Audience-Alienating Premise: Many fans of previous Ghost Riders seemed to be turned-off by Robbie Reyes's design, him being a teenager, driving a car instead of a bike, and listening to electronic music (Ghost Rider is usually associated with rock and metal). People who were excited about his book fear it might have had a negative impact on the sales, and even Marvel editor Tom Brevoort, the series's biggest cheerleader, expressed worry that Robbie might become a Replacement Scrappy.
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.
Midnight Sons: Clarisee Van Ripper, from the first Unlimited issue's story "Eyes of the Beholder", is a deeply psychotic Serial Killer who primarily preys on children. As a young woman, Ripper welcomed a bunch of children to her home to play, but decided that she needed some entertainment back, so to this end Ripper decided to go around the house and kill every child she came across. While chasing one child who saw her kill another, she is paralyzed and put in a wheelchair but manages to escape justice anyway. Forty years later, a demon comes and gives her demonic powers, which she instantly abuses to kill a random couple and then kill a bunch of other children. When Ghost Rider investigates, Ripper becomes worried that he might steal her powers, so she sends a demon to kill him. Although the comic has multiple vicious cult leaders and serial killers, Ripper stands out by being the only one who's MO is primarily targeting children.
Zadkiel, the 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, Ghost Rider's boss, can be seen at his own page.
Creepy Awesome: A flaming skeleton biker with a chain that can burn the souls of evil doers? Hell YES!!!
Crossing the Line Twice: Black humor is quite common for Spirits of Vengeance. Jason Aaron's series was basically oozing with it. For example, Johnny meets a witch called Skinbender, who submits everything around her to incredible amounts of Body Horror. Horrifying, right? She also looks like Sailor Venus? Hilarious.
Never Live It Down: Mephisto is Ghost Rider's Arch-Nemesis... but if you ask your average comic reader, all they'll know him for is taking Peter Parker's marriage in One More Day, to the point that you'd think that's all he does.
Obvious Judas: Anton Satan. Come on, he's the Anti-Christ, of course he's going to betray you!
Squick: 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.
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.
What's really egregious is this scene could have been cut out, and the later scene where Johnny reveals to Roxanne that he's Ghost Rider would have made more sense (given that Roxanne should be aware of Ghost Rider now, after her interview with the goth). Leaving the scene in just brings in Fridge Logic and makes Roxanne look a little idiotic.
Blackheart, a prince of Hell and the son of Mephisto(pheles), is given more characterization in the extended cut. Jealous of his father's power and angered by the fact that he gave the power of Hellfire to a lowly human instead of him, Blackheart plans to obtain the contract of San Venganza, which would grant him the power of a thousand evil souls who made a Deal with the Devil. Blackheart plans to use the power of the contract to create Hell on Earth and devour as many souls as he can, then using his new power to overthrow his father. Throughout the movie, Blackheart murders almost every human he comes into contact with, only sparing those who can serve his plans later. On his search for the contract, he heads to the Caretaker and starts beating him for information on where the contract is. He then decides to kidnap Johnny Blaze’s girlfriend, Roxanne, and hold her hostage, promising her release for the contract. Not even his partners are safe from him, as he only sees/uses them as muscle against Ghost Rider, and quickly abandons one of them when he starts losing to him.
The aforementioned Mephisto is the ultimate ruler of Hell and seeks to spread his influence on Earth. In the first film, he seeks the contract of San Venganza and collect the thousands of souls he bargained with, and tricked Johnny Blaze into a deal that cursed him with the Ghost Rider to save Johnny's father from cancer, only to kill Johnny's father the next day to let Johnny know he's his property. Later, Mephisto sends Johnny to kill his rebellious son, the aforementioned Blackheart. In the sequel, Mephisto, as Roarke, reveals that in order to walk on Earth he needs a human body; not only does this limit his power but his current body is now dying. Among his previous host bodies were Josef Stalin, Idi Amin, and John Wayne Gacy. To create a permanent and powerful host body, Mephisto conceived a child with Nadya Ketch. It's also revealed that in order to create the Ghost Rider, Mephisto dragged Zarathos, the Angel of Justice, into hell, torturing and twisting him into insanity. When Nadya and her child Danny escape, Mephisto masterminds a demonic conspiracy of murder to get his hands on Danny in preparation to destroy the boy's soul, possess him and bring about the Anti Christ. When Johnny, Nadya and Moreau disrupt this ritual, Mephisto makes a final attempt to flee and abduct Danny before his final confrontation with Ghost Rider.
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.
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 truly ward off evil. You know moral decay/ignorance over the centuries. The second time was in the ruins of a town whose entire populace sold their souls to create 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?!
Mephistophiles crosses it by using a loophole in his deal with Johnny. After curing his father of cancer, he has him killed off during a failed stunt just so he wouldn't know about Johnny's deal.
Blackheart crosses in with his first kill. He murders an entire bar just to have a spot where he and his minions can meet. The last kill was a waitress who was hiding behind the counter, knowing she was there the whole time but just waiting for her to peek out.
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.
Why Would Anyone Take Him Back?: Roxanne appears to be a successful, confident adult woman who runs into the ex-boyfriend who, when they were teenagers, left her with no explanation. He proceeds to badger her into a date by forcibly kissing her only to turn around and stand her up again, yet she's the one who comes after him to apologize??