With fire and flair, the spirit of vengeance burns the road with a flame-fueled ride. One of the most intimidating and powerful members in the Marvel canon, Ghost Rider bursts from the panels on the prowl for the souls of wrongdoers with a sinister skeletal smile. Whether we're talking Johnny Blaze, Robbie Reyes, Daniel Ketch or Alejandra Jones, this skeleton sin-eater is one scary superhero. With the studded leather jacket, flame-spitting motorcycle, and signature stare, this hero is easily a few steps away from Marvel's more friendly roster. Yes, we can all agree that the character is pretty gnarly for someone associated with the likes of Captain America, The Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man, but there's no denying Ghost Rider's got some serious style. We're just glad the character is one of the good guys.
But what exactly does Ghost Rider do that makes the character so awesomely fearsome? A flaming skeleton on a motorcycle could be something ripped off of a Meat Loaf album cover, what separates the entity from Scorpion at a Sons of Anarchy convention? Well, for one thing, Ghost Rider has quite an array of supernatural skills that even give Doctor Strange a run for his money, a monster mode of transportation, and don't even get us started on that scare factor. Ghost Rider has some pretty impressive powers and we're going to go through them all today. Say your prayers, dust off your leather, and hold on tight to those handlebars as we take a long ride and look deep into those soul-burning sockets as we rank the best powers of the Ghost Rider.
15 THE MOTORCYCLE
We know what you're thinking, "A motorcycle isn't a superpower." You're right, a motorcycle isn't a superpower. But the ability to summon a flame-spitting, trail-blazing, nightmare motorbike from the underworld? We'd consider that a little bit above average.
Ghost Rider's bike is like Thor's hammer or Cap's shield, they just aren't the same without it. With a name like Ghost Rider, you pretty much need some impressive form of transportation. Some might say that a metallic, flaming, skeletal motorbike with wheels of fire is overkill, but we prefer to think of it as appropriately bombastic.
14 SUPERHUMAN STRENGTH, STAMINA, AND AGILITY
Nowadays, these traits are pretty standard with most superheroes. But consider this observation if you will, Johnny Blaze, the first Ghost Rider, was a professional stunt rider before he was bestowed the infernal alter-ego. You could make the argument that Blaze already had a jumpstart on the physicality portion of the superhero checklist. Either way, the increased attributes are a welcomed plus to the arsenal.
That all being said, Ghost Rider certainly packs quite a literal punch, being able to send enemies yards away with a skeletal fist is pretty impressive in conception. Its attributes are divinely given, so it makes sense for them to be stronger than average. After all, it's not like a flaming demon of vengeance to go down easily.
13 SPIRIT ALTERATION
This one is practically a given, but we have to include it. When most superheroes get their powers, they don't change much in the looks department. Characters like Peter Parker or Tony Stark still look like themselves after their inciting incidents, but characters like Bruce Banner and, obviously, Johnny Blaze take that notion and toss it out the window.
The transformation from man to rider is without a doubt one of the most incredible sequences to grace Marvel Comics. Seeing Johnny Blaze (or anyone for that matter) burst into a flaming skeleton consumed in Hellfire is a pretty unforgettable sight. Bruce Banner can keep his green roid-rage, literally erupting as a spirit of fiery vengeance is easily the more impressive stunt.
12 EMPATHIC DETECTION
The comic book world has no shortage of empaths, just look at Mantis, Professor X, and Raven. But whereas those empathically gifted individuals use their powers to communicate or detect peril, Ghost Rider's variation of this ability is used to scope out potential targets. Like a supernatural sense of smell, the Ghost Rider can detect the condition of a person's soul, judging them with ethereal flames.
Ghost Rider's empath abilities allow him to detect and decipher the sinful from the righteous. Whether the character is in its spirit form or not, they are still able to detect an impure soul. Ghost Rider is drawn to these energies, particularly strong in the Nicolas Cage-led adaptation, as if hankering for wicked souls to burn.
11 OCCULT KNOWLEDGE
Since the character's power comes from paranormal means, it's a given fact that Ghost Rider has a general understanding of the occult. Though not as practiced and studied as a certain sorcerer supreme, the knowledge of beings and planes both divine and infernal is present in nearly every version of the character. As the saying goes, experience really is the best teacher.
This knowledge of the occult allows Ghost Rider to manipulate certain spells whether common or demonic. This is shown in dealings with Mephisto or other lesser demonic entities that cross its path. But no matter what Ghost Rider's up against, it'll have a leather-clad leg up on monsters and demons from other dimensions.
10 SUPERNATURAL AWARENESS
Similar to Spider-Man's Spidey Sense, Ghost Rider possesses a supernatural sense that alerts him to the presence of any supernatural being or entity that enters the entity's home plane. Whether they be a demon, ghost, or other entity good or evil from an ethereal plane or dimension, Ghost Rider will know. Perhaps "spirit sense" would be a more appropriate title?
Similar to its empathetic abilities, Ghost Rider's superior senses are able to detect any supernatural occurrence near him. When paired with its empath skills, Ghost Rider can determine whether or not the entity is friend or foe. This makes him formidable against nearly any nonhuman or noncorporeal enemy.
9 REGENERATIVE HEALING
Wolverine's not the only one around here with incredible healing skills. Ghost Rider doesn't take a fall very easily, but certain obstacles like holy magic and the like can cause him to stumble. Thankfully, the character is packing a heck of a healing factor. The dude can even regenerate missing limbs if need be. That's pretty impressive for a walking skeleton, wouldn't you agree?
