- Rash fools! They believe me a mere human! They shall pay the price for having dared challenge... The Ghost Rider!
- -- Ghost Rider
Appearing in "Call Him... Monster!"
Synopsis for "Call Him... Monster!"
From her studio within the Baxter Building, Alicia Masters is suddenly jostled from vibrations that are powerful enough to shatter her sculptures. Seeking her boyfriend Ben to find out what is going on, she stumbles into the exercise room next door where Ben has been pounding on an automatic punching block. Seeing Alicia walking into its path the Thing watches in horror as it speeds towards her, but she is saved at the last minute thanks to the stretching arm of Mister Fantastic, who pulls her to safety. Realizing that Alicia almost got hurt because of him, Ben wanders out of the room blaming himself for forgetting how dangerous he can be. Watching this is Reed, and when Alicia asks where Ben went, he tells her that he blames himself for what almost happened. When Alicia wonders why he can't realize that it's not his fault, Reed tells her he doesn't know. Moments later, Johnny, Sue, and Franklin are helping Alicia clean up the rubble of her shattered statues. As Alicia assesses the damage she realizes how much of her work has been destroyed but tells the others that nothing matters without Ben. Sue then pulls her aside and assures Alicia that Ben will be back.
Meanwhile, in the Bronx, the Thing has parked his Sky-Cycle on the roof of an abandoned tenement. There he is chastising himself for almost hurting Alicia and in a fit of rage strikes the side of the building, causing it to shatter all the way down one side. Realizing the damage his fit of rage caused, Ben realizes that he'll be a freak until the day he dies. With his self-worth completely diminished, Ben gets back on his Sky-Cycle and flies off. As he flies over the city, the Thing hears police sirens and decides to check it out. Down in the streets below the police are in a hot pursuit with the Ghost Rider who is racing through the city. Recklessly riding around the Ghost Rider warns everyone around him that he cannot be stopped. To punctuate this point the Spirit of Vengeance whips his motorcycle around and drives head-on toward the police car in pursuit. He then lunges his motorcycle off the car like a ramp and rebounds on the second squad car behind it, causing both police cruisers to crash. The Ghost Rider then speeds up an IRT platform and speeds across the elevated track. When he starts approaching an oncoming subway train, the Ghost Rider then smashes through the guardrail onto the roof of a building. There the Ghost Rider gloats about his victory before dissipating his Hell-Fire motorcycle and reverting back to his human form of Johnny Blaze.
Completely drained from the experience, Johnny remarks about how much energy it is taking him to change back and forth and how he is slowly losing more and more control as the Ghost Rider. His thoughts are quickly interrupted by the arrival of the Thing who lands his Sky-Cycle on the roof. Reminding Johnny that they had met before, he offers to help Blaze get away before the police show up. The two take off and they land outside Johnny's hotel which is a total slum. When Ben asks what happened to his fame and fortune, Johnny Blaze explains that the Ghost Rider happened to him, and talks about the horror being possessed by it and its effect on his life. However, Johnny is grateful for the help and in thanks gives Ben two tickets for his show in Queens. Johnny's struggle with being the Ghost Rider puts Ben's thoughts into a different perspective and so he decides to return home to the Baxter Building where Alicia is still waiting for him. When Ben tries to apologize for what happened, Alicia tells him to shut up and hold her.
Soon the Thing and Alicia are attending Johnny Blaze's next performance at an auto show in Queens. There Blaze is going to attempt to jump over fifteen cars. Among the attendees are two teenage boys who are eyeing one of the cars in the arena, one of them begins suggesting that they should steal it. Elsewhere, a bald guy and his girlfriend sit in seats closer to the front of the arena floor. When the girl asks what they will do if the actual ticket holders show up, her date tells her that nobody will cause him trouble. However, the muscled man did not expect that he had stolen the seats that belong to the Thing and Alicia Masters. When Ben comes to tap on his shoulder, the man brushes him off without looking until Ben forces the guy to turn around. Realizing who he is dealing with the man grabs his date and runs off, leaving Ben and Alicia their seats. When Johnny's stunt performance begins, he impresses the audience by doing somersaults on the back of his motorcycle before he makes his way toward the ramp where he is going to attempt his jump. As he begins speeding toward the ramp, the two teens decide it is time to steal the car and jump onto the arena floor. Meanwhile, Johnny manages to complete his jump while also doing a loop-de-loop in the air. However, when he is back on solid ground, he barely avoids crashing head-on into the teens in the stolen car. Johnny does a safe bailout and watches as the kids make a break for it into the parking lot. Angered at almost getting killed, Johnny suddenly turns into the Ghost Rider and creates a new bike out of Hell-Fire and chases after them.
Seeing that there will be trouble, Ben tells Alicia to stay put and makes a break for his Sky-Cycle so he can follow after the Ghost Rider. Not far away the teens think they have made a clean break when suddenly they realize they are being chased by the Ghost Rider. The Spirit of Vengeance is too fast for them and manages to shoot hell-fire into the road ahead of them, forcing the youths to swerve off the road and crash. As they make a run for it, the Ghost Rider stops and lifts the stolen car over his head and throws it in front of the boys forcing them to stop when it explodes. When the Thing finally arrives on the scene he watches in horror as the Ghost Rider burns the boys hands with his hell-fire. Ben tells the Ghost Rider to let them go, and when it refuses, Ben strikes Ghost Rider with a blow. After checking on the teens, who are no worse for wear he then engages the Ghost Rider again. As Ben begins throwing his full strength into fighting the Ghost Rider, he refuses to give in and be a monster like his foe. This allows the Ghost Rider to gain the upper hand in a fight, however just as the Ghost Rider is about to skewer Ben with a lamp post, Johnny Blaze reasserts control because he is unable to take an innocent life. This allows Blaze to change back to human form, but the feat completely wipes him out and he falls into Ben's arms. Later back at the Baxter Building, Alicia tells Ben that the two teens will be okay but the police are still looking for Johnny Blaze. Ben tells her that Blaze took off hours ago, and tells her that fighting the Ghost Rider made him appreciate all the things that he has even though he does look like a monster, because there are others out there with a heavier burden than his own.
- Alicia had just recently moved into the Baxter Building in Marvel Two-In-One #70. This arrangement proves short-lived because she moves out next issue.
- Topical references relative to the date of this publication include the year being stated as 1981 (on the Auto-Show banner) as well as the appearance of Shea Stadium. These should be considered topical references per the Sliding Timescale of Earth-616. Shea Stadium was torn down in 2008, starting in 2016 publications between the years 1981-1985 now occur as happening after 2008. Appearances of Shea Stadium will cease being considered factual and become topical as of the year 2022.
- This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for more info.
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