What is a Ghost Rider
A Ghost Rider is an empyreal creature made of a human spirit and a Spirit of Vengeance through a contract with Satan, dealings with an immortal vengeful spirit, or a supernatural entity. Ghost Riders tend to seek out Vengeance for sins rendered.
The Ghost Rider has been used and manipulated by many powerful figures, both demonic and angelic, distorting its origin and convoluting its history.
Notable Ghost Riders
Johnny “John” Blaze
An enthusiastic, former stunt rider of the Quentin Carnival. When surrogate father Craig “Crash” Simpson develops Cancer, at 20 years of age a frustrated and desperate Johnny foolishly turns to the occult. Johnny Blaze makes a pact with Satan; his eternal servitude in exchange for Crash’s well-being. Crash Simpson was cured of his Cancer, but cruelly died soon after in a stunt rider accident. In order to save Johnny's soul from eternal damnation, Roxanne prayed for a miracle from which the Arch-Angel Zadkiel answered. Johnny Blaze was then bonded to a divine Spirit of Vengeance, becoming the Ghost Rider. Johnny then proceeds on a quest to fight his possession and Satan’s influence over the world. The identity of Johnny's Spirit of Vengeance is entitled Zarathos.
Danny “Dan” Ketch
When the long lost siblings of Johnny Blaze in Cyprus Hills, Danny and his sister Barbara Ketch accidentally become witnesses to a horrific murder at the hands of Deathwatch and his minions, they are attacked. Barbara is mortally wounded and Danny desperately tries to escape with his sister in his arms. Cornered and without much hope, Danny happens upon a very particular bike in the junkyard he’s trapped in. With hands dripping of his sister’s innocent blood, he touches the gas cap from which he is drawn and the contact ignites a mystical transformation. Danny Ketch is transformed into a Ghost Rider, declaring himself the Spirit of Vengeance and from there seeks vengeance for sins rendered upon the innocent. The identity of Danny's Spirit of Vengeance was entitled Noble Kale, however he was later exorcized from Danny and it's unrevealed if his current Spirit of Vengeance is still Noble.
Adam; the man whom created sin, raised and indoctrinated young children he purchased in Nicaragua from birth to host the Spirit of Vengeance, Zarathos, in an elaborate plan to wipe out sin from mankind. After convincing Johnny Blaze to give up Zarathos, Alejandra is chosen by an undead man referring to himself as The Seeker to be the new host to Zarathos. At the age of 18 Alejandra becomes a Ghost Rider, fights against her surrogate father’s wishes and seeks vengeance and retribution against those deserving. Though the Spirit of Vengeance returns to Johnny Blaze, Alejandra retains a fraction of Zarathos’ power and informs Johnny his deeds are deserving of vengeance. With a fraction of the Spirit of Vengeance’s power in hand, she drives off, seemingly to continue her mission to render vengeance and retribution.
Traumatized by the deeds of Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider under the elaborate influence of Mephisto, a man by the name of Badilino is driven mad, and he murders his entire family, all but his son; Michael Badilino. In need of desperate vengeance upon the Ghost Rider, Michael unassumingly sells his soul to Mephisto for the power to destroy the Ghost Rider he thought responsible for his family's death. Michael Badilino is transformed into a Ghost Rider himself with black bones and a dragons skull, he is named Vengeance. As Vengeance he seeks out the other Ghost Riders until he learns the truth of Mephisto’s manipulation. He sacrifices himself to defeat the villain Hellgate, but is later returned to life without the power to become Vengeance. It remains unrevealed the identity of Michael’s Spirit of Vengeance.
After facing a traumatic ordeal with a cannibal and suffering the full effects of a Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare, Deputy Kowalski lost his hand and came out of the whole event a broken man. After purchasing Johnny Blaze’s old Hellfire Shotgun from the man formerly known as Vengeance, Michael Badilino, he aimed to kill the Ghost Rider for all his troubles; losing his hand, his job, his home, and his turn to alcoholism. When Danny Ketch fulfilled the elaborate plans of the Arch-Angel Zadkiel, Zadkiel took Heaven for himself; when this occurred, a ball of Hellfire (seemingly a Spirit of Vengeance) struck Kowalski and he was transformed into the new Vengeance! His hand has since healed, most likely due to the fact he is a Ghost Rider, and he joined Max Fury's Masters of Evil. He most likely still seeks vengeance upon the Ghost Rider, and refers to his Spirit of Vengeance as a Spirit of Pollution. It remains unrevealed the identity of Kowalski’s Spirit of Pollution.
