PAO FU

Real Name: Lian Goh

Identity/Class: Human spirit

Occupation: Governor of Hell, Spirit of Vengeance; former slave

Group Membership: Spirits of Vengeance (Doghead/Francisco Fuentes, Verminus Rex, Wallow/Max Pressman)

Affiliations: Black Rose (Roxanne Blaze), Doghead, Noble Kale, Skritch, Vengeance (Michael Badilino), Wallow; formerly Blackheart, Chin, Dan Ketch, Verminus Rex, numerous unidentified demons

Enemies: Belasco, Blackheart, Hela, Pluto (Hades), Luz Santos, Verminus Rex, Lau Tak Wah, Yan

Known Relatives: Chin (brother, deceased), unidentified father (deceased); Noble Kale (ex-husband)

Aliases: "Goddess of Vengeance," "Mistress"

Base of Operations: Blackheart's Hell-realm; formerly the Bronx, New York, USA; Chinatown, New York, USA

First Appearance: Ghost Rider III#88 (September, 1997)

Powers/Abilities: Existing as a Spirit of Vengeance, Pao Fu's body was teeming with power and she could animate her superhumanly strong hair to ensnare others. Her hair was strong enough to hold the superhumanly strong Ghost Rider. She could also teleport in a blaze of spiraling hellfire and carried a sword charged with (presumably hellfire) energy.

Height: 5'5" (by approximation)
Weight: 125 lbs.; originally 105 lbs. (by approximation)
Eyes: Blue (glowing red)
Hair: White, occasionally dyed blonde; originally black

History: (Ghost Rider III#88 (fb)/Ghost Rider III#93 (fb)) - Following the death of her father, Lian Goh and her brother Chin decided to fulfill her father's lifelong dream of emigrating to America. Illegally booking passage on a tanker boat after being promised a life of rich happiness, Lian instead found herself in the tanker's cargo hold for two months, where disease eventually claimed the life of Chin. Not allowed to say a prayer for her brother, Lian watched as the men working the tanker tossed Chin's body overboard.

(Ghost Rider III#88) - Eventually arriving in New York's Chinatown, Lian Goh was intended as a slave for an underworld boss named Old Kao when Ghost Rider arrived to stop the slave trader Lau Tak Wah. While Ghost Rider battled Lau, Lian took a chance and escaped the truck housing herself and many other women. Despite witnessing Lian escape, Lau was about to receive Ghost Rider's Penance Stare when the police arrived. Lian continued running while Ghost Rider slammed Lau and his accomplice down onto the nearby police car. Huddling up in the uptown D Train bus, Lian thought about her trip to America and the possibility of actually being free, feeling that she did not deserve freedom after her brother had died. Getting off on the last stop in the Bronx, Lian viewed her new surroundings until one of Lau's men, Yan, saw her and chased her until she managed to lose him in an alley. Figuring she might be safe since Yan did not find her in the alley, Lian covered up with newspapers to get some sleep. Later that night, a hungry and cold Lian ventured out into the city, where she entered Little Luz's Bronx Girl Bodega. The owner, Luz Santos, soon spotted Lian eyeing some of her apples and chased Lian from the shop, yelling at Lian to take a bath. Seeing Lian run from Luz as he entered the bodega, Dan Ketch purchased an apple and gave it to the extremely grateful Lian outside. Almost immediately after, Lian was seen by Yan and Lau, who rushed after her, prompting Dan Ketch's transformation into Ghost Rider. During the battle, Lian was gravely injured and Ghost Rider rushed her to the nearest hospital but she did not survive. Later that night, the Hell-Lord Blackheart appeared in the hospital's morgue and offered Lian the chance to payback those who had wronged her. Her spirit taking Blackheart's hand, Lian was reborn as Pao Fu, Blackheart's goddess of vengeance.

(Ghost Rider III#89 - BTS) -  Blackheart made Pao Fu one of his Spirits of Vengeance alongside Wallow, Doghead and Verminus Rex.

