Ghost Rider misconceptions are quite the norm on battle forums and in general comic discussions. So here is the break down on the abilities, powers, and limits of Ghost Riders shown thus far.
Johnny Blaze is the original Ghost Rider. At least the original flame headed, possessed by a spirit version. Carter Slade was the "original" Ghost Rider, but he is not the kind of Ghost Rider we all know these days. Blaze origin story is pretty well known in comics and movies. Guy makes a deal with the devil, bargains the soul, gets screwed in the deal, and then has a spirit called Zarathos slam into his body.
However, as the years went on the story was slightly change. The deal with the devil changed so instead possessed by a powerful Demon to being possessed by a powerful Angel.
A Angel of Vengeance, which turns out is what all Spirit of Vengeance actually are. A piece of Gods own power manifested to punish evil of any kind.
This is the current story as it stands now with the Spirits of Vengeance background. A background that been retcon several times with lies and mystery from Caretaker, Mephisto, and Zadkiel. However, in the end the main story of the origins are the same as these high level Angels explain it.
Who cares for the exact details, Ghost Rider is a bad ass spirit that possessed a man who made a bad deal with the devil. Now lets get into the stats and powers.
Ghost Rider does not have a lot of feats in strength, but what few he has are solid.
Pulls apart the front end of this airliner, and drags it with ease.
Hold the chain to cut down this multi story building.
Ghost Rider is pretty fast. Peak human so, and his travel speed and reaction speed is Hypersonic+ easy.
Johnny Blaze fast enough to catch a bullet in his teeth.
Blaze reacts and moves faster than anyone can see to intercept several mach 2 missiles from hitting Reyes. Even when said missiles were yard away from impact.
Blaze within two panels time frame travels over 578 miles as shown on his odometer.
Blaze outruns Thor's thrown hammer and turns around to catch it.
Blaze races Ketch in four pages around most of Africa and Europe. Dodging obstacles, attacking each other, and holding a conversation the whole time.
This is the bread and butter of Ghost Rider. He is very tough to kill or KO. Wolverine levels of tough. While 100+ toners can knock him out, and do so, anything less will struggle to down a Ghost Rider. However, there is weaknesses to this durability. Magic works better than non magic, and holy weapons or attacks is like Kryptonite is to Superman.
Smashed through thick trees, and craters side of a rock face. Has a tree splinter on his body when used as a ram.
Blaze is smashed and dragged through the side of a rock face.
Tanks magics bullets and a magic blade to the skull. Minor damage.
Blaze here eats a small vial of nitroglycerin.
Blaze in these scans get punched by Danny so hard to fly 1000s of meters. Then punched again 100s of meters in the sky back to the ground. Then has a SUV size boulder thrown on him. He is a bit stunned, but fights on.
Hulk tries to one shot Blaze with a thunder clap. Blaze is stunned, but still able to fight.
Its important to show and touch on the weaknesses Blaze/Zarathos have.
Dr Strange was able to give Hawkeye a amulet that cancels Magic outright. Disabling Alejandra from Zarathos power.
This Voodoo trinket the disables magic across its barrier also shut off Zarathos powers to Alejandra.
The Leader learns of a spell that cancels magic. Shutting off Ghost Riders power to be killed in human form.
Holy blades from a Angel wound Blaze easy.
Blaze was shot dead by a special holy infused bullet.
Special weapons from Mephisto have shown to separate the Spirit of Vengeance from the host.
All Ghost Riders can be killed in human form, before they transform as shown with Blaze when he was first sent to hell.
Ghost Riders can also be enslaved by the Hand's most powerful magic to work for them. Mephisto shown this too after claiming Zarathos for his own. In this scan Blaze escapes this enslavement by letting himself die in human form to arrive in heaven to work a deal with God.
Dare Devil possess by a powerful demon of the Hand sucks the hell fire from Blaze.
Rogue was able to pull Zarathos directly from Blaze, but shortly fell to succumbing to his power and rage.
Hell Fire Flame
Hell Fire is the magical energy that makes up Ghost Riders power to attack and defend. Hell fire used by Blaze is mainly done via flamethrower out of the mouth style.
Burns a demon of decent rank up.
Hell fire is proven to deep fry intangible ghost, likely due to its soul burning properties.
Hell fire nearly one shots a powerful fallen Angel.
Hell fire blows up a motorcycle and the powerful Lucifer possessed host.
