Hulk vs. Ghost RiderPosted: 08/11/2013
We’re back at World War Hulk. I love it. Hulk’s the event villain, but the good guys did some bad stuff that prompted Hulk’s righteous villainy, and cue a few more morally ambiguous plot points. Plus, lots of smashing, because Marvel opened the door for every living superhero in the Marvel universe to take their shot at stomping the green rage monster. Spoiler alert: it goes badly. But when writers enjoy free rein to have a Hulk fight with their current character, the reason already supplied and explained, it’d be foolish not to have their hero take a swing. And that includes Ghost Rider.
Full disclosure: my Ghost Rider knowledge sucks. I haven’t even seen the movies. But the dude’s been around since 1972 and I can only write so many Spider-Man articles before I look lazy. And while I don’t have to explain his appeal (flaming skull/motorcycle), I can certainly attempt to touch upon the character’s back story.
Stunt driver Johnny Blaze (the name’s a coincidence) found out his mentor had cancer. So he contacted the devil Mephisto — pretty much Satan for the Marvel world — and Blaze sold his soul to cure him. Because of how deals with the devil work, Blaze’s mentor dies almost immediately after in a motorcycle crash and while Blaze still retains his soul, his deal with Mephisto (which goes awry) bonds him to the demon Zarathos. Turns out Ghost Rider — a being who serves to avenge the innocent and punish the wicked — happens to be an agent of Heaven all along, which can be hard to figure out when Ghost Rider’s body is literally made of hellfire.
So Ghost Rider drives to New York City to fight Hulk, because that match up sounds awesome. In Ghost Rider #12-13, written by Daniel Way and drawn by Javier Saltares, Blaze is currently driving around and destroying the 666 pieces of Lucifer spread throughout the world (long story), which from Zarathos’ point-of-view is way more important. Inevitable destruction of all mortal life versus a green dude smacking around Iron Man and friends. But Blaze won’t have it. Not one bit.
He does stand a chance. Seriously. Ghost Rider can’t juggle mountains like Hulk, but the whole body-made-out-of-hellfire thing comes in handy. You know, granting him almost complete immunity to any sort of injury. He heals wildly fast, he can take punches that would turn others in goo, and has powers far beyond a motorcycle and chain. Essentially, Ghost Rider makes Johnny Storm look like a civilian, regardless of Blaze’s immense self-loathing and inability to pull the caliber of women that the Human Torch can. Probably because Johnny Storm can fly around and spell words in the sky, and Ghost Rider is a fiery skeleton who wears an outfit consisting entirely of leather.
I’d like to say you’ll be pleasantly surprised, but the fight begins pretty much as you expect. Superheroes and villains always tend to be quite surprised by Hulk’s strength. Do they forget the prominent shots on network news with footage of him ripping tanks in two like paper? Plus, in World War Hulk, he retains full intelligence and an unprecedented amount of strength.
So Ghost Rider’s props can create some super cool battle scenarios. Not all of them involve fire.
Very few superheroes instill the fear Ghost Rider pervades. Punisher, maybe, but even then, the mobsters and criminals can justify Frank Castle being only a normal man — albeit a normal man with decades of military experience, unresolved anger, and thousands of kills to his name. But if Ghost Rider shows up in that flamboyant entrance he always makes, criminals’d be smart to wet their pants. Blaze possesses the power to control and wield enough hellfire to annihilate cities. The Punisher sometimes carries a grenade launcher.
Also, a hundred thousand tons of concrete won’t bring Hulk down. Not even close.
Remember the Illuminati members who voted to shoot Hulk into space that started this whole mess in the first place? Black Bolt and Iron Man lost already, leaving only Mr. Fantastic and Dr. Strange. And bringing down a skyscraper will get their attention.
Yes, Ghost Rider currently rides at 100% strength. More than enough to take down the Hulk, but I’m warning you in advance, the finale’s anti-climatic. On purpose. It works, I promise.
Here’s the beauty: when Dr. Strange mentions the complete Zarathos possession not being a “favorable occurance,” it has nothing to do with the destruction of the city.
Oh, do those two suffer for their sins. Currently, Ghost Rider rides in comic purgatory with no solo or team series. But the agent of Heaven’ll return soon enough — motorcycles and poetic vengeance never go out of style. I mean, it works well enough for Wolverine, and he’s rarely on fire.