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.
Michael Badilino was a hard ass detective of New York. In charge at the time to bring the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider into custody. As a mere human he failed time, and time again. Mephisto sensing opportunity had Michael's whole family killed off, and framed Ketch for it. Driven to near insanity, Badilino was approach by Meppisto with a offer to become a Spirit of Vengeance. Badilino accepted and was given a "vestige" of the Spirit of Vengeance power to transform into Vengeance. As Vengeance he made Danny and Blaze miserable until a bigger threat emerge with Lillith and the Lillian. Joining forces as the Midnight Sons, Badilino uncover the truth of his deep family roots to the Blaze and Ketch family as an distant cousin. He also figured out Mephisto's trick. Badilino end up having a mental breakdown in the end, and committed suicide to take out his sworn foe Hellgate. Once in hell he was tortured by Blackheart until Nobel Kale freed him. For unknown reasons Badilino had the Ghost Rider curse lifted and sent back to earth as a normal man. Until his predecessor shows up. Michael Kowalski. Kowalski was cop of a small town who went through hell literally when Blaze showed up in town. Losing it all, he swore vengeance, and through twist of fate became Vengeance.
While Caretaker lies on lore, this break down explains the truth of Badilino's connection to the Medalion of Power, which is the family bloodline that makes for Ghost Riders. All Mephisto did was awaken a vestige of the total power Badilino could had with the curse.
The events of Kowalski summed up in a nutshell. He purchase the Hell Fire Shotgun that belonged to Blaze from the original Vengeance who recovered it from Caretakers burnt down home. After using the shotgun on Blaze, Kowalski was ground zero for the breaking of heaven, and was touch by the remaining Spirit of Vengeance power that fell from the event, turning into Vengeance.
Quick few Bios on Bandilino.
Vengeance was shown equals with Ketch Ghost Rider in strength.
Badilino bashes Ketch through multiple trees at high speed.
Badilino punches Rak hard enough to fly through multiple objects.
Badilino completely overpowers Caretaker who has degree of super strength. Smashing up the stone mausoleum in the process.
Kowalski Vengeance has Agent Venom admitting may be too strong for him.
Vengeance was shown to be pretty fast.
Badilino reacting, and dodging close range gunfire from an assassins.
Badilino dodging energy attacks from high tech Iron Man lite foes.
Badilino skill and speed is enough to compete with the highly train superhuman Dread, who had mind reading to predict moves to boot.
Badilino moving at high speeds faster than the trees can hit the ground.
This is the bread and butter of any Ghost Rider. Vengeance 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. Vengeance was every bit as durable as Danny.
Badilino having a automatic weapon emptied on him to no effect.
Badilino ignoring rapid fire gunshots and has a knife broken across his face.
Badilino get punched with enough force to smash a car to hell, and remains unfazed.
Kowalski keeps trying to get up after Blaze and Ketch foot stomp his face multiple times to put him down.
Badilino is punched by Hulk right out of the cemetery. Badilino is not KOed.
Badilino heals all damage to his face from the energy rifle.
Kowalski shrugs off Ant Man's best energy attack to the face.
These nuns holy water dipped bullets made Blackout scream in pain. They had little effect on Kowalski.
Badilino withstands the powerful hell fire shot gun, and then auto heals a spike through the head, and more spike attacks through the body.
Kowalski stabbed through by Agent Venom with no damage.
Badilino was able to keep healing all the damage from Wolverine's adamantium claws during their fight.
Its important to show and touch on the weaknesses Vengeance has. He is far from unbeatable. Vengeance showed the same specific weakness that Ketch had.
While possessing incredible healing, enough pain build up or suffered will make Danny weaken, and fall unconscious.
Danny again showing even later on in comics to be felled by the same weakness of excruciating pain.
Another way to kill Danny is to kill him in human form. Blackout nearly did, but Kale took control last second, though Danny was in an near death state till Dr Strange healed him.
Specific weapons can also separate the Spirit of Vengeance from Danny. Killing Danny and Kale.
Being a servant of Zadkiel, Caretaker is able to flat out turn off Ketch's and Badilino's powers off.
Hell Fire Blasts
Hell Fire is the magical energy that makes up Ghost Riders power to attack and defend. Vengeance unlike most Ghost Riders makes heavy use of Hell Fire attack like Blaze.
Badilino using a single blast of hell fire to kill demons.
Badilino blows away several super humans and injures them greatly.
Badilino blows up a armored chopper.
Badilino blasts Rak through a brick wall.
Hell fire blasts of Badilino are powerful enough to harm Ketch and send him flying.
Badilino blasts hulk off his feat with such force to knock over the stone mausoleum over.
Hell Fire Explosions
Vengeance has many times exploded hell fire over an area, or level whole areas with explosive force.
Badilino generates hell fire all around him.
Badilino explodes hell fire to consume multiple people at once.
Badilino explodes hell fire to blow Ketch off him.
Badilino decides to commit suicide and overloads on hell fire to explode himself, and take out a large multi story building with him.
Vengeance never really made use if chains, but showed a unusual ability of generating spikes from his body to stab and throw like javelins.
Badilino using spikes has hand weapons, and range attacks on Rak.
Badilino shows incredible accuracy and strength with his thrown spikes to nail Ketch's four limbs, and send him flying dozen feet back into the tree. Pinning Ketch.
Badilino spikes are strong enough to slice through and damage the super suits of these foes.
Ghost Riders are able to open dimensional portals and travel to areas if needed. Vengeance showed able to use this ability to travel the earthly plane if needed. Though he never traveled to hell or other dimensions.
Badilino teleports out of a fight, and to his next target.
Vengeance is a skilled motor bike user, and uses his bike in fights often.
Badilino using the hell cycle to crush this criminal through a block wall.
Badilino's hell cycle smashes through a cabin and through the interior furniture.
Badilino hell cycle is strong enough plow through two cop cars, sending them flying.
All Spirits of Vengeance smell evil intentions and sins of others. They are able to hone in on such evil like hound dogs.
Kowalski states he killed all these bikers because he tracked them by their scent 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.
Here the Kowlaski Vengeance's Penance Stare seems to disintegrate this human.
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.
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.