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YMMV: Ghost Rider

The Comic:

  • Audience-Alienating Premise: Many fans of previous Ghost Riders seemed to be turned-off by Robbie Reyes being a teenager, driving a car instead of a bike, and listening to electronic music (Ghost Rider is usually associated with rock and metal), not to mention his design. People who are excited about his book fear it might have a negative impact on the sales and even Marvel editor Tom Brevoort, the series biggest cheerleader, expressed worry that Robbie might become a Replacement Scrappy.
  • Complete Monster:
    • Ebenezer Laughton, known as The Scarecrow, is a longstanding enemy of Ghost Rider. Originally trained as a contortionist, Laughton found a life of crime more exciting. Sinking further into madness and depravity, the Scarecrow began to target children as murder targets, the younger the better. He once gruesomely murdered a mother and her baby with his pitchfork. Afterwards, the Scarecrow attempted a "masterpiece" by creating a building out of human beings, stitching his victims together. Some where lucky enough to be already dead. Others weren't. When Ghost Rider confronted him, the Scarecrow attempted to blackmail him into avoiding a fight by stabbing the walls of the building, murdering the still living victim and threatening to kill more if Ghost Rider didn't surrender and let Scarecrow torture him to death.
    • Zadkiel, Ghost Rider's Arch-Enemy in the Jason Aaron series, is a truly monstrous excuse for an angel. The lord of the Black Host, Zadkiel was also the angel in charge of the Spirits of Vengeance and began to desire to use them to overthrow both God and humanity. Zadkiel subtly influenced the lives of Johnny Blaze and Dan Ketch, destroying those close to them to make them vulnerable to the Ghost Rider spirits. Zadkiel as The Man Behind the Man negotiated multiple deals with demons and other monsters on earth, allowing them to prey upon those they wished, while directing his other minions to murder multiple innocents in addition to those who could prove problematic- and everyone close to them as well. Even death brought no respite as Zadkiel showed a penchant for annihilating the souls of his defeated enemies. While manipulating Danny Ketch, Zadkiel showed no remorse slaughtering and torturing his angelic brethren until he finally had the powers of the Riders and banished Ketch and Blaze to earth to die in the apocalypse he would create. Zadkiel succeeded in conquering heaven and began to achieve omnipotence with his final goal to become the new God and then commence genocide on all of humanity and all other beings who didn't worship him.
    • Mephisto, the most prominent Demon Lord in the Marvel Universe and the most evil, is Ghost Rider's boss, but his actions spread far beyond just Ghost Rider. Mephisto powers his realm and his person by the souls he imprisons, often by making a pact with the victims. Mephisto doesn't play fair and is fond of ruining the wish by playing off Exact Words. Mephisto has been known to cure a loved one's terminal illness, only to have the beneficiary killed the next day. Not making a deal is no guarantee of safety and Mephisto has been known to torment, torture and kill those he can. In one instance, he captured the brother of an enemy of Thor to force the Thunder God to enter his domain. Mephisto had already fed his hostage to his realm's fires and contented himself with crushing Thor's spirit before sending him back to earth. During the Infinity Gauntlet crisis, Mephisto chose to encourage Thanos to destroy more and more, while plotting to seize ultimate power himself. During the attack of the Serpent, Mephisto wandered into a bar to vent to the barkeep. When the man asked to be immortal, Mephisto ground him into nothing and used his blood to write letters: words are immortal, after all. Finally, Mephisto is also a hideously abusive father to his 'son' and creation Blackheart: mentally and physically torturing the younger demon until Blackheart snapped and became as dangerous as his father.
  • Crossing the Line Twice: Black humor is quite common for spirits of vengeance. Jason Aaron's series was basically oozing with it. For eample, Johnny meet witch called Skinbender, who submits everything around her to incredible amounts of Body Horror. Horryfing, right? She also looks like Sailor Venus? Hilarious..
    • Second issue of All-New Ghost Rider has a thug buying date-rape pill and putting it into girl's drink - Nightmare Fuel, for many people striking much too close to home. Then said girl starts Hulking Out and attacks her wannabe rapist, because the pill was really Mister Hyde's formula - quite of a Body Horror. Then one guy sees it and says "Should have brought her flowers, bro." - admit it, you a least cracked a smile.
  • Friendly Fandoms: Ghost Rider fans were always on good terms with fans of more horror-oriented Marvel characters, like Blade or Man-Thing and, to lesser extend, Doctor Strange. Robbie meanwhile was embraced by teen Marvel fandom, with fans of Ms. Marvel, Young Avengers and Runaways seeming to be especially found of him.
  • Launcher of a Thousand Ships: Robbie - people started pairing him with Kamala Khan (despite that there is literally a continent between them), Nico Minoru and New Warriors new Dark Action Girl, Water Snake, before the first issue of his series was even published. And once it was, it only strenghtened these ideas. Later ships with Agent Venom's sidekick Mania, X23 and The Incredible Hulk's daughter Lyra, showed up.
  • Older Than They Think: The idea of a Ghost Rider riding a car isn't as new as you might think. When establishing Spirits of Vengeance as a part of an ancient legacy, Jason Aaron included a duo of Ghost Riders riding a car and truck, as an Affectionate Parody of Smokey and the Bandit.
  • Squick/Gorn: More recent series are filled with it. As was the miniseries Trail of Tears. It featured a pair of outlaws that the Ghost Rider killed by smashing them together so hard they fused together. They came back as minions of Hell, still fused together.
    • At the end of the first issue of All-New Ghost Rider, we are treated to a scene of Robbie's skin, and then flesh underneath, slowly burning away, as he transforms for the first time. In the second issue, Mr. Hyde gives his failed second in-command underling's eye that he just ripped from his head to his newly appointed second in-command as a warning. All in a detail you would expect from Tradd Moore, a man responsible for The Strange Talent Of Luther Strode.
  • The Woobie: Robbie, full stop. His parents are dead and he's just a teenager, yet he has to work to take care of his disabled brother, putting up with living in a horrible, gang-controlled district all the while.
    • Iron Woobie: Yet he doesn't complain even once and bravely rushes to help Gabe, when he's bullied.
    • Wheelchair Woobie: Gabe himself. A seemingly mentally challenged, 12 year-old, paraplegic kid who's first scene is him getting bullied by a group of highschoolers. His brother tries to come to his defense, but can't hold up to a gun and gets beaten up, losing Gabe's wheelchair (and Robbie's boots) in the process. Despite this, Gabe's comics are safe, so he couldn't be happier; he even praises Robbie as his hero. It's no secret why most everything that motivates Robbie's actions are for Gabe.

