Johnny Blaze roars into theaters once more in "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance" on February 17, and to mark the event, Marvel.com will bring you new stories on ol' Flamehead every day from now until the film's premiere! From looks at the film to looks at the character's rich history, check out Marvel.com every day for everything relating to your favorite Flamehead, and don't miss "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance," in theaters February 17!
By TJ Dietsch
Jason Aaron's run on GHOST RIDER might have only lasted 22 issues (#20-35 of the 2006 series and the six issue GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S ON FIRE limited series), but they sure left an impact. Of course, it's hard not to when you consider the run not only included former Ghost Rider Danny Ketch working for the evil angel Zadkiel and a giant of a man named The Deacon wielding heavenly blades as well as a bevy of newly revealed Ghost Riders and groups of both nuns and nurses ready to wage wars at the drop of a feather.
Aaron and artists like Roland Boschi, Tan Eng Huat and Tony Moore portrayed these over-the-top moments so well that they seemed to fit perfectly in the world of a man cursed by supernatural forces to drive around on a flaming motorcycle and shoot evil-doers with his Penance Stare. With that in mind, we took a look back at those 22 issues and listed the following ten superlatives. Seeing as how this is a unique book, it follows that the categories include “Best Use Of A Scythe” and “Grossest Travel Snack.”
While on a mission to track down the angel Zadkiel who cursed him, Johnny Blaze finds himself in a hospital trying to pump a boy who came back from the dead for some information in Aaron's first issue, GHOST RIDER (2006) #20. He runs into a tank of a nurse who not only works for Zadkiel but also stops him dead in his tracks. Undeterred, Blaze heads outside, gets his flame on and returns on his bike, blasting through the hospital doors. Let it never be said that Blaze doesn't know how to make a good--or at least memorable--first impression.
|Best Use of a Scythe|
Best Use Of A Scythe
Ghost Rider tends to use his trademark chains to make an impact on his adventures, but in the pages of GHOST RIDER (2006) #22 he went for another kind of weapon while facing a road haunted by legions of ghost cannibals. After getting knocked into a barn, the Rider walks out brandishing a scythe which he then uses to eviscerate, decapitate and bisect anything that got in his way.
Grossest Travel Snack
Poor Deputy Kowalski found himself on the wrong end of a cannibal's cleaver in the pages of GHOST RIDER (2006) #21, but it wasn't until the next issue that the cannibal decided to eat Kowalski's hand while the officer laid bound and gagged in the back seat. Kowalski would later go on to cause his own share of trouble for the Riders after being understandably upset with the role they played in his disfigurement.
Obviously with the series revolving around not one, but two, Ghost Riders, the existence of other versions of the character didn't surprise many. However, the extent of the Ghost Rider family and the deep, deep history presented by Aaron throughout the series showed a lot more than expected. Unfortunately, many of the new Riders met their end at the hands of Danny Ketch, but readers still got plenty of looks at Riders past, present and even future.
For several issues readers wondered exactly why former Ghost Rider Danny Ketch threw in with Zadkiel and the likes of long-time nemesis Blackout, and in GHOST RIDER (2006) #28 they finally got their answers when he explained to Danny that he still craved the power of being the Rider. It's not exactly a good reason, but an understandable one that he would later regret after taking things too far.
After explaining why he'd gone bad, Danny then switched into his new form. With that, the two supernaturally enhanced brothers tried to bash each others' flaming skulls in. But before that, we got a great look at Danny's new costume at the end of GHOST RIDER (2006) #28. Instead of the usual orange flame, Danny now sported blue ones, a more regal looking costume and his own chains. It was a good look even if it represented Danny's bad decisions.
|Most Dangerous Nun|
Most Dangerous Nun
Nurses aren't the only unexpected warriors in the pages of GHOST RIDER, nuns also get in on the act. In fact The Sacred Heart Convent for the Sisters of the Holy Sepulcher produced one of the toughest nuns around in Sister Sara. She turns out to be longtime Ghost Rider comrade Caretaker's granddaughter. When he winds up on the wrong end of some trouble, she takes over, absorbing his entire library of Rider knowledge and joining Johnny in his quest. In the process, she becomes a warrior in her own right and winds up saving the world a number of times in a fairly short period.
Most Unlikely Couple
After the war between Johnny and the other Riders against Danny, Zadkiel and an army of angels ends, our heroes found themselves focused on keeping the world safe once again in the HEAVEN'S ON FIRE limited series. They got some help in the form of the Son of Satan, Hellstorm, and occult terrorist Jaine Cutter, who just so happened to be lovers in days gone by. The banter between these characters while facing off against armies of demons and an ensuing apocalypse never slows down and stays consistently biting and funny throughout. If those crazy kids can't make it, who can?
|Best Collection of Villains|
Best Collection Of Villains
If you thought the team of villains led by Danny Ketch in GHOST RIDER (2006) #26 consisting of Blackout, Orb, Doghead and Death Ninja would win this spot on this list, you'd be wrong. Sure, that's a wild group of villains, but they don't hold a candle to the collection of characters Blackout debuts in GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S ON FIRE #2. It not only brought Orb and the Deacon into the fold, but also Vengeance, Scarecrow, Big Wheel, Madcap and Trull the Mighty, an alien consciousness that can jump between electronic devices. These guys might not be Doctor Doom, but they sure gave the Ghost Riders trouble.
Most Epic Battle
The first battle with Zadkiel boasted some intense moments, but the finale in the last two issues of GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S ON FIRE takes the cake thanks to all the heroes and villains trying to kill each other. This one also includes armies of killer nuns facing off against tons of monsters and zombies, even Zadkiel makes an appearance. At the end, readers not only got to see the end of the big huge story going on in this arc, but also where some of the other characters like Deacon and Orb wound up as the series concluded.