WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ghost Rider #2 by Ed Brisson, Aaron Kuder, Jason Keith and Joe Caramagna, on sale Wednesday, Nov. 6.
Having the job title "King of Hell" isn't something you are likely to find on LinkedIn. However, that's exactly what Johnny Blaze is in his Ghost Rider solo series. Johnny became King of Hell during Marvel's Damnation event series after Mephisto left his throne to take control of a reborn Las Vegas.
Johnny Blaze became the focal point of the most recent Avengers story arc, titled "Challenge of the Ghost Riders." It centered on Robbie Reyes being fed up with being a Ghost Rider, and the Avengers helping him conduct an exorcism on his hellcharger. Of course, things didn't go according to plan, and Robbie was pulled into Hell by Johnny for a race, with the winner gaining the powers of the losing Ghost Rider.
While the race was taking place, the Cosmic Ghost Rider took possession of Avengers Mountain to keep Earth's Mightiest Heroes' busy. Once the alternate timeline Frank Castle realized he was being played by Johnny, he joined the Avengers as they journeyed to Hell. Robbie was able to win the race with the help of his friends but declined his winnings, leaving Johnny in charge of Hell and all the demons just looking to stick it to the new man in charge. Ghost Rider #1 gave a glimpse at how demons are looking to double-cross Johnny by escaping to Earth.
So now King Ghost Rider is back on Earth to do some demon hunting in a preview of Ghost Rider #2. In his human form, a barefoot Johnny Blaze is scouting for demons on a busy sidewalk. His supernatural abilities enable Johnny to sniff out all the sinners that pass him by, but they also help him to find the one person who isn't suffering from a case of mortal sin. Once he corners the man in an alleyway, Johnny unleashes his Ghost Rider form, revealing a slightly altered look befit for the King of Hell.
This new look isn't too different from how Johnny normally appears as Ghost Rider. However, there are a few key modifications -- his flaming skull now has a set of horns growing out of his forehead, and his midsection appears to almost display his ribs on the sides. They are either ribs or a red pattern on his clothing/jacket, but either way, they weren't there before.
When the gentleman tries to feign ignorance at Ghost Rider's intimidating line of questioning, he's hit with the classic penance stare, which burns away his human appearance to reveal the monster's true demonic form. Johnny Blaze is going all-in on his King of Hell persona, with a matching look to go with his job title. Ghost Rider #2 should let us know if Johnny continues to descend deeper into the madness that comes with calling the shots in the underworld.