The rumors have been swirling about a certain fiery headed motorcyclist joining the ranks of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. this season, so we thought we'd take the opportunity to walk you down the memory lane of vengeance. While Johnny Blaze has certainly been the most popular Ghost Rider, there has actually been a handful throughout Marvel's history. While the powers and appearance may have changed from time to time, the basic selling point of the character remained the same: the spirit of vengeance is out and about to burn his way through criminals and super villains throughout the world. Though we may not know for sure if the old bonehead is landing on prime time television, the character is interesting and versatile enough to warrant a look through his, or her, history.
Johnny Blaze is, again, the one who started it all who is most widely known as the holder of the crown. Blaze first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #5 in 1972, hitting the scene as a daredevil cyclist in the same vein as Evel Knievil. When the love of his life, Roxanne, finds out that her father is dying of cancer, Blaze strikes a literal deal with the devil. To save Roxanne's father, Johnny promises to serve Satan in the form of the Ghost Rider. Of course, what deal with the devil ever goes as planned (aside from Spider-Man's that is)? Roxanne's father indeed doesn't die of the cancer, but instead dies in a random accident, thus meaning that the devil still fulfilled his side of the bargain.
Blaze would spend his nights popping wheelies with his head on fire, until eventually he managed to find a way to beat the curse and free himself of the Ghost Rider. Ultimately, he would never truly be free and would fall victim to the curse once again. Johnny's claim to fame of course was being the titular character in both films: Ghost Rider and Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance respectively. More often than not, if you were going to have someone be the Ghost Rider in outside media, it would be Blaze.prevnext
In the 90's, Marvel decided that a new Ghost Rider was needed for a new age. Enter Danny Ketch, secretly the brother of Johnny Blaze (but this wasn't revealed until much later into Danny's stint). Danny and his sister were wandering through a graveyard one night when attacked by a band of ninjas under the control of the super villain, Deathwatch. Rather than needing to sell his soul to the devil in order to become Ghost Rider, Ketch simply accidentally touched the symbol on top of a mysterious motorcycle. While Blaze's version of Ghost Rider still was Johnny, Ketch's Ghost Rider was actually an entirely new personality (later revealed to be an ancestor to Danny named Noble Kale.)
Danny Ketch remained as the Ghost Rider for quite some time, and even had adventures with his brother Johnny as part of the Midnight Sons run in the 90s. This new Ghost Rider was pretty close to the previous incarnation but now had the power of the Penance Stare which allowed him to show the sins of his enemies to them one thousand fold. Ketch was king of the Marvel supernatural world for years, though was eventually replaced by Johnny when the popularity of the movie began to hit. Ketch is still Ghost Rider to this day, sharing the title with his brother and a few others.prevnext
As opposed to Blaze and Ketch, who became Ghost Rider almost by accident, Alejandra was trained to be the Spirit of Vengeance. During the crossover event, Fear Itself, a mysterious figure approached Johnny Blaze and offered to free him of his curse once again. Johnny leapt at the chance, only to unwittingly create a new Spirit of Vengeance with Alejandra. Jones was much more ruthless than Blaze or Ketch, promptly killing two of the Rider's former villains: Blackout and Deathwatch. Seeing a need to reel her temper in, Johnny decided to act as her mentor and ride alongside her, even without his powers.
Ultimately, Alejandra lost the power of the Ghost Rider, her series lasting around a dozen issues. The Spirit of Vengeance, of course, jumped back into Blaze and everything was set back to normalcy. Unfortunately, Jones blamed for Johnny for the loss of her powers, and the subsequent scarring that went along with it. While Alejandra has yet to appear following the end of her short run series, if they're not dead in the Marvel-verse, there's always a chance for a flashy return.prevnext
The most recent Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes, unlike the previous Ghost Riders, didn't ride a motorcycle, in favor of a supped up motorcycle. His hometown of Los Angeles, Robbie lived with his brother Gabe but unfortunately had to deal with street gangs and crime on a regular basis. Hoping to land himself and his brother with a safer residence, Reyes took to street racing for the endless amount of prize money offered up. Little did Robbie realize that the car he was using in said street races was inhabited by a spirit, a spirit of vengeance! Yes, Robbie transformed into the newest incarnation of the Ghost Rider.
What would a Ghost Rider be however without Johnny Blaze entering the picture? Blaze encounters Reyes and informs him that the ghost in his vehicle, named Eli, was actually a mass serial killer and was simply manipulating Robbie for his own ends. When Blaze and Reyes manage to defeat the ghost, they aren't able to stop Gabe from being affected, as Eli had done some psychological damage to the young boy, causing him to lose something of his mind. While Reyes' series was short lived, he's still considered to be the most recent version of the Ghost Rider, even making an appearance as the protagonist in the Secret Wars series, "Ghost Riders".prev