to return afraid of Angels. After tracking him down to the cursed town of New Beulah in the hope of learning a way into Heaven from him, he instead learned that Zadkiel was enslaving souls as part of his attempt to siege Heaven and that Zadkiel had agents on Earth to ensure no one living stopped him or spread word about what he was doing.[30] Unbeknownst to Johnny, Danny Ketch was one of those servants, having been convinced of the need to hunt down every Ghost Rider and remove the Spirit bonded to them so as to prevent their 'corruption'. Danny was unaware of Zadkiel's other motives, including the fact that the fallen angel was using the gathered power of the Rider to wage war on Heaven by tearing down the walls of New Jerusalem. The direction Johnny's brother had taken would pit them against one another as Johnny was working alongside Sister Sara to take down Zadkiel. Together they travelled to Tibet and discovered the body of Nima, a Ghost Rider killed by Ketch.[31]

Sara and Johnny were visited by his brother that night and a battle erupted. During the fighting Johnny used the penance stare on his brother and learned what had become of him, including the fact that Danny had already murdered numerous other Riders for their power. Johnny ended up on the other side of a penance stare from Danny which left him temporarily broken in spirit. Danny would have taken the power of Zarathos from his brother if it wasn't for the timely intervention of Sara who saved Johnny and was able to get him to a safehouse. At this safehouse they met two other Ghost Riders, the Chinese Bai Gu Jing and the muslim Ghost Rider Molek who they agreed to follow to Japan.[32]

After arriving in Japan, Johnny and his team learned that Danny had already murdered another Rider, Yoshio Kannabe, for his power. Unbeknownst to Johnny, while this was happening Vengeance, a former deputy whom Johnny had used the Penance Stare on, had come into possession of a Hellfire Shotgun, which he was planning on using against him.[33] Johnny and his team carried on to the City of the Skulls in the Congo where they planning on making their last stand against Danny and Zadkiel. There they were met by the two Ghost Riders of the Congo, Baron Skullfire and Marinette Bwa Chech alongside their Phantom Riders, with Johnny snapping out of the depression his fight with Danny and the penance stare had left him in.[34]

During the ensuing battle Baron Skullfire was lost but the Ghost Rider within was transferred to a Phantom Rider before Danny Ketch could claim it. Ketch created duplicates of himself from Hellfire to fight for him and made a wager with his brother, that they would race around the world to decide their fates. During this race Johnny was badly injured by the Hellfire Shotgun that Vengeance had retrieved, allowing Danny to take his Spirit from and then release the power of all Spirits he had gathered to Heaven. When Johnny returned to the City of the Skulls, his brother fell from the sky and revealed that he now knew he had been used and that the battle for Heaven was decided as energies and Spirits rained down.[35]

Johnny briefly parted ways with his brother and the others after their battle with Zadkiel and his Black Host, finding his way to a village in Japan and taking up residence in a nearby temple. The village was invaded by demons and its people transformed by a creature calling itself the Skin-Bender. She and Johnny fought, during which she attempted to use her powers to manipulate his flesh but was unable to as his body burned her. Johnny then transformed into the Ghost Rider at her request and used its power to kill her and the demons within the village, with his fire returning the villagers to normal. Sara arrived in the village as Johnny was in the process of cleaning up the Skin-Benders body and he agreed to go with her and continue their fight against Zadkiel.[3]

Kid Blackheart, the Antichrist, was hunted down by agents of Zadkiel but was saved by an occult terrorist named Jaine Cutter, despite Daimon Hellstrom's attempts to kill him. These three encountered Johnny, Danny and Sara and joined forces to defeat Zadkiel in Heaven. Once they were able to reach Heaven, Johnny and Danny both attacked Zadkiel but were quickly defeated, causing the souls of Johnny's dead wife Roxanne and their two children to encourage him to continue his fight. Johnny rallied the Spirits of Vengeance who Danny had been tricked into returning to Heaven to fight alongside them. During this fight Zadkiel finally realized that he was, nor could he ever become, the God he wanted to be. Zadkiel was defeated and banished to Hell, leading God to return to Heaven and thank Johnny for saving Heaven and the billions of souls who reside there.[36]

