Wolverine Is the Only Exception to Ghost Rider’s One Rule

It is well established within the Marvel Comics continuity that once Ghost Rider decides someone needs to be punished after they have committed the crime of spilling innocent blood, there is almost nothing that can stop him–nothing, except for Wolverinewhich is something their latest crossover shows explicitly.

Johnny Blaze aka Ghost Rider became the demonic Spirit of Vengeance after he sold his soul to Mephisto in an effort to save his surrogate father from a terminal illness. From that point forward, Blaze became an unwilling minion for the devil on Earth, delivering him the souls of those who are guilty of the most atrocious crimes imaginable. However, Ghost Rider refused to be controlled by Mephisto and instead used his immense power to cut ties with the lord of hell and become an antihero in his own right. This act of defiance put a giant target on Ghost Rider’s back as every demon in existence got the go-ahead from their master to find, torment, and, if possible, kill him–something that leads directly into Ghost Rider’s most recent twisted adventure with Wolverine.


Related: Marvel Proves Ghost Rider is the Deadliest Hero in Every Time Period

In Ghost Rider #6 by Benjamin Percy and Brent Peeples, Johnny Blaze finds himself in a great deal of pain that is linked to the presence of a parasitic demon that had lodged itself inside his body, mind, and soul. Luckily for Johnny, Ghost Rider had a run-in with Wolverine in the previous issue, so when Logan saw Blaze struggling, he quickly took Johnny somewhere he could help him. The closest location was a road house off a desert highway, so Wolverine takes Johnny inside, tells everyone to clear out, and lays the antihero on the pool table to get a better assessment of his situation. When Wolverine realizes that Blaze’s problem is supernatural in nature, he tells Johnny to transform into Ghost Rider, allowing the Spirit of Vengeance to burn out the additional demon lurking within him. When Ghost Rider doesn’t come out, Wolverine decides to take a widely unorthodox and borderline villainous approach to the situation.

Even after Wolverine told everyone inside the bar to leave, there was still one man left who actually attacks Wolverine moments after Logan tells Johnny to turn into Ghost Rider. Using this person’s presence to his advantage, Wolverine brutally murders the man in front of Blaze while noting aloud that spilling innocent blood is the sure-fire way to bring out Ghost Rider. Sure enough, Ghost Rider emerges to punish Wolverine for his crime, even going so far as to wrap his chains around the mutant in preparation for Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare. However, when Wolverine explains that he’s there to help him and proves it by making himself useful, Ghost Rider totally forgives the fact that Logan just killed an innocent person.

The one rule Ghost Rider has is to punish those who are guilty of spilling innocent blood, and while Wolverine’s intentions were pure, he was very much guilty of that crime. To be fair, the guy was possessed by a demon and then attacked Wolverine first, so readers know he wasn’t that innocent, but the fact that Wolverine said that spilling innocent blood is enough to awaken Ghost Rider, which is immediately followed by Ghost Rider awakening, means Wolverine did, in fact, kill an innocent man–and in the most gruesomely over-the-top way, too. Ghost Rider should have been bound by the laws of hell as a Spirit of Vengeance to strike Wolverine down right then and there, but he didn’t simply because the mutant was Ghost Rider’s friend who proved useful to him at that moment–meaning Wolverine effectively made Ghost Rider break his one rule.

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