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Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 (of 5)

Comicscore Index
Generally favorable ratings

Based on 11 critic ratings.


Frank Castle was the Punisher. A deal with the devil made him Ghost Rider. A deal with Galactus made him cosmic. A deal with Thanos made him…DEAD?!? Not to worry, he’s coming back, and he’s got a plan to make the universe a better place that’s going to lead him into an even CRAZIER adventure than he’s ever been in!

Join hot new comic (and cosmic?) writer Donny Cates (THANOS, DOCTOR STRANGE) as he pushes his wildest creation past the breaking point!

Publication Date
Kindle Edition
Print Length
23 pages
Amazon ASIN

11 Critic Ratings & Reviews from:
  • 100

    Horror DNA

    Cosmic Ghost Rider is already an interesting enough story on its own. Then it goes on to look at one of the quintessential questions about time travel, although through the lens of the Marvel Universe. If you could go back in time and kill Hitler as a baby, would you do it? I was not expecting this, nor the outcome of the issue. Writer Donny Cates is on to something great with this book (and with a lot of his comics in general. The guy can write some amazing comics.).

    I had no prior knowledge of Cosmic Ghost Rider before jumping into this issue. Now he’s one of my favorite Marvel characters. The comic opens with a brief recap of his life up until this point, told in defining images and one word captions that instantly gets you up to speed. I most definitely have to go back and read Cates’ run on Thanos where this character is introduced. That’s what I can do in the time before the next issue arrives because I need some more Cosmic Ghost Rider right now.

  • 100

    Cosmic Ghost Rider is exactly what you’d expect: delightfully delicious mayhem. Mixing fantastic elements of Punisher, Ghost Rider, and Thor stories, this new series takes a heavy-metal stab at reworking the history of several of Marvel’s most notorious characters. The book is bright, the dialogue is crisp, and you haven’t lived until you’ve seen Odin the All-father himself tell Frank Castle to f*** himself.

  • 90

    Big Comic Page

    With this series, Cates and Burnett have managed to make things just the right amount of crazy, with a mixture of humour and epic-scale storytelling that really hits the mark. Providing a heavy metal dose of full-throttle insanity, Cosmic Ghost Rider is one of the most unashamedly bonkers comics on the shelves today, and for that reason alone, it’s a new series that I have no problem highly recommending.

  • 90

    Comic Spectrum

    The first issue of this series is captivating. Dialogue is well laid out and the story doesn’t hold back some major questions that readers may have. Frank has questions while in Valhalla for the Gods, and even Odin can’t look him in the eye when Frank is seeking answers. Artist Dylan Burnett brings a high rank of skill to the series, his scenery is breathtaking, and his action panels are intense. Frank transforming into the Ghost Rider is painful and chaotic, Burnett lets this be known with a fierce sequence augmented by Colorist Antonio Fabela capturing the vivid moments of pain, torture, and hatred.

    I was skeptical to grab this comic without reading the Thanos series, but Cates really helped me as a reader to understand the story once I dove in. The only thing that is still questionable to me is the choice that Frank makes in going back in time. The idea could produce a great story in the future, but it puzzled me that Frank states he is going back to where things went downhill for him, and it’s not when his family was killed, or when he sold his soul to the devil. These two moments alone should be the highest horrible moments in Franks life, but I guess Donny Cates had a different opinion. Even with that mismatch between what I expected and what Cates delivered, I still thoroughly enjoyed the issue and will be back for more next month.

  • 82

    Sequential Planet

    Cosmic Ghost Rider #1
    Marvel Comics
    Writer: Donny Cates
    Artist: Dylan Burnett

    Word has been out for a while now about Cosmic Ghost Rider and his adventures; his deals he has made. The guy literally “wheeled and dealed” his way around the galaxy until he was finally struck down by the Mad Titan. Make no mistake. Frank Castle went through Hell to get here. Was it worth the trip?

    The pages on display in this review briefly show the scenes of everything it took for Frank Castle to get here. Pretty succinct, huh? I thought so. At the end of Thanos Annual #1, Frank Castle is taken to Valhalla by Odin. Now in Valhalla, he fights for fun and spends his nights reflecting on his VERY long past. Odin eventually gives Frank the chance to don the flaming garb of the Spirit of Vengeance once again. Only this time Odin is willing to use his magic to send Frank to anywhere in time. All Frank has to do is pick when he wants to go to. He chooses to…READ THE ISSUE! I’m not spoiling this one, folks.