(Ghost Rider III#90) - Pao Fu met with Blackheart alongside the other Spirits of Vengeance, where Wallow complained about the strong winds in Blackheart's Hell realm. Pao Fu beckoned for Wallow to take her hand and she would ensure he wouldn't blow away but Wallow slapped her hand aside, exclaiming that he did not need her pity. Blackheart quickly reminded the Spirits that they should be rejoicing in their new lives and power. He then announced that they should also be rejoicing in their hallowed place at Blackheart's side as he ushered in a new age. Blackheart then ordered the Spirits of Vengeance to Earth to obtain the soul of Ghost Rider and, as per their orders, Pao Fu and the other Spirits left Hell for Earth. Upon arriving on Earth, Pao Fu teleported into the Chinatown headquarters of Lau Tak Wah and judged him guilty of being murderous scum. She then announced that his punishment would be death but a bold Lau exclaimed that he controlled that part of Chinatown and demanded to know Pao Fu thought she was. Pao Fu then lifted her mask, revealing herself as the deceased Lian. She then explained that her name was now "vengeance" and slaughtered Lau, licking the blood off of her sword before teleporting away, laughing. Arriving shortly thereafter amidst a battle between Ghost Rider and the other Spirits of Vengeance, Pao Fu ensnared Ghost Rider with her hair and commented on his inability to spill innocent blood. She then announced her desire to help Ghost Rider "save" his original mission by offering him the chance to lead her and the other Spirits. Ghost Rider replied by punching Pao Fu and announcing that she would do nothing but feel his Penance Stare. Restraining Ghost Rider further with her hair, Pao Fu reminded him that she and the other Spirits of Vengeance were his equals and that Ghost Rider would either lead the Spirits or perish. Ghost Rider replied he would rather die, prompting Pao Fu to comment on how Ghost Rider was the last kind face she saw before she had died. Pao Fu then ripped out Ghost Rider's life force.

(Ghost Rider III#91) - Pao Fu and the other Spirits of Vengeance arrived in Blackheart's Hell realm, where Pao Fu presented Blackheart with the mechanical-like heart containing Ghost Rider's life force. When Blackheart began talking to the now-captive Noble Kale and Kale wrapped his chains around Blackheart's neck, Pao Fu but her foot to Kale's skull and warned him to release Blackheart or she would release his neck from his body. Blackheart then told Pao Fu not to worry, as Kale's chains had no power over Blackheart in his own realm, and proceeded to offer Noble Kale the position of leader of his Spirits of Vengeance. When Kale refused, Blackheart offered to sweeten the pot by giving Kale the hand of Pao Fu in marriage to end the centuries of loneliness suffered by Kale. As Pao Fu reminded Kale of her final moments alive, stated that she was in love with him and that she would be proud to become his wife, Kale turned away, asking if the Spirits of Vengeance what Blackheart had twisted them into. Pao Fu answered, stating that Blackheart had given them all what they had always wanted and needed, in her case redemption and vengeance. When Blackheart offered to restore Noble Kale to his original body as well, Kale agreed to train the Spirits of Vengeance on the condition that he would gain Blackheart's ally Black Rose as a second wife. Blackheart agreed to the condition, causing Pao Fu to wonder what Kale was up to. Blackheart then returned Kale's life force to him, which Kale placed into his original body, restoring himself, much to the astonishment of Pao Fu, who never dreamed Kale would be so beautiful.

(Ghost Rider III#92) - Pao Fu watched as Noble Kale thought about his new situation and Blackheart laughed at the deal he had made. Pao Fu later joined the other Spirits of Vengeance, Black Rose and Blackheart at a feast where Blackheart reminded Kale of his new role as leader of the Spirits of Vengeance. Quite taken by Kale and sure of his status as a fine husband, Pao Fu watched as Kale angrily announced that he would train the Spirits but, if he found them wanting, he would destroy them.

