Writer: Stephanie Phillips
Art: Juann Cabal, Espen Grundetjern, VC’s Travis Lanham, Jonas Scarf, Arif Prianto, Morry Hollowell, and Valerio Giangiordano
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 1st, 2023
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 across the universe, a vicious bounty hunter is leaving a trail of bodies in his wake and his name is…Cosmic Ghost Rider?! When Frank’s peaceful existence is shattered, he must suit up once more and face his most savage enemy yet – himself! Be there for the start of a sprawling space adventure with shocking twists and turns in the saga of Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 by Stephanie Phillips.
If you’re interested in this comic, series, related trades, or any of the others mentioned, then simply click on the title/link to snag a copy through Amazon as you read the Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 Review.
Cosmic Ghost Rider is back people. However, I’d wait and temper your expectations before you get the popcorn ready just yet. Why? Well, because we spend a good chunk of the beginning getting to know this family that works at a bar where Frank seems to help out only for it to come across as a dream before all is said and done. Now, could this bar family actually be real? Sure. But why spend all this time on an opener to wish it all away in a dream? And it’s a good chunk of the issue.
Heck, Phillips spends a ton of time building up this town and the setting. So, it would stand to reason that even though Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 was just one dream after another, the bar and family are probably a mainstay in this series… at least you would think. Yet, shouldn’t the focus be more on the Cosmic Ghost Rider, where he’s been, and what he’s been up to?
Nevertheless, readers move into another story that kicks off with a minor grammar/ spelling error in the second installment. We all make mistakes so I can’t completely knock the editors on that one. Plus, many will read right over it because it’s ultimately a missing letter. However, the problem with the second story is that it’s also focusing on Frank dreaming. The premise of Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 appears to be throwing his past and guilt at him hand over fist. It’s showcasing all his past endeavors and trials, yet, not in a summarizing way.
To anyone unfamiliar with the Cosmic Ghost Rider looking for a place to jump on board, you won’t find that here. You’ll simply get a smattering of events thrown at you in a chaotic dream fashion that won’t make much sense at all. Nevertheless, to anyone who has been a die-hard Cosmic Ghost Rider fan, most of these characters and events thrown at you in the comic will be an unorthodox trip down memory lane.
Juann Cabal’s Cosmic Ghost Rider looks fantastic. However, I’m really digging the way his old, grisly Frank looks too. Cabal just draws people so well. When Frank wakes up from his first dream and he zooms in on his face, that’s some realistic renderings right there! Very impressive! Additionally, Cabal and Espen Grundetjern design a very crisp and clean layout that makes the first story easy on the eyes. Additionally, whether this was Phillips idea or Cabal’s, the town looks like it could be placed in the Mandalorian.
Now, Jonas Scarf’s take isn’t bad by any stretch. It’s just that his design is much more dark and eerie. However, where he shines is with his far-out character choices and dream design that’s pretty breathtaking. Plus, his Cosmic Ghost Rider’s fiery appearance is much more abrasive than Cabal’s. Overall, both artistic teams on each of their respectful stories were great compliments to one another and were strong highlights to this opening installment.
Readers, Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 goes nowhere. It’s just Frank stuck in dreams showcasing that he has a bounty on his head. We don’t get much. We don’t learn anything too new other than “maybe” the cold open. Truthfully, the preview blurb provides more information that the first issue, which is the opening paragraph of this review. Yet, that premise isn’t stated ANYWHERE in Cosmic Ghost Rider #1. So, if you don’t read the preview, how are you supposed to know what is going on? The issue felt like a conversation you have with someone who’s saying things in their mind but not saying them out loud to you directly. They think they’ve shared everything with you but they haven’t realized that they left out key parts. And I think that’s what Phillips has done this week.
Readers need to know the point and purpose of the series (or at least the vague idea) in the first issue. We get nothing but dream after dream. Who’s after Frank and why? Is it Kral and if so who is he? Did the Cosmic Ghost Rider actually do something to the Sakaarans or not? Is someone really using a magical gem to attack his dreams or not? The issue is too vague to affirm anything. I love the Cosmic Ghost Rider. I wanted to like this. And part of me still kind of does. However, I don’t know if my desire for the Comic to do well mixed with my appeal for the character is outweighing what is actually on the pages this week.