Real Name: Hermann von Reitberger

Identity/Class: Human (German World War I era to modern age)

Occupation: Retired pilot

Group Membership: Luftstreitkräfte

Affiliations: Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze)

Enemies: Phantom Eagle

Known Relatives: Joel Tanner (grandson)

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Germany, World War I era

First Appearance: Ghost Rider II#12 (June, 1975)

Powers/Abilities: In his prime, von Reitberger was one of the greatest air aces.

History: (Ghost Rider II#12 (fb)) - As a captain in World War I, von Reitberger happened to come across the heroic Phantom Eagle as he was leading his parents to his plane, hoping to smuggle them out of Germany and back to the USA. Seizing the opportunity, von Reitberger shot all three of them dead. Some time later, the Phantom Eagle -- now a ghost -- flew over von Reitberger's camp and challenged him to an aerial duel. The two fought, and von Reitberger won, shooting him down. As the Phantom Eagle "died" again, he vowed to continue stalking him until he had his revenge.

(Ghost Rider II#12) - The Phantom Eagle's pursuit continued into modern days, and in one of the ghost's attacks, von Reitberger was saved by the Ghost Rider (Johnny Blaze). Blaze brought von Reitberger to his grandson Joel, and from them learned of the Phantom Eagle's history (although von Reitberger did not tell how he murdered the Phantom Eagle's parents). Tired of running, von Reitberger took one of Joel's vintage planes so that he could face the ghost in combat and finally be rid of him. However, as the two pilots dueled, von Reitberger found that the controls did not react swiftly enough, and he crashed into Joel's hangar, dying in the crash. With von Reitberger's death, the Phantom Eagle's ghost finally went to rest.

Comments: Created by Tony Isabella, Frank Robbins and Frank Giacoia.

It's probably obvious but still worth including that von Reitbeger is apparently meant as a (back-handed) homage to DC Comics' Enemy Ace, Hans von Hammer, which is underlined with the character's copying of the phrase "the sky is the killer of us all".

Profile by Prime Eternal

Hermann von Reitberger should not be confused with:


Joel was the grandson of Hermann von Reitberger, and was keenly interested in World War I-vintage planes such as his grandfather had flown. He kept a hangar with dozens of planes, kept in pristine condition. He found the journal of Curly Anderson, the Phantom Eagle's mechanic, and from it became convinced that the Phantom Eagle was not the brutal killer his grandfather had claimed him to be. Joel tried to stop his grandfather from battling the Phantom Eagle, but was brushed aside, and Joel watched as his grandfather stole one of his planes and died in combat. He saw the Ghost Rider transform into Johnny Blaze, but thought that his eyes were playing tricks on him.

--Ghost Rider II#12 (13

Images taken from:
Ghost Rider II#12, page 1
Ghost Rider II#12, page 14 (numbered), panel 2
Joel- Ghost Rider II#12, page 18 (numbered), panel 3

Ghost Rider II#12 (June, 1975) - Tony Isabella (writer), Frank Robbins (penciler), Frank Giacoia, Mike Esposito (inkers), Len Wein (editor)
Ghost Rider II#13 (August, 1975) - Tony Isabella (writer), George Tuska (penciler), Vince Colletta (inker), Len Wein (editor)

First Posted: 06/17/2007
Last updated: 05/14/2019

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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