(Ghost Rider III#93) - In Castle Blackheart, Pao Fu bathed and prepared for her wedding to Noble Kale, thinking to herself how her emotions burned with so much more energy than when she was alive. Despite her newfound power, she found herself still feeling as if her soul remained small. Pao Fu then found herself thinking about her deceased brother Chin and blamed herself for his death and her feelings of loneliness. She then reassured herself that she would not be alone once married to Noble Kale and hoped that her new life would allow her to forget her old life. Almost as if summoned, Pao Fu then saw a vision of her brother Chin in the mirror, warning her to never forget her old life and that she would soon be freed of the abomination of her new life. Shocked to see her brother once more, Pao Fu's vision was interrupted by demons, who reminded her that her wedding dress was waiting. Later, as the wedding began, Pao Fu accompanied Black Rose and Noble down the aisle, whispering a request for Kale to transform into his Ghost Rider form for her. After Kale did so, Pao Fu continued to the end of the aisle, where Kale exclaimed to Blackheart how much of a travesty the wedding was, prompting Pao Fu to ask if Kale found her so repulsive that he would back out of the nuptials. Looking at Black Rose solemnly, Kale replied that a deal was a deal and agreed to continue, making Pao Fu wonder if Kale loved Black Rose more than her. Once the wedding had been completed and Pao Fu and Black Rose were married to Noble Kale, Kale revealed to Pao Fu and Black Rose that he had only agreed to wed them as a technicality. Since they now belonged to Kale, Kale thanked Pao Fu for being willing to care for him and asked her given name. Kale then released both Lian and Black Rose from their vows, giving them their freedom from Blackheart and revealing Black Rose as a corrupted Roxanne Blaze. Angry at the revelation, Black Rose attacked Kale, prompting Pao Fu to attack Black Rose. Annoyed that they chose to use their freedom for fighting one another, Kale wrapped his chains around them both, which prompted Pao Fu to draw a sword on Kale and warn him never to draw his weapons on her. Blackheart soon arrived and confirmed Kale's revelations about Black Rose, taunting Kale about how easy he was to manipulate. Blackheart then ordered the Spirits of Vengeance to attack Kale but Pao Fu sided with Kale, stabbing Wallow through the head with her sword. Eventually, Kale regained his full powers and memories thanks to Dan Ketch and destroyed Blackheart.

(Ghost Rider: Finale/2) - With Blackheart's destruction, Noble Kale became ruler of Blackheart's Hell realm, with Black Rose and Pao Fu at each side of his throne. Sitting atop his throne, Kale pondered how Pao Fu could possibly love him before Belasco, Hela and Pluto entered the realm to recognize his ascension to Blackheart's throne. When Pluto noticed Pao Fu and Black Rose as Kale's wives, he asked which was the wife and which was the concubine, prompting Pao Fu to point her sword in their direction and ask which of the three Lords of the Splinter Realms wanted to bleed first. Pluto merely laughed, claiming that Kale's betrothed was worth her weight in gold and after the three Lords departed, Kale learned that many of the Lords of the Splinter Realm wished to expand their realms into Kale's territory. Pao Fu exclaimed that if they tried, she would have their hearts for dinner. Shortly thereafter, Pao Fu accompanied Noble Kale and his allies as Kale proclaimed that every soul within his realm was free. She then watched as the angel Uriel appeared and attempted to keep Kale from freeing the souls, only to be banished from Kale's realm. Kale then decided to leave his realm, appointing Vengeance ruler by proxy and the Spirits of Vengeance governors of the realm. He proclaimed that the Spirits could police the realm as they saw fit as long as they continued to follow Kale's first rule of doing no evil. As Kale prepared to leave, he bade for Black Rose to accompany him back to Earth, prompting Pao Fu to draw her sword on Kale, exclaiming that she would not be abandoned as Kale's wife. Noble Kale then reminded Pao Fu that she was free to do as she chose, kissed her and promised that he would return.

