What happens when you mix something thought to be incorruptible with something that’s the living embodiment of corruption? I will tell you what happens. You turn into the Ghost Rider. The Ghost Rider is a literal force of Nature. With the ability to manipulate hellfire and damn the sinners for all eternity, Ghost Rider is one of the strongest beings on the planet, maybe even the Universe. So, when you realize that there aren’t one but multiple Ghost Riders now in the Marvel Universe, you should be scared. The entire team of Avengers just turned into a team of Ghost Riders. As hard as it is to believe, it is true.
Spoiler Alert: The following paragraphs contain Major Spoilers for Doctor Strange: Damnation #2. If you still haven’t read it, look away….
Marvel Comics’ premier superhero group, The Avengers – Earth’s Mightiest Heroes; just found their heads bursting with hellfire and their bodies turn into a flaming husk. In one of the greatest supernatural twists of the year, several Avengers team members were infected with the curse of the Ghost Rider. Black Panther, Falcon, Thor, Hawkeye and Captain Marvel all became bound to Zarathos due to the machinations of Mephisto. Mephisto is the Lord of Hell and the one who gave Johnny Blaze, the first mainstream Ghost Rider, his demonic powers. Now after the rest of the Avengers fall under Mephisto’s control, Doctor Strange becomes one of them too after trying to fight Mephisto and failing miserably. He too becomes a Ghost Rider.
The Avengers are not the only guys to become Ghost Riders other than Johnny Blaze. There have been several others who have tried out the demonic scowl. Danny Ketch was the successor to Johnny Blaze in the 1990’s. Robbie Reyes is the latest known incarnation of the Rider. Robbie is better remembered as the Ghost Rider of the Agents of Shield season 4. Reyes drives a car rather than bike in the comics and the TV Series. The Spirit of Vengeance has been passed down from one man to another. Several others have also been the Rider in several major storylines. Even Phil Coulson was once the Ghost Rider.
Doctor Strange: Damnation is a 5 part miniseries that sees Mephisto come to Las Vegas and invade it with his forces. Doctor Strange tries to battle him by himself but fails. The Avengers decide to push boots to the ground and defeat Mephisto. They are in turn ambushed by the Lord of Hell and end up screaming in pain and agony as their bodies literally burst into flames. They are then turned into Ghost Riders by Mephisto. It is all a part of Strange’s plan to defeat Mephisto for good. In order to do so, he has made a wager. The wager also involves turning himself into a Ghost Rider. Strange also becomes an avatar of the Spirit of Vengeance. Here, take a look at a shot from Doctor Strange: Damnation #2:
While Las Vegas is witnessing all sorts of crazy, Strange’s trusted associate Mr. Wong has recruited a team of Midnight Sons consisting of Blade, Moon Knight, Doctor Voodoo, Iron Fist, Elsa Bloodstone and the Original Ghost Rider. The Midnight Sons now face the Ghost Rider-Avengers in battle. The new powers of the Avengers now make them even more of a threat now. Apart from their own abilities, they are supercharged with the Spirit of Vengeance. Falcon was wings of Hellfire; Black Panther has Vibranium laced Hellfire claws; Thor’s Hammer is now covered in flames instead of lightning and Hawkeye shoots arrows of Hellfire from his burning bow. But the big reveal comes at the last when Doctor Strange reveals himself to be a Ghost Rider too. With his vast magical abilities, he is probably the greatest threat to Las Vegas at the current moment.
There is a new wave of making well-known superheroes into something else. Marvel recently ‘Venomized’ Captain America and Wolverine. In an alternate future timeline, the Punisher has become the Herald of Galactus and a Spirit of Vengeance. His popularity has led Marvel Comics to launch his solo Cosmic Ghost Rider series. Could this be catching on? Could more heroes end up being possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance?!?!? Be scared!!