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Comic Book / Ghost Rider (2022)

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Due to the twists and reveals from the very start of the series, spoilers will be left unmarked in the examples below. You Have Been Warned!
"Let it be known... I RIDE AGAIN."
"Somebody, or something, wanted me off the road. Somebody, or something, wanted Ghost Rider in chains. Because where there's no fire, shadows pull. So I'm chasing down the shadows now to find answers."
Johnny Blaze

Ghost Rider (2022) is a Superhero Horror series from Marvel Comics, written by Benjamin Percy and illustrated by Cory Smith, with colors by Bryan Valenza. It’s the tenth volume of the Ghost Rider’s solo series, launched to mark the character’s 50th anniversary, and stars Johnny Blaze, the original Ghost Rider.

The story opens with Johnny living what appears to be the small-town American Dream; not as a Ghost Rider, but just a troubled mechanic who has bad dreams, and a scarred man recovering from a recent accident. He runs a repair shop with his father-in-law, 'Crash' Simpson, a man who died when Blaze first became the Ghost Rider. He’s married to Roxanne and they have kids, Craig and Emma. But Roxanne and her children died a while ago... and as Johnny soon discovers, he's actually trapped in an American Nightmare.

Not for long, however, because the Ghost Rider comes roaring back, and a new chapter of fiery vengeance begins as Blaze makes his journey anew into the heart of America, slowly uncovering the great evils that lurk within, and along the way, rediscovers what it means to wield the terrible but great power inside of him.

The series ended in December 2023 and was followed by a Sequel Series, Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance, that launched in March 2024.

Tropes appearing in Ghost Rider (2022):

  • Academy of Evil: The Cult of Mephisto runs one of these under the pretense of it being a reform school called the Rocky Mountain School for Troubled Youth.
  • The Ace: Issue #5 practically serves as an epic reminder why Johnny Blaze is called the "World's Greatest Motorcyclist" for a reason. Drawn to Hell's Backbone Rally, a cursed race where some of the most skilled riders and depraved villains of the Marvel Universe have gathered for a chance to win a favor with the Devil, Blaze is clearly not in 100% condition when he joins in, with visible signs of fatigue from all the intense battles and lack of proper rest from prior issues. Despite all that, he easily dominates the competition, plowing through all manner of roadblocks and perils without even resorting to dirty tactics nor utilizing his GR powers, instead relying on pure skill and willpower alone.
  • Aesop Amnesia: The last time Danny Ketch made a deal with a shady character who approached him with an offer to help "solve" his Ghost Rider problems (then because he missed being one), he was turned into an Unwitting Pawn by Zadkiel and did some of the worst mistakes of his life. Fast forward to Issue #13 of this series, and Danny is shown via flashback to have been duped into this situation again, this time by Dr. Diyu of Infernal labs (now because Dan wants to get rid of his power... yet again.)
  • Bad Samaritan: Early in Issue #3, while traveling on foot down a haunted highway known as the "Red Road", Johnny spots a passing car and decides to hitch a ride, greeted by a creepy-looking driver. Although friendly at first, the man soon reveals himself to be a Serial Killer intent on adding Johnny among the pile of rotting victims he keeps in his car's trunk. Unfortunately for the deranged driver, Blaze easily overpowers him and puts an end to his plan by smashing his head on the steering wheel.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Zeb, a mysterious new character debuting in this comic, is initially presented as a villainous figure who, as soon as he steps inside Hayden's Falls, walks over to a young boy and entices him into brutally murdering his playmate. Once it's revealed, however, that Zeb's real purpose is to help Johnny Blaze and that Hayden's Falls is actually a hellish den populated by demons in disguise, Zeb's earlier action takes a much different context.
  • Battle in the Rain: The main fight of Issue #11 takes place during a heavy downpour. Rather than "fists vs fists", it's "man vs vehicle" as Blaze faces off againt the demonic motorcycle form of Exhaust. After a short struggle, the fight ends in Blaze's victory when he grabs hold of the monster bike's handlebars and successfully wrestles control from it, then rides it at top speed until it crashes into a nearby bulldozer, wrecking Exhaust to pieces.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For:
    • Danny Ketch struck a deal with Infernal Labs in yet another attempt to escape his life as a Ghost Rider, agreeing to be their guinea pig on the condition that their experiments would eventually lead to severing his connection to the Spirit of Corruption. After months of agonizing torture, Danny gets his wish, but is left a decrepit vegetable on the verge of death because Infernal Labs never intended to keep him alive after they were done extracting what they wanted from him. This would've been a sad and pathetic end for Dan if not for the timely arrival of his older brother and fellow GR, Johnny Blaze, who retrieves Danny's Spirit and reunites it with him to save his life.
    • Dr. Diyu has devoted her life to studying demons out of strong desire to bring her brother Delun back after she witnessed him being dragged off to Hell when they were children. There are no ethical boundaries she isn't willing to cross, no life she isn't willing to destroy, even good ones, for the sake of this one goal. By syphoning Danny Ketch's Spirit of Corruption and using it to power a specialized Mecha, Diyu ventures into Hell itself to rescue her long lost sibling, only to find out the hard way that her efforts were All for Nothing since Delun, now a full-fledged demon, expresses no interest in the human world and instead wants his sister to join him in eternal damnation...
    • As a teenager, Talia Warroad once wished her parents gone because she felt they never bothered to understand her as a person and only kept adding to her misery by treating her supernatural powers as something to erase and be ashamed of. In the end, she got her wish, thanks to her devil-worshipping boyfriend who cursed the parents to die in a fatal car accident.
  • Berserk Button: Zarathos does not take kindly to Talia meddling in the inner workings between him and his host. After being forcibly summoned through her magic in Issue #9, Zarathos' first act is to angrily ensnare Talia in chains and warn her that Johnny "belongs" to it and not her, as if to put the young woman in her place like a possessive lover.
  • Black Comedy: One of the ways that the possessed Circus of Crime kills people is by squeezing so many of them into a Clown Car that they all get crushed.
  • Blood Magic: Talia practices this in addition to other arcane arts, first seen in Issue #12 when she employs it to help Johnny look into his younger brother's whereabouts. By laying in a bathtub that's been filled with water mixed with drops of Johnny's blood, Talia enters a trance state that allows her to sense everyone connected to Johnny's bloodline, including Danny and his current status... discovering the horrible, brainwashed state he's in.
  • Body Horror:
    • Johnny's Painful Transformation into Ghost Rider is depicted more graphically than ever before, his flesh now shown slowly melting away in gruesome, nightmarish detail as the hellfire engulfs his entire body. Some issues even have him deliberately rip and tear off his own skin (starting with his face) just to hasten the transformation.
    • The stitched-up wound on Johnny’s head starts bleeding, then opens wide to reveal an eye. What's more, Issue #3 reveals this wound can also manifest into other grotesque forms such as rows of eyes and a mouth filled with sharp teeth that speaks directly to Johnny. Finally, in Issue #5, it becomes a centipede-like monstrosity that assaults Johnny both physically and mentally under Blackheart's command, revealing its demonic origin.
    • Almost everything about Issue #6 is body horror extravaganza. Aptly titled "The Exorcism of Johnny Blaze," it guest-stars Wolverine as he does an impromptu-surgery on the suffering Ghost Rider to cleanse him of the demon parasite that's been eating away at his body. There are several panels of splattered guts and visceral-looking monstrosities crawling out of Johnny's intestines as Logan hacks away at the corruption. Against all odds, the exorcism ends in success.