(Civil War: Battle Damage Report - BTS) - With the advent of the Superhuman Registration Act, Tony Stark considered Pao Fu a potential recruit into the Fifty-State Initiative program.

(Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch I#1 - BTS) - Danny Ketch thought back on Noble Kale's demonic marriage to Pao Fu.

Comments: Created by Ivan Velez, Josh Hood and Derek Fisher.

At one point, in Pao Fu's first appearance as Lian Goh, her eyes were colored brown. Another time in that same issue, they were blue and later, when we see her without her mask and preparing for her impending marriage, her eyes were also blue. Because of this, I chose to go with blue for her eye color. Also, while her hair changes color often too (from black while alive, to grayish when first transformed by Blackheart, to blonde when removing her mask to reveal herself to Lau, to later white when preparing for her marriage), there was a line in Ghost Rider III#93 where a demon noticed Pao Fu's white hair and asked if they should color it for her wedding, suggesting that the times when Pao Fu's hair was blonde were a dye job. Given that her hair was grayish when she was first reborn, perhaps her black hair began turning white when she was transformed.

Chin's appearance in Ghost Rider III#93 could be chocked up to numerous explanations. It could have just been an artistic representation of Pao Fu's thoughts, the actual Chin's spirit contacting Pao Fu (after all, she was in Hell) or even a demon posing as Chin for unrevealed reasons...

I chose to list Noble Kale as Pao Fu's ex-husband despite her continued love interest in Kale, mostly because Kale released both Black Rose and Pao Fu from him almost immediately after marrying them. While Pao Fu continued to show romantic interest in Kale and remained by his side in Hell, Black Rose returned to Earth with Danny Ketch and reunited with her husband Johnny Blaze. Not to mention that there's the little matter of how legal a demonic marriage in Hell really is...

Profile by Proto-Man.

CLARIFICATIONS:
Pao Fu has no KNOWN connections to:

Chin has no KNOWN connections to:

Chin

Chin was Lian Goh's younger brother. When their father died, Lian convinced Chin to accompany her to America, a dream her father had always wanted to fulfill. Illegally booking passage on a tanker ship, Lian and Chin found that the boat contained numerous criminals and disease. Starving aboard the ship, Chin caught an unidentified disease and perished. Not even allowed to say a prayer for Chin's death, Lian was forced to watch as criminals threw her brother's body overboard. After becoming Pao Fu, a vision of Chin appeared to her on the night of her wedding to Noble Kale reminding her to never forget her past.



--Ghost Rider III#88 (fb) (#93?-see comments)


images: (without ads)
Ghost Rider III#90, p10, pan3 (Pao Fu, main image)
Ghost Rider III#93, p11, pan5 (Pao Fu unmasked headshot)
Ghost Rider III#88, p6, pan1 (Pao Fu's original body as Lian Goh)
Ghost Rider III#88, p10, pan1 (Chin)


Appearances:
Ghost Rider III#88 (September, 1997) - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Josh Hood (pencils), Derek Fisher (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider III#89 (October, 1997) - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider III#90 (November, 1997) - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider III#91 (December, 1997) - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Andrew Pepoy (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider III#92 (January, 1998) - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Mark Texeira (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider III#93 (February, 1998) - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Mark Texeira (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Ghost Rider: Finale (2007) - "Acabado" story - Ivan Velez, Jr. (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils, inks), Mark Texeira, Klaus Janson (inks), Tom Brevoort (editor)
Civil War: Battle Damage Report (March, 2007) - Anthony Flamini (head writer, coordinator), Ronald Byrd (writer), Jeff Youngquist (editor)
Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch#1 (December, 2008) - Simon Spurrier (writer), Javier Saltares (pencils), Tom Palmer (inks), Daniel Ketchum (editor)


Last updated: 12/09/14

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