Deputy Kowalski was part of New Beulah Police Department when he decided to investigate the frequent car accidents on Highway 18. He headed to the Wojciehowicz Funeral Home, where he interviewed the funeral director, Clayton Wojciehowicz. Kowalski recounted the story of stranded settlers in 1845 who were forced into cannibalism and eventually murder. Highway 18 ran over the ancient site of this incident and Clayton's ancestor was the only survivor who came back to found New Beulah. It turned out that Wojciehowicz shared some of his ancestor's traits, as he cut off Kowalski's right hand, deciding to have him for dinner.[1]

The deputy survived after he, Wojciehowicz and the Ghost Rider were involved in a four-vehicle accident. The Ghost Rider came for Wojciehowicz in order to end the curse of Highway 18 by leaving him with his ancestor's ghostly victims, but Kowalski tried to place him under arrest. Ghost Rider warned him not to intervene, but after he stabbed Ghost Rider, he received the Penance Stare and was left broken.[2]

After losing everything, Kowalski developed an intense hatred towards the Ghost Rider, swearing to have his vengeance. While at a liquor store, Kowalski was approached by a man (serving as a pawn of Zadkiel) who led him to Michael Badilino, who gave Kowalski a special shotgun with which he could face the Ghost Rider.[3] In the Arabian Desert, Kowalski found the Ghost Rider, who was racing against Danny Ketch, the other Ghost Rider. After blasting Blaze in the chest, Kowalski was attacked by Danny Ketch just before he siphoned Blaze's power. A portion of the Ghost Rider's power was kept with Kowalski, turning him into a demonic entity called Vengeance.[4]

Vengeance (Kowalski) (Earth-616)

Heaven's on Fire

He was later recruited by Blackout, under the orders of Zadkiel, to a "task-force" of Ghost Rider foes.[5] His mission was to wait for the Riders in the gateway to Heaven along with the Orb, but the doorway was being guarded by the Gun Nuns, who kept him and his Zombie Bikers at bay until the Ghost Riders arrived. The Orb was easily defeated, but both Ghost Riders had to combine forces to take Kowalski down.[6]

After Zadkiel was defeated, Vengeance was bound in chains by the last member of the Gun Nuns, forcing him to guard the gateway to Heaven in replacement of her fallen sisters.[7]

Masters of Evil

Kowalski was later seen, free and part of the Shadow Council's new incarnation of the Masters of Evil along with many other super-villains.[8][9]


Demonic Transformation: After attempting to absorb Johnny Blaze's Spirit of Vengeance, Kowalski acquired the supernatural ability to transform into a demon called the Spirit of Pollution, Vengeance.[4]

Superhuman Strength: As Vengeance, Kowalski possessed superhuman strength sufficient to lift about 10 tons.[6]

Superhuman Stamina: The mystical energy that empowers Vengeance prevents his muscles from producing fatigue toxins during physical activities. As a result, while transformed into Vengeance, Kowalski possesses limitless superhuman stamina in all physical activities.[6]

Superhuman Durability: While transformed into Vengeance, Kowalski body is highly resistant to physical injury. He is capable of withstanding great impact forces, temperature and pressure extremes, powerful energy blasts, high-caliber bullets, and falls from great heights without sustaining injury.[6]

Regenerative Healing Factor: Despite his high resistance to injury while he is transformed into Vengeance, Kowalski could still sustain physical injuries. However, Vengeance's mystical energies enable him to rapidly heal physical damage much faster and more extensively than an ordinary human being is capable of. Such as taking bunker buster arrow to the face.[9]

Hellfire Manipulation: As Vengeance, Kowalski possessed the ability to generate, control, and project hellfire at will. Hellfire is an empyreal and supernatural flame that burns the soul of a person and can be used to burn their physical body.[6]

Vengeance (Kowalski) (Earth-616) and Steven Rogers (Earth-616) from Secret Avengers Vol 1 12.1 001

Vengeance's Pollution Stare

Pollution Stare: Unlike the Penance Stare that makes the victim feel every pain that that individual has ever inflicted on anyone else innocent in their lifetime, the Pollution Stare "magnifies the corruption of the subject until it consumes them."[8]

Strength level

Unidentified level of superhuman strength, equal or greater then other Ghost Riders.



  • Mystical Bone Chain: As Vengeance, Kowalski weilds a mystical chain with an sickle at each end that was capable of cutting through almost anything.
  • While his initial transformation was as some sort of corrupted Spirit of Vengeance,[4][6] Kowalski has since become a Spirit of Corruption itself.[8] However, he remains categorized as a spirit of Vengeance given his origins.
  • Kowalski was originally depicted with a red head flame like other Ghost Riders, and was only given a green flaming head on a cover.[10] All subsequent appearances give him a green flame.

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