    • One word: Exhaust. He's basically a six foot tall, muscular flayed corpse barely held together by rotting tissue, bones, and pieces of metal grafted onto his body that resemble a motorcycle's engine, creating a visceral and very imposing Humanoid Abomination.
    • Issue #13 features Mindy Brenner, a young woman who became one of Danny Ketch's many victims during his brainwashed rampage in South Carolina. When Johnny Blaze visits her at the hospital, she's barely clinging on to life, having suffered such horrific third-degree burns across her entire body that her mangled face practically resembles a ghoul's.
  • Brought Down to Badass: Subverted with Kushala. The Blue-Eyed Man in the backup story in Issue #20 learned Soul Power in order to better fight Kushala, being able to bind her and Johnny's Spirits of Vengeance. Unfortunately for him, Kushala is also a Sorcerer Supreme, and so had access to magic beyond the kind that was granted to her by her Spirit.
  • Brown Note: While searching for clues into Danny's brainwashing, Johnny and Talia soon discover that Ketch has been outfitted with a strange helmet that acts like some sort of radio transmitter, so they visit a data center to trace the source. As soon as the operator locates the frequency, she collapses in shock, unable to handle the ominous sounds coming from the other end, followed by Talia (who throws up) when she tries to listen in. Even the normally Seen It All Johnny Blaze has a minor Freak Out when he puts on the headphones and is only able to endure thanks to changing into Ghost Rider, who describes the sounds as some kind of "dark song".
  • Car Fu:
    • One of the vignettes in the Vengeance Forever one-shot has Scarecrow try to run a bunch of people who he has tied to poles down with a wheat thresher, only to be defeated by Robbie Reyes.
    • Johnny's second battle against Exhaust goes like this in Issue #11. Having transformed into a Sinister Car (the motorcycle variant), Exhaust tries to run over Talia, only for Blaze to shove her aside just before he leaps onto the monstrous vehicle, wrestles control from it, then steers it towards a bulldozer, ramming it so hard that the bike gets wrecked to pieces, with Johnny backflipping right in the nick of time and out of harm's way before impact.
  • Casual Kink: Talia has a peculiar habit of... biting into the person she shows sexual attraction to, for some reason. When offering to sleep with Johnny for the night in Issue #11, she starts the conversation by nibbling at his ear (hurting him in the process). Later in the same issue, she gives him a Big Damn Kiss for saving her life, then bites hard at his lower lip until she draws blood (granted, she claims that one was meant as "payback" for him almost getting her killed earlier).
  • Chained to a Bed: A non-sexual example in Issue #7. Talia Warroad sneaks inside Johnny's motel room while he sleeps and handcuffs him to bed before delving into his mind with her magic, if nothing else than for her own protection in case Blaze reacts violently to being probed without permission (by a complete stranger, no less). In the end, the move wasn't necessary since Blaze doesn't even flinch when he wakes up and just calmly listens to what Talia has to say. (It wouldn't have worked anyway given the fact that metal cuffs are like paper bands to GR's Super-Strength.)
  • Chainsaw Good: While exploring the haunted city of Chicago in Issue #9, Ghost Rider discovers a demon-run slaughterhouse hidden deep within the subway stations where kidnapped civilians are rounded up and butchered like cattle. Enraged by this sight, GR grabs a nearby chainsaw, lights it on fire, then revs it up and slaughters the offending demons en masse, giving them a taste of their own medicine.
  • Character Development:
    • The events of Issues #1 to #10 slowly build up to the culmination of a long-form one for Johnny Blaze, who started out as a Classical Anti-Hero in the 1970s; an angry and perpetually self-loathing '90s Anti-Hero throughout the 1990s all the way through the turn of the millennium; a more acceptant but still somewhat reluctant hero in The New '10s; and then finally, a man who has come to fully embrace both his inner darkness and his hellborn powers after everything he's been through, and now resolves to live life to the fullest as a Ghost Rider. In his own words:
    Johnny Blaze: If this is going to be my life — if I'm going to make the most of my time here on this rock — I need to stop calling the Spirit a curse... and accept instead that it's a part of me. An ugly, mean, complicated part of me, but a part of me nonetheless. It's not something I can hate or blame or excuse away. It's who I am. There isn't Johnny Blaze and the Spirit of Vengeance. There's the Ghost Rider. We're the Ghost Rider. Forged together in hellfire. We're not the good guy in any story. We're the monster. And sometimes, a monster is what you need to fight other monsters.
    • Taken a step further in Issue #11. Having conquered the worst of his inner demons by then, Blaze is nonetheless still haunted by remnants of his past failures in the form of Exhaust - the parasitic entity turned monster that stalked him from past issues - now posing as his new motorcycle. Despite the malevolent aura he senses from the vehicle, Johnny couldn't help but hold onto it somehow, not quite yet willing to let go of the ugliness that once enslaved him. At the end of the issue, he finally does: by destroying the motorcycle and then burying what's left of the evil entity deep underground as a symbolic gesture of moving on with his life, ready for what's next.
  • Circus of Fear: Marvel's resident gang of C-list villains, the Circus of Crime, serve as the antagonists of Issue #4, but in a form that's a far cry from their usual selves, having been corrupted and transformed into demonic figures and now using their act to lure in unsuspecting audiences to their gristly doom.
  • Cool Car: Talia Warroad owns and drives a black muscle car with flame decals. Sturdy and reliable, it soon becomes Johnny Blaze's go-to backup vehicle whenever he finds himself separated from his trusty Hell Cycle for one reason or another. Blaze later modifies the car so that it can enter a hellfire powered up state without the need for him to be in the driver's seat, allowing Talia to keep up with him at all times.
  • Comfort the Dying: In Issue #13, Johnny and Talia pay a hospital visit to the sole survivor of one of Danny Ketch's brainwashed rampages, hoping to get some information out of her. The woman is horribly burned and already on the brink of death by the time they arrive, desperately begging for her soul not to be sent to hell due to being an Accomplice by Inaction to her Serial Killer boyfriend. Despite the weight of her faults, Johnny offers words of comfort to the suffering woman and even vows to "cleanse" her sins in exchange for telling him and Talia what she saw when Ketch attacked. Sadly, the woman expires as soon as she's finished relaying the info, just before Blaze can make good on his promise.
  • The Conspiracy: The main overarching conflict of the 2022 series concerns The Legions of Hell's large-scale plan to remold America into their own image and rechristen it as the "Shadow Country," with Blackheart spearheading the movement. They work in secret, employing the service of other corrupt figures like Alabaster of the Council of Night Magicians to help them build their influence while making sure to stay under the radar as they infect the land, even planting moles inside numerous seats of power across the country (including the FBI itself) to disrupt and crush all investigative efforts to quell and expose the spread of otherworldly corruption in the affected areas. Not taking any chances, they also seek out and attempt to dispose of anyone who's bound to be an immediate threat to their plans, especially Ghost Rider (not that it stops him for long). Even after Blackheart's unceremonious defeat in Issue #10, the conspiracy itself continues to loom large all over the country, transforming large swathes of civilization into something straight out of the Apocalypse, as an alarmed Johnny Blaze notes.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • There are flashbacks scattered across the issues that acknowledge past events from previous Ghost Rider comics, complete with accurate recreations of the various designs that Johnny and other characters had during those runs. Notable examples include the skin-tight leathers Johnny wore during his reign as the King of Hell, his long hair and trench coat getup from the 90s, and Danny's blue flames look during his villainous stint as Zadkiel's enforcer.