Hell fire burns to the bones multiple champions of Mephisto.
Strong enough to even harm Dr. Strange through his barrier, stunning the Sorcerer Supreme.
Hell Fire Fireball
The fireball version of the hell fire attack is used often for powerful range damage or wider range of damage.
Johnny spits out a hell fireball with decent AOE and accuracy.
Generates a powerful fireball with large AOE.
Blaze hits Ketch with a massive fireball that harms Ketch greatly.
Blaze is fully able to burn the soul as well the body. A ability explain at depth in older comics, and still touch on in current ones.
Various feats from 70s, 80s, and 90s of Blaze's Hellfire burning the soul.
Blaze is able to generate infinite number of chains made of near unbreakable Hell Fire. The Hell Fire changing into a solid form for physical attacks.
Chains use to stop Ghost Rider from flying back, and used to pull him towards his airborne target.
Using chains to rip a powerful Lucifer possessed host apart.
Lucifer himself asks the question if Blaze runs out of chains as Blaze ties up both Lucifer hosts up.
Using chains to hold and drag to hell the Angel Kazann.
Able to restrain Doctor Strange, and hold him.
Even the liquid like Venom Symbiot cannot escape the chains of Ghost Rider.
Chains used to tangle up and burn several Werewolves at the same time.
Chains of Blaze and Reyes take out a small army of Mr Hyde formula using soldiers.
Chains used to fling Punisher away and toward Ghost Rider in a fight.
Blaze is able to make constructs, and trans mutate objects via Hell Fire. Changing the very laws of reality and molecules in such a way. However, the most Blaze makes use of this power is to create his motorcycles.
Creates his cycle out of Hell Fire.
Creates a cycle out of demon bones.
Ghost Riders are able to open dimensional portals and travel to areas if needed. Blaze however makes very limited use of this ability, relaying on only transport to hell and earth.
Travels to the American west from hell when able to escape.
Travels over America to land in the west when he escapes hell yet again. Stated he can travel dimensions.
As a stunt cyclist of the highest quality, Blaze skill with his bike as well his ability to fight from the seat of his bike is well known.
The cycle rips apart the powerful Angel Kazaan.
Cycle ripping through a army of zombie ghosts.
Cycle cuts a multiple cars and a bus in half like a hot knife through butter.
Blaze cycle skill navigating through a city and skyscrapers without ever touching the ground.
Blaze and Zarathos are able to coordinate maneuvers and attacks with the cycle.
Able to scale vertical surfaces with the cycle.
All Spirits of Vengeance smell evil intentions and sins of others. They are able to hone in on such evil like hound dogs.
Blaze honing in on Punisher's sin through Zarathos.
Zarathos senses the evil in the swamps.
Stated that Zarathos within Alejandra can smell sin, and track down this criminal who knew all the hiding spots in the mountains with ease.
Seeing through her Spirit of Vengeance, Alejandra sees the stench of sin.
This is arguably Ghost Rider's most powerful attack. This attack allows Ghost Rider to look into your mind and soul, and bombard you with the pain and suffering you caused others. Many people are ignorant to how this works, thinking guilt and sin is a factor. It does not matter.
Here Ketch uses the Penance Stare on Blade, who at this time has the full power of the Darkhold. That little book that contains the C'thons power. The Eldar god that created Dark Magic in the universe. Key facts are stated how it works.
"Blades experience is no different from the countless others who have felt the pain they have inflicted."
"No different, but a hundredfold more severe."
"Every cell in his body explodes with the pain that he has inflicted upon his recent victims."
"He relives their deaths a thousand times in the span of a microsecond."
"The Experience threatens to shatter his mind."
This is how the power works. No matter your a good person, guilty of some sin, or what. All that needs to make this work is you have a soul, and if you caused pain to others whether for good or bad reasons.
Madcap is a perfect example. Madcap is immune to feeling pain. He is also so insane, that he drives other people insane with a stare. Even with his neck snapped, he is fine due to his Deadpool like healing factor. In short, he feels no guilt, pain, or sin. Ghost Rider's Penance Stare does Madcap in.
We also see the Penance Stare work just fine on Dr. Strange who has the great TP feats and sound mind of any character.
We also see Wolverine, the mutant of badass, toughness, all healing, and no guilt get Penance Stare worth of pain of one single day. Wolverine nearly buckles over that single day much less hit with a lifetime of pain caused.