If shot, severed, or otherwise mutilated by mortal means, Ghost Rider can easily put himself back together and get back in the game. The entity might be a little more than ticked off when they get back up, but all the better for beating the bad guys with, right? These dry bones might be a bit more difficult to connect.
As mentioned before, it's incredibly difficult to hurt Ghost Rider, no matter what version. The character is impervious to most dark magic, bulletproof, fireproof (obviously), and all with the ability to pull itself back together. Believe us, not all of the Marvel mainstays can say that.
Bullets melt within its flames -- most blunt instruments won't phase the Rider, and anything non-magical won't even leave a scratch. The Spirit of Vengeance has had its entire skull shattered and even walked away from a massive Hulk beating! When your durability has even the god of thunder and Sorcerer Supreme casting a watchful eye, you know you've got some skills.
7 SOUL MANIPULATION
Now we're getting into some really bad mojo: Ghost Rider's soul manipulation. Along with the being's empathic abilities, of course able to detect and identify a damned soul from an innocent one, Ghost Rider possesses the ability to bend and control the noncorporeal essence of just about anything. We can't name too many other Marvel members with this ability.
Not only can Ghost Rider perform a Soul Read to see into the sins or innocence of another, but the character can actually consume an impure soul, leaving the body a lifeless husk. It's starting to sound like the Spirit of Vengeance might have influenced a certain group of specters from Azkaban. All joking aside, we are in a slight shock that a "good guy" has this incredibly sinister ability.
6 SIN MANIPULATION
No, this is not the same thing as the previously mentioned soul manipulation! Ghost Rider also possesses the ability to interact and purify the sins of a mortal soul, regardless of whether they are damned or innocent. Though this act is a great deal more benign than the one prior, it can still leave some damage
Like an enhanced Soul Read, Ghost Rider can look inward and see all the past sins committed by a mortal soul. After doing this, the character can purify the host by consuming the sins. This act will make the soul innocent, but it leaves the host emotionally altered. They can be drained of all emotion or have a complete breakdown. Either way, it's no picnic.
5 HELLFIRE CHAIN
Scorpion's not the only one with a flaming skull and chain-whip. Let's just say Ghost Rider has the upgraded version. This chain of perdition is a great deal more than a way to round up some souls. Depending on the mind of the ghostly wielder, its potential can be incredibly deadly.
Because the weapon is linked to the Ghost Rider's mental abilities, the chain can be manipulated into a number of different weapons. It can be the standard fiery whip and lasso, a bo staff, and even a collection of shuriken. Easily one of the most versatile weapons in the Marvel canon, this piece of flaming metal is certainly a deadly asset in Ghost Rider's arsenal.
4 HELLFIRE CONJURATION
Being consumed by infernal fire and flames, this ability should come as no surprise. Ghost Rider can summon and manipulate streams of Hellfire to whatever the situation might call for. The Spirit can form it into weapons, projectiles, or use it for a shield. Basically, Ghost Rider is a scarier version of the Human Torch, minus the flying ability.
Ghost Rider's fire conjuring allows the character to imbue weapons with a fiery blaze, channel the flames from its hands like a shotgun, and cause it to rain down from the sky upon his foes. Like the chain, the conjuring ability is limited only by the character's will and imagination. The sky is literally the limit for these fearsome flames.
3 HELLFIRE PROJECTION
Of course, we can't talk about Ghost Rider's fire conjuration without addressing the character's fire projection. We're not talking about conjuring images or portals with the flame (though the character can do the latter!). We're talking spewing a fountain of Hellfire out of its eye sockets and mouth like an infernal dragon.
Not only is this attack the stuff of nightmares, but it certainly leaves the target more than a little toasty. Demons and mortals alike have all felt the burn of Ghost Rider's blazing breath, and it's always quite the spectacle. As amazing as it is, we'd imagine Johnny Blaze packs a few mints on hand to take care of that sulfur smell afterward.
Aside from gods, demigods, and other divine characters in the Marvel Universe, we can't name many superpowered humans granted immortality. We've already mentioned how outright impossible it is to do permanent damage to him, but sometimes fans forget the exact extent. Not only is Ghost Rider incredibly invulnerable, but the character is also impeccably immortal.
According to Ghost Rider lore, since the riders were created by God, only God can destroy them. That's quite a factor to put on the superhero resume. Even the mighty Thor lost his divine powers at one point, so seeing a character this powerful really gives some perspective. Perhaps a bit OP, but when dealing with the likes of Mephisto and other demonic threats, it certainly couldn't help to have some life insurance.
1 PENANCE STARE
Admit it, you all knew this one was coming. The Penance Stare is Ghost Rider's coup de grace of superpowers. It's a devastating finishing move that leaves its victims burnt to a crisp on the floor. There are few Marvel characters that can boast this chilling ability.
For those few unfamiliar, Ghost Rider's Penance Stare forces its victim to feel all the pain their sins have caused others, damning them for all eternity. Just reading that is enough to give us shivers. Superman might have the Phantom Zone, but feeling other people's pain for...forever is leagues more severe than imprisoned in a cheap CGI effect. The Penance Stare is without a doubt the darkest of all Marvel abilities.