    • Issue #4 has Ghost Rider mention aloud that he "knows" the Circus of Crime, obliquely referencing their last (and, until now, only) run-in way back in 1982's Ghost Rider #72-73.
  • The Corrupter: The Cult of Mephisto, true to their name, are a group of devil worshippers who spread evil among populations through words. They specifically target troubled children, preying on their worst fears and desperate need for guidance knowing that it's easier to influence younger and more impressionable minds into embracing the path of evil.
  • The Corruption:
    • Exhaust can transform any victim (be it living or dead) that's unfortunate enough to inhale or make contact with his supernatural smoke into grotesque perversions of their former selves, conditioned to serve only his will. This isn't always permanent when applied to a living victim, depending on the person's ability and willpower to resist its effects.
    • A grand-scale version of this serves as the main overarching conflict of the comic series. As Blackheart explains in Issue #10, his Legions of Hell have begun a mass invasion in America through carefully selecting various leadership figures of different work forces to possess — who, in turn, help spread their dark influence across the rest of society — from the top down to the lowermost spectrums. It's basically the demon version of a Zombie Apocalypse in the making.
  • Costume Evolution:
    • Once again, Johnny begins his comic book by sporting a new look. Forgoing the skin-tight simple leathers from his King of Hell days, he now wears what can best be described as a design fusion of his original blue jumpsuit (the High Collar of Doom and square-shaped chest/abdomen covering) and his brother Danny's original biker look (black leathers and spikes) while adding his own unique spin to it.
    • Danny's return in Issue #12 shows him back to being a GR as well, garbed in spiked leathers that harken back to his original 90s look while retaining elements from his previous stint as Death Rider, such as metallic shoulder pads and bracers and a predominantly green color scheme (represented by his current hellfire).
  • Crossover: The August 2023 event Ghost Rider/Wolverine: Weapons of Vengeance serves as one between Percy's concurrent runs on Ghost Rider and Wolverine, tying directly to GR's post-Shadow Country story arc.
  • Da Chief: Talia answers to FBI Director Hamilton Crux. When she turns in her report about everything involving Ghost Rider since she was deployed to look into him, Crux is unimpressed, merely bringing up budget issues while pointing out that Talia has no evidence or perps to speak of, just "hearsay." He is then revealed to be connected to a sinister-seeming organization called Infernal Labs.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Issues #18 to #21, the final arc before the 2024 relaunch, put focus on Talia Warroad and her Dark and Troubled Past, detailing how she first became attuned to the supernatural as a child, how she got mixed up with the Cult of Mephisto during her rebellious teenage years, and the tragic experiences she went through.
  • Death from Above: At the end of Issue #10, Ghost Rider summons his rarely used but all-powerful "firestorm" spell to rain destruction down upon Blackheart from the heavens above, sending the latter back to hell in one fell swoop.
  • Demon of Human Origin: When Dr. Diyu finally finds her younger brother in Hell, he is revealed to have become a demon who implicitly kills Diyu.
  • Dented Iron:
    • Johnny's mounting ordeals from the moment he steps out of Hayden's Falls is clearly taking a toll on not just his mental state but also his physical wellbeing, causing him to look more gaunt and haggard than he usually does. It's all but outright stated to be the fault of that strange wound he's been carrying since the first issue - a malevolent supernatural parasite that is slowly corrupting him and sapping his strength (as well as that of his Spirit of Vengeance, Zarathos), with exorcism being the only hope of getting better. It's quite telling that the Johnny Blaze seen in the Vengeance Forever one-shot, implied to take place chronologically after the main comic's first arc due to his missing wound, looks much healthier and more physically imposing.
    • As shown in Issue #14, Danny's time in Infernal Labs has done a number on his own physical health, similar to what his older brother's been through. Compare and contrast how Ketch looks in the flashback scenes to that of his tortured, emaciated form in the present — a result of the horrifically abusive experiments that Dr. Diyu has been subjecting him to.
  • Determinator:
    • Nothing will stop Johnny Blaze from finding out the truth behind what happened to him in Hayden's Falls, nor will he stop trying to seek out the root cause behind the sudden rise in demonic activity throughout rural America, fatigue and mental exhaustion be damned. His resolve strengthens even further after being cleansed of his parasitic demon, finding newfound appreciation for his hellfire powers, and choosing to embrace the Ghost Rider mantle in full as of Issue #10.
    • Johnny's sheer display of valor and heroism throughout Issue #5 alone deserves mention. By his own admission, he and Zarathos are barely holding on by that point, having accumulated so much damage and fatigue from prior battles with so little time to rest, and with the demonic parasite lodged into his head having sapped them both of strength to the point where the Spirit's become too weakened to help Johnny anymore. This leaves the human half of Ghost Rider to fight his next battle all by himself: a death race known as Hell's Backbone Rally, where some of the most dangerous villains and anti-heroes of the Marvel Universe have gathered after being lured by the Devil's call, where there are no rules and participants are allowed to maim and kill each other as they see fit, where the roads are full of deathtraps and otherworldly nightmares, and where Blaze knows all too well that there's no reward awaiting the "winner" but eternal damnation. Johnny perseveres, not only dominating the race, but with the help of Wolverine also puts a stop to the whole madness even as his mind and body are literally being assaulted by the aforementioned demon parasite.
  • Dirty Cop: The FBI's own Director Crux turns out to be one. Instead of properly thanking Talia (and Johnny) for helping to expose Blackheart's Shadow Country, he just dismisses Talia's report and kicks her out of the force in Issue #10, claiming that it's all nothing but "hearsay." As soon as Talia storms out of his office, Crux makes a phone call to one Dr. Diyu of Infernal Labs, exposing his connection to a shadowy scientific organization that experiments on demonkind for sinister purposes, and is using his status in the FBI to keep things under wraps for their benefit. Even worse, Issue #14 reveals that he's also exploiting the lab's captured and brainwashed Ghost Rider (Danny Ketch) by having him carry out the FBI's dirty business.
  • Disgusting Public Toilet: The gas station washroom that Johnny wakes up in Issue #4 is overflowing with garbage, covered in graffiti, and has a toilet that is coated in God knows what.
  • Disk-One Final Boss: Blackheart is presented as the main threat of the first ten issues, particularly in the "Shadow Country" arc, but is quickly taken down and sent back to hell by a reinvigorated Johnny Blaze Ghost Rider at the end of the tenth. Still, his machinations continue to drive the main conflict thanks to having planted so much hellish corruption and decay throughout America in the name of bolstering hell's presence and influence in the living world. As Johnny himself notes, Blackheart and the likes of him will always come back sooner or later, hence why the Ghost Riders and their allies must always remain vigilant.
  • Dragged Off to Hell: The unfortunate final fate of Talia Warroad, as well as Stefan Skarr and the Moonchild.
  • Driven to Suicide Enforced by Ghost Rider upon an evil motel owner who sacrifices his guests to be eaten by a demon. Using his signature Penance Stare, GR orders the man to perform "penance" for his crimes, and the man promptly obeys by snapping his own neck.
  • Dying Town: A major recurring element in this comic book. Throughout his travels, Johnny Blaze comes across deserted and/or accursed American small towns; places that are far beneath the notice of most superheroesnote  and even other Ghost Riders,note  leaving their helpless residents to be preyed on by malevolent supernatural entities taking advantage of the situation. This leaves Johnny with a grim realization that he, as the sole nomadic Ghost Rider, may be the forgotten people's only hope for salvation against the hellish forces that plague America's countryside.
