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 the power of 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 them. 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. 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, future 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 Stange’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 Sorcerer Supreme bio 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, working for Sindr. She summoned spirits of heroes from her time to protect them in a 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 into Blaze’s memories. 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 their own had reassembled.
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.
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 merge with 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 and freeing Heather Rae.
Kushala is possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance. It is not the same kind as the Ghost Riders, however, her demonic form is a skull on fire. In this form, she can control hellfire and conjure a fiery horse that can run in the sky.
She is also capable of "riding the spirit." She is capable of exploring the spirit world, but she can do it in her corporeal form instead of an astral form, like Doctor Strange.
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.