Zarathos fought the ancient Spirits of Vengeance and corrupted a number of their overseers, the Blood into his "Fallen". Although he promised them increased power, in actuality Zarathos was using their powers to further augment himself.
After gaining power and worshippers, Zarathos then challenged Mephisto for ownership of his realm. Mephisto tricked Zarathos with the aid of the soulless Centurious. Centurious' lack of a soul rendered him immune to many of Zarathos' power. With his followers abandoning him, Zarathos was easily defeated.
On occasion, Mephisto would forcibly bond Zarathos to mortals as a mockery of the Spirits of Vengeance. On one such occasion, he bonded Zarathos to carnival stunt cyclist Johnny Blaze, transforming him into the Ghost Rider. After serving as the Ghost Rider for many years, Zarathos was contained inside of mystic relic known as the Soul Chamber. He was briefly released by the Beyonder in an attempt to tempt Spider-Man into allowing the death of the Kingpin.
However, Zarathos appeared again, having hid inside Centurious until freed by Lilith. Joining with Lilith, they planned to take over Earth and were opposed by the Midnight Sons. The Fallen also returned to assist Zarathos. However, the destruction of the Fallen, his absorption of Ghost Rider and the powerful weapon, Justiciar all led to Zarathos' destruction.
Powers and Abilities
Demonic Physiology: Zarathos was a demon of uncertain classification who possessed a number of superhuman attributes: , to what extent all of his abilities reach are unknown but it is said that he rivals the demon lord Mephistopheles in terms of raw power.
- Superhuman Strength
- Superhuman Speed
- Superhuman Stamina
- Superhuman Reflexes
- Superhuman Durability
- Nature Manipulation: By his lonesome, the Spirit of Vengeance can manipulate the forces of the world to his whim. Zarathos has many abilities that would grant him dominion over the earth, sea and sky which he can impart upon the hosts of whom he possesses; i.e. making the earth crack open and swallow people or create impaling stalagmites, conjuring the weather to create and summon lightning as is the case with Alejandra Jones. He can also, through his proxy, expel a host of ravenous locusts which burn and consume the flesh and spirit of those their set upon from his mouth.
- Magical Energy Manipulation: Zarathos possesses extensive knowledge of the supernatural and can harness mystic energies to achieve any number of mystical effects that he desires. Creating energy shields among other feats are at his disposal.
- Size Manipulation
- Spiritual Enhancement: Zarathos is capable of increasing his powers by drawing strength from the faith of his worshippers.
- Negative Energy Augmentation: The demon can further embolden himself by feeding on the negative energies of the world and its inhabitants. Evil actions, darker emotions, sinful intent the works; all of which serving to make him stronger than before.
- Soul Consumption Empowerment: Through consuming the souls of other living entities Zarathos grows in power and menace.
- Hellfire Manipulation: Zarathos can project supernatural flames, called "hellfire", which can burn his opponents physically or spiritually.
- The nature of Zarathos has changed significantly over the years.
- Initially, John Blaze assumed a demon form to become Ghost Rider in Marvel Spotlight #5. However, at first there was no indication this demon had its own mind and personality; it was merely the form Johnny took when he transformed.
- By Ghost Rider (Vol. 2) #29, the Ghost Rider began demonstrating a different personality diverging from Johnny's own. After several years, it was confirmed that the Ghost Rider was actually a demon called Zarathos, a former rival of Mephisto's who was rendered amnesiac and forced into his service, related in Ghost Rider (Vol. 2) #77.
- A different story was told by the Caretaker in the crossovers Road To Vengeance: Missing Link and Siege of Darkness. Here, Zarathos was the foe of the benevolent Spirits of Vengeance, who sacrificed themselves to bind their spirits and his inside their sacred Medallion of Power. The Medallion was broken into four pieces and the essence of the pieces cast into two sacred bloodlines. As part of this bloodline, John Blaze was channeling the Spirit of Vengeance linked to his own fragment of the medallion when he became Ghost Rider, and later began channeling Zarathos as well.
- In Ghost Rider Vol 6, however, it was revealed that the Caretaker's story was a complete lie, fabricated to hide the Spirits' true origins as black ops Angels in the service of Heaven. How this revelation influences the origins of Zarathos has not been explicitly dealt with.
- In Spirits of Vengeance #5, Daimon Hellstrom states that the term "demon" is used rather generically when referring to Zarathos given that, technically, he's not a denizen of Hell.
- Despite technically not being a Spirit of Vengeance, Zarathos bestows his hosts with nigh-identical powers and is frequently referred to as being one.
- 101 appearance(s) of Zarathos (Earth-616)
- 48 minor appearance(s) of Zarathos (Earth-616)
- 9 mentions of Zarathos (Earth-616)
- 7 image(s) of Zarathos (Earth-616)
- 3 quotation(s) by or about Zarathos (Earth-616)