Kushala was an Apache warrior, born during America’s infancy. When her parents were killed by raiding American cavalry, she prayed to her creator for help, but the help she received came from somewhere darker. She was granted power similar to the Spirit of Vengeance, becoming the Demon Rider. She was haunted by the spirits she burned and continued studying magic for a way to dispel her power. These studies enabled her to become the Sorcerer Supreme of the mid-1800s.
Kushala first debuted in Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 by Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez. Some of her background was told in the solicitation for her variant cover of Marvel’s Voices: Indigineous Voices #1
Major Story Arcs
As the Sorcerer Supreme of her time period, she was collected by Merlin to aid in his fight against The Forgotten as part of the Sorcerers Supreme. In exchange, Merlin promised to pull the Spirit of Vengeance from her. Unfortunately, Merlin was killed by The Forgotten before he could impart on Kushala or any of her new teammates his plan. With defeat imminent, a future variant of Wiccan teleports them to safety at Merlin’s headquarters, Camelot. There, they search for weapons to take on The Forgotten, but Kushala and Doctor Strange found a record of dark magic users that Merlin had been kidnapping and locking up. Those users combined to become The Forgotten.
When The Forgotten caught up with them, its attack angered Kushala and caused her to transform into her Demon Rider form. The Forgotten fled, and the Sorcerers Supreme chased it to the Hollow of Time. There, they were betrayed by Isaac Newton, who broke The Forgotten into all the individual dark magic users and stole their copy of the Word of God to become a god himself. With the book, he stole the Spirit of Vengeance from Kushala and even though she longed to get rid of it, she now felt empty and needed to stop the power from ending up in the wrong hands.
They chase down Newton to Strange’s present, however, instead of using the book to turn himself into a god, he conjured The Author of the book. After the team defeated The Author, they apprehended Newton and returned him to his own time with all the other Sorcerers. Before Kushala was returned, she helped Strange and a Merlin from earlier in the timeline protect a younger version of The Ancient One.
Once Yao was safe, Kushala was informed that her history as Sorcerer Supreme is unfinished, so Merlin allows her to stay in the present with Strange.
War of the Realms
During the War of Realms, Kushala allies herself with Balder and the team he put together to protect the baby, Laussa, from Ares, who was working for Sindr. She summoned spirits of heroes from her time to protect them in an Old West shanty town tourist attraction. She took them into battle, while Baldur’s team continues to travel on the fringes to protect the baby.
Working with Gaea and the Norn, Kushala would pose as Sindr to direct Ares into a trap that Baldur’s team would be able to spring on him.
Kushala was sought after by Strange and Johnny Blaze after Blaze raged out in New York City. Strange believes a second demon has infected Blaze’s soul and may be related to Kushala’s own possession. They teleport to Arizona, where Kushala last saw her family alive, so that she could explore Blaze’s psyche.
Kushala, accompanied by Blaze, works her way through particularly strong memories to save metaphorical versions of Blaze from the demon that has embedded itself in Blaze’s mind. Unfortunately, Blaze gives in to the temptation to stay in a fond memory and fights Kushala. This causes her to fall into an abyss of her own memories, where she learned the truth of her own "Spirit of Vengeance."
It was a fragment of a memory of vengeance from a dead world. This memory was a Leviathan with a symbiotic relationship with the residents of the dead world. When they became corrupted with greed, he killed them and their planet, scattering them across the multiverse. Blaze was infected with a fragment not unlike Kushala’s. He was losing control of it because all the fragments except his and Kushala's had reassembled and were overwhelming him.
To defeat this Leviathan, Kushala had to stop feeding it, so she refused to fight it, causing it to shrink until she could swallow it. With the vengeance secured in her own soul, Blaze was freed from the effects. She realizes she came to this time to become whole, and now that she is, it was time for her to return to her original time.
The Family Line
Kushala's Leviathan was passed down generation to generation in her family line and currently resides in her modern day descendant, Olivia Obtera. The Leviathan was connected to other otherworldly magical artifacts, the Six Wands of Watoomb, and Kushala had been chasing Doctor Doom through the time stream trying to stop him from collecting them all. He had already collected five of them and almost locked Kushala from her family's future.
