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|First appearance||Ghost Rider vol. 2 #76|
|Created by||Howard Mackie|
|Alter ego||Noble Kale|
|Notable aliases||Riding Ghost, Spirit of Vengeance, Angel of Death, Ruler of Hell (Mephisto's realm)|
|Abilities||Superhuman strength and durability,
Ability to project hellfire,
Ability to bond with his descendants through the medallion of power and takes the place of the Ghost Rider when summoned
Background and history
Noble grew up with his abusive father, Pastor Kale, and his younger brother, Dante, in the eighteenth century. Jennifer Kale, introduced in 1972, is one of his descendents.
One day Noble fell in love with a young black girl named Magdelena, who worked for the Quentin Carnival. Because of Magdelena's skin color, Noble hid his love for her from his father, but was finally forced to tell when Magdelena gave birth to their son. Eventually, Noble and Magdelena married.[volume & issue needed]
Shortly after their marriage, Magdelena discovered Pastor Kale's dark secret, that he was a warlock and the servant of the dark lord Mephisto and made deals with the demon to ensure the town's prosperity. To cover up Magdelena's discovery, the pastor accused her of witchcraft and had her burned at the stake. Knowing that Noble would object, his father had him drugged, tortured, and beaten in the church's cellar.[volume & issue needed]
Unbeknownst to anyone, Magdelena sent a curse of her own shortly after her death. She sent the Furies to take revenge on the pastor and his town. After many of the townsfolk died at the hands of the Furies, Pastor Kale struck a deal with Mephisto: Mephisto would turn Noble into a demon and claim Noble's soul. The deal was made and Noble became the Spirit of Vengeance, the first Ghost Rider. When Ghost Rider had destroyed the Furies, the pastor offered him human flesh, Noble's son. Unwilling to eat his own child, Noble killed himself.[volume & issue needed]
When Mephisto appeared to claim Noble's soul, Mephisto's brother, the archangel Uriel appeared and demanded that the soul of Noble Kale be spared. Since no agreement could be reached, a compromise was made where Noble's soul was to be claimed by neither realm; instead, his soul would remain in the void until called upon by one of his descendants. To make sure that each realm would live up to the bargain, a spell of protection was placed upon Noble and his descendants. Thus, the legend of the Ghost Rider began.[volume & issue needed]
Life as the Ghost Rider
Seeking the Medallion of Power, Noble battled the demon Zarathos. During their battle the medallion was broken into three pieces. Each recovered a piece; the third was believed lost until being found as part of the Badilino family.[volume & issue needed]
The Blazes were separated as a protective measure by the Blood. Mephisto confronted Naomi Kale. She attempted to join with Noble and battle Mephisto. She was killed, and Noble's father hid the body. (Mephisto had apparently made Pastor Kale immortal and tormented him with the fact that his zealous beliefs had damned his descendants.) He also tracked down the Badilinos.[volume & issue needed]
His manipulations caused Johnny Blaze to be bonded with Zarathos. Blaze then was manipulated to attack the Badilinos, causing Michael Badilino to become Vengeance. Noble was bonded to Daniel Ketch when his sister Barbara was shot.[volume & issue needed]
The truth about the Ghost Rider and Noble was revealed after a penance stare from Vengeance. Kale and Ketch continued to battle evil afterwards, with Kale becoming more powerful and angrier. Meanwhile, Blackheart, ruler of Hell after deposing Mephisto, sought to up the stakes by creating his own Spirits of Vengeance, consisting of several newly created demons.[volume & issue needed]
They then confront Kale, demanding he serve Blackheart or die. He refuses and is then taken to Hell after being stabbed by Pao Fu. There, Blackheart offers him another bargain: marry both Pao Fu and Black Rose, and his family will be rid of his curse forever. However, at the wedding, Blackheart betrays Noble, planning to kill him using his would-be brides. A battle ensues between Blackheart, his Spirits of Vengeance and Noble Kale. Danny soon arrives with the ghost of his mother. He gives Noble his memories back, temporarily endowing him with the power of the angel of death. He directs his newfound strength at Blackheart, destroying him utterly, and making Noble the new ruler of Hell.[volume & issue needed]
In Ghost Rider: Finale other demonic leaders, including Belasco, Hela and Pluto, acquaint themselves with Noble. They scoff at his ruling as mere puppetry and soon depart. Noble then gathers the near-countless demons of Hell and announces that their imprisoned souls are now free, but under the condition that they do no more evil. Everyone, in outrage that this will upset the nature of good and evil, including Uriel who is banished from Hell as a result, try to convince Noble otherwise. He brushes their words aside and hands his title as ruler of Hell over to Vengeance. Noble then departs, taking Black Rose with him, before promising that, as the king of Hell, he will return.[volume & issue needed]
Revealed As a lie
In Peter Parker: Spider-Man #93, the Noble Kale Ghost Rider spirit is seen being summoned forth on the streets of New York, his powers out of control due to lacking a host. Mistaken for the cause of a nearby building fire, he's confronted by Spider-Man. The spirit then destroys the ground, revealing the true source of the blaze: a group of armed men below who plan to incinerate the city using an explosive device, in order to purge it of its super-human community. Stopping the fanatics but unable to disarm the device, Spider-Man asks the spirit to take the device somewhere before it blows. Weakened and confused, the spirit says it is unable to do so.