During Shadowland, Kingpin and Lady Bullseye were able to perform a mystical ritual to summon and control the Ghost Rider as part of a plot against the Hand. While under the Kingpin's control, Ghost Rider was forced to travel to Japan and confront the Hand, who he found he was unable to directly combat due to magic the Hand employ to bind him before he provoked them into killing him. Johnny's soul travelled to a white void where he spoke to God, who told him that he was being returned to Earth as he was still needed there. God also sent along a battalion of Black Host warrior angels to fight alongside him, as gratitude for Johnny's role in the defeat of the rogue fallen angel Zadkiel. With the Black Host to back him up, Johnny was able to defeat the Hand with ease and was freed from the Kingpins control.[37]

Alejandra Jones

Johnny had once again become concerned about the curse of the Ghost Rider, when he happened to be approached by a man calling himself 'Adam' who claimed he could Johnny to rid himself of Ghost Rider forever. Johnny believed it to all be too good to be true but ultimately decided to agree to Adam's offer, after learning that the Ghost Rider would pass to someone else.[38] Johnny was present in Dayton, Ohio when Sin, having become Skadi during Fear Itself, was attacking the city and fighting off against a new Ghost Rider, Alejandra Jones. This Ghost Rider was defeated by Sin and Johnny learned from Mephisto that Adam had cursed her with Zarathos to serve his goal of wiping all sin from the Earth, which would turn everyone into emotionless and mindless drones. Johnny felt responsible for Alejandra being used by Adam and vowed to help free her and the Ghost Rider from Adam.[39]

Alejandra and Adam would then return to the Nicaraguan temple where she was trained and where he wanted her to 'extinguish' the sin from the other students. After Alejandra refused she was enslaved by Adam.[40] Shortly after this Johnny would arrive and team up with the Seeker, who also wanted to stop Adam. Alejandra had been turned into a kind of bomb, which wiped all sin from Nicaragua after she blew. Only Johnny and the Seeker were spared as the Seeker had used his power to nullify a Ghost Rider's abilities to protect them.[41]

Alejandra was then taken to Cape Canaveral by Adam who made her board a space shuttle heading to a space station in orbit.[41] Adam planned for her to use the stations observation equipment to focus her power to hit the entire planet and wipe it free from sin. Johnny was able to get aboard by using a motorcycle Mephisto provided which was capable of space travel. Johnny was able to get through to Alejandra who released her power into the station instead, destroying it. Johnny was saved by Alejandra who returned them to Earth but refused his help in returning the people of Nicaragua to normal, as she did not want another person telling her what to do again.[42]

Alejandra learned that the sin she had removed from the Nicaraguans was in Hell and that as Johnny was in contact with Mephisto, he would be able to get them there. Having survived the destruction of the space station, Adam had called upon Steel Wind and her dead sister Steel Vengeance to aid him in getting the Ghost Rider back under his control. Alejandra discovered that Hawkeye believed Johnny to be responsible for the situation in Nicaragua and was hunting him. Alejandra arrived to help him but they were transported to Japan and targeted by Steel Wind and Steel Vengeance who attacked Johnny instead of Alejandra, as they were also seeking vengeance against him. Hawkeye attempted to help Johnny but was captured himself, leading Alejandra to have to defeat the sisters and free the captured men. Johnny again offered Alejandra his help and this time she accepted.[43]

Circle of Four

Alejandra was betrayed by Blackheart and became even more determined to get to Hell and do whatever was necessary to reverse what she had done.[44] Johnny was able to follow Alejandra to Hell and discovered her attempting to destroy the entire dimension by destroying Mephisto's heart. Johnny was able to stop her but had to catch Alejandra as she fell off a ledge over a pit of lava. Johnny attempted to hold onto Alejandra but she let go of her hand as felt she had used the Ghost Rider for selfish reasons. Zarathos then returned to Johnny who used the power of the Ghost Rider to save a burning Alejandra, who had herself survived as part of the Spirit was still within her. Johnny returned Alejandra to Nicaragua to show her the good she had done in restoring its people, Alejandra was angry at everything she had been put through and believed that Johnny's actions were deserving of vengeance, causing the two to go their separate ways.

