The 2015 comic book crossover event Secret Wars, by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic, saw the Marvel Multiverse combined into a single composite reality known as Battleworld. Populated by different characters from across Marvel's various universes, one of the zones compromising the merged world was dedicated as a Killiseum where the Ghost Riders of the Marvel Multiverse would participate in deadly races, with competitors known as the Ghost Racers.
Now, CBR is taking a look back at the Ghost Racers and their roles in Battleworld as well as who won the biggest race during the events of Secret Wars.
The Ghost Racers of Secret Wars
Before Secret Wars, Marvel's Illuminati discovered that the various worlds of the Marvel Multiverse were colliding in events known as incursions and set out to secretly save their own reality from enduring a similar fate. In the end, this would be fruitless as the Ultimate Marvel Universe collided with the main Marvel Universe, with all the alternate dimensions forming a new setting known as Battleworld. Ruled with an iron fist by an all-powerful Doctor Doom, the new planet was divided into clearly designated zones, overseen by their own respective feudal lords.
Felipe Smith and Juan Gedeon's Ghost Racers miniseries took place in a gladiatorial arena run by the longtime X-Men villain Arcade and his enforcer, the fallen angel Zadkiel. Within Arcade's Killiseum were the Spirits of Ignition, incarnations of Ghost Rider who competed against each other in no-holds barred, deadly races complete with lethal weapons and gadgets while the course contained dangerous obstacles. Victors were given a chance to live in luxury while losers were condemned to hellish torture until the next competition took place.
After teenager Robbie Reyes is arrested by the Thor Corps policing Battleworld for having an Igniter spirit within him, he takes control of the Hellcharger, which empowered by the soul of his evil uncle Eli. In the Killiseum, Robbie races against incarnations of classic Ghost Riders Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, female Ghost Rider Alejandra Jones, and the western-themed Carter Slade, better known as Phantom Rider. While the characters themselves were recognizable in comparison to their mainstream counterparts, Johnny more reflected a stunt driver while Slade's spectral horse was outfitted with Gatling guns to aid him in the races.
Other nameless racers seen throughout the Killiseum's competitions include a prehistoric rider atop a hellish woolly mammoth years before the prehistoric Spirit of Vengeance in Avengers 1,000,000 B.C., a flaming dinosaur riding a fighter jet, and more. By the final race of the miniseries, Robbie's younger brother Gabe is forced to participate in the race as well under orders of Arcade.
The Winner of Ghost Racers
After losing the first several rounds, a desperate Robbie agrees with Eli's spirit to give him greater control of his body and the Hellcharger in order to start winning races. Defying Arcade to remain out of the races, Arcade forces Gabe to start racing in his brother's place, leading Robbie to enter the race, not to win but to save his younger brother from danger within the Killiseum.
With the help of Phantom Rider, Gabe wins the final race of the miniseries while Arcade finds himself condemned to hellish judgment for his abuses overseeing the Killiseum. Now free of the deadly arena, the former racers that made up the Spirits of Ignition decide to blaze their own path across Battleworld as the Spirits of Vengeance, with Robbie serving as a key figure among them throughout the rest of Secret Wars.