  • Eldritch Abomination: In the Annual, the Spirit of Halloween's gestation cuts all of Salem off from the rest of the world and causes everyone in the town to suffer from Demonic Possession. Ghost Rider fighting a losing battle with it as it was manifesting was the only thing stopping it from destroying the entire Eastern Seaboard with just its presence, and it probably would have done a lot worse since it was unclear if The Hood had any actual control over it even though he was the one who summoned it with the Hallow Gospels.
  • Electric Torture: Danny gets creative with this during one of the vignettes in the Vengeance Forever one-shot, dragging Blackout down the road with metal chains during a storm and letting him be repeatedly struck by lightning while quipping, "Hell doesn't own all the pain... the Heavens can be just as punishing."
  • Enemy Within: While being held prisoner inside Hayden's Falls, Johnny was secretly implanted with a malevolent parasitic demon that's eventually revealed to be the cause behind his weakening connection to Zarathos and the gradual corruption of his own person. Thanks to Wolverine's help, Blaze is able to purge himself of this evil entity before it could seize permanent control over him. That is not the end of the creature, however...
  • Enemy Without: The purged demonic parasite eventually reforms in Issue #7 to become its own separate entity: the monstrous supervillain, Exhaust, a twisted mirror image of Ghost Rider made out of bones, flesh and metal. It seeks out Johnny almost on instinct, longing to be "united" with its other self and even begging for it. Upon being rebuked and defeated in its humanoid form (Issue #10), Exhaust turns into a fiendish-looking motorcycle, seemingly having been rendered harmless, which tempts GR to claim it as his new ride due to Johnny sensing some kind of twisted "kinship" with this unholy vehicle. Blaze soon realizes, however, that the bike retains Exhaust's malevolent nature, prompting him to do away with it for good by crushing and burying what's left of the creature deep underground, taking the last of Johnny's discarded darkness along with it.
  • Enfant Terrible: Johnny and Talia are met by a bunch of murderous children soon after arriving in a small mining town in West Virginia; troubled kids being recruited by the Cult of Mephisto and their leader, Stefan Skaar, who prey on the youngsters' psychological vulnerabilities and corrupting them into giving in to their worst impulses, just as they've done to Talia when she was at that age. Some are guilt-ridden by what they're doing and wish to atone for their mistakes, while others have long crossed the moral horizon and are Beyond Redemption.
  • Evil Knockoff: Exhaust's physical appearance is strikingly similar to Ghost Rider, seeing as he was literally born from the discarded remains of Johnny Blaze's corrupted flesh. He is explicitly referred to as GR's "shadow" and even refers to himself as "Johnny... but not Johnny."
  • Evil Redhead: Stefan Skarr is the leader of a cult that worships a Big Red Devil, so he of course has red hair.
  • Exact Words: When Talia offers to help Johnny tap into his Spirit of Vengeance's power by "touching him" so they can call on its aid without innocents being harmed, Blaze gives her the go-ahead. Talia then takes this opportunity to "touch" Johnny on the lips, basically stealing a kiss from him.
  • Eye Scream: Johnny and Talia have an unpleasant encounter with two stubborn policemen who try to block them from entering Savannah in Issue #12, one of whom hits Blaze's eyes with pepper spray when he insists that they've come to help. Of course, all this really does is piss him off enough to transform into GR right in front of the jerks and give them a little payback by melting their pistols while they futilely open fire on him, burning their hands in the process.
  • Face Stealer: Issue #16 introduces a villain known simply as the "Hitchhiker", a man belonging to a race of flayed people who can steal the powers of other supernatural beings by literally stealing the skins on their faces and wearing them like a mask. At different points in the past, he targeted Robbie Reyes and then Danny Ketch, "borrowing" their faces (and their Spirits) for a bit so he could slaughter the rest of his own people. He does the same to Johnny Blaze in the present, this time to kill an old god worshipped by his now near-extinct race. Each time, after accomplishing part of what he set out to do, the Hitchhiker willingly surrenders the Spirits back to their rightful hosts.
  • Fanservice: Johnny and Talia have an intimate encounter in Issue #14 when she joins him in the shower, complete with a sensual view of her bare naked body as she flaunts herself before him, her "naughty parts" barely censored by the steam and Johnny's arm.
  • Fantastic Drug:
    • Johnny Blaze's therapist in Issue #1 pesters him to keep consuming prescription pills that are supposedly meant to help him deal with his strange headaches, which he initially complies with. But as Blaze's restlessness grows, so, too, are his suspicions regarding the therapist's true motives and he stops taking the pills. As it turns out, these pills were meant to numb his senses and block his True Sight from seeing the idyllic town of Hayden's Falls for the demon-infested prison hole it actually is.
    • Happens again to Johnny in Issue #7, this time when Talia tricks him into drinking coffee that's been dosed with a special fungal tincture. It knocks him out for days, long enough for Talia to magically scan the contents of his mind and peer into his soul to her heart's content. Unlike the previous case with the therapist, Talia had no ill intent and was only trying to get to know Johnny as a person: to determine for herself if he'll make a suitable partner. She approves.
  • Flaming Sword: While battling a horde of zombies in a haunted cemetery in Savannah (Issue #12), Johnny grabs a crucifix from a nearby gravestone and fashions a blazing sword out of it, using the cross itself to form the hilt with his hellfire forming the blade. Danny is also seen wielding one at the end of the issue but wreathed in green flames, the same color as his new hellfire.
  • Fingore: A random stranger takes interest in Johnny's new Cool Bike in Issue #11 and decides to try it out, unaware of its evil and demonic nature. Blaze warns the man not to touch it, but the man insists on sating his curiosity, and so grabs onto a handlebar... and gets four of his digits chopped off for his trouble.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Zarathos treats Talia Warroad very coldly at first, making things clear that he neither trusts her nor approves of his host associating with her. In time, however, Zarathos gradually comes around and learns to care for the young woman in his own way, enough to be willing to help Talia of his own accord.
  • Fire Means Chaos: Literally all of Savannah, Georgia is shown to be on fire when Johnny and Talia get there in Issue #12. This includes a man who is on fire while driving a car that is also on fire.
  • Flies Equals Evil:
    • One of the first hints that there is something off about the driver that picks Johnny up in Issue #3 is that his car is abuzz with flies, which turn out to be coming from all of the corpses that are stuffed into the trunk.
    • Father Pike, a Sinister Minister-type character who makes his debut in Issue #16, is a hellish and creepy-looking man accompanied by flies hovering all over him, and he sometimes eats them.
  • A Friend in Need:
    • Wolverine guest stars in Issue #5 as one of the motorcyclists competing in the Hell's Backbone Rally, a perilous race full of ne'er-do-wells and anti-heroes looking out only for their own interests. Logan proves to be an exception when he comes to Johnny's aid in his hour of need. Taken even further in Issue #6 where Logan goes out of his way to help exorcise the demon parasite from Johnny's body, purifying both Blaze and Zarathos from their corruption.
    • When Talia falls victim to Exhaust's smoke and turned into his minion to attack Ghost Rider, Johnny reverts to human form to encourage the ghoulified young woman to try and remember her own humanity and fight back against her demonic transformation. He succeeds.
