Kenshiro "Zero" Cochrane was a hacker who ran with the Hotwire Martyrs, a street gang based out of the Transverse City sprawl. In mid 2099, the Martyrs hacked into a fiberoptic trunkline and snagged a heavily-encrypted data archive of unknown origin. While they were attempting to decrypt the file, the Martyrs were attacked by a gang known as the Artificial Kidz, who proceeded to murder most of the Martyrs and set off in pursuit of Zero and the archive. With the poison from the fletchette round he took while fleeing the Kidz rapidly eating away at his nervous system, Zero makes a last-ditch effort to screw them over by transferring the encrypted file to his girlfriend and then jacking directly into cyberspace in an attempt to burn out his headware implants.
Shortly after his white-hot fade into oblivion, Zero awakes to find himself in a surrealistic cyberscape populated by a group of rogue machine intelligences who call their realm The Ghostworks. These AIs believe that the current human society (your typical "Corporations Own Everything" cyberpunk dystopia) is heading for a total collapse. And, being completely dependent on the world's technological infrastructure for survival, they wish to send Zero back to the real world to serve as their agent of change. Appealing to his anarchist sensibilities, the Ghostworks couch the whole deal as a chance for him to get back at The System and all those authority figures who seem bound and determined to make life miserable for "the little guy." Zero, of course, accepts - though whether this was really of his own free will or due to subtle modifications the AIs made to his personality construct is debatable.
The machines hijack an automated factory and construct a heavily modified variant of a Cybertek 101 warbot, laden with advanced nanotech weaponry, self-repair, and camouflage capabilities, and download their copy of Zero's personality into its neuro-net. Before hitting the streets, Zero uses the robot's holographic capabilities to wreath his skull-like head in artificial flame - an homage to his fallen comrades that also serves to make him look very similar to the Ghost Rider of the previous century. Appropriately enough, his first course of action is to seek vengeance against those responsible for their deaths. His quest eventually leads back to the D/Monix corporation (the legal owners of the archive) and his father, Harrison Cochrane.
During the course of his investigation into the missing file, Harrison realized that, as the hackers had used his own access codes to intercept the data transmission, the only suspect could be his son, Kenshiro. Feeling more loyalty to the corporation than to his gutter-trash son, it was a simple matter for Harrison to hire the Artificial Kidz to wipe out the Hotwire Martyrs and retrieve the archive. Upon beating this information out of his father, Ghost Rider prepares to kill the old man, but is distracted when he learns that D/Monix is currently torturing his former girlfriend, Kylie Gagarin, in an attempt to find out where she stashed the copy of the archive he'd sent her before his "death."
While hunting down the component chemicals for the drug he needs to save Kylie's life, Ghost Rider heads to an Alchemax facility in New York City - where he runs afoul of current incarnation of Spider-Man. They battle, but GR makes it away with the chemical in time. With the drug synthesized, he volunteers to go into Kylie's head to bring her out of her coma, which begins a phantasmagorical journey into her psyche that gives insight into both Kylie's past and provides a few glimpses into what Zero was like when he was alive. Of course, he doesn't much care for the version of himself that he sees and, after Kylie wakes up, Ghost Rider tries to convince her that Zero is dead and that she's better off without him. Of course, the way he says it leads her to realize that GR is Zero and, thus, has the exact opposite effect of making her more curious about him.
After discovering that his personality construct has been modified to prevent him from mentioning certain topics of discussion (namely the Ghostworks and things related to them), Ghost Rider dives into cyberspace in an attempt to track the Works down and hammer out some answers. The AIs hide from him and some discuss the possibility that they may have made a mistake when they chose Zero as their agent. Others suggest they wait it out - citing that the Ghost Rider will soon be much too busy to bother them. The prophecy comes true, of course, as he's launched into a series of battles pitting him against a heavily-cybered Jeter (the man who killed him), a thrill-kill club that's been using monsterous-looking constructs to hunt down former special-forces types for sport, and a highly-skilled cybernetic assassin named Coda - who actually manages to blast GR into his constituent components.
A short time later, Ghost Rider revives to discover that the Doom of 2099 has managed to take control of the United States. Having earlier made a deal with the Ghostworks for access to their agent (in exchange for leaving them be), Doom sends his SHIELD agents out into the city to track the rogue android down. GR is hauled before the President and presented with an offer to become the Federal Marshal for the Transverse City region. Though he initially refuses (not wanting to become part of the System he so despises), Doom triggers a series of override commands and forces Zero to accept the position.
Flush with his new found power, Ghost Rider proceeds to ride roughshod over a number of petty criminals and gangs, as well as the drug lord who'd helped him locate the chemicals he'd needed to save Kylie earlier. This betrayal begins a downward slide where all of Zero's former friends and associates begin to turn on him - seeing only another Oppressor rather than the Hero of the Common Man Ghost Rider thought himself to be. At the same time, he finds himself despised by the "real" securi-cops, who see him as a loose cannon giving them a bad name (and, likely, suffer some jealousy for the wide operational latitude he's been given).
|Power Grid |
|* Heightened speed on motorcycle|
- Solid-form holographic camouflage system
- Stealth field generator
- Nanite-assisted total body regenerative abilities
- Dual-configuration chassis w/ compact "disguise mode" and bulky "combat mode"
- Variable-power eye-mounted lasers
- Advanced hacking and computer skills
- Skilled cyclist (motorcycles and hover-bikes)
A customized Ford Velociraptor 900XL hoverbike w/ supercharged turbo thrusters.
- Eye lasers capable of weapons-grade output.
- Left hand is composed of a morphable nanomer alloy capable of forming a mono-molecular cutting edge
- A retractable, electrically-charged chainsaw concealed in his right forearm
- A .50 calibre semi-automatic handgun and several grenades (standard SHIELD operative equipment)
- While Doom was completing his take-over of America, the nanites contained within Ghost Riders body were rebuilding him, essentially from scratch.
- In issue #2, an image of Death (from Neil Gaiman's Sandman series) appears on the monitors in the D/Monix conference room where the board is discussing the appearance of Ghost Rider. Original series penciller Chris Bachalo was also the penciller for Gaiman's Death: The High Cost of Living mini-series and several issues of the Sandman comics.
- In the same issue, other monitors in this and the next panel show portions of other characters, including Todd McFarlane's Spawn, the 2099 incarnation of the Punisher and the X-man Banshee.
- 31 Appearances of Kenshiro Cochrane (Earth-928)
- Media Kenshiro Cochrane (Earth-928) was Mentioned in
- 13 Images featuring Kenshiro Cochrane (Earth-928)
- 12 Quotations by or about Kenshiro Cochrane (Earth-928)
- Character Gallery: Kenshiro Cochrane (Earth-928)
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