Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch)
Daniel Ketch was born in Brooklyn, New York. One night, Daniel and his sister Barbara were attacked by gangsters; with his sister grievously wounded by Deathwatch, Daniel fled and hid in a junkyard, where he found a motorcycle bearing a mystical sigil. Upon touching the sigil, he was transformed into the Ghost Rider. This Ghost Rider was nearly identical to the previous, though his costume and bike had undergone a modernized tailoring. He beat the gangsters, but was unable to save Barbara, who had slipped into a coma as a result from her injury. She was eventually killed by Blackout , whom Ketch had acquired as a mortal enemy.
Ketch later learned the origin of Zarathos from the mystical dream lord Nightmare, who believed the entity to which Ketch was bound was Zarathos reborn and freed from the Soul Crystal. Ghost Rider denied this, though others, including Mephisto, believed otherwise.
Teams and Death:
When Ghost Rider became a part of the team the Midnight Sons, he died twice. The first person who killed Ghost Rider was the vampire hunter Blade, who was at the time possessed by the mystical book the Darkhold. He was soon revived by the Darkhold Redeemers, along with everyone else killed by Blade. The second time Daniel Ketch was killed was by Zarathos, but, as previously, was resurrected. Ketch and Johnny Blaze later learned they were long-lost brothers and that their family was the inheritor of a mystical curse related to the Spirits Of Vengeance. Danny Ketch seemed to die by the hand of Blackout, but the Spirit of Vengeance to which he had been bound through the bike’s talisman lived on. During this time Ketch’s only existence remained inside a void and he was only able to communicate with Ghost Rider via the spirit world.
n Peter Parker: Spider-Man #93, Ghost Rider is seen being summoned forth on the streets of New York, his powers out of control due to lacking a host. Mistaken for the cause of a nearby building fire, he is confronted by Spiderman. Ghost Rider then destroys the ground, revealing the true source of the blaze: a group of armed men below who plan to incinerate the city using an explosive device, in order to purge it of its superhuman community. Stopping the fanatics but unable to disarm the device, Spider-Man requests that Ghost Rider take the device somewhere before it blows. Weakened and confused, he says he is unable to. Danny Ketch then arrives, puzzled by Ghost Rider’s presence, telling him that he is Noble Kale and should be in Mephisto’s realm. Ghost Rider replies “I am not he!” and Spider-Man interrupts, saying that the timer on the device is about to time out. Lacking another option, Ghost Rider requests Dan to re-merge with him, giving him the strength he needs to contain the blast. Reluctantly, Dan agrees and the two are joined to become Ghost Rider once more. The newly reformed Ghost Rider takes the device, asking Spider-Man to coat him with webbing in order to contain and absorb the explosion. He does so, moments before it explodes. Afterwards, Ghost Rider is seen driving his bike away from the scene, having survived the blast. This Ketch/Kale hybrid version of Ghost Rider eventually became the King of Hell in a brokered arrangement with then-ruler Blackheart, in return for Ghost Rider coming to Hell and marrying two hand-picked demon brides, Pao Fu and the Black Rose, Blackheart would free the Ketch line from the curse. Kale accepted. On the night after the dual wedding, Black Rose betrayed Kale and tried to kill him. When she failed, Blackheart revealed that the entire arrangement had been a plan to kill Kale and destroy his soul. Black Rose was revealed to be Roxanne Simpson, the supposedly dead wife of Johnny Blaze. In response, Kale killed Blackheart, became King of Hell, and learned he was in fact the angel of death. Danny slipped into a coma in the mortal plane and was later revived by his dead mother (Naomi Kale-Blaze) and brother (Johnny Blaze) and went on to live a seemingly normal life. However, this was not to last; his longtime girlfriend Stacy found out she was pregnant with Danny’s child and ran away.
In the miniseries Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch, Danny is tormented that his life has fallen apart due to his family curse, and thus has the Noble Kale Ghost Rider exorcised from his body by the technomancer Mary LeBow. No longer having the Ghost Rider’s power causes Danny to fall into a deep depression, becoming a drunk who fights bar thugs for kicks. He is approached by Mister Eleven, a talking crow that continues to encounter Ketch over and over, giving him ‘doses’ of the Ghost Rider power and luring him in with longer amounts each time. Eleven explains to Ketch the true history of the Spirits of Vengeance and how some past Ghost Rider incarnations were unable to cope with such a magnitude of power, going insane and burning out their soul. He also explains that Verminus Rex, from Blackheart’s old Spirit of Vengeance, is hunting other Spirits of Vengeance in order to feed his own growing addiction. After absorbing the spirit from another Ghost Rider that knew of Rex’s location, Danny finds out where he is hiding and finishes him off, absorbing the spirits Rex had taken in the past. Taking on such an amount of power pushes Danny over the edge, causing him to go insane. Zadkiel intervenes, offering to take away Danny’s pain from the overdose by gathering other Spirits of Vengeance and absorbing their essence in order to “save the host’s soul”. Desperate, Ketch agrees, becoming a knight in Zadkiel’s service. Danny is next seen in the shadows speaking on the phone with the head nurse searching for Johnny Blaze, the sign of Zadkiel on his hand. Ketch then encounters Lucas, the young boy Blaze is trying to save, and seemingly convinces the boy to kill himself.
