Real Name: Verminus Rex
Identity/Class:Undead semi-humanoid rat creature (Berev'ha Dentii aka "Short Tooth") (see comments)
Occupation: Spirit of
formerly Prince of the Short Teeth, possibly government agent
Group Membership:Berev'ha Dentii ("Short Teeth");
formerly Spirits of Vengeance (Doghead, Pao Fu, Wallow)
Affiliations:Blackheart, Black Rose;
formerly Ghost Rider (Noble Kale), Zadkiel
Enemies: Eleven, Ghost Riders (Noble
Kale, Dan Ketch, Shoba Mirza, many others), Mary LeBow, Zadkiel;
formerly Ghost Rider (World War I)
Known Relatives: Albinus (son)
Base of Operations:
Hell (one of them);
formerly the Nest, in the walls between the dimensions;
formerly Germany and the Western Front (World War I), Blackheart's region of Hell (modern era)
First Appearance: Ghost Rider III#89 (October, 1997)
Powers/Abilities: Before his death, Verminus Rex possessed teeth and claws powerful enough to deal with the challenges of eating human bodies, and was apparently strong and durable enough to pose a threat to Ghost Rider. He was also presumably strongly resistant to disease, since he subsisted on the dead bodies of soldiers themselves probably already suffering from numerous trench warfare ailments. However, he was not sturdy enough to survive the explosion of a landmine.
Following his resurrection as a Spirit of Vengeance by Blackheart, Verminus Rex professed to be the equal of Ghost Rider, which would give him markedly superhuman strength and endurance. If he possessed a Penance Stare or the ability to wield Hellfire, he never demonstrated it. When he was apparently incinerated by Ghost Rider, he later appeared alive and intact in Hell; it is not clear whether he was summoned back to Hell by Blackheart before Ghost Rider could kill him, or if he will simply rematerialize in Hell if his incarnation on Earth is slain. According to Blackheart, a sword wrought from a rib of the demon Zarathos is the only thing that can kill Verminus. He sometimes carries a walking-stick which can smash through solid stone.History: (Ghost Rider III#89 (fb)) - Verminus Rex was once prince of a race of rat-men known as the Berev'ha Dentii ("Short Teeth"). The rest of this race apparently perished under unspecified circumstances.
(Ghost Rider III#89 (fb)) - The Ghost Rider of World War I fought the German rat-creature Verminus Rex in 1917 on the battlefields of World War I. At some point, their conflict came to an end when Verminus Rex was killed by a landmine.
(Ghost Rider III#89 (fb) - BTS) - The demon Blackheart resurrected Verminus Rex to serve as one of his new Spirits of Vengeance.
(Ghost Rider III#89) - In the present day, the modern Ghost Rider investigated reports of old and sick people disappearing. Following the trail to the sewers of New York, he was shocked to encounter Verminus Rex, his enemy from lifetimes ago, eating the remains of one of his latest victims. The two fought briefly, with Ghost Rider discovering that his old foe was now a demonic undead creature. However, Verminus vanished in a burst of flame as Ghost Rider tried to use his newly-rediscovered ability to destroy the undead. Later, a fiery image of Verminus Rex, along with the other new Spirits of Vengeance, appeared in Hell as Blackheart boasted of his accomplishments to Black Rose and the demon Skritch.
(Ghost Rider III#90) - Blackheart marshaled his Spirits in Hell, and sent them to Earth to bring him the soul of Ghost Rider. They began to mete out "vengeance" on the people who had wronged them in life, and, when Doghead attacked the woman who blamed him for her murder of her boyfriend, Ghost Rider interceded. He was quickly overpowered by the four, who professed to be fulfilling the same duty he himself was, and Pao Fu tore out his heart.
(Ghost Rider III#91) - Verminus Rex and the Spirits of Vengeance returned to Hell and presented Blackheart with the Noble Heart, the soul of the Ghost Rider. When Blackheart proposed to Ghost Rider that he lead the new Spirits in return for the removal of his curse and the restoration of his original body, and Ghost Rider tried to convince the Spirits that Blackheart was only using them, Verminus told him that Blackheart had given him what he most wanted and needed - respect and vengeance. He then stood by as Ghost Rider accepted, on the condition that he be allowed to marry Pao Fu and Black Rose, and witnessed the rebirth of Ghost Rider as Noble Kale.
(Ghost Rider III#92) - Verminus Rex and the other Spirits attended a banquet in honor of Noble Kale, where Blackheart revealed that he also expected Kale to train the Spirits to carry out their duties. Wallow objected, calling Kale "weak garbage", causing the Ghost Rider to lunge across the table and tell Wallow at knifepoint that he would destroy them if he found them wanting. To this, Verminus thought "Not if we destroy you first."
(Ghost Rider III#93) - On the eve of Noble Kale's wedding, Verminus Rex cleaned himself up in preparation (causing the mirror in his room to crack), reflecting on the death of both his people and himself. He was interrupted by Wallow, who was furious that Blackheart had put their enemy Ghost Rider in charge of their team. Verminus patiently explained that Kale would never order anyone around, pointing out that the Ghost Rider was now in his own mortal human body, and that he would not live past his wedding night. Then the Spirits would be free to do as they wished on Earth.