Works on the most insane and guilt free comic character known, Deadpool. KOing the merc with a mouth for enough time to turn clear day to twilight in the art.
Penance Stare destroys a noble angel who answered only to God.
This attack is so potent, it works on Ghost Riders themselves, embodiment s of Vengeance because they harm people, whether by Gods orders or not.
Use to exorcise Mephisto himself from possessed before.
Penance Stare does more than torture you into submission. It also can read the mind and soul of any being affected by it. It can be used to read minds without causing pain.
Penance Stare used on Wendigo to read its mind.
Penance Stare used on Morbius to read his mind and innocence.
Penance Stare used to unveil the multiple lifetimes and lives of Judah.
Read the mind of this angel of the lord before killing him.
Penance Stare Weakness
The Only time the Penance Stare has ever failed is when used on Souless people, people empowered by suffering, or people that are stated immune to it via divine intervention.
Fails on souless beings. No soul to punish for the Penance Stare.
Fails on Blackheart because he is a Hell Lord who is empowered by death and pain. When he feels all the pain and suffering he caused by a factor of ten, Blackheart just gets stronger.
Some now think the Stare failed on Thanos. Not true after close inspection and context. As stated, the Penance Stare used on Thanos is not causing pain. Just sorrow and despair. A trip of memories, and in Thanos case the Penance Stare used on him is stated, "These are not Thanos deepest secrete and regrets. no for him they are his fondest memories." This tells me that the pain the Penance Stare inflicts is missing, and that this Ghost Rider, servant of King Thanos is using the Penance Stare only to look at fond memories of Thanos as instructed. Which more falls in the mind reading power the Stare has.
The Deacon was Heavens hit man on earth. Empowered by the powerful angel Zadkiel himself. When Blaze attempts the Penance Stare on him, Deacon states he feel guilty about nothing. Truth is all of Ghost Riders powers are shown not to work on the Deacon. The Hell Fire, the Chains, and the Penance Stare thanks to that divine intervention.
Many people feel Punisher tank the Penance Stare. Most people never read the Thunderbolts comics. In the comics before the Rider fights Punisher, we see a Angels feather react to a dying Punisher. Curing him of all wounds, and as stated the feather of the angel went out of its way to help Punisher. Punisher states dont ask. Then later we see Penance Stare fail on Punisher. He has proven and shown divine intervention on his part. Thus it failed. That simple.
For some odd reason the Penance Stare has issues working on Venom. The Eddie Venom was still affected, and still harm by the attack, but Ketch was hit by his own Penance Stare at the same time.
This is shown again when Blaze uses the Penance Stare on the stronger Flash Venom. Venom this times shrugs it off completly as the Penance Stare turns around on Blaze and KOes Blaze.
Another limit of the Penance Stare is eye contact. This is false.
Alejandra unleashes a Penance Stare through her nunchucks making contact with the head.
Alejandra unleashes hell fire skulls that unleashed the Penance Stare both Deathwatch and Blackout without eye contact, and at the same time.
Zarathos level of power can unleash a Penance Stare that affected an whole city with his Penance Stare, and even Dr Strange magical shield was failing to hold up.
Here Slade uses it to affect multiple people in the stands via beams. As long the more powerful Spirit is in control, the eye contact matters little.
Zarathos can be consider the strongest of God's angels of wrath on earth. We are never given the full details of Zarathos history or why he is confused and evil. We do know Zadkiel job was to make sure Spirits of Vengeance had no idea of their origins, and created the Caretakers to keep the Spirits confused, and in the dark with lies. Even Lucifer, Nightmare, and Mephisto bought into these lies as truth. Only Zadkiel knows the whole truth. In the end, whether you see Zarathos a demon or Angel, all we really can count on is he is powerful, and strives to punish the sinful no matter the cost.
Blaze Power vs Zarathos Power
This difference of power depends on who is in control. Blaze or the Spirit. Blaze can willingly surrender control for more power, or can get KOed and the Spirit takes over anyway if it feels the need to. Most times it does not, unless the foe is one steeped in sin. Blaze is also able to wrestle control back from Zarathos. All this power difference and who is in control is explains better by Dr. Strange.
Dr Strange explains the difference of Blaze in control of Ghost Rider, and Zarathos. That Blaze himself acts as a saftey switch that can be turn off.
Strange again states Zarathos power is easily world breaking, and Blaze was keeping it in check.