Thunderbolts

Johnny made a brief attempt to start a career as an actor before deciding to retake his stunt riding career instead. At this time he would come to join a team of Thunderbolts and helped them in taking down a former member known as Mercy.[45] While on a mission the Red Leader temporarily removed Zarathos from Johnny who was then killed by a swamp demon. At the completion of this mission time was reset and Johnny was once again alive and the Ghost Rider.[46]

Punisher would go on to leave the Thunderbolts, as well as seeking revenge upon them. Punisher was able to remove the Spirit of Vengeance from Johnny by using Mephisto's sword. Johnny was grateful to him for this and left the Thunderbolts to live a life free of the Ghost Rider. The Punisher used Ghost Rider's skull against the Red Leader, seemingly locking him into a permanent Penance Stare. Mephisto also apparently took Red Leader to Hell and returned the Ghost Rider to Johnny.[47]

King of Hell

King of Hell

When Doctor Strange used magic to restore Las Vegas after its devastation, he accidentally opened a magical doorway which Mephisto used to invade Earth.[48] Wong devised a plan to help him, and to this end assembled the Midnight Sons, among which was Ghost Rider.[49] As part of Wong's plan to defeat Mephisto, Ghost Rider confronting him head-on. Just as they expected, Mephisto lifted Zarathos' curse from Johnny and killed him.[50] Johnny's soul was sent to Hell, and he convinced Zarathos to help him in a journey to Mephisto's throne. Since it was vacant due to Mephisto's venture in Las Vegas, Johnny effortlessly usurped it and became the new king of Hell.[51]

Using his new authority, Blaze turned Mephisto's minions against him, and freed the souls that were imprisoned. He additionally empowered Doctor Strange so that he could defeat Mephisto one-on-one. Even though Mephisto managed to escape and returned to Hell, Johnny defeated him with the help of an army of Spirits of Vengeance from across the time. Blaze then sent Mephisto back to Earth, where he was held captive.[50]

Challenge of the Ghost Riders

Wanting to gather more power, Johnny dragged Robbie Reyes down in Hell during his exorcism,[52] and challenged him to a race for his power, while sending Cosmic Ghost Rider to deal with the Avengers. At first Robbie disagreed, but after Johnny threatened him with the life of Robbie's brother, Gabe, the two started racing. However, during the race, Blaze ordered his demons to deter Reyes.[4] As Johnny kept racing, the other Spirits of Vengeance helped Robbie to surpass Blaze, but Johnny eventually summoned Eli Morrow, possessing Callus the Void, along with the souls of Robbie's parents. This allowed Johnny to surpass Robbie, while Eli destroyed Reyes' Hell Charger.[53] Thankfully, Cosmic Ghost Rider betrayed Blaze, and led the Avengers to Hell, and helped Robbie in his race. Following the victory of Robbie and his abdication to the throne, Blaze had enough and left.[54]

Degeneration

Johnny then began capturing the various demons who were still roaming the Earth and tried to recruit his brother Danny to his cause. However, Danny declined and tried to convince Johnny to leave his position as King of Hell, due to his soul was beginning to be corrupted by the demons he banished.[55] Johnny, not thinking right, stripped Danny off him his Spirit of Vengeance, and threw him off the Manhattan Bridge, leaving him to drown.[56] He then went to Hotel Inferno and broke Mephisto out in order to have more control over his demons.[57] While on their way, Mephisto informed Blaze about Lilith intention to unite the underworlds and become its ruler. However, they were then faced by Doctor Strange.[58] Strange tried to reason with Blaze, but Johnny didn't listen and forced Strange to go transport them to Manhattan.[59] He was then approached by Wolverine, Punisher, Sara, and Danny who bonded to the Spirit of Corruption. During their confrontation, different demons arrived for Mephisto's head. Danny stabbed Johnny with his blade consuming his corruption and then Strange exorcised the remaining demonic corruption off Johnny. Following this, Johnny fully regained his mind and thanked his brother for freeing him before taking Mephisto to his next location.[60]

Power Grid [70]
Intelligence
 2
Strength
Speed*
 3
 2
Durability
Energy Projection
Fighting Skills
 2
* Heightened speed on motorcycle

