|DC/Marvel: Age of Infinite Heroes|
Johnny Blaze is a renowned stunt rider and showman. He's been doing it solo since his father's accidental death when he was a teenager.
Ghost Rider is an urban myth for most people. He appears from nowhere and beats up those who do evil to others, He is a biker with a flaming skull for a head. Those in deep occult knowledge know that The Ghost Rider is a powerful minion or the Demon Mephisto. Or so it is thought. However, he has rejected his masters collar and fights him and his other minions at every turn. Manifestation of the fire element.
Moving in with the Simpons proved to be one of the best things that has happened to Johnny, as he grew fond of, and close to, their daughter Roxanne. As the two grew into teenagers, that fondness grew into something more, and they dated from the age of thirteen all through their teen years until their 18th birthday, only a few months apart. They shared everything together. First kiss, first date, first... just about everything. All under 'Crashs watching gaze, to ensure nothing too out of sorts happened. These five years were some of Johnny's happiest, joining 'Crash' in his show as a junior entertainer. Learning to ride, his natural talent honed by hundreds of hours of practice and rehearsal under the Simpon's tutelage. But shortly after Johnny's 18th birthday, tragedy struck yet again in the young man's life. Craig, his adopted father and mentor.. was diagnosed with lung cancer. Given only a few months to live according to all the tests the doctors ran on him. Desperate to help him, Johnny turned to the occult. He searched every library and book store he could find, finding and reading all manner of taboo books. His withdrawal and fervent search for a solution drove Roxanne away, who couldn't understand why her boyfriend was reading about devils and evil while her father lay in the hospital dying.
Mephisto appeared that night in Johnny's bedroom, and the confrontation led out into the pouring rain.. the outermost ring of a hurricane that struck farther south. Mephisto quoted the deal, that he cured Craig's illness, and it was not the illness that killed the older man. Satisfied the deal was done, Mephisto tried to take Johnny's soul, but could not.. as Roxanne.. an innocent.. came to Johnny's defence, despite her perception of Johnny's actions with her father. Roxanne's love of Johnny saved his soul, overpowering Mephisto's dark power. In retaliation, Mephisto broke a soul crystal against Johnny's arm, the soul crystal holding the arch demon Zarathos. The demon bonded to Johnny's soul before it could escape, and the Rider erupted, a flaming skeleton, due to the evil of Mephisto's presence. The violent outburst of energy slammed into Roxanne, knocking her into a wall, and into unconsciousness. Her head injury would prove non lethal, but it erased her memory of the night, and of the past few weeks. Johnny, now the Ghost Rider.. fled, stealing the custom Harley he and Craig had been working and and riding into the night. Roxanne awoke a few days later, with no memory of the recent events, other than that Johnny had left her there without a goodbye or even a note explaining.
Johnathan "Johnny" Blaze is the legitimate oldest son of Barton Blaze and Naomi Kale, born into the life of a carnie, that is.. A carnival performer. Barton Blaze, his father was partners in a stunt show with Craig "Crash" Simpson. Shortly after Johnny was born, Naomi summoned the arch demon Mephisto, and made a deal of unknown terms to spare Johnny from the family 'curse'. Unfortunately, early in his childhood, Johnny's mother also grew tired of the carnie lifestyle and abruptly left Barton, taking the elder two children Danny and Barbara with her. This shattered Johnny's world, and he withdrew into a shell of emotional safeguards, repressing his memories of the siblings and mother that betrayed him. Shortly after, his father Barton was killed in a stunt accident, further traumatizing the young Johnny. Alone in the world, abandoned by his family, and his father dead, buried in a simple pine box, that the carnival furnished.. Johnny began to exhibit signs of serious depression, his psyche coming apart at the seams. All before the age of seven. But all that changed when 'Crash' Simpson and his wife Mona took the boy in as their own, but never formally adopting him. To help the boy in healing from the trauma of his younger years, the Simpsons fabricated an outright lie. His mother Clara Blaze was killed in child birth, though they kept Bartons story straight and true.