  • Freudian Excuse: Dr. Diyu's motivation for studying and trying to control the forces of Hell, no matter what the cost, is the death of her brother, who was killed by the demon that was possessing him while he was undergoing a Hollywood Exorcism. She keeps a Precious Photo of him in her office, which is noticed by Danny.
  • Full-Frontal Assault: Issue #4 begins with Johnny Blaze waking up naked inside a public restroom with no memory of how and why he got there as per usual, and when he opens the door, finds himself standing face to face with an angry, burly biker all garbed in leathers. So what does Blaze do? He makes like the Terminator and beats up the guy while bare naked, then drags the poor shmuck inside the restroom and steals everything he has (clothes, bike and all).
  • Fusion Dance: Johnny transforms into an even more demonic, hulking version of Ghost Rider in Issue #15 after he retrieves Danny's stolen Spirit of Corruption in Hell and allows it to possess him in tandem with his own Spirit of Vengeance, using the two Spirits' combined might to escape the infernal realm as fast and efficiently as possible. It's only for a brief time, however, as the issue ends with John handing the Spirit of Corruption back to Dan in order to save the latter's life.
  • Genocide from the Inside: Issue #16's villain, the Hitchhiker, wants to bring about the total annihilation of his own people - the flayed men - and the very god that they worship. By borrowing the Ghost Rider powers of Robbie Reyes, Danny Ketch, and finally Johnny Blaze across different time periods, he ultimately accomplishes these two goals.
  • Goth: Talia Warroad, to a T, even having a Darkness Von Gothick Name and being an example of Goth Girls Know Magic. Evidently, she's not a fan of rainbows and sunshine.
    Talia: You just want to sit in the sun? Surrounded by flowers and children? You kidding me? This is disgusting.
  • Goth Girls Know Magic: Played straight with Talia, who practices occult-based black magic. She uses them to aid Johnny/Ghost Rider in his war against the forces of Hell.
  • Halloween Episode: The Annual is set on Halloween, and involves The Hood attempting to reestablish himself by using a Tome of Eldritch Lore to summon and be empowered by the Stingy Jack-like Spirit of Halloween.
  • He's Back!: The Shadow Country arc (Issues # 6 to #10) concludes in a big development for Johnny Blaze. Starting from the moment Wolverine helped him regain control of himself by purging the demonic parasite Blackheart planted in his body, the next four issues sees Blaze slowly but steadily learning to reconnect with his Spirit of Vengeance and find newfound appreciation for being Ghost Rider. This eventually leads to him making the life-changing decision to embrace his powers to their fullest, and grows ever stronger because of it.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Apart from Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider himself, the comic also regularly spares a few pages on the point of view of one Talia Warroad, a paranormally gifted young FBI agent conducting her own investigation on the mysterious supernatural occurrences that are popping up all over rural America. Each new discovery brings her closer and closer to an eventual encounter with GR until their paths finally converge in Issue #7.
    • The other participants in the Hell's Backbone Rally in Issue #5, like Doctor Doom, Loki, Man-Thing, Black Widow, Moon Knight, Blade, Dracula, Rhino, Boom-Boom, Daredevil, and Wolverine.
    • The Vengeance Forever one-shot features vignette stories of other Ghost Riders from the past, present and future, including familiar names such as Danny Ketch, Robbie Reyes, Michael Badilino, and Kenshiro Cochrane.
  • Human Resources: Dracula drives a blood-powered motorcycle in the Hell's Backbone Rally.
  • I Am What I Am: Related to Character Development above. Johnny comes to this path-redefining epiphany when he realizes that being Ghost Rider is more than just a "curse" or a "burden" to him, but an integral part of his own nature as a person. While brutal, monstrous, and oftentimes harrowing, he concludes that bearing the mantle also brings out the best in him in his never-ending drive to protect the innocent and destroy the worst of evils, no matter what it takes.
  • "I Know You Are in There Somewhere" Fight: Talia briefly becomes a possessed ghoul in Issue #10 after Exhaust ambushes and then exposes her to his corrupting smoke. Thankfully, Johnny is able to talk some sense back into the ghoulified Talia by reminding her of what she's fighting for and she regains enough willpower to purge the corruption off her body using her own magic.
  • I Work Alone:
    • Deconstructed. While Johnny has always been the type who prefers to work solo and do fine on his own, the comic explores the downside of taking this mindset too far, even for one as powerful and feared as a Ghost Rider. In the aftermath of his escape from Hayden's Falls, Johnny is shown to have grown more wary and distrustful of other superheroes due to the belief that no one, not even those he considered friends, cared enough to look for him when he disappeared. The next 4 issues sees Blaze adopting an even more self-reliant outlook as he combs through some of the darkest, nightmare-infested corners of America by his lonesome to unearth a massive demon conspiracy, vanquishing all sorts of hellish abominations with only his Spirit of Vengeance by his side; not once seeking help even as he starts to feel his strength fading from the gradual wear and tear, exacerbated by an evil parasitic entity that's doing more harm to him than meets the eye. Despite GR's resilience, it slowly becomes evident that he is fighting a longterm battle he's not likely to win on his own, growing weaker and weaker until it culminates in him falling into the clutches of his old enemy, Blackheart, who seizes the opportunity to attack him at his most vulnerable. Johnny would've met his end right then and there if not for the presence of his old friend and comrade, Wolverine, who rescues him and then proceeds to help purge the parasite from his body.
    • Zig-zagged as far as Johnny's partnership with Talia goes. On one hand, he's genuinely appreciative of her company, listens to her advice, and even defers to her judgment from time to time. On the other hand, he's not exactly keen on letting her tag along in some of the more dangerous waters he goes to as Ghost Rider, given that she's far more vulnerable than he is despite her magic abilities and bravado. Upon arriving in Savannah, and seeing the ravaged state it's in, Johnny orders Talia to stay put while he rides off to explore the city alone, ditching her before she could even finish protesting (not that it stops her from following him).
  • Join or Die: At the end of Issue #5, Blackheart laments how his efforts to corrupt Johnny into joining his cause and help him create his own "Shadow Country" were all for naught, seeing how resistant Blaze is to the demon parasite he implanted on him. With the realization that Blaze will always be a dangerous thorn on his side, Blackheart opts to have him destroyed along with his Spirit of Vengeance.
  • Light Is Not Good: Alabaster, leader of the Council of Night Magicians, dresses entirely in white and has powers over light-based magic. He's also a traitor and conspirator who actively aids Blackheart's Legions of Hell in their attempt to spread darkness and corruption all over America.
  • Little "No": This is Blackheart's Oh, Crap! reaction when Ghost Rider finally locates him and summons the almighty firestorm to send him back to hell at the conclusion of Issue #10.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: The first issue opens with Johnny struggling to make sense of his apparent idyllic life in a town called Hayden's Falls, surrounded by people who adore him, including loved ones who are supposed to be long dead. Despite the town's best efforts to keep him sedated with false reassurances, Johnny soon fully realizes that the whole thing is a sham: a demonic, illusionary world resided and maintained by lesser demons working for a greater evil, eventually revealed as Blackheart in Issue #5. With the help of an enigmatic new ally, Johnny reawakens to his Ghost Rider powers, tears the town apart in revenge, and sets off on a new journey across America to uncover the truth of what happened to him, and how he got placed in that fake world to begin with.
  • Mind Control:
    • Talia Warroad is able coerce Weak-Willed humans into doing her bidding via magic, Jedi Mind Trick-style, though only for mundane acts like interrogation, bypassing security, and getting pesky guards/policemen off her and Johnny's back.
