Real Name: Unknown
Identity/Class: Unknown, possibly either demon or supernaturally-reanimated deceased human
Occupation: Servant of Centurious;
former employee of Deathwatch
Group Membership: (formerly) Deathwatch’s ninjas
Affiliations: Blackout (Lilin), Centurious, Danny Ketch, Orb, Zadkiel;
Enemies: Caretaker, Ghost Rider (Dan Ketch/Noble Kale), Heart Attack, Suicide
Known Relatives: None
Base of Operations: Currently unknown;
(formerly) Brooklyn, New York;
First Appearance: Ghost Rider III#3 (July, 1990)
Powers/Abilities: Death Ninja appears to be a corpse, with a superhuman amount of durability. He possesses skills in the martial arts.
History: (Ghost Rider III#34 (fb) – BTS) – Centurious sent the creature later dubbed Death Ninja to infiltrate Deathwatch’s employ in an effort to locate the Ghost Rider.
(Ghost Rider III#3) – Under the pretense of being one of his employees, the Death Ninja accompanied Deathwatch, Blackout and two other ninjas to a Brooklyn police department, where they attacked and killed two detectives in an effort to locate a canister Deathwatch had lost during a previous battle with Ghost Rider. Returning to the Cypress Hills Cemetery with several teens who had witnessed the fight, Deathwatch ordered Blackout to kill them one by one until they gave up the location of the canister. Once recovered, the group was confronted by the Kingpin’s men, who demanded the canister. Deathwatch, not wishing to instigate a gang war, left, but Blackout decided to fight it out, along with several of the ninjas left behind. One was the Death Ninja, who, while investigating a noise, was stabbed by his own sword by Ghost Rider, who had just arrived on the scene. Ghost Rider dropped what he believed to be the lifeless body of the Ninja at Blackout’s feet.
(Ghost Rider III#34) – After Ghost Rider used his penance stare on a wife abuser, the Death Ninja, now in a more decomposed state, arrived and killed the man. Looking to track Ghost Rider down again, in an effort to gain the good graces of his master, Centurious, so that he would be allowed to die, the Death Ninja began killing people to draw the hero’s attention. However, his victims included thieves, vandals and hoodlums, not the innocent blood needed to bring forth the Ghost Rider. His next attempt was on an elevated “J” train. Dan Ketch, riding below it, noticed blood coming from it. Investigating, he found the Death Ninja terrorizing the passengers, and transformed into Ghost Rider. The two fought in and atop the train before Ghost Rider managed to knock the Death Ninja off, after which the creature fell beneath the wheels and was crushed.
(Ghost Rider III#35) - Reformed, the Death Ninja attacked Ghost Rider again, but the fight was joined shortly by Suicide, another supernaturally-enhanced being seeking death by Ghost Rider's hands. Confused by the situation, Ghost Rider tried to leave, but Heart Attack soon joined the fray, and blasted a hole through Death Ninja's chest before focusing on Ghost Rider.
(Ghost Rider III#36 - BTS) - The Caretaker informed Dan Ketch that the Death Ninja was nowhere to be found after the battle.
(Ghost Rider VI#26) - Led to Caretaker's house in Tennessee's Great Smoky Mountains, Death Ninja followed the others up to the house, with Doghead checking for traps. Aware of his visitors, Caretaker burst through the front door, blowing off Doghead's head with his Hellfire rifle and warning the others to leave. Firing on his target with his Repulsor Ray, the Orb forced Caretaker to draw back into the house. The Orb apprehensively followed with Death-Ninja, noting the supposedly small house's impossibly expansive interiors. Entering a room stocked with Ghost Rider and motorcycling paraphernalia, the Orb triggered a trap, launching a wooden plank lined with nails into his "eye". The Orb recoiled in pain, unable to stop Caretaker from killing Death Ninja.
(Ghost Rider VI#33 - BTS) - Deacon and Blackout had Death Ninja's phot x-ed out since he was dead.
Comments: Created by Howard Mackie, Javier Saltares, and Mark Texeira; Fleshed out by Howard Mackie, Bret Blevins and Al Williamson.
It is never explicitly said that Death Ninja was serving Centurious. However, given that he was just one of many during this story arc that was serving "The Master" and that "Master" turned out for the rest to be Centurious, it should be obvious it is him.
Death Ninja's origin closed an almost three-year question mark regarding Ghost Rider. While GR claimed to not be a killer, he had dispersed the unnamed ninja in #3 without blinking (not that GR can blink, but...well, you know). This may have been pointed out to Mackie later on, and he decided to capitalize on it.
Speaking of Mackie, as fun as this series could be, it was a serious headache at times. Characters debuted and disappeared almost every single issue, without ever having anything resembling closure. Death Ninja is reported missing after the end of his last fight, and that's it. Suicide, who is "killed" during that same fight later on, is later shown regenerating, but his sub-plot was also dropped.
No known connection to:
Ghost Rider III#34, cover (main image)
Ghost Rider III#3, page 21, panel 4 (original form)
Ghost Rider III#35, page 7, panel 3 (head shot)
Ghost Rider III#3 (July, 1990) - Howard Mackie (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Mark Texeira (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Ghost Rider III#34-35 (February-March, 1993) - Howard Mackie (writer), Bret Blevins (pencils), Al Williamson (inks), Bobbie Chase (editor)
Ghost Rider VI#26 (October, 2008) - Jason Aaron (writer), Tan Eng Huat (artist), Daniel Ketchum (editor) Ghost Rider VI#33 (2009) - Jason Aaron (writer), Tony Moore (artist), Axel Alonso (editor)
Last updated: 04/27/05
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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