Blaze is able to surrender to Zarathos, for all the power needed to fight godly foes.
Blaze is fully able to take control again as well, as seen with this argument between Zarathos and Blaze about Blaze trying to save innocents when Zarathos was trying to kill the Lucifer host.
Zarathos actually has his own bio from when he separated from Blaze in the 90s.
Zarathos has increased strength.
Broke Hell Lord Asmodeus strongest shackles to hold the supernatural down. In his own realm where Asmodeus is god.
Zarathos was able to whittle down Dr Strange best barrier.
Alejandra with Zarathos powers unlocked was able to shove her fist into Zarathos, and grab his heart. Threatening to kill him permanently once and for all in his own realm where he is god.
Zarathos gains even greater durability than Blaze. Able to auto heel, and reform from Hell Fire any and all non magical, or non holy base damage.
Blaze was greatly injured by this Lucifer host, and lost his leg. Zarathos took over and regen the leg instantly.
Zarathos regens his exploded head instantly.
Zarathos tanks Thor's best hits with no damage.
Zarathos abilities with Hellfire is on a much grander scale.
Massive explosion across a cornfield.
Blows up a whole carnival.
Takes out a city block and makes WWH Hulk cry out in pain.
Blows apart a city block size Man Thing. A incredible feat given that Man Thing is very powerful, and has anti magic abilities.
Blaze's hell fire failed to harm Thor at all. Zarathos use of hell fire drops both Thor and Santana, who is a powerful succubus and daughter of Satan.
Hell fire of Zarathos sears the very soul of Hell Lord Asmodeus in his own realm.
Lucifer at full strength would destroy the earth and moon with his mere presence. Lucifer was at half strength when fighting Zarathos here, and Zarathos hell fire fireball blew a large chunk of Lucifer away. The hell fire chain then finished him.
When Zarathos power was unleashed by Adam, it nuked a whole country, and burn the sin of the populace making them souless.
Caleb Ghost Rider unleash his Spirit, and through that Spirit of Vengeance we see it turn the planetoid hell into a Ghost Rider face and unleashing a ring of energy out.
Hell Fire Telekinesis
Zarathos has shown when covering something in Hell Fire, he has TK ability with said object.
Zarathos TKs this burning cross to stab through Lucifer.
Hell Fire Rain
Zarathos shown a penchant for raining Hell Fire from the sky bible style.
Zarathos rains hell fire onto the country side.
Zarathos rains hell fire across a city filled with demons.
Unlike Blaze Zarathos is very adapt and accurate with teleportation.
Zarathos teleports himself and Ketch to a farm to talk.
These human control Ghost Riders focused their powers to time travel decades into the past to a specific spot. No reason Zarathos would not be able to have power to do so.
Caleb Ghost Rider gave in to his Spirit of Vengeance and was able to BFR a whole cattle town of the old west into a hell dimension.
Zarathos has connection to earth in a unique way, and able to manipulate the very ground as a weapons.
Explodes the very earth in fashion.
Traps Ketch in rock.
Impales Ketch in place.
Zarathos has shown power to change sizes with ease.
Zarathos is shrunk down by Null the Living Void, and re grows back to height.
Zarathos matches Mephisto in height.
Alejandra with Zarathos power unlocked by Adam grows to castle size to battle Mephisto.
As a vestige of God's power on earth, Zarathos is able to shrug off mental control easy.
This Psychic child was stated very powerful, able to trans mutate people into objects, levitate, bring back the dead, ect all through psy. The child at first mind control Blaze easy, then Zarathos took over and the telepathy and psy powers were useless.
Mojo captures all the Avengers and Midnight Sons. Mojo with mind control collars keeps the minds of Strange, Thor, Man Thing, Sanatana, and Scarlet Witch. All powerful telepaths, extremely powerful telepaths. Only person to break free of the collar was Zarathos taking over for Blaze.
Mephisto himself intended for Zarathos to be his slave, and realize afterword they he, a powerful Hell Lord, had no way to control Zarathos.
Reality Warping Resistance
As proven many times, you cannot keep a good Ghost Rider down. Even when you sit on Gods Thrones, and take the power of all creation for yourself.
Zadkiel usurps God's Throne, and has power over creation itself. Effectively a sky father level being if not higher. He was changing reality, re writing creation itself in many ways on earth. When Blaze and Ketch fought Zadkiel, they discover that due to being a vestige of Gods own power, they were immune to being affected by such power.