    • The last story vignette in the Vengeance Forever one-shot takes place in the 2099 era, where the evil fallen archangel Zadkiel tries to convert an entire metropolis into his own image by hijacking the airwaves and using it to brainwash all who watch into his loyal thralls. Everything seems to be going according to plan until Kenshiro Cochrane suddenly crashes in.
  • The Mirror Shows Your True Self: When Talia Warroad comes to him to discuss the prospect of teaming up, Johnny walks over to a nearby mirror and sternly warns Talia to think carefully about wanting to associate with him, his reflection changing into Ghost Rider as he explains his dangerous and terrifying nature. Talia remains undeterred however and claims she can relate to what kind of person Johnny is, assuring him that they're stronger working together... right before telling him to go take a shower because he smells like hell.
  • Mistaken Identity: While exploring the scorched city of Savannah in Issue #12, Johnny finds a mortally wounded demon who accuses him of being the Ghost Rider responsible for all the surrounding mayhem, even though the city's already in such chaotic state by the time he arrived. Johnny soon learns that it's actually the work of his brother, Danny, who's been brainwashed into a near-mindless killing machine and is causing wanton murders and destruction everywhere he goes.
  • The Mole: Horace Whilmer, Talia's nerdy-looking fellow FBI agent and assigned partner, turns out to be a demon in disguise. He transforms into his true form in Issue #5, first by attacking Zeb and then Talia herself, taking them both out and delivering them to the Council of Night Magicians in Issue #6, revealing the mysterious cabal to be corrupt and treacherous as well.
  • Mole in Charge: The Council of Night Magicians are a secret cabal of supernatural entities united by a common cause: to maintain the balance of light and darkness in the world. Their leader, Alabaster, turns out to have been corrupted by Blackheart and is actively trying to undermine the council and everything it stands for. Zeb soon discovers his treachery, however, and beheads him after a grueling struggle.
  • My Country Tis of Thee That I Sting: Johnny's little tangent after he and Talia arrive in Chicago.
    Johnny: This place is sick. On the one hand, it's hard to imagine how this city can go on—drinking its coffees and mowing its lawns and punching its time cards, while all this ugliness is happening. On the other hand... that's how America works.
  • Mysterious Watcher: Zeb, in shapeshifted crow form, can sometimes be spotted observing Johnny in the distance as he travels from place to place, never directly interfering (save for the Hayden's Falls incident) but always taking notes.
  • New Old West: As a deliberate throwback to Ghost Rider's classic roots, rural America takes center stage in this 2022 series and once again casts the Brimstone Avenger in the role of a wandering anti-hero (complete with My Horse Is a Motorbike) doing his own brand of violent justice in the not-so-modernized, less populated corners of civilization. Shady roadside motels, disappearing small towns, and the haunted wilderness are but some of the neo-western locales that GR ends up exploring in some way or another.
  • Not Himself:
    • One of the main focuses of the comic's first six issues is the mysterious cursed wound on Johnny Blaze's head and how it negatively affects his connection with his Spirit of Vengeance. Instead of staying in control or at least being conscious and aware when he's in GR mode, Johnny now keeps blanking out in the middle of battle and then waking up later with no memory of what happened in the interim, causing him no end of headaches and irritation. He suspects at first that his Spirit is simply being uncooperative for some reason, but the more the story goes on, the more Johnny realizes that it's actually because his own mind and body have been compromised by outside forces, with the Spirit wrestling control from him for his own good. The wound is eventually revealed to be a centipede-like demon parasite meant to weaken Johnny and supersede his consciousness for Blackheart's evil purposes. Thanks to Wolverine's timely efforts, the parasite is purged from Johnny in Issue #6, restoring the Ghost Rider back to form.
    • The Circus of Crime, a gang of Silver Age kooks more infamously known for being ineffectual villains than anything else, are re-introduced in Issue #4 as genuinely terrifying, demonized people who've graduated from robbing their unsuspecting audiences to outright mass murdering them For the Evulz. Ghost Rider immediately senses there's something very off with these guys, even saying the trope almost verbatim. There's heavy implication that whatever got to them may also have something to do with Johnny's own head wound situation.
    • A returning Danny Ketch is revealed in Issue #12 to have been brainwashed into a corrupted and deranged Ghost Rider by Infernal Labs, a division of the Weapon Plus program. Described in a vision by Talia as a shallow husk of a man who "might as well be dead," all sense of human reasoning seems to have left him as he mindlessly causes mayhem everywhere he goes, scorching demons and innocents alike without remorse.
  • No-Tell Motel: Of the "gruesome unsolved murders" kind. Johnny wanders across one in Issue #2 and decides to work there for a bit to earn money for his ongoing travel expenses. He soon discovers that the innkeeper is secretly an evil man who kidnaps his own tenants, offering them as sacrifices to a nightmarish demon living in the mines hidden deep within the premises in exchange for the demon's stash of priceless gemstones. In the end, Ghost Rider makes the innkeeper and his demonic patron pay dearly for their crimes, then burns their wretched motel to the ground for added measure.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • While trailing after Ghost Rider in a dark Chicago subway station (Issue #9), Talia comes across two branching paths. Sensing what appears to be GR/Johnny's presence emanating from the distance, she calls out to him, only for Exhaust to emerge from the shadows and lunge at her. The look of horror in Talia's eyes says it all.
    • Dr. Diyu lets out a horrified expression when she's last seen in Issue #15, right as she's about to be Impaled with Extreme Prejudice by her own brother turned demon.
  • Order vs. Chaos: Discussed by Zebadiah (aka Zeb) of the Council of Night Magicians, who claims to be on nobody's side and is only interested in preserving the world balance between light and darkness. It just so happens that Ghost Rider's brand of vigilantism currently aligns with his own due to the forces of hell, led by Blackheart, threatening to upset that balance by conspiring to engulf America in demonic darkness and corrupt it into their own "Shadow Country".
  • Outside-Context Problem: Played with in Issue #14's standalone backup story, which features a guest appearance by Taegukgi of Tiger Division. Though the plot still concerns a supernatural-based crisis that calls on Johnny's expertise, this event is told from the point of view of a metahuman (Taegukgi) who is completely out of his depth in dealing with such a situation, and he ends up providing no help at all despite his otherwise impressive power set, leaving everything up to Johnny/GR to save the day all by himself.
  • Orifice Invasion:
    • Part of the demonic parasite that Wolverine cuts out of Johnny in Issue #6 possesses a passed out drunk by seemingly crawling up his butt, killing the man and making a puppet zombie out of him.
    • In Issue #10, the CFO of a wealth-management company is possessed while using a toilet that a demon was lying in wait in.
    • In a flashback, Doctor Strange, having no patience for Talia's bad attitude, summons a spider that he has crawl into Talia's mouth and down her throat, with the spider then projecting a web which showcases Talia's history and magic potential.
  • Perception Filter: At various points, readers (and Johnny) see two different versions of Hayden's Falls and its inhabitants. One is an idyllic small town, the other is a nest of demons.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Ghost Rider may be a ruthless, merciless anti-hero but even he knows where to draw the line when it comes to monster extermination. Upon confronting the now demonic Circus of Crime in Issue #4, the Ringmaster summons a giant Body of Bodies made up of hundreds of lumped together bodies of poor, innocent victims, still conscious and with their souls intact but kept under control by the Ringmaster's brainwashing magic. Instead of killing the poor creature, GR uses his hellfire to free all the souls trapped within from Ringmaster's influence, then tells them to run away which they do, sparing their lives even though they remain trapped in their collective, monstrous form.
