Cosmic Ghost Rider has been an interesting character to me. A future Frank Castle who at some point becomes a Ghost Rider as well as a herald of Galactus, the character felt a bit like Wolverine in that he was everywhere and a little oversaturated. Then there was a break, a rather long break. Now, the character is back with Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 and while the foundation of the comic is interesting, the execution is a little frustrating.
In a far-flung corner of deep space, Frank Castle has eked out a quiet existence, his days as Cosmic Ghost Rider finally behind him. But, that peace is threatened as another being calling himself Cosmic Ghost Rider is leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.
Writer Stephanie Phillips delivers an opening chapter that is a western in space. A man is haunted by his past and wants to find peace but is dragged back into action. It’s a story we’ve seen many times, over and over and they usually follow a familiar beat and pattern.
Phillips nails those beats in the opening chapter up until the very end of the story which, with a twist, makes what you’ve read all questionable. It’s a twist that will better play out in the second issue but as presented it makes the debut a bit confusing and honestly, might make readers wonder what they just read and why. It’s hard to go into that detail without spoiling things but it’s very Newhart and not in a good way.
The art by Juan Cabal is interesting. With coloe by Espen Grundetjern and lettering by Travis Lanham, the style fits the “futuristic western” setting nicely. There’s a little Bravestarr to it but overall it captures an old man trying to find peace without becoming too dark and depressing. Frank might be a little too clean, overall everything is, but small details gives a good sense about this world and the life Frank is living.
Phillips does double duty in writing though with a second story dubbed “Cosmic Ghost Stories”. With art by Jonas Scharf, color by Arif Prianto, and lettering by Lanham, the second story continues some of the themes from the first, the haunting of Frank Castle. We’re taken through his life as he confronts the horrors of the past. It’s a solid way to catch up readers on the major things they need to know, an easy and entertaining way to info dump. It’d be nice to get some more of this with key moments in the character’s existence, even throwing in tidbits that might not have been revealed before.
Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 isn’t a bad start but the issue feels a little short and could have used some more pages. Where the main story cuts off and where it leaves readers is a little frustrating and jarring. Hopefully, it smooths out with the second issue but as a whole, while there’s potential here, the comic overall doesn’t quite have the hook it could have.
Story: Stephanie Phillips Art: Juann Cabal, Jonas Scharf
Color: Espen Grundetjern, Arif Prianto Letterer: Travis Lanham
Stroy: 7.5 Art: 8.15 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: TFAW – Zeus Comics – comiXology/Kindle