The last stand of the Spirits of Vengeance:
Seven Riders show their flaming heads for the first time in this story arc by writer Jason Aaron and artist Tan Eng Huat. Daniel Ketch returns with a new mission: to collect the powers of all the Ghost Riders for the angel Zadkiel to prevent the corruption of the powers with their human hosts. Zadkiel has other motives that he keeps to himself, which he needs the Riders’ powers to accomplish. He wishes to tear down the walls of New Jerusalem and wage war on the heavens. The story begins in Tibet with Chinese soldiers harassing members of a village, questioning them about weapons that killed two of their garrison patrols. During the questioning a peasant mounts on a donkey. An exchange of words ensues, followed by an order to kill the members of the village given by the general. However, the peasant kills the general’s men while his back is turned. When the general turns back around, he sees the Ghost Rider, who gives him a penance stare. After the attack, the rider goes back to his sanctuary where he is visited by Danny Ketch. A short while later Sister Sara and Johnny Blaze arrive at the sanctuary to find out how to get back at Zadkiel. After entering, they find the peasant and donkey burnt to husks. That night, the two are attacked by Ketch. When Blaze performs the Penance Stare on his brother, he sees exactly what has transpired. Ketch has murdered the hosts of numerous Riders for their powers. When Blaze shows pity, Ketch is able to return the stare on Blaze. This sends Blaze into temporary insanity. Before Ketch is able to take the power of Zarathos, he is stopped by the new caretaker Sister Sara. She rescues Blaze and they escape to a safehouse. At the safehouse, during Blaze’s self-pity and Sara’s trying to console him, they are visited by two more Ghost Riders, the Arabic Molek and the Chinese Bai Gu Jing, who they follow to Japan. When Blaze’s team arrives in Japan, they learn that Ketch has already taken the power of the Rider Yoshio Kannabe. After the conquest, Ketch has another conversation with Zadkiel via a communications link. During the conversation Zadkiel massacres the squad of the Asura, who guard the gates of heaven. Zadkiel tells Ketch to wait before attacking the Riders until the last ones are together. Meanwhile, somewhere else in the world, former cop Kowalski follows a contact to get a hellfire shotgun for his revenge on Blaze. After acquiring the item he is then driven to the middle of a desert to sit and wait for his chance. After leaving Japan, Blaze’s team journeys to the City of the Skulls in the Congo, where the last stand would be made. There they meet the Lords of the Congo, the Ghost Riders Baron Skullfire and Marinette Bwachech, and their Phantom Riders. During the day Sara tells Molek about her new experience becoming a Caretaker, and her questions about religion. She is given secret information that Molek knows about both. As the Ghost Riders and their forces get ready for battle, Blaze has his eyes opened back up by kids going to fight. He quickly snaps out of his depression and joins the others for the final battle. During the course of the battle Baron Skullfire dies and the spirit is transferred to one of the Phantom Riders, after which Ketch creates hellfire duplicates of himself to take the powers. A wager is then made by Blaze and Ketch on a race between the brothers around the world for the fates of the powers. During the race, Blaze is critically injured by Kowalski’s shotgun and Ketch takes the Rider from him as his duplicates overpower the others. Moments later Ketch rises up to the sky and Zadkiel is then able to take heaven. The sound of the gates falling is enough to be felt by Spider-Man’s senses, and loud enough to be heard by people and everywhere including Hell and Asgard. When an injured Blaze returns to the City of the Skulls, Ketch falls from the sky and reveals that the battle for Heaven has already been decided. As more energies fall from the heavens, one strikes Kowalski and changes him into a new Rider who bears a significant resemblance to Vengeance.
Trials and tribulations:
After the battle with Zadkiel and his Black Host, Ketch parts ways with Blaze and Sara, taking to the open road on his motorcycle and thinking about his time as Zadkiel’s puppet. He now simply waits for the end of the world to soon come. He comes across a blown-up gas station, destroyed by the demon-possessed Highwayman. He attempts to pass by it but his bike refuses to budge, and Ketch is forcibly turned into the Ghost Rider. Danny finds the Highwayman further up the road, who has just finished slaughtering a bus full of UFO watchers and hippies to feed the demons in his semi-truck. Ghost Rider faces off with the Highwayman, eventually tearing his head off in a high-speed chase. His severed head attempts to crawl away, sprouting arachnid legs and cursing the Ghost Rider. Ketch picks it up and sets it ablaze with a spew of hellfire. He transforms back into Danny Ketch and rides off, reflecting on how close he was to being rid of his life as the Ghost Rider.