Non-Traditional Ghost Riders
Non-traditional Ghost Riders are characters that are either "honorary" Ghost Riders or have for whatever reason taken the title Ghost Rider at some point in their history.
Roberto "Robbie" Reyes
Angry, impetuous, quit, pragmatic, and nonconformist, at the age of 18, Robbie Reyes is the sole caretaker of his disabled little brother, Gabe, while living in Hillrock Heights, California. Balancing school, homework, a part-time job at Canelo’s Auto & Body, overall care of his little brother, and a infamous low-key street racing gig, Robbie’s day to day schedule is always hectic and unforgiving. One night, Robbie Reyes enters a street race with a stolen muscle car, hoping to earn enough money to get himself and his disabled brother, Gabe, out of crime-ridden East L.A. The car however, was haunted by the evil Spirit of Eli Morrow, a former mob hitman and serial killer who happens to be Robbie and Gabe’s uncle and has imbedded himself in Robbie’s psyche. Robbie fights Eli’s dark influence and chooses to use the power of the All-New Ghost Rider for good. Robbie is not a traditional Ghost Rider, his body is not a host to a Spirit of Vengeance, but rather the host of the Spirit of a Satanic Serial Killer. Robbie suffers from the need to extinguish all life, rather than to serve vengeance, but still finds a way to do good.
Kenshiro "Zero" Cochrane
A hacker and data thief in the year 2099, Zero and his group, the Hotwire Martyrs, try to break into and steal valuable data from Transverse City’s D/Monix company. Zero is nearly killed during the break-in by a man named Jeter Warlord and his group the Artificial Kidz. Instead of dying at the hands of Jeter Warlord, Zero opts to inject his consciousness fully into cyberspace. His consciousness met with an artificial entity calling itself Ghostworks; they gave him a new mechanical body and a new vision; destroy D/Monix and free society from corruption as 2099’s Ghost Rider! While not a traditional Ghost Rider, in the mini-series Ghost Racers he is represented as a full fledged Ghost Rider, albeit still mechanical. The identity of his Spirit of Vengeance in Ghost Racers remains unrevealed.
Born in the mid-19th century, Carter Slade became the modern day vigilante known as the Phantom Rider! A champion boxer in college, an acrobat, an excellent marksman with his revolvers, and a smart tactician; Carter Slade strategically made sure those that came across the Phantom Rider’s path thought they were facing a ghostly apparition. While not a traditional Ghost Rider, the Phantom Rider makes many cameos as a traditional Ghost Rider in several Ghost Rider titles, and there are many stories featuring alternative characters wearing the Phantom Rider uniform and becoming Ghost Riders in their own right. In the mini-series Ghost Racers however, Carter Slade is represented as a full fledged Ghost Rider, albeit a centaur in Ghost Rider form, seemingly merging with his horse, Banshee. The identity of his Spirit of Vengeance in Ghost Racers remains unrevealed.
Notable Spirits of Vengeance
Spirits of Vengeance are entity's of Heaven, and have been described as the Fire that rains down from Heaven, the Wrath of God (Ghost Rider #18). By merging with human spirits, they become Ghost Riders.
Spirit of Zarathos
First believed to be a powerful demon the likes that could rival the Arch-Demon Mephisto himself, Zarathos was later discovered to be an Angel, a divine Spirit of Vengeance (Ghost Rider #18). After Johnny sold his soul to Satan for the life of Crash Simpson, it was Roxanne Simpson, being pure of heart, whom drove the Devil away from Johnny’s presence. She then proceeded to pray, the Arch-Angel Zadkiel answered those prayers, and to keep Johnny’s soul from remaining Hell-bound for eternity, he bonded an entity of Heaven, Zarathos, to the unassuming Johnny Blaze who would later transform into the Ghost Rider as a result of this merging of spirits.
