Ghost Rider and Superman are two completely different characters yet have similar power levels. One is always searching for goodness in people, while the other punishes them for their evil. Supes has powers stemming from his physiology, while Ghost Rider is an interdimensional entity. So, if they fought, who would win?
Ghost Rider would win against Superman more often than not, especially if the Spirit of Vengeance shakes off his human host. Supes is very powerful and would probably do a lot of damage, but has shown weakness to magical and supernatural enemies – which is right up Ghost Rider’s alley.
Ghost Rider’s limitations stem from the human host, holding them back and their powers not to wreak havoc on Earth. The only weakness the Spirits of Vengeance have are weapons made in Heaven, and Superman has no way to travel inter-dimensionally to get them. Let’s dive into their powers, compare them, and see why one would beat the other.
Ghost Rider’s Powers
Ghost Rider first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #5 in 1972, dubbed as “The most supernatural superhero of all.” The thing about Ghost Rider is that it’s not a singular entity – there are numerous Spirits of Vengeance inhabiting numerous human hosts.
The first Ghost Rider in the comics was Johnny Blaze, a motorcycle stunt driver who made a deal with a Hell-Lord named Mephisto. Mephisto promised to save his father from illness in exchange for Johnny’s soul. Subsequently, a Spirit of Vengeance inhabited Blaze’s body, making him become the first Ghost Rider. Let’s see what powers he has.
Superhuman Physical Attributes
Johnny Blaze (and other hosts, like Danny Ketch, Robbie Reyes, etc.) is just a human in terms of his physiology. However, when the Spirit of Vengeance takes over and turns him into Ghost Rider, he becomes nearly unstoppable.
Ghost Rider has incredible superhuman strength, stamina, agility, reflexes (borderline precognitive), and durability. By controlling hellfire, Ghost Rider can go against the toughest, strongest opponents, such as World War Hulk.
He uses his motorcycle, and rarely a car, enchanted with hellfire and magical properties allowing the Spirit of Vengeance to travel across any surface at incredible speeds. He can also travel inter-dimensionally, entering the afterlife realm (such as Hell), etc.
Controlling hellfire gives Ghost Rider a completely new dimension of power. He often uses an enchanted hellfire chain or shotgun to neutralize his opponents and drag their souls to hell.
Ghost Rider can sense one’s undoings – for instance, when somebody spills innocent blood on purpose, the Spirit of Vengeance will come to seal their fate and punish them for their misdeeds.
Apart from the hellfire chain and shotgun, Ghost Rider has pyrokinesis, meaning he can control any source of fire, lava, etc. The powers also give him invulnerability to heat, fire, etc., but we’ll get to that in the next part of the article.
Invulnerability & Near-Immortality
I’ve already mentioned that Ghost Rider has incredible superhuman durability. However, that durability goes to incredible lengths. The Spirit of Vengeance can take any sort of physical damage without harm.
His limitations stem from the human host, who can get hurt, but the injuries will seemingly disappear when they become the Ghost Rider. Even if you can somehow hurt the Spirit of Vengeance, he has incredible regenerative abilities.
Also, because the entity is inter-dimensional, it’s almost impossible to kill them. If Ghost Rider’s host perishes, the Spirit of Vengeance can resurrect them just as easily. That makes them nearly immortal, regardless of how much damage they take or what kind of attack they endure.
Your best chance against Ghost Rider is to find a way to trap the Spirit of Vengeance inside a vessel they can’t escape. For instance, in the Crystal of Souls, where Zarathos (the demon who possessed Johnny Blaze and turned him into Ghost Rider) and Centurious were trapped together for ages.
The only known weakness that can actually hurt and kill a Spirit of Vengeance is weaponry forged in Heaven – that’s why some of the toughest opponents that Ghost Rider ever faced were angels, such as Zadkiel.
There are numerous supernatural powers that Ghost Rider has, but I want to single out the Penance Stare as the single, most epic superpower he has. It was first exclusive to Danny Ketch’s version of the Ghost Rider, but later, Johnny Blaze and other Ghost Riders were shown to have the same ability.
The Penance Stare works when Ghost Rider locks eyes with somebody, focusing mentally, and making them feel all the pain they ever inflicted on anybody else. It doesn’t work on some characters, though, like Venom and Carnage (symbiotes have no real eyes, so Ghost Rider can’t lock eyes with them), or Madcap, who is so masochistic that he says he enjoys when Ghost Rider uses the Penance Stare on him.
Clark Kent, aka Kal-El, aka Superman, is one of the oldest, most popular superheroes ever created. His first appearance came in Action Comics #1 in 1938, created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
Kal-El comes from a distant planet named Krypton. After the complete destruction of his planet, Kal-El’s parents sent him to Earth as an infant to save him. The different atmosphere and solar radiation caused his Kryptonian physiology to change and develop superhuman powers.
