The Ghost Rider rides again this Wednesday in an all-new series by Felipe Smith and Tradd Moore! This time, the Spirit of Vengeance has his hooks in Robbie Reyes, a high school senior just trying to survive on the mean streets of East Los Angeles. With his hellfire-powered car, Reyes will avenge the deaths of innocents like the Ghost Riders that came before him. Before you meet the all-new Ghost Rider, here's a rundown of some of the other heroes that have carried the flame.
While he's come to be called the Phantom Rider to avoid confusion with his supernatural successors, the vigilante Carter Slade thrilled Marvel fans of the late '60's as the original Ghost Rider. Clad all in white, Slade's Ghost Rider became a force for justice in the Wild West. While this Ghost Rider has no ties to the demon Zarathos or any other mystical forces, Slade did go on an adventure with future rider Johnny Blaze thanks to the magic of time travel.
Johnny Blaze's introduction as a flaming, motorcycle-riding supernatural super hero proved to be a radical enough departure from the previous Ghost Rider that Carter Slade was retroactively christened the "Phantom Rider." With Blaze as Ghost Rider, Marvel set up a few ground rules that would come to define everyone who would later bear the name. The flaming skull became the hero's most defining trait, as did the Rider's connection to the occult and with demons like Zarathos and Mephisto.
With Johnny Blaze freed from his devilish contract with Mephisto and working as a carnival owner, a new host had to be chosen to fill the Ghost Rider void. Enter: Danny Ketch. When a group of gangsters attacked him and his sister, Ketch fled to a nearby junkyard where he found – and touched – an old motorcycle. Upon touching the motorcycle's gas cap, which had been combined with an ancient and powerful medallion, Ketch became the new Ghost Rider. With an even flamier motorcycle to ride, a weaponized heavy chain at his side, and his trademark Penance Stare, Ketch's grim and gritty Ghost Rider made the mythos relevant for the '90's.
In the 2007 limited series GHOST RIDER: TRAIL OF TEARS, Garth Ennis and Clayton Crain introduced a Ghost Rider that predated even Carter Slade. Following the Civil War, a former slave named Caleb looked to his ancestor's god of vengeance for guidance following the brutal murder of his family. Caleb became the Ghost Rider of the mid-1800's, riding a flaming stallion in search of those that wronged him.
A Mexican girl named Alejandra found herself sold to a mysterious man named Adam, a man that had training every orphan he could gather to become the next Ghost Rider. When the time for selection came, Alejandra became the next Spirit of Vengeance. Adam then set his plan to use Ghost Rider rid the world of sin, thereby turning humanity into mindless slaves, into motion. Former Rider Johnny Blaze joined up with Alejandra to fight Adam's plan, although soon the new Ghost Rider found herself a pawn in her supposed ally's plan as well.