Spirit of Noble Kale?
First believed to be the ancestor of Danny Ketch, Johnny Blaze, and to be the very first Ghost Rider, it is later discovered to have all been the elaborate ruse of Mephisto and Blackheart (Spider-Man #93 - Reborn Again). With Noble's true identity enshrouded in obscurity, he remains a mysterious Spirit of Vengeance who has bonded to Danny Ketch to become a Ghost Rider. This mysterious spirit was later exorcized from Danny Ketch, and it remains unrevealed if the divine Spirit of Vengeance inhabiting Danny’s body now is in fact still the Spirit whom once claimed the identity; Noble Kale (Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #1).
Other Relatable Characters
The Caretaker is a living library, a guardian of over six thousand years worth of secrets and knows all there is to know about the Ghost Rider. The Caretakers job is to keep the Ghost Riders in the dark, to deal in lies, half-truths and misdirection so that the power could never be traced back to its true source; God (Ghost Rider #31 - Last Stand of the Spirits of Vengeance). The Caretaker serves the greater good of Heaven and may not always be entirely forthcoming, only explaining what needs to be known at the time and otherwise guarding the secrets of the Spirits of Vengeance. The original Caretaker suffered a horrible fate at the hands of the Arch-Angel, Zadkiel, and his mantle has since passed to his granddaughter, Sara. Sara is also the living door to Heaven (Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #6).
Not much is revealed about the Seeker, but he is a character whom is brought back from the dead into an undead, zombified state. His purpose is to choose the next Ghost Rider once a Spirit of Vengeance has passed on from its previous host. With a chain in hand, he is the one who specifically chose Alejandra to take Zarathos once Johnny Blaze gave up the Spirit of Vengeance. He has the power to negate the Ghost Rider's power.
The Servicer is apparently a demonic repo-man of sorts who claims a Ghost Rider's bike if it is not being used for its intended purpose, which according to the Servicer is to reap souls.
The Spirit of Eli Morrow
Former hit-man for the Russian mob, devoted satanist, and Robbie Reyes’ uncle. Eli has escaped eternal damnation through his religion and has possessed his nephew to resume his killing spree and satisfy his unquenchable blood-lust as an All-New Ghost Rider.
An Arch-Angel whom, throughout a millennia fighting Hell’s incursions upon Earth has become disgusted with mankind. Zadkiel now wishes to conquer Heaven for himself and wipe the human race from existence. His plans were foiled and now spends his time in Hell, eternally tortured.
Powers & Weapons
It is heavily implied that all traditional Ghost Riders have the same well of powers, but it is the human host of the Ghost Rider that determines what their Ghost Rider can do. An example of this is stated in Ghost Rider #2 - Give Up the Ghost when Alejandra unleashes a swarm of Hellfire Locusts and Johnny asks why he could never do that, from which the Seeker replies; You could, Blaze. You just never thought of it. Since Zarathos has returned to Johnny Blaze, he still has not exhibited the ability to unleash Alejandra’s now trademark locusts.
A supernatural and very versatile fire always associated with the Ghost Rider. Hellfire has been known to sear the soul, burn the flesh, destroy physical objects, heal its host, create physical constructs, enhance the performance and destructive potential of weapons and rides alike, and change color; all at the will (intentional or unintentional) of its user.
Immunity to transformation
It is stated by The Skin-Bender, that because their bodies have already been changed with Hellfire, she cannot alter and perverse their physical forms, even while human (Ghost Rider #35 Trials And Tribulations).
While not all Ghost Riders use chains, mystical chains appear to be intimately involved with the Ghost Riders existence. A Ghost Rider's chains usually follow the innate intentions of the Rider whom wields it with various results. Danny Ketch in particular appears far more skilled with his chains than other traditional Riders; capable of utilizing even the separate links of his chains in a variety of ways where other Ghost Riders have not displayed such control.
