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Ghost Rider War: Two Riders Just Fought to the Death - Which One Survived?

Ghost Rider Johnny Blaze Danny Ketch

WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Ghost Rider #2 by Ed Brisson, Aaron Kuder, Craig Yeung, John Lucas, Luciano Vecchio, Jason Keith and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.

Johnny Blaze's transition into the new King of Hell has not been an easy one, with many characters noting his loosening grip on his former self. Tasked with rounding up a group of escaped demons, Blaze is determined to accomplish his goal through whatever means necessary. His erratic, increasingly out of character actions put him on a collision course with fellow Ghost Rider and long lost brother, Danny Ketch.

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The brothers' skirmish is more than a mere siblings' quarrel, however, and the result leaves one of the two powerless... and possibly lifeless.

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SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE

Ghost Rider #2

The issue details Johnny Blaze's further attempts to send a group of escaped demons back to Hell. These demons are disguised as normal humans, making their trip back to Hell via Blaze's new Damnation Scare seem like senseless murder. Danny Ketch realizes that something is affecting Blaze's mind and goes off to confront him. He doesn't believe the necessity for these possible murders, and is just as dubious of the victims actually being demons.

The battle continues, with some of the demons possessing different humans in an attempt to escape Blaze's wrath. Feeling that his work is done, Blaze leaves, only for Danny to follow him on his own Hellcycle. Blaze, however, has had enough, and binds his fellow Ghost Rider with chains. Disgusted both at Ketch's getting in his way, and his reluctance to truly fulfill his role as a Ghost Rider, Blaze strips Danny of the Spirit of Vengeance.

This visibly causes immense pain itself, but to add insult to (literal) injury, Blaze then drops Danny from the bridge, plunging him into the water below. Though it's unconfirmed in the issue, Danny's rolled eyes as he falls into the river suggests that he's neither a Spirit of Vengeance anymore, or even alive.

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BLOOD BROTHERS

The Ghost Rider legacy theoretically starts in 1,000,000 B.C., but in terms of publication, Johnny Blaze is the first Ghost Rider. He was followed by Danny Ketch, Alejandra Jones and Robbie Reyes, with the 1990s Ketch version of Ghost Rider being the most commercially successful. Danny became the new Ghost Rider back in the '90s when, after he and his sister were attacked by the group Deathwatch, he came into contact with a mysterious sigil.

He had many of the same powers as Johnny Blaze, as well as the ability to summon a Hellcycle and attack his opponents with a signature guilt-tripping Penance Stare attack. Ghost Rider's push back in the '90s was all part of a similar push given to other horror characters such as Morbius and Blade.

Blaze and Ketch eventually learned that they were long-lost brothers. This familial connection also meant that, due to a family curse, they were particularly susceptible to becoming Ghost Riders. Their connection to their demonic personas has almost always had a disastrous effect on their personal lives, with Johnny Blaze becoming King of Hell being one of the more positive developments for the character of recent.

It's possible that, if Danny really is dead, that Blaze would be able to possibly control him more easily due to being King of Hell. This would match Blaze's disappointment in Ketch to truly embrace his role as a Spirit of Vengeance. Whether Danny is actually dead or not, there's definitely one less Ghost Rider in the Marvel Universe.

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