Ghost Rider has been on a bit of a wild ride since earlier this year. The new King of Hell has had his hands full with challengers to the throne, an army of other Ghost Riders showing up, and dealing with his contemporaries. But, no one could have expected two of Marvel’s most popular versions of the character coming to blows with each other in the latest issue. Johnny Blaze has had a lot on his plate with managing the denizens of the underworld. Add to that, there have been some rogue demons sneaking into the realm of humans and causing problems. The veteran Rider is looking for answers and doesn’t care who he has to hurt to get them. He has this wicked new horned skull look and it has somehow made the character look even more menacing on the page. *Spoilers for Ghost Rider #2 to follow*
Over the course of the first two issues, Johnny Blaze has been trying to recruit his brother Danny Ketch to help him round up some mysterious demons around town. Ketch has been drowning his sorrows in his bar and moping all day. After a personal tragedy, he’s taking a while to get back up on his feet. But, things come to a head in this issue as the difference in opinion becomes too great and the two Riders are forced to duke it out. Now, the new skull look is not for show and Blaze as become a truly terrifying force. Ketch tries his best to talk some sense into his brother, but it isn’t going to work this time. As the two race around on their Hellcycles and exchange blows, Ketch becomes desperate. But, that is too little too late as Blaze catches him at the top of a bridge and decides to dress him down right then and there.
The King of Hell kind of breaks Ketch’s problems down during a big speech. Blaze accuses his brother of wallowing in self-pity and decides to lessen the burden on him in a super direct way. The Rider then rips the Spirit of Vengeance directly from Ketch. After telling him to “enjoy his freedom,” Blaze drops Ketch off of the bridge into the waters below. An unconscious former-Ghost Rider is now in a grave situation without his powers or a state of mind to save himself. Also of note, now there is no one to stand in Blaze’s way as he uses some extreme methods to extract information from seemingly innocent individuals.1comments
Blaze and Ketch have been dealing with some slight tension since their experiences in the Absolute Carnage tie-in. The two Riders were tasked with saving one of their own from the killer symbiote. Alejandra Jones was the target, and even though they put up a very good fight, it just wasn’t enough to save her. Carnage ripped the Codex from her body and she was sent to Hell for the time being. Ketch and Blaze would battle the symbiote and manage to save the inhabitants of a nearby village. They sent him packing as one last moment of heroism for their fallen contemporary.
Around the same time, Jones makes her way into the general assembly of Hell. But, a pretty shocking contingent is waiting for her. An entire army of different Ghost Riders is just there on the page. So, at some point soon, readers will see all those different versions in action. It might take all those different iterations to actually bring Blaze back down to Earth (is that even right?) after the new power boost. Uncertain times are ahead for the King of Hell.