    • Talia tries to talk GR into going easy on a group of murderous children who are antagonizing them in Issue #19, and asks him if he can cleanse the sin from their souls instead of killing or condemning them outright. GR retorts that there's a difference between "can" and "should", but Talia implores him to reconsider, pointing out that she also did a lot of horrible things when she was their age, but she changed, and so can they. This convinces GR to stay his hand, and even goes out of his way to save a child from falling to his doom.
  • Potty Failure: Talia as a young grade-schooler once wet herself in class because she refused to go to the bathroom that had a terrifying demon in the stalls only she could see. Once she comes into her powers she gets revenge on the Jerkass teacher who mocked her for it by drawing a curse mark on a piece of paper and then handing it to the woman, causing her to go through the same humiliating experience in front of the whole class.
  • Raising the Steaks: Exhaust attacks Johnny and Talia with an army of undead animals while the two are on their way to Chicago.
  • The Resenter: It's eventually revealed in Issue #7 that Blackheart has carried a deep grudge against Johnny Blaze since the latter's time as the King of Hell, feeling that Blaze took away what was rightfully his to claim. It's one of the main reasons why Blackheart had Johnny ambushed and imprisoned via Lotus-Eater Machine, trying to keep him out of the way while the Son of Mephisto once again vies for absolute power.
  • Resurrected Murderer: The villain of the backup story in Issue #14 is the ghost of Wrenley Fischer, a man who was accidentally killed during a confrontation with Taegukgi of the Tiger Division and now wants revenge on Taegukgi. That would normally make him a Vengeful Ghost, except he was already a monster in life, an organ thief who slaughtered thirty-nine people and sold their organs on the Black Market in Seoul.
  • Revisiting the Roots: The 2022 comic promises to be a "back to basics" approach in Ghost Rider storytelling, once again featuring Johnny Blaze in the role of a (dark) Knight Errant travelling across the Americas and encountering all manner of supernatural horrors along the way, just like in his original series. Only this time, things have grown even Darker and Edgier than before, with a greater, overarching mystery on the horizon.
  • Sapient House: Talia's childhood home became so suffused with Mephisto's evil that it essentially became a malevolent demonic entity in its own right, with Dr. Strange noting that the corruption was "soaked into the very timbers."
  • Scenery Gorn: And how! Many of the locations Ghost Rider stops over throughout the comic are filled with depressingly bleak, nightmarish imagery; usually in the form of ravaged towns, villages or cities laden with blood-splattered streets and decaying, mutilated corpses. Johnny even lampshades it by describing the whole thing as Apocalyptic-like.
  • Severed Head Sports: The curriculum at the Rocky Mountain School for Troubled Youth includes PE, with a severed head in place of a basketball.
  • Sex for Solace: While out camping together in Issue #11, Talia offers to lay with Johnny to help him stave off sleep for a while, knowing that he's always being plagued by nightmares every time he drifts off into slumber. Though he's not really in the right mood, Blaze indulges her.
  • Sex Magic: Johnny and Talia engage in this in order to produce a Moonchild, a Homunculous which they use to infiltrate the Rocky Mountain School for Troubled Youth.
  • Shower of Angst: Johnny is seen entering the showers in Issue #14 while he reminisces about the times he shared with his younger brother, Danny, both as allies and as enemies. With a solemn expression, he ponders on what's about to happen the next time they meet, knowing full well that it's bound to be a harsh and violent one given the state Danny's in. Talia soon joins him, however, which leads directly to...
  • Shower of Love: Sort of. Johnny and Talia aren't exactly "in love" per se, but their mutual attraction to each other leads to an intimate moment in the showers in Issue #14, with Talia trying to ease Blaze's mind from getting too preoccupied with thoughts concerning his upcoming confrontation with his brother.
  • Sinister Car:
    • The homicidal "Hell Truck" that is haunting the Red Road in Oregon in Issue #3.
    • Exhaust becomes a Sinister Motorcycle near the end of Issue #10, though the circumstances aren't explored until the next issue. After soundly being defeated by Johnny/Ghost Rider, the creature transforms what's left of itself into a Cool Bike for Blaze to use, still intent on being "connected" to the man it was spawned from. Blaze, who finds himself being psychologically drawn to the vehicle by an unseen force, initially claims it as his new ride, but soon comes to realize that Exhaust is too dangerous to be kept around no matter what form it takes, and so ditches the bike for good.
  • Sinister Subway: A massive legion of low-level demons are revealed to have taken over the Chicago subway system, butchering people by the tram-load until they are stopped by Ghost Rider.
  • Slipping a Mickey: Seen in Issue #7. Talia Warroad, disguised as a waitress, intercepts Johnny's arrival at a local diner and secretly laces his drink with a fungal concoction that works like a buffed up sleeping pill. She then follows him to his motel room as the drug takes effect, all for the sake of "interviewing" him via magic while he's in deep slumber. The whole thing works like a charm, and Johnny doesn't even mind what Talia did to him when he wakes up two days later.
  • Spawn Broodling: Exhaust's... exhaust kills people by causing their bodies to swell up and burst open to release skull-faced and otherwise featureless grey demon minions, described as "a shadow of a shadow."
  • Spotting the Thread:
    • "Roxanne" and her wedding ring in Issue #1. It's what ultimately convinces Johnny that the wife standing before him isn't the real deal, having recalled that he never gave her such a ring. Consumed with rage, he cuts off the woman's fingers, unmasking her as a demonic impostor in the process, then burns the ring in disgust before vanquishing the demon and her cohorts.
    • Done again by Johnny in Issue #8. While examining Talia's String Theory wall of evidence, he quickly deduces a pattern that Talia had overlooked and carefully rearranges the images until they form a road map which reveals certain hotspots of the Shadow Country's trail of activities, setting his and Talia's next destination.
  • Teenage Wasteland: The Cult of Mephisto turned the town of Burrow, West Virginia into one by convincing all of the disaffected children to kill all of the adults and "feed" their bodies to a gateway to Mephisto in a manner evocative of Children of the Corn. It is later shown that this is the cult's usual MO, rolling into towns and coercing the young people to become Self Made Orphans by promising them "eternal youth and terrible power."
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Talia and Ghost Rider, sort of. The Spirit of Vengeance makes it gravely clear upon being acquainted that it doesn't trust Talia, deems her unworthy of protection because it senses she's not an innocent, and only tolerates her presence (at best) since she insists on proving useful. Averted with Johnny Blaze himself, who, despite his usual stoic reservations, quickly learns to get along with the spunky young goth. Indeed, when Talia gets temporarily turned into one of Exhaust's ghouls, the Spirit-controlled GR simply tries to get rid of her like she were any other disposable enemy, but Johnny stops it, and he then takes over and successfully brings Talia back by encouraging her to fight off her possession.
  • The Unfought: Dr. Diyu of Infernal Labs serves as the arc villain of Issues #13 to #15, built up as the nefarious scientist who orchestrates the capture of Danny Ketch, tortures him to the brink of death, then strips him of his Spirit of Corruption so she can use it to power up a Mecha to serve as her protection when she travels to Hell to try and save her own brother. Despite the build up, Johnny Blaze never actually gets to confront Diyu face to face, for she ends up suffering a Karmic Death in the middle of her journey when the Spirit of Corruption suddenly breaks free and abandons her after she finds her now twisted and demonic brother, who "rewards" her efforts by killing her on the spot, way before Johnny even gets the chance to meet Diyu in person.
