With the arrival of the All-Rider, the most powerful Ghost Rider variant into the Marvel Universe, it’s tempting to claim the being as the most powerful Avenger yet. But throughout the history of countless versions and incarnations of the Ghost Rider, he does have some competition.
The Ghost Rider concept allows for different people to take on the mantle, which allowed characters like Johnny Blaze and Robbie Reyes to become the Spirit of Vengeance in the mainline Marvel continuity. Thanks to storylines that fuse characters, other icons like Black Panther also gained Ghost Rider’s powers, and The Flash did as well in a fun 1990s crossover with DC Comics. More Ghost Riders still ride in the multiverse, including cosmically powerful versions sure to appear somewhere in live-action or animation. But which ones stand out as the most powerful Ghost Riders of all time?
1 Johnny Blaze
Johnny Blaze debuted in Marvel Spotlight #5 in 1972, bringing the Ghost Rider concept into the Marvel Universe. All Ghost Riders, as avatars for the Spirit of Vengeance, feature the same fundamental powers. These include the mystical power to transform from a human being into a terrifying flaming skeleton.
When he first introduced the concept and tradition of Ghost Riders, Johnny Blaze transformed instantly when confronted with pure evil. But over time, he developed the ability to control these transitions, all helping him to develop into a more disciplined hero.
2 Alejandra Jones
Alejandra Jones became Ghost Rider in Ghost Rider #1 in 2011, blessed with all the same powers of her predecessors, but with one major difference. Unlike many other hosts of the Spirit of Vengeance, Alejandra was one of several children specifically raised to become the next Rider. Being chosen for the role while still a teenager, Alejandra’s time as the Rider went about as dramatically (and tragically) as most would expect.
Johnny Blaze took on the responsibility of training Alejandra to master her new identity, but her training managed to show him a fair share of surprises. Thanks to her preparation, Alejandra revealed a mastery of her supernatural powers (hellfire manipulation chief among them) that not even Johnny Blaze was aware of. While Alejandra’s character may have been overshadowed by Mephisto’s conquest, her abilities and storyline expanded what was possible for Ghost Riders to follow.
3 Chief Hellhawk
Long before writer Jason Aaron began to reveal the origins of the ancient Avengers of 1,000,000 BC, he expanded the history of men and women chosen to embody the role of Ghost Rider. With thousands of years to fill with Spirits of Vengeance, the introduction of Hellhawk in Ghost Rider #33 (2009) was just one of several to debut in the same issue (inside of a montage tracing the Rider legacy through distinct periods of American history).
Too little is known about the 17th century Ghost Rider created by Jason Aaron and Tony Moore, given how memorable his introduction proves. Wielding bow and arrow atop a flaming horse, firing vengeance upon enemies and killers of Native Americans, there is no question that more stories of Hellhawk will eventually be told in Marvel Comics.
4 Danny Ketch
Danny Ketch may not share the same name recognition among casual Marvel fans as his brother, Johnny Blaze, but the other son of Barton Blaze has been leading his own story of demonic twists and turns since he was introduced back in 1990. Following his debut, Danny took over the role… until Johnny Blaze came calling to see if the new Ghost Rider was as much of a threat as he seemed.
Over time, the canon was rewritten to make Danny and Johnny biological brothers, separated to prevent the Spirits of Vengeance from uniting (as the combined power would be too much for anyone to control). In modern times, Danny has been transformed from Ghost Rider to Death Rider, a Spirit of Corruption, with no signs of his outlandish life ending any time soon.
5 Speed Demon
The creation of the Amalgam universe gave fans of DC and Marvel a gallery of crossover and mash-up characters, but few can rival the power of the Speed Demon, Blaze Allen. The amalgamation of Johnny Blaze and Barry Allen, Speed Demon #1 by Howard Mackie, James Felder, Salvador Larroca, and Al Milgrom combined the backstories of both characters (and DC demonology) in more complicated fashion than expected.
Rather than bonding his soul to the powers of Zarathos, this Spirit of Vengeance was bound to DC’s own resident demon, Etrigan. As any Flash fan could assume, the powers of both Flash and Ghost Rider meant the Speed Demon instantly defeated some of the most powerful cosmic characters of both universes.
6 Robbie Reyes
Robbie Reyes took over the role of Ghost Rider in Earth-616 continuity, distinguished by his flaming hot rod, the Hell Charger. He shares the same powers with other versions, and also inherited mystical powers from his uncle Eli, including the ability to teleport vast distances by generating Hellfire portals.
This skill comes in handy as Robbie Reyes demonstrated the ability to ride through space in his car. He even kept pace with the Silver Surfer, formerly among Galactus’ most powerful heralds. Reyes continues to accrue power in the comics, evolving recently into arguably the Ghost Rider’s most powerful form…
7 Ghost Hammer
Ghost Hammer combines several Marvel superheroes into one to create a powerful Ghost Rider variant. Ghost Hammer emerges from Infinity Warps, the 2018 crossover that saw Gamora use the Infinity Stones to warp characters together. He formed from Ghost Rider, Black Panther, Thor, and Iron Man, harnessing all their individual powers into one nightmare come true.
Armed with Mjölnir, Ghost Hammer instantly stood with the most powerful Thor variants in Marvel Comics and functionally was a god, commanding supernatural forces beyond imagination.
8 Cosmic Ghost Rider
It may sound impossible, but the Cosmic Ghost Rider of Marvel’s future commands even greater power than a normal Spirit of Vengeance. This Frank Castle variant not only functions as the Spirit of Vengeance’s avatar, but he also possesses the Power Cosmic, after Galactus chose him to act as his herald (granting power over matter, energy, reality, and even amplifying the abilities of the Penance Stare).
Castle unleashes the Cosmic Penance Stare, which reduces even the most powerful beings to ashes. He also travels through space and time on his Hell Cycle faster than the speed of light. Though Ghost Riders can and do die, this variant gained immortality thanks to the terrific powers he wields. He also became the closest thing Thanos ever had to a loving father, after kidnapping him as a baby (yes, really).
9 Spirit Rider
Spirit Rider arguably outclasses Cosmic Ghost Rider, as she eventually ranked with the most powerful Sorcerer Supreme versions in Marvel Comics. An Apache woman, Kushala leaned into her selection as the next Ghost Rider, studying her own people’s traditions of magic and developing skills that rival Doctor Strange’s.
Her powers allow her to physically travel between different dimensions and realities, which Doctor Strange can only do via astral projection. Except since she is also a Ghost Rider, she has the ability to do it while also riding a flaming horse.
Robbie Reyes evolves into the All-Rider in Avengers Forever #9, a being singular in the famous Marsvel multiverse. In issue #11, Robbie discovers that in his higher form, he he lacks any tangible limits on his power, or potential agency over reality. He transforms anything he touches into Hellfire, including cosmically powerful beings like the Celestials, who themselves wield power over time and space.
By extending Hellfire to beings and objects with such inherent power, All-Rider gains control over them… and by extension, their abilities. He commands not only souls, but life and death, and space and time on a multiversal scale.
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