A Ghost Rider appears to have a baseline strength of 800lbs. to 25 tons, but has summoned greater strength in times of need or when the Spirit of Vengeance becomes unhinged, rivaling the likes of Thor, Hulk, and several other Avengers.
A Ghost Rider is impervious to conventional damage, but it can be hurt by any number of high powered objects such as Hulk-like strength, very advanced weaponry, Holy weapons, and Hellfire from another user. It is stated however, that a Ghost Rider cannot be destroyed except by the one true God (Ghost Riders: Heaven's on Fire #6), this has been proven otherwise however, Danny discovering how to absorb other Spirits of Vengeance which kill the host but may somehow merge spirits into a greater spirit, and Holy weapons which have killed other Ghost Riders, but this may prove that the Host can die while the respective Spirit of Vengeance may be effectively immortal in some form or another.
The Ghost Rider can possess any mode of transportation into its own personal ride, into the ride of the Ghost Rider. Whatever mode of transportation it possesses generally takes on an equally demonic appearance to its own and obeys the Ghost Rider’s every whim (Ghost Rider #8).
The Spirit of Vengeance has at times guided the Ghost Rider through a series of Hellfire generated portals to the places on Earth most deserving of vengeance (Ghost Rider #5).
In a fit of rage, Alejandra’s Ghost Rider has summoned, held, and cast lightning from the sky (Ghost Rider #6).
Johnny has willingly unleashed the full power of the Spirit of Zarathos who caused Hellfire to rain from the sky and cleanse an entire village of its evil (Ghost Rider #35 - Trials And Tribulations, Part 3: Of Flesh And Fire).
Usually in fits of rage, Ghost Riders can enact massive Hellfire explosions of varying sizes and varying results. Such explosions have been know to either burn away sin, or burn the wicked (Ghost Rider #21 - Hell-Bent & Heaven-Bound, Part Two).
Danny Ketch discovered a dormant ability to the Ghost Rider, the ability to absorb other, weaker Spirits of Vengeance and add to his own Spirit's power (Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #3 - Addict Part Three: Pest Control), the process usually kills the human host.
The Penance Stare
Once the Ghost Rider locks eyes with its prey, it can enact the Penance Stare; a deep glare used to inflict upon its victims all the pain that victim has caused others in their entire lifetime, all at once. The Penance Stare can leave its victims in a temporary catatonic state, or destroy them depending on the will of the Ghost Rider and effect on the particular individual. The Penance Stare was first utilized by Danny Ketch, but later learned by Johnny Blaze.
The Pollution Stare
Kowalski’s Vengeance can enact the Pollution Stare; magnifying its victims’ corruption until it consumes them (Secret Avengers #21.1 - Red Light Nation).
The Eighth Plague
Alejandra’s Ghost Rider can conjure and project Hellfire imbued locusts from her gaped jaws. These locusts burn and consume all in their path (Ghost Rider #2, Ghost Rider #3, Ghost Rider #5, Ghost Racers #3).
Weapons of religious faith, and Hellfire (from another user) can harm the Ghost Rider substantially (Ghost Rider #25 - God Don't Live on Cell Block D, Conclusion).
Powerful magics have proven capable of holding the Ghost Rider at bay, if but temporarily (Ghost Rider #3 - Vicious Cycle: Part 3 / Ghost Rider #7).
Spirits of Vengeance don't appear to bond to their hosts, as they can be removed from their human counterparts by several means. Traditional Ghost Riders can be victims of exorcism, having the Spirit of Vengeance forcefully expelled from its human counterpart (Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #1). A mystical gem removed Zarathos from Johnny Blaze in Ghost Rider #81 - The End of the Ghost Rider!, Adam removed Zarathos via a mystical plant in Ghost Rider #1 - Give Up The Ghost, the Punisher has removed Zarathos from Johnny in Thunderbolts #29 - The Punisher vs. The Thunderbolts Part Three using mystical weapons, and Rogue has used her mutant powers to siphon Zarathos out of Johnny and into herself from which Johnny had to willingly take the Spirit of Vengeance back to become Ghost Rider again (Uncanny Avengers Annual).
