The Ghost Rider spotlight had shifted to an all-new, muscle car-driving Robbie Reyes as the Felipe Smith creation now joins the ranks of Jason Aaron’s Avengers. Reyes is an actually a pretty awesome character, and his attention in the titles is surely well-deserved, but it was just a matter of time before the original Ghost Rider aka, Johnny Blaze, made his come back with a vengeance.
For most of Avengers #16, Robbie had been stuck in the depths of hell as the Spirit of Vengeance had taken over his body on Earth, and fought the Avengers. The whole time, Robbie was below, and there had been a mysterious character who was talking to him all the time and teasing some difficulty for him. The character was not revealed until after Robbie had been rescued, and his inner monologue had introduced a flashback to his last few moments while in hell.
That last page had featured Blaze in all his glory, and we saw him sitting on his bike and reigning as the King of Hell. He had also left Robbie with a pretty menacing speech, and this suggests that their stories are going to intertwine:
“You’ll be back,” Johnny had said.
“And the King of Hell will be here waiting. And next time I see you, Ghost Rider, you and me… we’re gonna do a bit more than just talk. We’re gonna have us a little ride.”
Robbie had explained that it was not Johnny or hell that he actually feared, but the very idea that he was something worse:
“Johnny Blaze was a good guy once. He was the greatest Ghost Rider who ever lived. Now he’s something that chills my bones. Maybe because I know I’m already more of a monster than he ever was.”
The Johnny Blaze that we know has been absent since the Damnation had taken last year when he had taken over as the King of Hell.
His return is not a surprise and not only is the ongoing saga dealing with a few of the dark and unknown corners of the Marvel Universe but the writer, Jason Aaron has a pretty rich history with this character.