Friday, May 25, 2018 • Evening Edition • "At least we're not Bleeding Cool!"

Your Top Marvel Heroes part 29

Written by Chris Mitchell on Friday, April 23 2010 and posted in Features
Three for three... {nomultithumb}

156. Danny Ketch (16 points)

dannyketch.jpg"There are few things cooler when you're eleven than a skeleton that is on fire and rides a motorcycle. And despite being overshadowed by Jason Aaron's work on the title recently, those old books are still pretty damn cool. Great character design, fantastic rogues gallery, and the Penance Stare, one of the all time great superpowers. So yeah, this one is for eleven year old me."

"This surprises me how much I'm putting him here. I honestly haven't followed the current stuff with him or Johnny, but in the past between he and Blaze he always had the better design and stories to me. Just a fun 90s stuff involving him."

Dan Ketch was born in the Quentin Carnival where his parents, Naomi Kale and Barton Blaze shared top billing with their good friend Craig "Crash" Simpson in their motorcycle stunt act. Dan was the youngest of the Blaze children, which included his brother Johnny, and sister Barbara.

Unknown to Blaze family, Naomi was the descendant of Noble Kale; Noble was cursed by Mephisto in the 18th century to exist in an empty void. Noble would come forth to every first child in each new Kale generation, allowing them to be transformed into the Ghost Rider.

The ancient being known as Caretaker approached Naomi and told her that both her eldest Johnny and her youngest Danny would both become a Ghost Rider. Caretaker offered to help safeguard Naomi's children, which she agreed to, and faked her own death, going into hiding while she sought out a way to lift the family curse of the Ghost Rider. Naomi allowed the Caretaker to place Dan and Barbara in the care of a widow named Francis Ketch who lived in Cypress Hills. Naomi would watch over her children for some time until in a battle with Mephisto she lost her life.

Dan and Barbara were too young to remember that Barton and Naomi were their real parents. Dan had a normal childhood, expressing an interest in motorbikes at an early age. Dan's best friend and eventual object of his affections, was Stacy Dolan. Danny's bond with his sister was especially deep -- the two were fairly inseparable well into their late teens. One Halloween night, Danny and Barbara took a shortcut through a graveyard...Barb had convinced Dan to take her (in hopes of seeing Harry Houdini's grave). Reluctantly, Danny agreed and they went on.

On their way through, the two saw a man called Deathwatch killing a man and taking his briefcase. Barbara screamed at the sight of the man dead on the floor and the screams attracted the attention of Deathwatch and his men. The two tried to escape but one of Deathwatch's men managed to shoot Barbara in the chest with a cross-bow...thus causing extreme injuries. So Dan carried Barbara off to hide in a nearby junkyard.

While hiding, Dan noticed an unusual motorcycle. Looking brand new and out of place among the wreckage, the motorcycle seemed to call out to Danny. Danny, his fingertips dripping with Barbara's blood, reached out and touched the motorcycle. The contact between the bike and innocent blood spilled activated the piece of the medallion of power within Dan and transformed him into the living spirit of vengeance, the Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider easily defeated Deathwatch and his men, and took Barbara to the hospital. Unfortunately, her injuries were too severe, and she fell into a coma.

Ghost Rider's primary target in early days was Deathwatch who was competing with King Pin to find a group of canisters. He also came across various gangs in the Cypress Hills area. One of Deathwatch's employees, Blackout, a mutant who believed himself a powerful vampire, would fight Ghost Rider many times; in one of these fights Ghost Rider would badly burn and disfigure Blackout's face. Since then Blackout has had a strong grudge against Ghost Rider.

Later, Blackout would find out Ghost Rider's secret identity and take revenge on him by killing Barbara in her hospital bed. After Barbara's death, Dan became more withdrawn from the people who loved him and started to take his mission of vengeance more seriously. Dan started fighting more powerful foes such as Zodiak, Scarecrow, Nightmare, Snowblind, and the anti-hero Suicide. He would fight the Brood alongside with the X-Men. Later on he would finally defeat Deathwatch stabbing him in the heart causing a major explosion at his headquarters.

