A Savage Avenger just ran into the Spirit of Vengeance, but Ghost Rider could have never been prepared for the beating that he just received.
WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for Savage Avengers #21 by Gerry Duggan, Patch Zircher, Java Tartaglia and VC’s Travis Lanham, on sale now.
The Savage Avengers haven’t been given that particular moniker just to separate them from the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Together, they have faced off against the evil sorcerer Kulan Gath, Asgardian dragons and deadly drug cartels, and so far nothing has stood in their way for very long.
And in Savage Avengers #21, Conan shows the Ghost Rider just how much the Savage Avengers truly deserve their name by delivering one of his most memorable Marvel Universe beat downs yet.
As much as he might like to rest easy within the walls of his recently acquired mansion, Conan’s evening of relaxation is rudely intruded upon by both nightmares of Kulan Gath’s rise to power and the sudden appearance of Emma Frost. When the White Queen makes it clear that Conan is only welcome as long as she says he is, Conan decides to take a late-night stroll to gather his thoughts. After the Cimmerian comes across an apartment building full of violent, possessed sleepwalkers, Ghost Rider whips Conan out of the building with his chain, and when that doesn’t prove to do the trick, he unleashes his Penance Stare on his new foe — only to get a wicked surprise when it comes firing back at him.
This isn’t the first time that Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare has come back to haunt him, and he really should have seen it coming once he saw Conan’s symbiote. While the Penance Stare is capable of making someone experience all of the pain that they’ve unleashed on others throughout their life, it has never been effective against a certain symbiotic breed of enemy. It wasn’t even all that long ago that Ghost Rider experienced the awful side effects of unleashing this particular attack on someone bonded to a symbiote, most recently in 2019’s Absolute Carnage: Symbiote of Vengeance #1 by Ed Brisson and Juan Frigeri.
Ghost Rider Has a Surprising History With One Savage Avenger
Conan might not understand just how incredible what he just did is, but he already knows well enough that it has given him the perfect opening to finish the fight where he stands. The Cimmerian tells Johnny Blaze that he won’t be paying any penance to a false god right before plunging his thumbs deep into the Rider’s gaping eye sockets. Grasping Ghost Rider’s head firmly, Conan doesn’t stop until the fiery energy that is unleashed overwhelms him, and his brutal victory may have just spelled his own doom.
Johnny Blaze has suffered plenty of gruesome defeats over the years, but the one he has just been dealt at the hands of Conan might be his worst yet. If anyone was going to catch the Rider off guard, Conan is certainly the one to do it. While he might only look human, the Cimmerian just showed one fo Marvel’s strongest supernatural heroes how dangerous a barbarian can really be.
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