The following contains major spoilers for Midnight Suns #1, available now from Marvel Comics.
Marvel’s Midnight Suns has brought together some of the most terrifying heroes from across the globe to stave off a whole new kind of supernatural threat. While iconic figures such as Blade and Wolverine are far from unexpected, not every member of this new team is so recognizable. Thankfully, obscurity isn’t an indictment of ability, and Kushala is more capable than most — not just as a Spirit of Vengeance, but also as her era’s Sorcerer Supreme.
When Zoe Laveau, one of the late Doctor Strange’s premier students, suffers from a horrifying vision of herself playing a role in some supernatural apocalypse, the entire school finds themselves having the exact same vision. As seen in the pages of Midnight Suns #1 (by Ethan Sacks, Luigi Zagaria, Antonio Fabela, Carlos Lao, and VC’s Joe Sabino), the premonition of the dark things to come isn’t limited to the grounds of Strange Academy. All over the world, Masters of the Mystic Arts experience the same vision and while their reactions vary, the Spirit Rider’s response is to immediately leap into action.
In her first appearance in the pages of 2016’s Doctor Strange and the Sorcerers Supreme #1 (by Robbie Thompson and Javier Rodriguez), Kushala was one of the various Masters of the Mystic Arts who were called upon by the titular hero. Soon enough, it was revealed that she had bonded with a Spirit of Vengeance back in the 1800s following her tribe’s slaughter at the hands of the U.S. Army. As the Demon Rider, Kushala sought revenge for her fallen Apache, though she was hardly consumed by that notion entirely. Along the way, Kushala studied tirelessly in the hopes of understanding her curse, and in doing so she became her generation’s Sorcerer Supreme.
In the years that followed, Kushala would play a prominent role in events such as the War of the Realms, yet it was when Johnny Blaze became host to a new demon that she cemented her place in the Marvel Universe beyond her own era. Leviathan, the remains of a tortured planet carried into the present on a shard of the Sixth Cosmos, was revealed to have been the origin of Kushala’s Spirit of Vengeance. One of these very same shards was what had corrupted the original Ghost Rider himself, and it fell on Kushala to tame and subsequently consume the pieces which had previously gone unnoticed.
In literally eating the very demon who empowers her, Kushala proved that she was a force to be reckoned with beyond her position as the Demon or Spirit Rider, or even as a Sorcerer Supreme. Throughout centuries, Kushala has managed to not only keep up with whatever the universe throws at her, but she has also led the charge against each and every threat that has come her way. No matter the circumstances, Kushala will always answer whatever call comes her way, despite having to give up so much to do so.
Although she has had plenty of chances to return to her own time and has even done so on occasion, Kushala still chose to return to the present when she was needed. The fact that she left her family behind all over again speaks to just how much of a hero she truly is, while the fact that she hasn’t gone back yet proves that she knows as well as anyone that her work here isn’t done. With any luck, it will be soon, only because it means the world will be saved, and not for any want to see the Spirit Rider exit the spotlight.