Powers

In human form, Johnny has no possession of any super-human powers or supernatural capabilities. But as the Ghost Rider, he's the supernatural combination between human host and experienced motorcyclist Johnny Blaze and Zarathos. As the Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze possesses a variety of supernatural powers at his disposal;

  • Ghost Rider Transformation: Johnny Blaze possesses the supernatural ability to transform into the Ghost Rider at will. Originally, he would automatically transform at night or in the presence of evil. Recently, however, he has gained control over his transformations and can transform through an act of will or when innocent blood is spilled. It has recently been stated that Johnny Blaze and the Spirit that was supposedly the Ghost Rider are in fact agents of Heaven. The power of the Ghost Rider depends on who is in control of the Ghost Rider (effectively Johnny's body). Johnny and the Spirit inhabit the same body, and while transformed Johnny is in control for the majority of the time, but if he loses focus or control of the power of the Ghost Rider, the Spirit regaining control is likely to occur. While the Ghost Rider is in control, Johnny Blaze only influences its decisions to an extent as he takes the "back seat" to the Spirit. As stated by Doctor Strange, Johnny Blaze is simply a mortal and acts as a built in safety, that severely limits the power of the Ghost Rider. Doctor Strange also stated, that when Zarathos takes possession of the Ghost Rider, the Ghost Rider's powers are, for most intents and purposes, boundless and "God Like."[61] Johnny Blaze is one of the strongest and most powerful beings on the planet, while the Ghost Rider, is for all intents and purposes described as boundless in power to the extent where the Ghost Rider was able to defeat Doctor Strange in battle.[citation needed]
    • Superhuman Strength: The Ghost Rider possesses superhuman strength sufficient to lift up to 25 tons under normal circumstances, nevertheless if desired he could, given the divine nature of his powers increase them to incalculable levels.
    • Superhuman Stamina: The mystical energy that empowers Ghost Rider prevents his muscles from producing fatigue toxins during physical activities, granting him limitless superhuman stamina.[citation needed]
    • Superhuman Durability: Johnny Blaze is highly resistant to the point of being basically immune to all types of earthly physical damage, as he has taken blows from beings such as the Hulk, had his entire skull destroyed and regenerated instantly without any discomfort,[citation needed] and while the Ghost Rider is in control only divine weapons (forged in Heaven) can harm the Ghost Rider. The Ghost Rider is capable of withstanding great impact forces, temperature and pressure extremes, powerful energy blasts, and falls from great heights without sustaining injury. As his bodily tissues have been transformed, leaving only a skeleton, most projectiles such as bullets simply pass through him or bounce off his bones. Ghost Rider's body is for all intents immune to physical injury, as he is evidently not able to feel pain and is able to survive with no apparent discomfort no matter how severe the injury (unless a weapon forged from Heaven itself is used against him).[citation needed]
    • Superhuman Agility: His mystically augmented being grants him enhance reflexes, coordination, dexterity and accuracy. This provides heightened movements allowing him to dodge projectiles such as Thor's hammer.[62]
    • Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite his invulnerability to conventional forms of injury, objects such as weapons forged in heaven by the archangel Zadkiel, can actually harm the Ghost Rider to a certain extent.[63] However, if his being is damaged, the magical energies imbuing him allows the Ghost Rider or Johnny Blaze to instantly regenerate any and all damage done, even to the point of fully regenerating lost limbs in moments, and regenerating his skull after it was destroyed in seconds without any discomfort or any evident pain.
    • Empathic Reading: Ghost Rider is able to feel the transgression of an individual he encounters by looking into their heart and soul. He can also decide whether or not a person is innocent or evil and in need of punishment. He is also capable of doing this ability without the process of transformation.
    • Identity Detection: He can also determine the identity of the individual by simply looking into their soul. However, if certain beings do not possess a soul such as a symbiote or demons, he can still identify them.
