Ghost Rider, also known as the Spirit of Vengeance, is a mysterious and supernatural being that uses his powers to fight those who "shed innocent blood."
Not much is known about the man that would become Ghost Rider. At some point he was endowed with supernatural powers that allow him to walk between the living and the dead and to control "ghost flames." However, Ghost Rider's most powerful ability is his Penance Stare. When Ghost Rider looks a person in the eyes the Penance Stare forces that person to see the sins they have committed and experience all the pain that they have caused others.
At some point Ghost Rider encountered Gambit in a sewer. Ghost Rider probably went after him because of his association to the Thieves Guild. The exact events of their encounter is unknown. It can be assumed that Gambit either escaped Ghost Rider or Ghost Rider used the Penance Stare on Gambit and after experiencing all the pain he caused others Gambit repented and joined the X-Men to atone for his sins.
When the Fantastic Four and Thor battled Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds, to stop him from consuming Earth's life energy they were quickly defeated. Ghost Rider realized the peril Earth was in and rode in on his flaming motorcycle and made his presence known.
Human Torch stated that he though Ghost Rider was just a myth and Thing was wondering why every one was on fire. Ghost Rider then asked Galactus if he dared to face the agony of the billions of lives he had killed. Galactus did not know if he was mortal or demon and ordered him away.
Ghost Rider then used his Penance Stare on Galactus and forced him to feel to torment of the billions and billions of souls he has destroyed throughout the cosmos. Galactus saw the faces of every being he had ever killed and fell to the ground, defeated. With his mission complete Ghost Rider rode away on his flaming motorcycle leaving Galactus "in mortal hands."
Hunting the Hulk
As Rick Jones arrived in a town that had been destroyed by the Hulk he lost control of his motorcycle and fell over the side of a bridge. He was then saved by Ghost Rider who told him that "the Ghost Rider's mission is not with the innocent, but with a savage destroyer." Ghost rider then rode off into the night.
At that moment Bruce Banner was at a soup kitchen where a nun working there accidentally caused a gas explosion in the kitchen. Bruce Banner transformed into the Hulk and saved her. Ghost Rider heard the screams of the nun and believed that Hulk was trying to harm her and drove to the homeless shelter. Ghost Rider then confronted the Hulk telling him that his reign of terror will end. However, the Hulk managed to escape and Ghost Rider was able to get the nun to safety.
As Ghost Rider once again caught up to the Hulk he was stopped by Rick Jones. Ghost Rider warned Rick Jones to stay out of his way and that the Hulk has done a "great injustice." Rick Jones then told Ghost Rider that if there was an injustice it was against the Hulk. Rick then put his hands of Ghost Rider's motorcycle to stop him. Ghost Rider then noticed that Rick's hands were unharmed by the ghost flames on his bike meaning that he was pure of heart. However, Ghost Rider mission was unchanged by this and Rick joined Ghost Rider to stop Hulk from "accidentally" hurting someone.
As Ghost Rider and Rick found the Hulk they saw that he was attacking a military helicopter. Ghost Rider believed that Hulk was endangering another innocent. However, Rick told Ghost Rider that the military was hunting Hulk and that Hulk was just defending himself.
As Hulk brought down the helicopter Major Glen Talbot followed the Hulk into a building where he shot Hulk with a beam from a specially designed gun. Ghost Rider then rode into the building and picked up Talbot and took him away from the Hulk. Ghost Rider then used his Penance Stare on Talbot. This forced Talbot to relive all the terrible things he had done to the Hulk and realize that he was wrong. Ghost Rider also realized that Hulk was the "true innocent" and that Talbot was the one hunting the innocent Hulk. Ghost Rider then told Talbot that if the Hulk dies his blood will be on his hands and that he will pay for it.
During this the building Hulk was in fell to the ground. Hulk then turned into Bruce Banner and was trapped underneath the rubble. Ghost Rider told Rick that he could not use his Ghost Fire to blast away the rubble because it would kill Banner. Rick Jones then pretended to be in danger which made Banner angry causing him to turn into the Hulk and break free from the debris. Hulk then attacked Ghost Rider but became weak because of the beam that Talbot shot him with. At that moment Betty Ross and Doc Sampson arrived. Betty saw that Hulk was hurt and blamed Ghost Rider who in return told Betty that she was wrongly accusing him. As Sampson examined the gun he realized that Talbot used it on Hulk. Knowing that if Hulk turns back into Bruce Banner the ray will poison and kill him. As Hulk does turn back into Bruce Banner, Ghost Rider grabbed him with his chain and pulled Banner toward him and had his motorcycle drive around them creating a wall of fire. Ghost Rider tells Bruce that the rage is within him and that he must set it free. As Banner remembered all the times the military attempted to kill him this made Banner mad and he turned into the Hulk.
