There are comics where anything goes. Marvel’s recently rebooted What If? series comes to mind. Then there is Donny Cates, who seems to instill an anything goes perspective on everything he does. The Cosmic Ghost Rider is one of those projects, with each page taking out you to places you did not expect. Each issue has a focus, but there’s still no telling what will be said or done. This issue continues that trend.
So what’s it about?
Read our preview.
Why does this matter?
Look, Ghost Rider is now being wielded by Frank Castle aka Punisher who also happens to be instilled with the power cosmic from Galactus. He’s also babysitting a baby Thanos and attempting to teach the little murderer something about goodness and being better. It’s failing spectacularly.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is beginning to get at the point of what this is all about while still delivering on ridiculous moments and big surprises. Cosmic Ghost Rider is basically fed up with Thanos and wants to fix the brat, but last issue he learned he may have made him a new version of worse. Emblazoned with a Punisher logo on his chest, a grown up Thanos appears to be as murderous as ever. This issue shows us how that new future looks and it’s a mix of good and bad. At its core though, this book is about not being able to change the past and that maybe we all must live out our destiny.
One of the more interesting aspects of this issue is seeing how an adult Thanos interacts with Cosmic Ghost Rider after he was his father for so many years. Frank has only been in charge of the baby for a few hours so it’s a decidedly weird situation. There isn’t a lot of action in this issue, but you don’t need it given the way Frank reacts to Thanos and his alternate adult self. This entire narrative is an elseworlds in nature, and yet still seems pertinent to the bigger picture thanks to the deeper meaning taking place.
Dylan Burnett continues to draw a great book and the bright colors by Antonio Fabela hammer home the odd story we have here. The very first full page splash–a close up of Punisher’s chest–is a great example of how the use of color and pencils help tell such a wacky story. Burnett’s pencils here focus your eye on the meaning of the symbol which pay off later when we see it attributed in a bigger way. Seeing Thanos wear such a costume is almost ridiculous and yet it makes sense given the great facial expressions on the character. He seems somehow at peace having been reared by Frank. That adds to the interesting complexity of this relationship.
It can’t be perfect can it?
It’s sad to see where this story is going on a certain level since it does in fact repeat what we’ve seen before. Not literally, but at its core Cosmic Ghost Rider is yet again thrust into a position of weakness and servitude. Given the energy of the series so far and how wacky its ideas are I’d hope to see this character do something else. It’s crushing for the character, and maybe that’s why it’s so upsetting to me, but the series has seemed to break out of its box up until this point. This issue seems to suggest nothing has changed at all.
Is it good?
A good issue that continues to blow the doors off your expectations.
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