Danny Ketch then arrives, puzzled by Noble Kale presence, telling him that he should be in Mephisto's realm. The spirit replies "I am not he!" and "There have been lies. Mephisto, Blackheart...they are both lords of the lie. The truth is not yet known," revealing to Dan that while he is the Ghost Rider that was grafted to him for all those years, he either found out that his life as Noble Kale was a lie, or that his name is indeed Noble Kale, but confused after Mephisto reclaimed his realm from him. Spider-Man interrupts, saying that the timer on the device is about to end. Noble Kale says that he can handle the blast, but needs a human host to effectively do it. He proposes that were Ketch to meld with him again, they would have the strength to contain it. Reluctantly, Dan agrees and the two are re-joined creating the Ghost Rider they had been in the recently cancelled 3rd. series once more.[volume & issue needed]
The newly reformed Ghost Rider takes the device, asking Spider-Man to coat him with webbing in order to contain and absorb the explosion. He does so, moments before it ignites. Afterwards, Ghost Rider is seen driving his bike away from the scene, having survived the blast.[volume & issue needed]
In the mini-series Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch #1, Ketch is seen having Noble Kale exorcised from him by the techno-mancer Mary LeBow. This is the spirit that entered Ketch's body in Peter Parker: Spider-Man #93, which according to the most recent Official Handbook to the Marvel Universe Volume 6 TPB was indeed the "Noble Kale" Ghost Rider that was bonded to him during the 3rd Volume series of Ghost Rider. What became of Noble Kale after the exorcism remains unknown.[volume & issue needed]
Trials and Tribulations
In a flashback narrated by the new Caretaker, Sara, Noble Kale is seen dressed as a Puritan, attacking witch-hunters about to burn a woman at the stake.[volume & issue needed]
Behind the scenes confusion
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In 1990, Howard Mackie (who wrote the series until #69 in 1996) reintroduced the Ghost Rider by creating a new incarnation; Danny Ketch, who was transformed by touching a medallion on the gas cap of a motorcycle. The medallion that transformed Ketch is revealed to be a part of the Medallion of Power. It was, in ancient times, an object of great power sought by Zarathos. Zarathos was opposed by beings called The Blood and the four (pictured) Spirits of Vengeance. These spirits sacrificed themselves to destroy Zarathos (though seemingly they only banished him as he is seen in his stone form in Ghost Rider #77) and were bound to the Medallion of Power. It was decided that it would be broken into four pieces, each spirit inhabiting a shard, and secreted away within two human bloodlines. A member of The Blood, dubbed The Caretaker, was set to watch and guard these two lines. This origin was told in Ghost Rider v2 #43 and Spirits of Vengeance #16 Nov, 1993. A later writer, Ivan Velez Jr., retconned the Ghost Rider origin with the Noble Kale backstory shortly before the series was cancelled.
Shortly after Ghost Rider was cancelled, Mackie had Ghost Rider guest star in Peter Parker: Spider-Man and denounced Velez's origin story as being "lies" or at least incomplete. Since then, the true status of Ghost Rider/Noble Kale's origin has yet to be confirmed by Marvel. Events are confused even further by the current the Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation miniseries and the current Ghost Rider series, which features Johnny Blaze once again as a Ghost Rider. The Rider to which he is bonded is never revealed to have a name other than Ghost Rider (although this Ghost Rider is never mentioned by name in this series, it appears that this entity is indeed Zarathos, since this was confirmed in the 2009 Official Handbook To The Marvel Universe Volume 4 trade paperback), and is revealed to be an angel, rather than a demon. Danny Ketch later shows up in the series, having been imbued with a Spirit of Vengeance from heaven.
- see the Ghost Rider History Explained link below.