It’s hard to fathom the Cosmic Ghost Rider isn’t even two years old yet. First introduced in Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s Thanos series in January 2018, the character immediately caught fans’ interest due to its cosmic design and hilarious personality. Then we found out in a twist he was really Frank Castle. Minds were blown that day. All of these elements culminate in one of the most interesting new characters to hit the comic book superhero scene in decades. Hence, why we have a new series with the character — this time by Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum and Scott Hepburn complete with a backup by the creators Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw. Sounds like a blast!
The main story does well to set Cosmic Ghost Rider on a new journey while the backup delivers on an interaction we were all hoping for making this first issue quite a delight if you’ve even got the smallest of interest in this character. This issue opens at the Shi’ar Super-Max Intergalactic Prison where an old Frank Castle is being thrown in jail. Soon he’s getting his ass beat for murdering the wrong fellow inmate’s sister and the Cosmic Ghost Rider is awakened. All-out chaos ensues and the Rider brings justice to those who have sinned. I’ll stop recapping there, but know Hallum and Hepburn do a good job establishing the character, his powers, and his back story for those who may have missed it. There’s some good spaceship horror stuff in play too and it’s fun to see how this character can literally grow himself back up with a little “soul searching” of sinners. A key supporting character is introduced rather efficiently with a solid montage full page by Hepburn, too.
The art by Hepburn suits the cartoonish and colorful character. Antonio Fabela lays on the bright pinks, purples, and oranges that make this character feel otherworldly. It’s impressive how powerful he is and you get to see that in full force as he fights all sorts of alien threats. By the end of the issue it’s hard to imagine what–if anything–could take out this character.
The backup in this issue is a must-read for fans of Cates and Shaw’s Thanos. It’s an interchange between Cosmic Ghost Rider and a key character from his past that’s been a long time coming. Surprisingly the acts of Cosmic Ghost Rider in Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History come into play giving that story a bit more weight and purpose here. Shaw’s rendering of Cosmic Ghost Rider’s friend (that’s right I’m not spoiling it!) is also excellently done. The characters have a weight and thickness to them that makes them seem substantial and superhuman. The setting in a cemetery also helps set the mood and atmosphere. This short story also seems to suggest Cosmic Ghost Rider may be done with Earth for the time being, which makes sense for the character’s power set, and it serves as a good final scene for him as he moves forward in development over future stories.
This is a great fresh start for the character after a wild ride of miniseries have been taking up the brunt of his last year of storytelling. It’s nice to see the character move on from his previous missions for something new and it’s in good hands with Hallum and Hepburn. Add to this a backup by Cates and Shaw that seems to be putting a period on the character and this is an excellent new direction for the character.