The movies:

  • Acceptable Targets: The overweight goth woman Johnny saved from an attacker; her interview was played for laughs the next night, and not so much because she was describing a man whose head was on fire.
  • Adaptation Displacement
  • Complete Monster: In the extended cut of Ghost Rider, Blackheart is a prince of Hell and the son of Mephistopheles. Jealous of his father's power and angered by the fact that Mephistopheles gave the power of Hellfire to a lowly human instead of him, Blackheart plans to obtain the contract of San Venganza. This contract would grant him the power of a thousand evil souls who made a Deal with the Devil. Through out the movie, Blackheart murders almost every human he comes into contact with, only sparing those who can serve his plans later. Blackheart ultimately plans to use the power of the contract to create Hell on Earth and devour as many souls and then overthrow his father.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse: Carter Slade... couldn't the film have been about him?
  • Fridge Brilliance: Mepistopheles made the deal with Blaze that if he took out Blackheart, Blaze would get his soul back. However, Mepistopheles forgot to make it a part of the deal that Blaze would also have to give the Ghost Rider power back, thus he was able to keep it at the end.
  • Fridge Logic: If Blackheart and Mephistopheles aren't able to enter Holy Ground, hence the reason Carter Slade was able to keep the Contract safe for over 150 years... how come both were shown to be perfectly able to enter churches?!
    • I think it's the condition of said churches. The one Blackheart's in at first might not have been properly blessed to truely ward off evil. You know, moral decay/ignorance over the centuries. The second time was in the ruins of a town who's entire populace sold their souls creating the Contract. You think God would leave any part of such a place holy?
    • Another issue that is never addressed is that Johnny never willingly sold his soul in the first place, nor did he sign the contract? The point of making a deal with the devil is not for him to trick you into giving your soul to him, but to make you want to give your soul to him! That is the trick! If accidentally cutting himself to have his blood fall on the contract was all that was needed, Mephistopheles could have stabbed him in the chest and still gotten his soul, by that logic?! And since when did a sarcastic, "Yeah, right?", ever count as an affirmation when making a deal with the devil? There's an long history of etiquette in how these deals are done and isn't the whole point of the Ghost Riders that Mephistopheles is the sort of person who at least has some standards?!
    • No, he really doesn't. That's why he plays the Literal Genie and Jackass Genie. He really does get off on being that evil.
    • Probably the reason this was retconned in the sequel, with a flashback showing Johnny willingly giving up his soul.
  • Narm:
    • Blackheart's first line as Legion.
    Legion: Our name is Leeeegion, for we are maaaaaaaanyyyyyyyy.
    • Mephistophiles' goofy Muppet shadow showing his true self.
    • Johnny eating jelly beans while watching monkeys doing karate.
    • Roxanne consults an 8 ball on her woes. A grown up woman consults a children's toy.
  • Narm Charm: 'He may have my Soul... but he doesn't have my Spirit.'
  • No Problem with Licensed Games: The tie-in game for the PS2 is basically a God of War clone with a bit of Devil May Cry and Road Rash thrown in, and it managed to be a lot of fun. It managed to mix all the elements that made those games good.
  • Signature Scene: Carter Slade's last ride.
  • So Bad, It's Good: Both films, though it's debatable which is better than the other.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: The only thing that's cooler than Ghost Rider? Two Ghost Riders. The previous on a flaming horse, the new on a flaming motorcycle. They ride together and you think they've formed an unstoppable Tag Team of awesome. But the old Ghost Rider leaves... for no reason!
  • Uncanny Valley: Blackheart as Legion does manage to look very unnerving to look at with his wide red eyes and darker skin.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The scenes with the actual Ghost Rider in them, as in full flaming skull mode, are usually considered the best and most well remembered parts of the movie, with badassery and cool visual effects.
  • What an Idiot:
    • Blackheart absorbing the 1000 souls from the contract in the middle of his fight with Johnny may not have been the smartest move, considering that his lack of a soul was keeping Johnny from being able to beat him before. If you think about it, there was no reason it couldn't have waited until the fight was over.

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