After the wedding, Black Rose was to slay Kale with a sword made of a sliver of Zarathos' rib, which had been Blackheart's plan all along. However, Kale intended only to give both Pao Fu and Black Rose their freedom from Blackheart once they had been made his property by the rules of Hell. Part of the reason for this was that he had realized that Black Rose was in fact Roxanne Blaze, the late wife of Kale's own descendent John Blaze. Black Rose, her memories repressed by Blackheart, flew into a rage, from which Pao Fu, who truly loved Kale, moved to protect the Ghost Rider. The standoff ended when Blackheart appeared, sneering at how easy Ghost Rider was to manipulate, and announced that Kale and all four of his own minions would fight to the finish to determine who would be the one true Spirit of Vengeance. In the fracas that followed, Verminus was stabbed with the Zarathos blade, incapacitating him. However, he survived to witness Kale, strengthened with the full memories of Noble Kale, annihilate Blackheart and be hailed as the new ruler of Hell by Skritch.
Whether Verminus Rex or the other Spirits of Vengeance served Kale during his short tenure as king of Hell is unknown, as are his current whereabouts now that Ghost Rider has abdicated.
(Ghost Rider Finale) - Verminus Rex and the other Spirits of Vengeance attended Noble Kale's first address to his new subjects. He and Wallow were disgusted by Kale's first acts - the gift of freedom to everyone in the realm and the abolition of all evil acts. Kale then departed the realm indefinitely, taking with him Roxanne Blaze. His final act was to name Vengeance his ruler by proxy and the other Spirits, including Verminus, as governors.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#5 (fb) - BTS) - Verminus made a deal with Zadkiel, who revived the Berev'ha Dentii, in return for Verminus' aid to lure Danny Ketch into Zadkiel's service.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#3 (fb) ) - Verminus started killing Spirits of Vengeance to steal their powers. He became addicted to their heavenly energies and sent his people out to hunt them down one by one. He was never afraid to steal his next target's powers and with the powers he absorbed Verminus' became gigantic.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#2 - BTS) - After Mirza warned Ketch that someone was killing Ghost Riders all over the world, Verminus sent his son Albinus and a group of Berev'ha Dentii to catch her. She transformed into her Ghost Rider form when they attacked her.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#3 - BTS) - Ghost Rider (Ketch) came to Mirza's aid and killed some Berev'ha Dentii. Unfortunately Verminus' son Albinus overpowered Mirza and kidnapped her while Ketch killed the other Berev'ha Dentii. Albinus brought Mirza to Verminus Rex.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#4 (fb) - BTS) - Verminus allowed Mirza to escape captivity, so she could lead Ketch to him.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#4) - When Ketch finally arrived in the Nest Verminus and the Berev'ha Dentii battled him. In mid-battle Ketch lost his powers (Zadkiel only gave him a small taste of his former powers during the mini-series to make him addicted and loyal). Verminus dropped Ketch because he was now useless to him.
(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#5) - After Zadkiel granted Ketch full access to his Ghost Rider powers he assaulted the Berev'ha Dentii and Verminus once again. After Ketch had them defeated, Verminus allowed Ketch to absorb all the power Verminus had stolen from other Spirits of Vengeance--killing Verminus in the process. Zadkiel then came in to help Ketch keep his powers in check and save his soul. Meanwhile Verminus' spirit arrived int he Inbetween and confronted Zadkiel's agent Eleven, demanding the human body Zadkiel had promised to him as payment, but Eleven made it clear Verminus wouldn't get more from Zadkiel. Distracted while assaulting Eleven, Verminus was knocked out by Mary LeBow's spirit (a recently deceased Ketch ally--killed by Eleven, who had taken control over Verminus' son Albinus) and fell through a hatch right down to Hell.
Comments: Created by Ivan Velez Jr, Javier Saltares, and Andrew Pepoy.
I'm not sure if Verminus was supposed to be operating under the auspices of the German military, or whether he and his people just came out from wherever they live to eat all the convenient dead bodies that were lying around. Human flesh seems to be a specific taste of his, rather than a last resort; he's gnawing on a head at the banquet in GR #93. (He also likes wedding cake, though). He definitely speaks with a comic-book German accent (uses "der" instead of "the", uses "V"s instead of "W"s), and his wartime trenchcoat and pants look passably army-issue, but he could easily have scavenged those.
Speaking of his people, all we know is that they no longer exist, that he was their prince, and that they were called the Short Teeth. I assume they were a race of sentient humanoid rats, but I have no idea where they're supposed to have come from.
It's not a very strong resemblance, from the art, but I wonder if Verminus' earring isn't supposed to be the Mark of Vengeance. Doghead definitely has the Mark on his collar, and Verminus doesn't seem to have an earring in the one image showing him during WWI. The Mark is definitely on the head of his walking-stick.
According to Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#3 the Berev'ha Dentii are an ancient race of warrior mystics that lived in the wall-cavaties between dimensions. Because they were never part of the heavenly plan they were hunted down and killed by Spirits of Vengeance throughout the ages.
Ghost Rider Finale is a reprint of Ghost Rider III#93 and the first printing of the previously unpublished Ghost Rider III#94.
Clarifications: Verminus Rex has no known connection to
Images (without ads):
Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#4, p17, pan1 (main image)
Ghost Rider III#92, p15 (head shot)
Ghost Rider III#89, p4 (body shot)
Ghost Rider III#93, p6 (dressed-up shot)
Ghost Rider III#89-91 (October-December, 1997) - Ivan Velez Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider III#92-93 (January-February, 1998) - Ivan Velez Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (penciles), Mark Texeira (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider Finale (March, 2007) - Ivan Velez Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils/inks), Mark Texeira & Klaus Janson (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#2-5 (January-April, 2009) - Simon Spurrier (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Daniel Ketchum (editor)
First Posted: 02/28/2005
Last updated: 09/04/2010
Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.
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