The Medallion of Power
The Medallion of Power was once believed to have been integral to the origin of the Ghost Rider, but has since been proven an elaborate hoax along with the true identity of the Spirit of Vengeance formerly known as Noble Kale (Spider-Man #93 - Reborn Again).
Larval Universe (Earth-8311)
Ghost Rider is a Goose named Goose Rider
Marvel Zombies (Earth-2149)
In this universe, He was first seen with other superheroes that are not infected and have been assembled by Nick Fury. Ghost Rider later became one of the infected by the zombie plague and is turned into a zombie. He is one of the zombies that tried to devour the Silver Surfer. This Ghost Rider is the Daniel Ketch version.
In Marvel Zombies 3, in the zombie universe he is working for a zombie version of Kingpin. He goes after Machine Man but is killed in a second by Machine Man cutting off his head.
Earth Charnel (Earth-9939)
Ghost Rider patrolled the wastelands, opposing the forces of Charnel. He recognized the energies of Charnel within Death Metal and attacked him, but was shattered by him. Reforming hours later, he went after Death Metal once again, this time exhausting himself. Ghost Rider used his penance stare, making Death Metal see the evil in Charnel (and himself) and causing him to fight that evil.
Earth-691 (Guardians of the Galaxy)
For the Ghost Rider of Earth-691 see: Spirit of Vengeance
Ultimate Ghost Rider (Earth-1610)
Johnny Blaze and his girlfriend Roxanne Simpson were on a cross-country tour and at a bar in Texas they befriended a biker gang who later sacrificed an intoxicated Johnny in a satanic ritual. They sold their soul to the devil for power but Johnny made a deal too. His soul for the safety of Roxanne. Satan granted his wish and for twenty years Johnny trained as the Ghost Rider and his goal was to track down and kill the members of the motorcycle gang who now in the present day were famous and rich. Due the deaths and damage, Vice President of the United States and the White House orders Nick Fury and his new team, the Avengers, to kill this creature of Satan. The only information they had was that he was 7 feet tall and far more powerful than Thor himself. As they fought him they realized that the chances against him were very slim, but Punisher found out that the only thing that can hurt the Rider is a cross.
Ghost Rider starred in his own major motion picture in 2007, with Johnny Blaze played by Nicholas Cage, Roxanne Simpson played by Eva Mendes, Mephisto by Peter Fonda, Blackheart by Wes Bently, and Carter Slade/Caretaker by Sam Elliot. The movie follows the origins of Johnny Blaze and his inevitable conflict with Blackheart. The movie was mostly poorly received, but did spawn a sequel.
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
The Ghost Rider movie sequel, titled Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance in 2012. A man offers to rid Johnny of the Ghost Rider, but only if he can find the Devil's son. This film was also poorly received by the majority of moviegoers.
- Marvel Ultimate Alliance - Ghost Rider has appeared as a playable character in Marvel Ultimate Alliance. You unlock him by trading one of your characters on your team to take Ghost Rider's place as prisoner of Mephisto's Realm. You have to save the other teammate by beating Mephisto. Ghost Rider has four costumes. They are Classic (Representing a Dan-Ketch-styled outfit due to the added spikes), Original (With the old, paneled jacket), Western (Obviously a costume representing the Phantom Rider), and Vengeance (Ghost Rider's old adversary). In the comic mission, Ghost Rider must save Wolverine in Mephisto's Realm. You save him after you beat Baron Mordo.
- Ghost Rider The Game - Ghost Rider is the main character in the game based on the Ghost Rider movie.
- Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Ghost Rider makes an appearance in Dante's ending.
- Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3 - Ghost Rider is a playable character. His moves include using his chain, riding over enemies with his hellcycle, and his ultimate level 3 super attack is the Penance Stare.
- Lego Marvel Superheroes - Ghost Rider appears as a playable character in Lego Marvel Superheroes. Although he doesn't appear in the main story, he can be unlocked by visiting the circus. You can also race him to unlock his motorcycle.
- Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. - Ghost Rider made a cameo in Hulk and the Agents of S.M.A.S.H. episode Spirit of Vengeance. Where he puts Red Hulk and Abomination on trial for their wrong doings.