- Marvel’s new Ghost Rider draws inspiration from Batman: The Long Halloween, blending horror and crime genres.
- The Hood becomes the new host of the Spirit of Vengeance, breaking the mold of previous Ghost Riders.
- Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance delves into Johnny Blaze’s psyche and explores the factors that led to the Spirit of Vengeance choosing a villainous host.
Warning: contains spoilers for Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1!
Marvel’s new Ghost Rider was inspired by the iconic DC story Batman: The Long Halloween. For over 50 years, Johnny Blaze has been synonymous with Ghost Rider, but now the Spirit of Vengeance has taken its leave of him, bonding with the terrifying villain, the Hood. In the forthcoming Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance, Johnny must stop the Hood, and the story draws inspiration from a most unlikely source.
In an interview with Dave Richards of Comic Book Resources, Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance writer Benjamin Percy explained how the popular Batman: The Long Halloween inspired the title:
A few things inspired me to graft the Spirit onto Parker Robbins. I like blending genres, and The Long Halloween has always been one of my favorite graphic novels. I want to blend horror and crime in a similar fashion.
Percy likened this new beginning for the Hood to the treatment he gave Omega Red in the X Lives and Deaths of Wolverine. Percy called retooling villains like the Hood a “fun challenge,” due to these characters being overlooked in favor of what he called “primetime baddies.”
Percy also pointed to the recent tension between Blaze and the Spirit as a reason for the new host.
There Have Been Many Ghost Riders, But an Evil One is New
The Hood Is Breaking the Ghost Rider Mold
While Johnny Blaze may be the best known Ghost Rider, there have in fact been Spirits of Vengeance all throughout history, with the first debuting during Earth’s Stone Age. Most of the hosts for the Spirit of Vengeance have been moral people, and it was assumed that a villain could never be a Ghost Rider. Yet, somehow, the Hood has seized control of the Spirit, and will most certainly use it for nefarious means. Johnny must now try to stop him, and in the process take back what he has long sought to escape from.
Since his introduction, Ghost Rider has been steeped in horror elements. Ghost Rider’s first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #5 was a watershed moment in the development of Marvel’s horror output. Taking advantage of a loosened Comics Code, Marvel unleashed a horde of demons, devils and other assorted creatures on the Earth, and a number of them first appeared in Ghost Rider stories. Ghost Rider was a new type of hero for a new decade, one who blended superheroes with blood-curdling terror. Now terror is taken a step further with the Spirit in the hands of the Hood.
Marvel’s New Ghost Rider Is Inspired By The Long Halloween…In More Ways Than One
The New Book Peels Back the Layers of Johnny Blaze
While Batman: The Long Halloween did not feature (real) demons and ghosts, it was still a potent horror comic. The Long Halloween’s horror was based on psychology, as fans went deep into the heads of Batman and his cast of characters. Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance will take a similar approach, as Percy has promised a deep look into Johnny Blaze’s psyche, and the factors that drove the Spirit of Vengeance to leave him and choose a new, villainous host. Drawing inspiration from a classic Batman story, Marvel’s new Ghost Rider is one of its most powerful villains.
Source: Comic Book Resources
Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1 is on sale March 13 from Marvel Comics!
Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1 (2024)