    • Supernatural Awareness: Ghost Rider possesses an extrasensory ability that allows him to detect any supernatural occurrences around him.
    • Sin Manipulation: Ghost Rider can manipulate the immoral act known as sin. He can purify any soul, whether righteous or degenerate, from sin. However, this effect may cause the victim to be emotionless. He will only backfire the wrongs of the victim causing either an emotional breakdown or repentance. He can do a number of things with it:
      • Sin Perception: In addition to read the heart and souls of his victims, he also read, feel and sense the sorts of sins the individual has committed in the rest of their life.
      • Sin Eating: Also known as Sin Removal. Ghost Rider can remove/absorb any sort of sin from the individual if so desires.
    • Hellfire Manipulation: Also known as Infernal Pyrokinesis. Ghost Rider possesses the ability to generate, control, and project mystical fire, or "hellfire" at will. Hellfire is an ethereal and supernatural flame that burns the soul of a person and can also be used to burn their physical body. He can utilize this fire in various ways:
      • Hellfire Infusion: His ability to channel hellfire allows him to imbue objects and vehicles by choice with his mystical element.[10]
      • Hellfire Projection: He can spew the fire from his eyes, mouth, hands and chest, including channeling the fire from his body into his weapons such as his shotgun.
      • Hellfire Construct: He is able to construct various things such as walls, weapons and his motorcycle.
      • Hellfire Telekinesis: He can also control hellfire infused objects through his mind.[64]
      • Hellfire Attacks: In addition to projecting and infusing hellfire, he can perform a number of attacks. He can create hellfire balls, spew out a massive wave and unleash omnidirectional explosions that are incredibly powerful, capable of bringing great pain to the Hulk.
      • Hell Firestorm: He is able to rain down a firestorm of hellfire directly towards the surrounding enemies resulting to devastating destruction.[3]
    • Soul Manipulation: Ghost Rider has the ability to manipulate souls, the incorporeal essence of a living thing. This more evident when he performs the Penance Stare. He can do various things with it:
      • Soul Reading: As stated above, he can read the souls of his victims and judge their innocence and guilt, their sins and identity.
      • Soul Consumption: He can consume souls if the individual is degenerate and heartless to an extent where the victim becomes lifeless.
    • Dimensional Travel: Ghost Rider is able to traverse different dimensions. Though it may have some complications due to hosts' unfocused behavior, he can open vortexes to escape other realms.
    • Mystical Chain Projection: Ghost Rider wields a mystical chain that is capable of growing in length, cutting through almost anything, and transforming into other weapons. He can also spew and project chains from his mouth or chest at will, and control the movements with his mind.
    • Demon Magic Manipulation: Ghost Rider utilizes demonic forces and satanic spells to his advantage. His knowledge of hellish energies and essence provides him supernatural awareness when he encounters otherworldly figures.[65]
    • Penance Stare: Ghost Rider possesses the supernatural ability to cause any individual who stares into his eyes to see and feel every bit of pain they have ever inflicted on anyone in their entire lifetime for all eternity. Recently, he is able to incapacitate the inhabitants of Mojoworld without locking into their eyes and still inflicting great suffering.[66] This, however, does not work on certain beings that are mentally unstable or enjoy violence.
      • Damnation Stare: As the king of Hell sitting on the infernal throne in place of Mephistopheles. Johnny Blaze, as the Ghost Rider, has the power to bypass typical methodology of burning sinners from the inside out using their past crimes and general maleficence in order to punish the wicked for a much more expedient means of deporting the unjust straight to hell.[56] The damnation stare works (primarily best upon demons) by judging whether or not the individual deserves to be caste back unto inferno for their prior judgement both in life and in death. Eviscerating the target while sending their souls screaming through the purgatory gates in a visceral fireball of gore and agony once upon being found guilty.[60]
    • Self-Size Alteration:

      Ghost Rider increases in size while fighting Thor.

      In the past, Ghost Rider demonstrated his ability to increase his size. After being shrunk, he was able to grow back to his original height through a sheer act of will. Recently, he once again perform this action but only heightening himself against beings such as Thor and Satana Hellstrom.[66]

Abilities

  • Expert Stunt Rider: Blaze is an expert motorcycle stunt rider.
  • Skilled Hand-to-Hand Combatant: Although he's had no proper training, Blaze is a formidable hand to hand combatant and has become quite adept at using his powers in combat situations.
  • Occult Knowledge: Ghost Rider possesses knowledge of the occult and supernatural.

Strength level

As the Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze possesses sufficient superhuman strength to lift up to 25 tons. This rate will exceed if the Spirit is controlling the Ghost Rider to incalculable estimates.

Weaknesses

All Ghost Riders possessing the Spirit of Vengeance have common disadvantages:

  • Corruption: A very dangerous side effect of using the "Damnation Stare" on demonic entities is that their moral bankruptcy contaminates the rider bit by bit. Making Blaze susceptible to Mephisto's direct control the more he uses it on the escaped condemned.[60]
  • Heavenly Weapons: Any weapon crafted from Heaven or blessed can mutilate the Ghost Rider. This is the only way to decapitate a Spirit of Vengeance.
  • Host Separation: Though killing with a Heavenly weapons is one way, another way to defeat the Ghost Rider is to separate the Spirit away from the host. This makes the host return to be mortal but the Spirit will remain in its current state until it finds a new body to inhabit.


Transportation

A motorcycle which can be transformed by his hellfire.

Weapons

Currently a mystic chain. Formerly a Hellfire Shotgun, pistols, and knives.

  • Johnny claims to hate Daredevil because he believes himself more suitable for that particular alias.[67]
  • At one point in time Johnny held nine Guinness World Records, presumably related to his stunt career.[68]

Discover and Discuss

Footnotes

  1. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #9
  2. 2.0 2.1 Ghost Rider Vol 2 #64
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Ghost Rider Vol 6 #35
  4. 4.0 4.1 Avengers Vol 8 #23
  5. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #3
  6. Giant-Size Hulk #1
  7. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #27
  8. 8.0 8.1 Ghost Rider Vol 6 #14
  9. Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #3
  10. 10.0 10.1 Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #1
  11. 11.0 11.1 Ghost Rider Vol 6 #23
  12. 12.00 12.01 12.02 12.03 12.04 12.05 12.06 12.07 12.08 12.09 12.10 12.11 12.12 12.13 12.14 12.15 12.16 12.17 12.18 12.19 12.20 Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Vol 4 #10
  13. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #24
  14. Ghost Rider Vol 3 #28
  15. 15.0 15.1 Marvel Premiere #28
  16. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4
  17. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe #5
  18. 18.0 18.1 Marvel Spotlight #5
  19. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Master Edition #15
  20. 20.0 20.1 Ghost Rider Vol 3 #-1
  21. Champions #1-3
  22. Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #17
  23. Ghost Rider Vol 4 #1-6
  24. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #1-4
  25. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #8-11
  26. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #12-13
  27. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #14-17
  28. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #18
  29. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #19
  30. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #20-23
  31. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #27-28
  32. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #28-30
  33. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #30
  34. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #30-31
  35. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #32
  36. Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #1-6
  37. Shadowland: Ghost Rider #1
  38. Ghost Rider Vol 7 #0.1
  39. Ghost Rider Vol 7 #1
  40. Ghost Rider Vol 7 #2
  41. 41.0 41.1 Ghost Rider Vol 7 #3
  42. Ghost Rider Vol 7 #4
  43. Ghost Rider Vol 7 #7-8
  44. Venom Vol 2 #13
  45. Thunderbolts Vol 2 #20.NOW-22
  46. Thunderbolts Vol 2 #25-26
  47. Thunderbolts Vol 2 #27-29
  48. Doctor Strange #389
  49. Doctor Strange: Damnation #1
  50. 50.0 50.1 Doctor Strange: Damnation #3
  51. Damnation: Johnny Blaze - Ghost Rider #1
  52. Avengers Vol 8 #22
  53. Avengers Vol 8 #24
  54. Avengers Vol 8 #25
  55. Ghost Rider Vol 9 #1
  56. 56.0 56.1 Ghost Rider Vol 9 #2
  57. Ghost Rider Vol 9 #3-4
  58. Ghost Rider Vol 9 #5
  59. Ghost Rider Vol 9 #6
  60. 60.0 60.1 60.2 Ghost Rider Vol 9 #7
  61. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #13
  62. Avengers #214
  63. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #25
  64. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #7
  65. Thunderbolts Vol 2 #20.NOW
  66. 66.0 66.1 Uncanny Avengers Annual #1
  67. Thunderbolts Vol 2 #21
  68. Ghost Rider Vol 6 #12
  69. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z #4
  70. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z hardcover Vol. 4



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