The following contains major spoilers for Avengers #58, available now from Marvel.
Earth’s Mightiest Heroes has had to face many terrifying threats in recent times, including that of Mephisto, his Council of Red, and others. The Avengers have set out to rescue the same heroes as Mephisto’s army, which terrorizes them throughout history. The demon seems to have them under control, but a new character emerges from the past in order to fend off the coming onslaught. The Samurai Of Vengeance, despite the Avengers’ desire to believe they have saved one of their own heroes, is in fact the one that saves them.
Avengers #58 (by Jason Aaron, Javier Garron, David Curiel and VC’s Cory Petit) finds the eponymous team separated in the middle of feudal Japan before being beset on all sides by time-displaced minions of Mephisto. Ghost Ronin or Ghost Rider emerges from this era to stop their enemies. He is only briefly present on the battlefield and quickly disappears before appearing to stop a Viking ship heading straight for Echo and Namor. The Samurai have finally allowed the Avengers to regroup, allowing them to follow his lead.
The cursed swords that have been keeping the ghost ronin fighting for centuries are much more than the cause of his infernal powers. The swords also know their purpose, he tells the Avengers. It’s not too dissimilar to Johnny Blaze the Ghost Rider. His own Spirit of Vengeance arrived in the form of a Hellish motorcycle. The difference is that the Samurai Of Vengeance spirits speak with one another in a very benevolent and almost advisory manner.
This does not just distinguish the Ghost Ronin and the likes Daniel Ketch or Johnny Blaze, but also nearly all other iterations of Ghost Rider that have been seen. The Ghost Rider of Hyborian Age, like his contemporary counterparts, was even more similar to him. This version of the Ghost Rider is not interested in seeking vengeance, or any kind of infernal punishment. He only cares about protecting the environment and supporting others who do. His cool blue flames, despite any threat it might evoke, are more suited to lighten the path of the Avengers than to remove the stain from Mephisto.
Ghost Ronin can still be used to fight. However, the information he gives the Avengers makes him a much more powerful weapon than his cursed swords. Although the Samurai Of Vengeance isn’t sure how they will reach there, he does know that their enemies and heroes are heading towards their legacy. Mephisto is looking for the ultimate target. The Stone Age Avengers are the first Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Ghost Ronin has helped the heroes to find a path.
Although the Ghost Rider may find it offensive to see a wandering Samurai, his defiance of expectations was exactly what they needed. Ghost Ronin, by taking many steps back from the typical Ghost Rider has not only redefined the Spirit of Vengeance, but also what the legacy of the Marvel Universe can do. Ghost Ronin remains the same infernal hero the Avengers have been fighting alongside, despite any changes in appearance or personality. It is hoped that it won’t be their last fight.