Hulk then hit Ghost Rider knocking him out of the ring of fire he had created. Ghost Rider and Doc Sampson bot attacked the Hulk in order to get Hulk to burn the poison out of his system. As Hulk threw Ghost Rider into a train Betty and Rick started to tell the Hulk that they thought he was a destructive monster just to make him angrier so he would burn the poison out of his system.
Hulk then left believing that Rick and Betty hated him. However, Ghost Rider rode up to Betty, Rick and Sampson and told them that their deeds were noble and unselfish and that it took a strike to the Hulk's spirit to heal him. Ghost Rider continued to say that this was an act of love and true friendship that he could not meet. Ghost Rider finally told them that the Hulk's heart would mend and rode off into the night.
Powers and equipment
- Penance stare: Ghost Rider is set on punishing wrongdoers. With his Penance Stare he can force criminals to experience the pain they had caused others.
- Hellfire chain: Ghost Rider could charge a chain he wore around his chest with Hell fire and use it as a whip.
- Ghost flame: Ghost Rider is able to control the fire that surrounds him and shoot the flames from his hands. The flames will burn the wicked but leave someone pure of heart unharmed.
- Ghost Rider's motorcycle: Ghost Rider's motorcycle had a Medallion of Power on the gas cap. When he touched it he would be transformed into the Ghost Rider and the motorcycle's wheeles would be surrounded in flames.
- Medallion of Power: The Medallion of Power is a very powerful ancient artifact. The medallion was placed on the gas cap of Ghost Rider's motorcycle. By placing his hand on the medallion it would transform Ketch into the Ghost Rider.
In the comics
Daniel Ketch and his sister, Barbara did not remember their father. They only knew Mrs. Ketch as their mother. On Barbara's tenth birthday, Dan noticed a strange woman watching them. It was Naomi Kale, who left after being confronted by a police officer who was a friend of the family. The officer's daughter Stacy had a romantic relationship with Dan.
While looking for the grave of Harry Houdini, Barbara and Danny Ketch mistakenly ran into rival gangs, one led by Deathwatch. Barbara was shot during the ensuing firefight. Danny carried his sister and felt a strange medallion on his motorcycle was calling to him. He touched it and became Ghost Rider, taking vengeance on the gangs. Barbara was taken to a hospital, but was later killed by Blackout.
Ketch later learned that Johnny Blaze (the first Ghost Rider) was his brother. The family had been separated by the Blood to limit the chances of the Spirits of Vengeance forming, but Mephisto's manipulations forced them to use their powers.
Dan Ketch has also been a member of the Midnight Sons, the New Fantastic Four, the Nine, and the Secret Defenders.
- The Final Decision
- When Calls Galactus
- Innocent Blood
- Ghost Rider was voiced by Richard Grieco in The Incredible Hulk and Fantastic Four: The Animated Series.
- During Ghost Rider's brief cameo in X-Men: The Animated Series, Ghost Rider did not speak.
- Even though he is only referred to as Ghost Rider in all his appearances this Ghost Rider is clearly meant to be the Dan Ketch version.
- In the comics Ghost Rider's Penance Stare would sear the souls of the wicked and kill them. This was changed in Fantastic Four and The Incredible Hulk to where Ghost Rider's Penance Stare only cause people to relive their sins and see the error of their ways.
- Ghost Rider's appearance on The Incredible Hulk was meant to be a backdoor pilot for his own series which was going to air on UPN. The Ghost Rider series ended up never being produced.
- Ghost Rider was going to appear in an episode of the unproduced sixth season. In the episode it would have been revealed that Mysterio was alive and in the possession of the Time Dilation Accelerator and would have used it to open up a portal to another dimension to bring Dormammu into our world. Spider-Man and Ghost Rider would have then teamed up to stop them.
- One reason Ghost Rider may not have appeared in Spider-Man: The Animated Series is because Ghost Rider appeared in an episode of The Incredible Hulk which was airing on UPN, and UPN was trying to start a Ghost Rider series. So it is possible that Ghost Rider did not appear because Fox did not want to advertise a series on another network.