Luckily, Olivia had a great sense of history and regularly told the story of Kushala to her daughter, Heather Rae. This anchored Kushala in the present, and when Doom kidnapped Heather Rae for access to the sixth wand, Kushala was able to possess Olivia, granting her the power of the Spirit of Vengeance.
Together, they travel to many different times and visit various family members, where they eventually find one half of the sixth Wand of Watoomb. It connects them to Doom long enough for him to learn of their success. Using the half-wand to find the other, the two enter the spirit world, only to be greeted by Doom, who beat them to the second half.
Doom tempts them for their half, but they refuse. Instead, they tap into the full force of their family lineage, overwhelming Doom, freeing Heather Rae, and returning all three of them to the present.
While meditating in present-day California, Kushala was overcome by an apocalyptic vision centered on a Strange Academy student, Zoe Laveau. She quickly raced to New Orleans to protect the child, getting their just in time to see her attacked by vapor minions of Valtorr. She joined the fight with other academy staff members becoming a new team of Midnight Suns, who had four days to stop the vision from coming true.
While Agatha Harkness escaped with Zoe, the team are confronted by Clea Strange, who at the time was working officially as the Sorcerer Supreme of Earth. The team believed they were important since they were in the vision, but Clea saw it better to take them off the game board and change the prophecy in any way she can. So, she teleports them to the Dark Dimension. While looking for a way out, they find a sorcerer variant of Tony Stark, who forges them new supernatural armor and armaments for their coming fight.
Sidestepping Clea's warning to stay away, the newly armored team makes their way to Valtorr, only to find him dead by the hands of a member of Agatha's old coven, now calling herself Korrosion. She wanted revenge on Agatha for leaving her behind when a third coven member, a descendant of Zoe Laveau, sacrificed Korrosion to Valtorr. She planned on using Zoe to fulfill an apocalypse, also getting revenge on the Laveau ancestor.
Kushala used her "spirit rider" ability to see across branched universes caused by the original vision. If showed them Korrosion's intentions and helped open a portal out of Valtorr's realm to fight Korrosion and the vapor minions. This gave Agatha the opportunity to create a magical dagger and stab Korrosion, causing them both to disappear. With the danger seemingly gone, Kushala and her other teammates returned Zoe to the Strange Academy.
In 1878, 40 miles outside of Albuquerque, Kushala had visited a medicine man who could help her banish her Spirit of Vengeance. While attending to a trial given to her by the medicine man, a gunhand killed the man and took his medicine. It turned the gunhand temporarily into a hulking beast and extended his life into the modern age. Kushala about to pass judgment on him in 1878, but was pulled into the present before she could finish him.
With the reluctant help of Johnny Blaze, she tracked him to a house in that same area of Albuquerque. The gunhand was ready for them, readying a spirit trap which separated the two riders from their spirit help. However, Kushala is not just a Spirit of Vengeance. She is also a Sorcerer Supreme and still very much a threat without her demons. She killed him and left his body in the burning home.
Spirit of Vengeance: Kushala is possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance
- Demonic Form: It is not the same kind as the Ghost Riders, however, her demonic form is still a skull on fire.
- Hellfire Control: She can control hellfire and conjure a fiery horse that can run in the sky.
- Spirit Rider: She is also capable of "riding the spirit." This means she is able to explore the spirit world, but she can do so in her corporeal form instead of an astral form, like Doctor Strange can. It has also helped her see across the multiverse and anchor portals from other realms.
Sorcerer Supreme: Along her quest to rid herself of this spirit, she studied magic of multiple cultures and disciplines, including commanding the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak, eventually learning enough to earn her the title of Sorcerer Supreme in the mid-1800s.
Weapons: Kushala has a number of weapons and artifacts at her disposal and is an adept fighter.
- Gunstock War Club: Kushala is seen using a gunstock war club in her first appearance.
- Hell Cycle: After the second time she was stranded in the present, Kushala started using a hellfire upgraded motorcycle instead of her fiery horse.
- Stark Armor: Briefly, while a member of the Midnight Suns, Kushala used an enchanted armor created by a Sorcerer Supreme variant of Tony Stark.