GHOST RIDER #76-79 (1983)

First of all: Amazing cover to #76 by Bob Budiansky.

A new demon, Azamodeos, is trying to get Mephisto to turn over whatever control he has over Ghost Rider.  I say that because lately it seems like Johnny Blaze has been controlling the transformations.   So, Mephisto splits them up and has them go on a bike race through Hell.

Very cool.

Also, Ghost Rider has a demon name: Zarathos.  I’m not sure we already knew that.  We get an extended origin of the demon, who has his roots in Native American mythology.  Blaze becomes aware of the origin because Nightmare goes up inside his skull to haunt Zarathos and have him relate the story in the subconscious.

This ties (thinly) into another plot, where Blaze’s body (while Nightmare is banging around in his brain) is taken by the guy who made the carnival freaks from the Roger Stern run.  The dude, called Freakmaster, wants to turn Johnny into a freak but at the last minute Ghost Rider wakes up and burns the place to the ground.

Yes, it’s convoluted, but it’s the kind of “big” story that appropriately arrives when the series is ending.  #80 will be the final issue.

Creators: JM DeMatteis and Don Perlin

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