Marvel Cinematic Universe fans are used to seeing the lighter side of Marvel Comics and characters. However, the other, darker side that’s about to come back into focus very soon when Jared Leto’s Morbius comes to cinemas. Himself and the Ghost Rider fall under the same Marvel horror-ish sub-genre, but if the two ever fought, who would win?
Although Morbius is quite powerful and an overall interesting character, he would stand little to no chance against Ghost Rider. Due to the origins and source of his powers, Morbius has too many weaknesses that the Rider can easily exploit.
Still, it all depends on which Ghost Rider we are talking about because there have been dozens. You see, all Ghost Riders are humans possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance or a demon. Morbius was also a human before an experiment went wrong, making him a pseudo-vampire. They have a lot in common, so let’s dive deeper and analyze the matchup properly.
Michael Morbius was a world-class bio-chemist born in Greece. His brilliance is uncanny, and it earned him a Nobel prize with his best friend, Emil. However, Michael suffered from a very rare blood disease, so they decided to try and develop a cure using their biochemical knowledge.
They tried to create a cure using vampire bats and electroshocks, but the situation went horribly wrong when Morbius took the treatment and suffered dire side effects. He became a pseudo-vampire, gaining amazing supernatural abilities but also becoming blood-thirsty.
Although he tries to be a hero, the thirst makes him drift from the right path ever so often, making him not a superhero but not a supervillain, either. He’s right between that, which is why he’s called an anti-hero.
Most of his powers are the same as in a normal vampire. However, due to the origins of his transformation being artificial, not mystical, he’s considered a pseudo-vampire. Still, he pretty much does the same: he needs to drink blood to survive, has heightened physical abilities and senses, large fangs, gets hurt in the sun, etc.
On the other hand, we have the Ghost Rider. There have been at least a dozen characters carrying the Ghost Rider mantle because it’s not a singular entity. You see, any human being can become a Ghost Rider if it gets possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance from Heaven or a demon from Hell.
One of the most well-known Ghost Riders is Johnny Blaze (portrayed by Nicolas Cage in two movies). He was possessed by a demon named Zarathos, enslaved by Mephisto, the Lord of Hell. Humans who get possessed by a Spirit of Vengeance from Heaven share the same traits and abilities, though.
They share the body with their host, giving them spectacular abilities and virtual immortality. However, when the Spirit takes over, the person turns into the Ghost Rider. They gain a flaming skull instead of the head, and all kinds of weapons, including complete manipulation of Hellfire.
The Spirits are sent to bring vengeance upon those who are unworthy and deemed to require punishment. A Ghost Rider never backs down and never looks back. They need a host through which they act, but their beings are bodiless entities, so you can’t kill them. Sure, the host’s body can perish, but a Spirit of Vengeance can just move to another body.
Therefore, I think it’s safe to say that the Ghost Rider has a head-start over Morbius due to his origins and the powers that stem from their origins.
Point: Ghost Rider (1:0) Morbius
After the treatment went wrong for Michael Morbius, he became a pseudo-vampire, meaning he had gained almost all physical traits of regular vampires, but with slight changes. His muscular structure enables him much faster healing powers, but he also has superhuman strength (can lift up to 1500 lbs or 680 kg), speed, stamina, and durability.
He can also glide in the air through mental concentration but not exactly fly across longer distances. Morbius also gained a set of sharp fangs to pierce the flesh of his victims to feed on their blood and sharp retractable claws extending from his fingers.
However, all these traits and abilities heavily depend on how well-fed he is. The less he drinks blood, the weaker he gets. Plus, he starts having hallucinations and completely loses grip on reality.
On the other hand, the Ghost Rider is a Spirit of Vengeance or a demon that possesses the body of a human host. It needs the body to gain the powers, but those powers are incredibly vast and strong. Generally, the two entities (the host and the Spirit) remain separated, one dominating, while the other occasionally takes over.
When the Ghost Rider takes over, their head turns into a flaming skull to strike fear into their foes as they do Heaven’s bidding. They have mystically-powered superhuman strength to seemingly unlimited levels, as well as invulnerability and immortality. If a host gets injured or killed, the Spirit can just move on and make somebody else the Ghost Rider.