Danny was briefly consulted by superior Spiderman regarding his old foe Blackout, who had just kidnapped May Parker After informing Spider-Man of Blackout’s abilities and weaknesses, Danny tells him how evil and cruel the half-demon is, referencing Barbara’s death at his hands. He advises Spiderman to kill Blackout if he gets the chance.
Powers and abilities:
The Ghost Rider is empowered as a result of the magical properties of a mysterious emblem affixed to a large and powerful motorcycle possessed by Daniel Ketch. This gives him the ability to transform into a mystic being which appears as a flaming skeleton dressed as a motorcyclist, and provides him with superhuman strength, speed, stamina, and durability. As the Ghost Rider, Ketch can use his Penance Stare—the ability to cause others to experience a level of emotional pain equivalent to that which they have caused others as a result of illegal, immoral or unjust activities. When in close combat, he locks eyes with his victim and makes them feel all the emotional pain that person has ever inflicted on anyone in their lifetime. This, however, has several limitations. If high on drugs like cocaine, or if the person is blind, or if he cannot make eye contact due to the victim having more than two eyes, Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare cannot function. An attempt to use the Penance Stare on the symbiotic being, Venom, resulted in Ghost Rider being knocked unconscious. It also cannot work on soulless beings such as Centurious. He can control the degree to which the Stare punishes its targets, once using the stare to free Wolverine from telepathic control by making him relive the pain he caused to others during a single day in the First World War. As the Ghost Rider, Ketch uses a length of heavy chain approximately 3 feet (0.91 m) long which possesses magical properties. For instance, when it is thrown it is able to separate into individual links which behave like Shuiken, later reintegrating and returning to the Ghost Rider’s hand. The chain can grow in length, is supernaturally strong, and can transform into other weapons such as a spear. He can also spin it fast to be used as a drill. The common theme of the Ghost Rider is a human host who transforms into a flaming-headed motorcyclist with supernatural powers. When riding their bikes, the vehicles can travel faster than conventional motorcycles and can maneuver impossible feats such as riding straight up a vertical surface or across water. In a one-shot comic featuring Doctor Strange and the Daniel Ketch/Noble Kale version of Ghost Rider, it was shown to be capable of riding on nothing but air. This was repeated shortly after Kale started to regain his memories, causing him to alter his suit by sheer force of will, and create an entirely new bike. When empowered, Ketch’s motorcycle undergoes a more radical transformation. It changes from a conventional looking motorcycle to one that appears powerful and high-tech. Along with flaming wheels, the bike includes a shield-like battering ram on the front. Ghost Rider also created two other bikes that he could utilize in the same manner as the one he normally rode, one out of necessity when Blackheart stole the original in a crossover graphic novel that brought together Ghost Rider, Wolverine and the Punisher and again in the regular series as a spare in case something made him unable to get to his regular cycle. The latter would wind up in the hands of Johnny Blaze. He has displayed some other powers briefly, like the ability to summon a wall of flame. In the beginning, Ketch could only transform “when innocent blood was spilled” and had to touch the gas cap of his motorcycle. Later it was revealed that this was only a psychological limitation he imposed on himself, and which he later overcame.
He possessed hellfire powers similar to the Zarathos/Blaze version, but he also had the ability to destroy the undead and was supposedly the incarnation of the angel of death and judgement, which detailed the supposed origins of the Noble Kale version of the Ghost Rider. In addition, Ketch and Noble Kale worked together to an extent, unlike Blaze and Zarathos, who battled for dominance and control over their shared body. Kale had a compassionate side and while there were times that he seemed tempted to simply take over completely, he refused to do so, though he felt anger at condemning Daniel to only being able to live his life out half the time, while he dominated the other half. Kale and Ketch, like Blaze and Zarathos, could sometimes communicate through dreams, and in at least one issue communicated via messages written on a mirror in lipstick.
New Fantastic Four:
In a reality where the Fantastic Four were killed, Ketch joins Spiderman, Wolverine, and the Hulk in forming the new Fantastic Four, the group defeating—among other foes—a new Frightful Four consisting of Venom, Sandman, Sabretooth, and Abomination which has been brought together by Doctor Doom and given enhanced powers by Mephisto. In the story’s sequel, Ketch is one of the many heroes killed by Thanos use of the Infinity Gauntlet, resulting in the other three team members recruiting Iron Man as a temporary replacement.
On a personal note Danny is great and all, he doubts himself too many times which gets him into trouble, but we can blame the writers at Marvel. Until next time