Ghost Rider is a Marvel character who is possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance or Zarathos. The name Ghost Rider is more of a title than an identity in the Marvel universe.
The Ghost Rider who we are most familiar with is Johnathon “Johnny” Blaze.
When we think of Ghost Rider, we usually think of an anti-villain who looks similar to a Grim Reaper. Due to his appearance, we tend to associate him to be somewhat of a cruel character who tortures his opponents to death. While there is no denying that fact, it wasn’t true from the very beginning.
A Tragic Backstory
Johnny was a US-born citizen who had a very sad past. He was born as the son of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale. Both of his parents used to work in a motorcycle show so most of his childhood years were spent growing up in carnivals.
This is when everything goes upside down for Johnny.
Johnny was destined to have a tragic background from the very beginning because of his family curse. His mother, Naomi, was also possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance and was aware of the curse so she left him along with his sibling in fear that Johnny would suffer the same fate as her.
Johnny, however, was hugely affected by this to the point that he had to repress many memories of his mother as well as siblings. Naomi would later die in a battle with Mephisto. It wouldn’t take long for him to lose his father in an accident as well.
After losing both of his parents, Johnny was adopted by his parent’s friend Crash and his wife Mona Simpson. They did everything to insure Johnny had a perfect childhood.
Johnny receives his power
The power of the Ghost Rider was the result of the family curse that Johnny’s mother was afraid of.
The curse of the Kale family first originated from a medallion known as Medallion of Power which housed the soul of the original Spirits of Vengeance. This medallion was later rooted in the bloodline of two families one of which was the Kale family.
The firstborn of Kale’s family generation started having this curse so Johnny as a firstborn of Naomi Kale was sure to have it as well.
Naomi did try to bargain with Mephisto in order to avoid Johnny from inheriting the curse. This bargain, however, resulted in a betrayal from Mephisto.
Johnny manifested this curse and transformed into a ghost rider for the first time after he lost his stepdad. Since nobody told him anything about the curse, initially, he believed Ghost Rider to be part of himself but later on found it to be an entirely different being within himself referred to as Zarathos.
Ghost Rider’s power explained
Ghost Rider’s power can be categorized into two different levels. One in which Johnny is in the control of the Ghost Rider form and one in which Zarathos is in the possession of the body.
The difference between the power levels of the two forms was properly described by Doctor Strange. He stated Ghost Rider to be extremely powerful, to the extent, that he was defeated by Ghost Rider; however, all of this power is limited when Johnny is in control of the body.
Despite these limitations, the power of Ghost Rider is believed to be on par with the strongest beings on the planet due to his huge stamina, durability, and regenerative healing powers.
The moment when Ghost Rider lost his power
Even though ghost rider is believed to have unlimited power, it still has some weaknesses. One of the weaknesses is that any weapon that is crafted from Heaven can be used to decapitate Ghost Rider. The spirit within the ghost rider known as the Spirit of Vengeance can also be separated from the host leaving the Ghost Rider inactive until it founds another host.
This was done by Punisher when he removed the spirit from Johnny by using his own mystical chain against him. Although later on Mephisto seems to have again returned the power of Ghost Rider back to Johnny.