  • Thousand-Yard Stare: Talia comes across a lone survivor in the wake of Danny Ketch's rampage in Savannah. The woman is visibly shaken out of her wits — eyes transfixed into a wide open, horrified glare — as she recalls how she thought Ketch was there to help them fend off the demons only for him to start killing everything in sight, including innocents.
  • Too Desperate to Be Picky: In the Annual, Elsa Bloodstone mentions that she went to Doctor Strange for help, but he was unavailable, so she had to make due with Johnny and Talia.
    Elsa: You didn't think two unwashed drifters were the first ones on my list, did you?
    Talia: Thanks for thinking of us. And @#$% you while were at it.
  • Town with a Dark Secret: Hayden's Falls, where the story begins, appears to be an idyllic representation of America, populated by kindly locals. But underneath the veil of pristine lies a nightmarish den of misery, chaos, and demonic residents, the illusionary town itself being nothing but a cage meant to serve as Johnny Blaze's eternal prison... that is, until he realizes the façade.
  • Tragic Monster: Ghost Rider encounters one in Issue #4: a gigantic Body of Bodies made from the slain victims of the Circus of Crime, forced to do their bidding thanks to the Ringmaster's Mind Control powers. Sensing that the poor creature isn't inherently malicious and still retains some semblance of humanity, GR decides to let it go after freeing it from Ringmaster's control.
  • True Sight:
    • Johnny Blaze makes good use of his near the end of Issue #1 to see through the illusionary town of Hayden's Falls, exposing its residents for the hellish monstrosities they really are. The sight also comes in handy later down the road whenever he runs across other demons in disguise, or people under possession.
    • Talia also has this, but to a much greater degree than Johnny/Ghost Rider, having been gifted (or cursed) with the ability since childhood. She can see all sorts of paranormal signs, creatures and apparitions roaming around her vicinity; stuff that no regular human can ever notice in their lifetime.
  • Two-Faced: Issue #20 gives a clear look under Talia's lopsided bangs, revealing that the upper-right half of her face (including her eye) is disfigured, the result of burns caused by a piece of shrapnel from the car crash that killed her parents.
  • Uncertain Doom:
    • Unlike the case with Blackheart, Exhaust's battle against Johnny Blaze and Talia in Issue #10 doesn't have a clear outcome since it ends on a cliffhanger just as they're about to have their climatic clash. The next scene skips to Johnny and Talia riding off to face Blackheart with no sign nor acknowledgement of Exhaust... only that Johnny has taken possession of a distinctive Cool Bike that looks eerily like the monster. The next issue answers this mystery by revealing that Exhaust actually became that bike after his defeat; heavily implied to have transformed on purpose to entice the motorcycle-loving Blaze into keeping him around in that form. But as soon as Blaze realizes how dangerous the bike is when it tries to kill Talia, he gets rid of it for good by thrashing it and then burying what's left of Exhaust deep into the ground.
    • Dr. Diyu is last seen in Issue #15 trapped in Hell, alone and powerless, after the Spirit of Corruption she had stolen from Dan Ketch abandons her in the middle of her unpleasant reunion with her now demonic younger brother, ending with a close up of Diyu's horrified face as she's about to be skewered by said brother.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
    • A Chicago toll guard's response to a battered and burning car rocketing past his booth (blowing his Dodgy Toupee off in the process) is just, "Hey! You've got to pay the... toll."
    • Father Pike's presence at the FBI Headquarters and meeting with Director Hamilton is treated casually, at least until he brands Hamilton with a handshake, even though Pike is an Obviously Evil Devil in Plain Sight.
  • Wacky Racing: Issue #5 has Johnny and a bunch of heroes and villains participate in the Hell's Backbone Rally, a motorcycle race in which the prize is allegedly a wish granted by the Devil. Things unsurprisingly descend into Twisted Metal-style mayhem as the racers shoot, blast, slash, ram, and otherwise maim each other when not being attacked by the gooey demons summoned by Blackheart.
  • Warrior Poet: Benjamin Percy's characterization of Johnny Blaze has shades of this. His thought boxes are often laced with flowery, borderline philosophical observations about the various people, places and situations encountered throughout his journey.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • FBI Director Hamilton Crux has been making Infernal Labs send a brainwashed Danny Ketch out on Hunter of Monsters missions, apparently with very little concern for collateral damage, given that he was still having them send Danny out even after Danny ended up destroying most (if not all) of Savannah, Georgia.
    • It turns out that everything that Dr. Diyu has been doing was in service of rescuing her younger brother Delun's soul from Hell.
  • Wham Line: Happens in Issue #4 during Ghost Rider's confrontation with a recently demonized Circus of Crime. One look at them with his True Sight causes GR to declare these people have been corrupted and are not quite themselves, but the Ringmaster simply retorts, "Neither are you, Johnny..." The shock from this sudden revelation, along with Ringmaster's attempt to cast hypnosis on him, causes GR to revert back to human form and lose consciousness from the headache. Waking up later, he begins to suspect that the strange wound on his back is doing something far more sinister to him than he initially thought.
  • Wham Shot:
    • Issue #5 concludes with a dramatic reveal that the evil entity who masterminded Johnny's imprisonment in Hayden's Falls and the one responsible for inflicting the cursed wound on his head (which turns out to be a demonic parasite) is none other than Blackheart.
    • The closing panel of Issue #10 shows a captured Danny Ketch being experimented on inside a demon-run secret laboratory, heavily implied to be for nefarious purposes.
  • When Trees Attack: The forest surrounding the Rocky Mountain School for Troubled Youth was cursed by the Cult of Mephisto, turning the trees into demons which attack Ghost Rider and Talia. Ghost Rider mentions that they are Glass Cannons at best, since, despite being demonically animate, they are still just made out of wood.
  • The Worm That Walks: Wurm, one of the members of the Council of Night Magicians, is made up of, well, worms.
  • Worst Aid: Wolverine manages to exorcise the parasitic demon from Johnny Blaze by performing a makeshift operation on him in Issue #6, which basically consists of hacking and cutting through Blaze's body with his claws to draw out the demon and kill it. A terrible idea in any other circumstance, but works out in this case because Logan is able to plead with the Spirit of Vengeance to let him operate on Johnny while he's in GR mode, sparing Blaze's human form from the lethal strain and allowing GR's Healing Factor to kick in when he transforms back. By the time Logan's done, Johnny is still weakened and groggy, but otherwise good as new.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Johnny Blaze has no problem with harshly incapacitating kids who try to pose a threat to him, as a youngster finds out the hard way in Issue #19 when he tries to attack Blaze and Talia with a pickaxe. Johnny gives him a broken nose for his trouble. The Spirit of Vengeance takes it a step further by expressing willingness to kill children who've committed the grave sin of murder, but Talia convinces him to at least give the repentant ones a chance to atone.
  • Zerg Rush:
    • The low-level demons that have taken over the Chicago subway system try this on Ghost Rider, convinced that there is strength in numbers. They are sorely mistaken.
    Demon: We got the numbers.
    Ghost Rider: But I've got the chain saw.
    • GR faces off against a horde of zombies in Issue #12 that try to overwhelm him with sheer numbers, even dogpiling on him at one point. He ends up slaughtering them with ease anyway, aided by a cross turned Flaming Sword.