WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ghost Rider #1 by Ed Brisson and Aaron Kuder, on sale Wednesday, Oct. 2.
While most heroes in the Marvel Universe are voluntarily heroic, others are thrust into the role through various methods. As you can imagine, selling your soul to the devil and being turned into the Spirit of Vengeance typically puts you in the "involuntary" category.
Even so, a good number of the Ghost Riders to cruise through the Marvel U have proven their heroism, including the most famous of the group: Johnny Blaze. Johnny has stood toe-to-toe with Mephisto on a number of occasions, and recently replaced the devil as the King of Hell in the Marvel miniseries Damnation. Of course, being king isn't easy, especially when you're ruling over demons and goblins who would rather roast you over an open pit than obey your commands.
An example of this is revealed in a preview of Ghost Rider #1, as Johnny Blaze fills the reader in on how he spends the majority of his time chasing down runaway demons trying to escape hell, instead of sitting on a king's throne.
Johnny starts by giving a rundown on how he first summoned Mephisto after smearing a pentagram on his chest. Next, Johnny traded his soul to save the man who had been like a father to him, thus putting him in servitude to the devil. However, he has managed to rise through the ranks, going from servant to King of Hell, which is one crazy career path.
Johnny is slowly realizing that it's not easy being king. The occupants of hell have no loyalty to him, and are now constantly trying to escape to Earth. This latest is the third attempt Ghost Rider has busted in the last week, and it's time to get some answers. Ghost Rider barely stops a small demon named Batrong from teleporting into a restaurant kitchen, and when Batrong refuses to talk, Johnny orders his soldiers to dip him in boiling oil and have his flesh flayed. As for Ghost Rider, he's heading to Earth to track some escaping demons.
Johnny Blaze has been a busy man lately. The current story arc in Avengers is titled "Challenge of the Ghost Riders," and finds Robbie Reyes pulled into hell by Johnny for a race. Meanwhile, Avengers Mountain is possessed by the Cosmic Ghost Rider, who is Frank Castle from an alternate reality. There is one more issue to go in the story arc, but more than likely the conclusion will connect to Ghost Rider in some manner.
Robbie Reyes Ghost Rider was slated to star in an original Hulu series, but it was surprisingly canceled earlier this week. There are rumblings Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige has plans for Ghost Rider in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but that remains speculation at this point. For now, fans will have to get their Ghost Rider fix when Ghost Rider #1 debuts on Oct. 2.