Before Ghost Rider arrives with his own TV show on Hulu, here are 5 reasons why Robbie Reyes is the best Spirit of Vengeance and 5 reasons why Johnny Blaze will always be the true Marvel Comics' supernatural anti-hero.
Possessing superhuman strength and hellfire powers, Ghost Rider is a walking and talking skeleton on the search for vicious criminals. Whether riding on a motorcycle or driving around in a muscle car, there is no stopping Ghost Rider from getting his skeletal hands on the guilty. Robbie Reyes and Johnny Blaze are both in league with a demonic entity, which makes them a danger to themselves and their loved ones.
Introduced in All-New Ghost Rider #1, Robbie Reyes was an ordinary car mechanic living in the harsh and crime-ridden streets of East Lost Angeles. After being riddled with bullets, Robbie is brought back to life by the ghost of a Satanic serial killer, Eli Morrow.
Kicking off the entire Ghost Rider franchise, Johnny Blaze made his arrival as a stunt motorcyclist in Marvel Spotlight #5. Johnny ends up making a deal with Mephisto to save Craig "Crash" Simpson. Whenever true evil is around, Robbie and Johnny are unable to stop themselves from the fiery transformation as their flesh is consumed by hellfire.
10 The Shotgun (Johnny Blaze)
Johnny Blaze carries around with him something that Robbie Reyes cannot; the hellfire shotgun. With a steady hand and a sharp eye, Johnny always hits his target when he shoots rounds of hellfire blasts. Blaze's hellfire gun never appears to run out of ammo, which comes in handy when fighting a bloodthirsty super-villain, such as Venom.
In the crossover event with Spider-Man, "Spirits of Venom," Johnny manages to fire a hellfire shot at Eddie Brock, separating himself from the frightened and wounded symbiote. In Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance #1, Johnny opens fire on Creed, Lilith's henchmen, blasting the head off its body.
9 The Muscle Car (Robbie Reyes)
Standing out from the previous hosts, such as Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch, of the Ghost Riders, Robbie Reyes doesn't ride around the streets of East L.A. in a motorcycle. Robbie actually owns a classic 1969 Dodge Charger. Known as The Hell-Charger, the burning vehicle can instantly repair itself when damaged.
The Hell-Charger can phase through matter, like a ghost, when accelerating at top speed. Straight from Felipe Smith's drawings, the Hell-Charger flips into the air after an explosion and lands perfectly onto the pavement during the fourth season premiere of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
8 The Motorcycle (Johnny Blaze)
Sometimes, even a car is just too big to fit in through small spaces. Johnny's mystical motorcycle is able to cling itself onto any surface. This uncanny ability makes it easy for Johnny to ride his Hell Cycle across the walls of tall buildings.
Because of his experience as a carnival stunt rider, Blaze was already carrying out death-defying motorcycle tricks before becoming Ghost Rider. Johnny's bond to the demonic entity known as Zarathos only maximized his need for thrills and speed. Johnny's one-of-a-kind bikes in the Ghost Rider movies were customized by Yamaha and Harley-Davidson.
7 The Head (Robbie Reyes)
When transforming into the Ghost Rider, Johnny's face starts to burn and his face starts to melt away. Blaze screams because the painful transformation forces him to become a monster. His entire head becomes a flaming and floating skull. Artist Felipe Smith added a bit more detail to the iconic burning skull.
In Robbie Reyes' design, the skeleton-like face now duplicates the lines of his classic car. On the night he died, Robbie was driving the speeding car in a street race when he was suddenly gunned down by mercenaries.
6 The Origin Story (Johnny Blaze)
Johnny has a complicated origin story that is tragic and Shakespearean. As an orphan, Johnny was adopted by Craig and Mona Simpson. A father figure, Craig raised Johnny as if he were his own son. Blaze was devastated to hear that Craig had only months left to live because of his cancer.
Because the son was desperate to save the father, Johnny sold his soul to Mephisto to cure Craig of cancer and save him from death. Always a cheater, Mephisto owned Johnny's soul even after Craig passed away from a carnival stunt.
5 The Rebel (Robbie Reyes)
Because he lives in the bad neighborhood of Hillrock Heights, Robbie, unfortunately, has to deal with run-ins with bad cops and tough street gangs. Because Robbie's younger brother, Gabe, has to live the rest of his life in a wheelchair, he has to come up with a faster income of cash.
Wanting a better and safer life for Gabe, Robbie participated in illegal street races to win thousands of dollars. After becoming Ghost Rider, Robbie cheated in the crooked races by using his powers to make his car run faster.
4 The Teacher (Johnny Blaze)
Even after being separated from Zarathos, Johnny reluctantly found himself getting caught up with the other Ghost Riders. Johnny had to teach a naive Danny Ketch how to stand up for himself and use his fists in a fight, without the use of Ghost Rider.
In the second volume of All-New Ghost Rider: Legend, Blaze had to explain to Robbie that two personalities are vying for control. Because Johnny has been through the same supernatural experience and had a lonely upbringing as well, he can teach Robbie major lessons that no one else can.
3 A Team Player (Robbie Reyes)
During the crossover story arc with The X-Men, in Ghost Rider #27, Johnny suddenly finds himself in a confrontation with the Brood Queen. As the Ghost Rider, Danny manages to grab hold of the Brood Queen with his chains, while Johnny blasts her away with his hellfire gun.
Johnny explains that even though they help each other out, this doesn't make them partners. Robbie unexpectedly found himself joining the superhero team in Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness The Avengers #1. Reyes ended up fighting battles alongside Iron-Man, She-Hulk, Black Panther, and Doctor Strange.
2 The Humor (Johnny Blaze)
Much like Danny Ketch, Robbie is conflicted whenever he transforms into the Ghost Rider. Unable to control his other half, Eli, at certain times, Robbie understands that he is actually bringing the danger closer to his younger brother, Gabe. Since moving on from Zarathos, Johnny has managed to stand out because of his dry and sarcastic sense of humor.
Thanks to Howard Mackie's writing during the entire Ghost Rider/Johnny Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance series, Blaze seamlessly slipped into the role of the comic relief with his witty one-liners. Johnny has a wicked sense of humor that Robbie hasn't earned yet.
1 Hellfire Portals (Robbie Reyes)
Robbie has a special ability that Johnny didn't have when he first debuted as Ghost Rider. Because of the supernatural connection to his car, Robbie can conjure up hellfire portals out of thin air. Reyes uses these hellfire portals out of necessity or for long-distance travels.
Even after taking the extra time and strength to manifest these portals, Robbie, unfortunately, doesn't know where exactly he will end up. Because he cannot predict the next location where the portal will take him, Robbie calls upon this ability when he has to make a desperate escape or create distance from his opponents.