    Donny Cates…talk about the “it” guy right now. This guy is on fire in the comic book world and he delivers another quality piece of material. He is setting up a limited comic series with unlimited possibilities. Cates actually has a very good moment in this issue where we don’t know what is going to happen next, but whatever happens, we have never seen it before. I’m mentioned the opening pages already, but LOOK AT THEM! This is how Cates chose to open this comic. To feed us all this information. Twelve panels and we know enough of the story to get started. We don’t know where Frank is headed after this issue, but I have no doubt it will be a good ride and that confidence is all thanks to Cates.
    Any series containing Ghost Rider means there is a ton of potential for awesome artwork. I am always honest in my reviews, so there is no use in holding back now. Burnett seems to be on easy street the first half of the issue. Looking at his Odin lets me know this guy can draw a pretty good Santa Claus if he had to. Now onto the good stuff! Once Frank’s head is replaced by the flame-brain the artwork comes alive like the Devil screaming out of the pipes of Cosmic Ghost Rider’s bike. Burnett can draw this character and all that embodies him. There are some other panels that really catch my eye that doesn’t include our main character, but Burnett seems to save all of his time for drawing fire and demons and I have no problems with that.

    With only four issues left of this series, it already feels too short and that’s high praise after one issue. If Cates keeps us knocked back on our heels with his story and Burnett keeps crushing the character art like he is then this series will leave a mark. Maybe it won’t cure polio…wait…I think we already have that*. Either way, this series will at least be a lot of fun to read.

  • 80


    I liked this first issue. The color art and pencil work are nearly perfect for a book like this. The character is thoroughly humanized and sent on a new mission. It simply takes too long to get into its groove. It’s the kind of book you wanted to jam out to, but it ends up being a slow cut that dovetails into a memorable guitar lick you won’t want to stop.

  • 76

    Monkeys Fighting Robots

    The story is fun, and the characters are nuts! Baby Thanos and Cosmic Ghost Rider Marvel Team-Up sounds epic! I have faith in Cates to make an exciting story. My hope is that the art team or even art style change.

  • 73

    Multiversity Comics

    Cates and Burnett are successful in bringing a crazy, high-level concept character down to the ground, only to then take him into even more impossible journeys. Hopefully the rest of the mini will be just as energized – in terms of the script and on how the art portrays it as it moves forward.

  • 70

    Doom Rocket

    At the end of the day, the Cosmic Ghost Rider is… well… weird as heck! It’s such an utterly bizarre concept that it’s frankly hard to foresee CGR becoming a real breakout character in the way that Venom once did thirty years ago. (Side note: Donny Cates also launched a new Venom series last month, to an astounding level of both consumer and critical acclaim.) But for those who have been thrilling to the recent Thanos series, and are waiting for that story to come back – in whatever form it eventually does – this looks to be a fun side quest in the meantime, featuring of one of its major characters.

    And for those Marvel readers who are always looking for something a little off the beaten path?

    Well now. You can’t get much further than this!

  • 60

    Major Spoilers

    In short, Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 takes a concept that absolutely should not work and devotes energy to make it sing, and while it’s not narratively perfect, it has energetic art and a story that engages me as a reader. I’m not sure that it’s going to stand the test of time, but it is enthusiastic and charismatic, making it worth a reader’s time.

  • 50


    It’s simply not original. It’s a rehearsed Punisher idea that everyone eats up because there’s been almost 21 years, I mean the idea is old enough to drink! Back in 1998, Marvel Knights published a 4-issue Punisher mini-series called Purgatory. Till this day, it remains one of the lowest points in the Punisher’s career. It even saw a sequel where he teamed up with Wolverine. Anyway, in this story, ‘Purgatory,’ the Punisher at his lowest point apparently sticks a gun in his mouth and pulls the trigger, killing himself after his apperance in Ka-Zar a few months earlier. The Punisher is sent to Hell and then resurrected by a rogue angel as a spirit of vengeance which people can call upon in their hour of need. He became an urban myth, a legend on the street frightening both the guilty and innocent. It was a terrible idea then and well… dare I say it seems terrible now, yet Cates somehow was able to dress it up and sell it to the public. Granted, it’s not the same deal yet, in a way, it rings similar.

    It could be a simple coincidence, but I hope not. I hope Cates looked at Punisher: Purgatory and said, “I can do better.” I love when writers dig into the annals of Marvel continuity and find hooks. Sort of how Thanos Wins almost screams of Marvel The End. Don’t get me wrong, both ideas are so different they can stand on their own but at the core they are all the same. Far future, Thanos wins, the Punisher dies, and he is reborn as the Spirit of Vengeance.

    Saving grace is Marvel or Cates really hedged their bets on this book by making it a five-issue miniseries. Usually by the solicitations of issues 5 and 6 the longevity of a new series is determined.

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