Overall, Ghost Rider tops Morbius yet again in this category. Although the fan-favorite Living Vampire has enhanced physical traits and abilities, they are nowhere near the power level that beings descended from Heaven or Hell have in their little finger.
Point: Ghost Rider (2:0) Morbius
Powers & Abilities
Apart from physical traits and abilities, such as enhanced strength, speed, or stamina, Morbius has other newfound powers that he could use against his foes. He can use mental manipulations to hypnotize people and compel them to act according to his will.
Morbius can heal from almost any injury, and he can also create other pseudo-vampires like himself. To add to it, Morbius claims he stopped aging, which means he is virtually immortal, provided that he doesn’t die due to circumstances other than natural death.
What makes him so special, though, is that Morbius is immune to almost all known real vampire weaknesses. Crucifixes don’t bother him at all, and he can’t quite get hurt from silver, wooden stakes, garlic, and similar objects. And, while sunlight does hurt him to an extent, he won’t die if exposed.
On the other hand, the incredible thing about Ghost Riders is that their powers are limited only with the host’s imagination. They represent unfathomable abilities during battle, but what’s scary is that most of their powers remain unused, simply because the host doesn’t know they have them or how to use them.
The God-like abilities include unfathomable seed, durability (immortal), and reflexes so quick that they are invisible. And, if the host’s body gets hurt or dies, they can just transfer to someone else., and that’s just the beginning. They can gaze into one’s soul, seeing their fears, their heart, sins, and so much more.
On top of that, a Ghost Rider can rid one of their soul with a single touch if he feels like the person deserves that fate. They manipulate nature, magic, matter, energy, and even life itself. Hellfire is their weapon of choice; an enchanted chain of endless length, a Hellfire-spitting shotgun, or a motorcycle whose tires are completely made of Hellfire.
The list goes on and on, but you get the gist. Ghost Rider wins this, and it’s not even close.
Point: Ghost Rider (3:0)
Weaknesses & Mutual History
While Morbius is immune to most vampire weaknesses, some can still harm him, and some stem from his pseudo-vampire state. For instance, even though the sunlight can’t kill him, his skin is highly sensitive to it, so he chooses to avoid it and sleeps most of the time during the day.
Also, if he doesn’t feed regularly, he has serious physical and mental problems. He goes weaker and weaker, but the worst part is the mental hallucinations and the insanity that comes when he’s not feeding.
He’s not the most mentally stable guy out there, as he contemplated suicidal thoughts on several occasions, mostly after trying not to feed on blood, only to have the hunger take over and him completely losing control.
On the other hand, I’m not sure if the Ghost Rider has any glaring weaknesses. He has a powerful healing factor, but even if you can harm the host’s body, the Spirit can simply possess somebody else and make them a Ghost Rider.
It’s been hinted that their own weapons from Heaven may kill them, but nobody else wields them, so it’s very hard to see any scenario where Morbius wins.
Although they never fought in the comics, it’s easy to see why – it would’ve been a very one-sided fight. They did band together at one point despite usually working alone.
During the Rise of the Midnight Sons crossover event (including Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance, Morbius: The Living Vampire, Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins, and Nightstalkers), the two were on the same team battling Lilith, the Mother of demons, and her subordinates.
Morbius Vs. Ghost Rider: Who Would Win?
Although I love Morbius more as a character, putting him against Ghost Rider is simply unfair. The Ghost Rider can beat almost anybody, let alone a flawed anti-hero such as Morbius. He’s way too powerful to deal with and beats the Living Vampire in every category: physical attributes, skills, powers, abilities, weaknesses, etc.
Still, I love that we’re getting more of this side of Marvel Comics implemented into the MCU in the future. Marvel has some spectacular horror storylines.
I hope that Jared Leto’s Morbius, Mahershala Ali’s Blade, and even Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness will make me lose sleep just as much as the comics did. Of course, in a good, horror genre-loving way.