But fate would have a different plan for Johnny, as he sat watching Crash lay there. Pulling out one of the occult books he had been reading, he tried, and succeeded in summoning Satan, or rather.. the arch demon Mephisto. The demon knew immediately who Johnny was, though feigning ignorance. Mephisto, appearing as an older man with a strange gaze stood over 'Crash', and told Johnny he could cure the man's illness, make him healthy again.. Johnny readily agreed, not knowing or caring about the cost, he knew he wasn't about to lose another father. Signing and sealing the deal Mephisto offered was the work of only a moment. The old man left and Johnny sank back into his chair, watching Craig for any sign of change.. of improvement.. but he passed out again before morning. When he awoke, it was by Craig's hand shaking him. His father was cured, the doctors said, and they couldn't explain how. The cancer was gone, it had eaten itself. Overjoyed at the news, Johnny forgot all about the stranger in his 'dream' from the night before.. and the deal he made. A week later the two were riding in a show, and Craig mistimed his jump over a car, and crashed.. due to a freak accident.. the crash killed him instantly, gored by a piece of the motorcycle.
Johnny became a drifter, and wandering lawless vigilante for more than a year, using his 'power' to help who he could, and staying on the move. In this time, he frequented more than a few bars, getting into his share of barfights and scuffles over minor injustices.. such a man beating his woman.. Not specifically evil, so the Rider never manifested.. but something Johnny needed to intervene in anyway. He rode his Harley wherever he needed or wanted to go, battling the odd evil spirit or minor demon between the muggers, murderers and rapists that crossed his path as the Rider. Eventually, he was recognized by the owner of a carnival in one of the bars, and was given a trial run to perform stunts on the show, providing that he fixed the bike he was given after every show. Needless to say, the show took off, and Johnny followed it to the top. After a few years, he set out and created his own stunt show, adding absolutely crazy stunts to it, uncaring about the risk as he knew he couldn't die through his studies into the occult. Essentially, the bonding of his immortal soul with Zarathos lent immortality to his flesh as well. Aside from this, he had taken absolutely brutal beatings as the Rider, had his skull crushed and ground into powder, been squashed, shattered and obliterated, and walked away without a scratch. After all that, a simple bike crash would prove to be nothing. He would jump cars, monster trucks, airplanes, and helicopters.. it didn't matter, all the while reading more and more about the occult books that all followed the same lines, the lines that had proven to be true. Johnny has left the West coast behind, following sightings of a demon he believes to be Mephisto. He's searching under the pretext of going on tour for his stunt career and he's raking in the money.. but his heart is dead set on finding the demon who caused him so much pain.
Johnny is the product of a tragedy, and it has shaped his personality and psyche. As a youth he was outgoing, the cool guy.. and fearless. Always quick with a joke, and a ready smile to make or impress his freinds. When his family split up, his world shattered. He withdrew inside himself for a long time. As a teenager he came out of his shell, back to his old self. But his world was shattered again when his father was killed, and his hellspawned curse doesn't help. Johnny is.. a troubled individual. He tends to seek answers in the occult. Reading all manner of religious, psuedo-religious and occult based books, he has become slightly obsessed with ridding himself of his curse and getting his soul back. But he tends to be more than a little passionate about using his curse to beat back the forces of hell and their ilk. Whether it's the mugger on the corner, or the satanist trying to summon demons to this world. Or perhaps even those summoned demons themselves. He knows he's famous, and puts on his 'Johnny Blaze' face when out in public, the smiling, and autograph signing photo's and body parts. But in private he researches his 'condition' and both how to get rid of it, and how to use it. As the Rider though, Zarathos exerts more than a little influence on the riders actions. Mercy is rare and seldom found, and he becomes a different person, exacting vengeance on those who do evil. The worse the evil, the harder the rider comes down on them, usually in the form of the Penance stare. Demons he will simply outright kill, or 'banish' depending on the demon and the terminology.