Marvel has confirmed a surprising connection between Ghost Rider and the Hulk. As Johnny Blaze struggles to contain his demonic ego in Ghost Rider #5, readers learn of the trauma Blaze experienced as a child. This trauma not only may have affected his time as Ghost Rider, but gives him a link to the Hulk, who experienced similar abuse as a child. The issue is on sale now in print and digital.
After being imprisoned by a mysterious demonic force, one that tricked Johnny Blaze into thinking he was leading a normal life, he has returned as the Ghost Rider. Blaze’s quest for revenge on his captors is complicated by the Ghost Rider, who he is struggling to control. As Blaze desperately searches for answers, two agents from the FBI’s Paranormal Unit are investigating a spike in supernatural activity that may be tied to Ghost Rider’s dilemma. Now, Blaze has arrived at a small town in Utah, host to a most unusual bike rally, one attended by heroes and villains. Before the race, Blaze reflects on his life, revealing a surprising connection to another Marvel character who struggles to control his alter-ego: the Hulk. The issue is written by Benjamin Percy, illustrated by Cory Smith, inked by Oren Junior, colored by Bryan Valenza and lettered by Travis Lanham.
The day before he arrives in Escalante, Utah, Johnny Blaze is staying at a roadside motel. Blaze is at wit’s end, desperate to regain control of Ghost Rider. Blaze reflects back to his childhood, revealing he had trouble “controlling” himself, throwing major tantrums. Young Johnny Blaze kicked, bit and hit other children; he then relates how, in these moments, his father Crash would say “the wolf found you.” Blaze likens this to transforming into Ghost Rider. Blaze wonders how much of his childhood trauma, which he kept bottled up and suppressed, influenced his career as Ghost Rider.
Johnny Blaze talks about his childhood
This gives Ghost Rider a connection to the Hulk. Much like young Johnny Blaze, Bruce Banner bottled up and internalized his childhood trauma; his father, Brian, felt his son a freak and regularly beat and berated him. After being caught in the gamma bomb explosion years later, this suppresed trauma came to the surface in the form of the Hulk. While Johnny Blaze did not say anything about his father beating him, there are nevertheless indicators he suffered abuse–mental if not physical. Blaze admits he keeps his trauma “swallowed down,” he also acknowledges sometimes he has to let go. This leads Johnny Blaze to wonder if the abuse he suffered has impacted his career as Ghost Rider. It is not hard to see the “wolf” his father mentioned as the Ghost Rider, an embodiment of rage and anger.
Many superheroes have suffered some sort of trauma in their life; indeed many are motivated by it. However, there are those who have it worse–namely the Hulk and Ghost Rider, and now Marvel has revealed these two share a surprising connection: childhood trauma that has manifested itself as a monstrous alter-ego.