All the media attention surrounding the new Ghost Rider caught the attention of Johnny Blaze, the previous Ghost Rider. Blaze tracked down Dan, believing that Zarathos was free again. Johnny shot Dan at point-blank range with a shotgun, but instead of shooting bullets the gun began producing hellfire. This surprised Blaze, who thought he had lost his Ghost Rider powers when Zarathos was captured in the soul crystal.

Dan was badly injured by this and barley survived the encounter. Dan convinced Johnny that he was not Zarathos. Together he and Johnny defeat Blackout who was killing the Morlocks. Johnny would stay with Dan in order to watch over him and help teach him about his powers. The two would team up helping Spider-Man defeat Hobgoblin, Venom, Demogoblin, and Hag and Troll who tried to bring Deathwatch back from the dead. Blaze was worried about his younger brother's welfare and was happy with the spirit [Noble Kale] that was bound with Dan.

During sometime, Blackout became under the rule of the FIRM and was hired to capture Ghost Rider. He meets up with Dan and he bits Dan in the neck draining him of all his blood and killing him. However while Dan was dead, the Ghost Rider spirit took over. During this time, the Spirit of Dan would talk to the Ghost Rider threw the spirit world. At one point he warns Ghost Rider of the rise of a powerful demon known as Lilith, the mother of demons, and appeared to take over the world with her demon children the Lilin . Around this time, the Caretaker re-emerged. Together Ghost Rider and Blaze would search different areas to find the members of the Midnight Sons, the earths only defense against the occult which was scene in the vision. During the battle of the Midnight Sons and the Lilin, Lilith creates a demon version of Dan and sets it out to attack the Midnight Sons but the demon is easily stopped. Together they defeat Lilith and her children and ally of the Midnight sons Doctor Strange brings Dan back from the dead.

Caretaker revealed that he was a member of the ancient group known as The Blood; Caretaker had been put in charge of protecting two special families, in which certain family member had a piece of the medallion of power bound to their souls. This left them open to being bound to their ancestor, Noble Kale. Caretaker revealed that Danny and Johnny were actually brothers and each of them had a piece of the medallion of power bound to their soul.

Caretaker told them about the second family that also had pieces of the medallion bound to their souls. The family was the Badilino's and recently Michael Badilino, a tough cop from New York, had recently been transformed in to the being known as Vengeance.

A short time after this Lilith reappeared and again planned to steal all the pieces of the medallion of power, but this time she was joined by a very powerful being known as Centurious who was in charge of the FIRM that planned on capturing Ghost Rider early on. As a result of these actions there occurred an all out war between Ghost Rider's group The Midnight Sons and Caretaker's old group the Blood vs. the Lilin and Zarathos's group the Fallen, who were formerly part of the Blood but now supported Zarathos. Dan would die during a fight with Zarathos but he would later be brought back from the dead and help Vengeance take out Anton Hellgate.

155. Wong (16 points)

wong.jpgI wuv me some Wong.

Wong was brought to the Ancient One when he was only 4 years old by his father, Hamir the Hermit. While there he became a martial arts master, but doesn't get a chance to practice much as a manservant. Upon reaching adulthood, Wong was sent to America to serve Dr. Strange. While there, Strange has become the new Sorcerer Supreme. Later Wong was captured by an other-dimensional sorcerer called the Shadowqueen. Dr. Strange rescued Wong, who helped defeat her.

Wong and Topaz were then captured by Urthona, in an effort to obtain certain mystic talismans and texts. While there Wong was tortured and disfigured by the fiend. To rescue them, Strange attempted to destroy the artifacts but instead sent the to Agamotto. With the artifacts no longer on Earth, an ancient spell was lifted that protected Earth from various, powerful entities.

Strange then cast a spell to make everyone think he was dead, leaving Wong in charge of his estate. During this period Strange defeated many of the creatures freed by the missing artifacts, like Shuma-Gorath. After Strange defeated Shuma-Gorath, he reversed the spell. Wong was overjoyed to see his master was still alive. Soon the rest of the world learned Strange was still alive.

When Imei Chang, Wong's intended bride, was turned into a horrible demonic creature, Wong asked Strange for help. Unfortunately Strange was tied up with other, more pressing matters. This resulted in a small falling out between Wong and Strange. When Strange eventually had the time to aid his long time ally, he found that Imei was dead and that this was just a creature imitating her.