The longer Clark Kent (a name he got on Earth) stays on Earth, the stronger he gets. That’s because of our yellow sun. Krypton revolved around a red sun, but when Superman arrived on Earth, his body began absorbing the yellow sun’s radiation and energy, somewhat supercharging his cells and granting him superpowers. Here’s what he can do.
As I mentioned, absorbing solar radiation from a yellow sun gave Superman incredible powers that mainly manifest as physical attributes. Superman has unfathomable strength (the more he “charges” with solar energy, the stronger he is), speed (can travel faster than light), durability (no physical damage harms him), stamina (he rarely gets tired), etc.
His reflexes and all his senses are incredible, including superhuman hearing, vision, and smell. Supes is also incredibly intelligent, and, luckily for humans, Clark has a very strong moral compass, determining right from wrong. He always does everything he can to do the right thing – even if it means saving the villain’s life and incarcerating them instead.
Finally, Superman’s Kryptonian physiology infused with solar radiation allows him to fly, among other superhuman powers. Usually, he can break the sound barrier when flying, but countless stories have shown that he can go much faster than that, especially when “supercharged.”
Any Kryptonian who came into proximity of a yellow sun would eventually harness Superman’s unfathomable powers.
Durability & Invulnerability
Superman is incredibly durable – no kind of artillery, weaponry or other physical damage can hurt him. Clark Kent is undamaged by fire, can’t drown, and can survive in space without aid.
That makes Supes almost invulnerable, no matter what you throw at him. However, there are some things I’d like to point out. Superman has at least three known weaknesses that others can exploit.
The first and the most well-known is Kryptonite. When in its presence, Superman’s powers diminish below even human level – so much so that it’s actually hurting him. Kryptonite can kill him with Kryptonite; however, after Krypton was destroyed, there’s not much Kryptonite around there that you can find.
Second, if you remove Superman from a yellow sun, his powers will eventually diminish, and he’ll become a regular “human” once again. People on Krypton had no superpowers – Kal-el only got them because of our Sun.
Third – and probably the most crucial in this particular fight – is magic. Superman is just as vulnerable to magic as any other human being. When you attack Kal-El with mystical powers, he can’t fight back. And Ghost Rider’s entire arsenal revolves around supernatural, magical powers, which means it’d be a problem for Supes.
Still, it seems that Superman’s vulnerability could be nothing more than a mental barrier. For instance, he was the only member of the Justice League who could fight through the Disciple’s magic (an ancient god wielding incredibly powerful magic and reality-warping abilities).
It all depends on the writer, but the fact remains that we’ve seen him get damaged with magic numerous times.
Apart from superhuman levels of strength, speed, stamina, and durability, Supes has additional powers he can use at will.
The first set of such powers are ocular – Kal-El has infrared, heat, x-ray, electromagnetic, telescopic/microscopic, and thermal vision. He can shoot powerful energy beams through his eyes, capable of demolishing steel, tearing down buildings, etc.
Also, Supes has superhuman breath – he can freeze an entire lake by blowing in it or cause a hurricane in the same manner.
Finally, even if Superman gets hurt, he can heal incredibly fast, using the absorbed solar energy to “recharge” and recover his cells.
Ghost Rider Vs. Superman: Who Wins?
In the end, Ghost Rider would win against Superman almost every time, for several reasons.
Superman is incredibly strong physically. He could damage Ghost Rider’s body (the body of the host), but you cannot harm the Spirit of Vengeance in such a way. Even if he kills the host, the Spirit will simply resurrect him. There’s not an attack that Supes has in his arsenal that could hurt or kill Ghost Rider – not even using his incredible speed to surprise him.
On the other hand, several things go into Ghost Rider’s favor. First, he’s not a physical being, per se, but rather a supernatural entity. Sure, he operates through human hosts 99% of the time, but when a Spirit of Vengeance is free from the restrictions that the host presents, there’s nothing nobody can do to stop them.
Second, Ghost Rider’s skills are supernatural, mystical, and magical. That means he could harm Superman physically and mentally. Also, nothing would suggest that Supes is resistant to the Penance Stare.
As good as he is, Supes inflicted tons of damage on others – imagine what it would feel for him to take all that pain at once after Ghost Rider locks eyes with him.
Finally, Ghost Rider can travel between dimensions, whereas Supes is bound to this physical reality. Sure, he can travel through galaxies, but if Ghost Rider takes him into Hell’s realm, there’s nothing he can do about it.
Superman can only kill Ghost Rider if he can somehow get to a weapon forged in Heaven, and seeing that he can’t travel inter-dimensionally, it’s just impossible. No matter how much he hurt Ghost Rider or even kills the host, the Spirit of Vengeance will keep coming back until he eventually takes Clark Kent’s soul. Ghost Rider wins, hands down.
As a footnote, I just want to say that this is theoretical because Ghost Rider would never attack Superman. He goes after those who deserve it by being immoral, spilling innocent blood, etc. If there’s a moral, purely good superhero out there, it’s Supes.
The guy could destroy Earth in a blink of an eye, and he chooses to protect it instead. No way the Spirit of Vengeance comes after Supes to claim his soul.