"Like a sulfur-scented mix of Goodfellas and The Long Halloween." Benjamin Percy teases Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance

Art from Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1
(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

From Danny Ketch to Robbie Reyes and original Flamehead Johnny Blaze, many unfortunate souls have played host to the Spirit of Vengeance over the decades. Now a new character is taking on the spooky mantle in regular Ghost Rider writer Benjamin Percy and artist Danny Kim's six-issue mini-series, Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance

Unlike any of his predecessors, Parker Robbins, AKA malevolent crime boss The Hood, could never be said to be on the side of the angels. Having the stolen the cloak and boots from a Nisanti demon during his debut in Brian K. Vaughan, Kyle Hotz and Eric Powell's 2002 Marvel MAX limited series, The Hood, he was imbued with the powers of invisibility and levitation. And he first locked horns with Johnny Blaze and his partner, former FBI agent-turned-occultist Talia Warroad, in last Halloween’s Ghost Rider Annual #1 - also illustrated by Danny Kim - which saw him getting his claws on the Hallow Gospels.

Newsarama spoke to Benjamin Percy about turning The Hood into the darkest Ghost Rider to date.

Art from Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Newsarama: How did you come to replace Johnny Blaze as Ghost Rider with The Hood? Is this just a natural evolution of your run on the main Ghost Rider title

Benjamin Percy: When I kicked off my run on Ghost Rider, Johnny was trapped in a dream. He believed he had everything he wanted. Crash, Roxanne, his children… A normal life. But something felt off, and he was mentally tortured, physically sick. He drank heavily and dreamed of a flaming skull. Ultimately he discovered he had been taken off the road by Blackheart. The Spirit of Vengeance had been shorn from him, and they were both imprisoned. When they both broke free - and reunited - their relationship had changed. The Spirit of Vengeance owned Johnny completely. When the Ghost Rider battled monsters and phantoms and devils, Blaze had no control. But steadily - over the course of 21 issues - Johnny gained a grip on the handlebars of the motorcycle they shared. And he was bent on doing good. As much good as he could manage with a demonic force on his back.

So how does The Hood come into this?

This constant meddling and course correction have been noted by Hell. The powers below want a scythe that reaps a greater crop. So when Parker Robbins makes an appeal, requesting the power of the Spirit of Vengeance, he becomes its new host. I enjoy taking villains who don't often get the spotlight - and shoving them into it. That's what I did with characters like Omega Red and Mikhail Rasputin in Wolverine and X-Force. In this case, Parker Robbins is somebody who always wanted to be big-time. I've always loved a good crime story, and this is sort of like a sulfur-scented mix of Goodfellas and The Long Halloween.

Art from Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Replacing an existing incumbent of well-known superhero role is a classic comic book trope, so are you subverting that narrative tradition?

To add to what I already said before, Johnny is still on the table. He's been ambushed and left for dead. He'll have to decide if he's going to enjoy his newfound freedom - which is seemingly all he's ever wanted since being grafted with the Spirit - or if he can abide Vengeance existing in a character who has no moral compass.

So, does the fact that Parker Robbins already possess superpowers come into this?

Yep! Which makes him double trouble.

As someone who has always operated in Marvel's criminal underworld, will Parker be gaining any kind of conscience?

He is a troubled man who is going to do terrible things. But I'm going to make sure to even him out - to some degree - by bringing his family back into the mix. He wants to impress them and earn back their love. Even as he's ripping the steaming entrails out of a rival.

Art from Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Will Final Vengeance be spinning out of The Hood's appearance in last year's Ghost Rider Annual #1, which saw Parker Robbins steal the Hallow Gospels

Readers will be able to pick up these six issues - even if they've never read a Ghost Rider or Hood story - and still have a hell of a time. It's a great jumping-on place but, as is true of so many comics, if you have that deep-cut knowledge of characters or a series, you'll get even more nerdy pleasure out of it.

And will Johnny Blaze or any of the other previous Ghost Rider be playing a part in what unfolds?

You betcha!

Art from Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1

(Image credit: Marvel Comics)

Considering that you also write Wolverine and X-Force, are you drawn to Marvel's darker characters?

Yeah, I'm hard-wired for this kind of thing. I'm grateful to Marvel for recognizing that and giving me these awesome opportunities to lean into the darkness.

Why is this mini-series subtitled Final Vengeance?

Stay tuned!

You first worked with Danny Kim on Ghost Rider Annual #1 and he draws a particularly fearsome Ghost Rider. What do you like about his art?

Danny's art was made for speed. A fight. A road race. Everything moves with high-octane energy. And he's obviously having a lot of fun with the monsters who inhabit our pages. He's doing killer work.

Ghost Rider: Final Vengeance #1, written by Benjamin Percy and illustrated by Danny Kim, is out March 15 from Marvel Comics.

Ghost Rider is one of the best supernatural superheroes of all time.

Freelance Writer

Stephen is an entertainment journalist based in London. His bylines have appeared in the New Zealand Herald, SFX Magazine, GamesRadar, the Judge Dredd Magazine, and 2000AD Ultimate Collection.