154. Karnak (16 points)

karnak.jpgKarnak is a part of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, cousin to Black Bolt. His brother Triton was exposed to the Terrigen Mists as an infant, but his result was him having green scales. Because of this, Karnak's parents begged him not to go on with the procedure. He didn't go ahead with it, instead learning martial arts.

Karnak is the second son of an Inhuman priest/philosopher named Mander and an ocean biologist named Azur. They sent their first son, Triton, into the Terrigen Mist when he was an infant, rendering him incapable of functioning outside an aquatic environment. Thus, they pleaded to raise Karnak without Terrgen mutation (Terrigenesis). Karnak was enrolled in his father's religious seminary in the Tower of Wisdom, where he trained in various physical and mental disciplines until he was eighteen years old. Azur died in a mysterious undersea mishap. Mander is still a teacher at the seminary.

When the Kree refuges came to Attilan for refuge, they actually came to kill Karnak and the rest of the Inhuman Royal Family. Karnak was seen along with Gorgon, Black Bolt, Ahura and Medusa in a garden since the Inhuman Royal Family renounced their claim of power. Before they can shoot, Black Bolt senses them and sends a bolt of energy towards their way. Karnak along with Gorgon and Black Bolt go to attack the Kree assassins. Karnak is then shot. He wakes and teleports with the others outside of Attilan and is held at gun point by Kree solders. He attacks them until their boss comes and tells them the situation. He then goes to the Genetics council to hear the decision. Karnak is teleported to the mists to attack the Kree. He helps Medusa attack an energy based Kree, but is taken out easily. Karnak was with the Inhuman royal family when Crystal brought the Human Torch to their hidden headquarters, from where they searched for their queen, Medusa. When he met the youth he introduced himself by throwing him over his shoulder in a display of Inhuman skill. When Johnny awoke, Gorgon had returned with Medusa, and it was revealed that the Torch was not an Inhuman as Crystal had thought. After Gorgon and Triton fought with him, Johnny burned his way out of the hideout to alert the other members of the Fantastic Four.

Along with the rest of the Inhumans, led by Black Bolt, Karnak fought with the Fantastic Four initiating the first attack by chopping off a piece of wall and throwing it at the Thing until Crystal appeared and announced that Triton had been taken by the Seeker. Karnak and his fellow Inhumans soon surrounded Lockjaw, who teleported them back to Attilan: where Black Bolt faced off against his traitorous brother, Maximus. Black Bolt quickly took his crown back by force and reclaimed leadership of the Inhumans.

But the Fantastic Four appeared moments later, having followed the Seeker back to the refuge. While Johnny Storm and Crystal ran to each other, and Black Bolt and Mister Fantastic argued, Maximus fired his atmo-gun, intending to destroy all of humanity. Though when his weapon didn't work, Medusa deduced that it proved Inhumans and humans were of the same race, which infuriated Maximus. He went out of control and reversed his machine, creating a Negative Zone around Attilan that trapped Karnak and the rest of the Inhumans in, while the Fantastic Four narrowly escaped. While they remained trapped, Karnak became obsessed with breaking the barrier using his skills, but he only succeeded in injuring his hand. Eventually, Black Bolt revealed his secret: that the use of his voice was lethally destructive, and he soon used its power to destroy the barrier that imprisoned them. The Inhumans' Council of Elders soon decreed that the royal family would disperse and go into human society to learn more of it, while the rest of the Inhumans rebuilt Attilan. Black Bolt agreed, and led them out.

Karnak is looking out the window with Gorgon behind him drinking. Gorgon asks what is wrong, and Karnak says he's worried about Black Bolt. Karnak explains to Gorgon how his power works. How he can see the flaw in everything, psychological, physical. But Black Bolt doesn't have a flaw, not one. He then says everything will have a crack in it and he is afraid, that whatever Black Bolt's crack is, it will put the whole city in danger. the time the Kree came to attack the Inhumans, Karnak destroys plenty of the robotic men. Karnak soon learns they have weapons that counteract their abilities and see his abilities turned against him. He is sent to the Shi'ar ship in an escape pod. When the Shi'ar open the pod they think as him of one of their own. Karnak is in a war with Triton, trying to colonize a moon. They win and is told that he will become part of the Imperial Guard. Karnak is found out and attacks the rest of the Imperial Guards


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