Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Donny Cates
Artwork: Dylan Burnett, Antonio Fabela (colours)
Lettering: VC’s CLayton Cowles
Release Date: 4th July 2018
Aside from Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw’s critically acclaimed “Thanos Wins” run being all kinds of awesome, it also bore witness to the creation of one of the most unapologetically insane characters – in every sense of the word – to come to Marvel for quite some time: Cosmic Ghost Rider.
Fans went wild for him, so, as usually happens in these kinds of situations, the character was yanked back from the jaws of death into his own new ongoing series, the first issue of which went on sale this past Wednesday.
Thankfully, Cates is back at the helm, showing the same willfully irreverent humour that first caught my attention all those years ago with Dark Horse’s The Paybacks. We get to see Frank Castle sent to Valhalla, crossing paths with Odin himself, before being given a new lease of life and immediately heading back to mete out a little Punisher-style justice to the one man he thinks deserves it most of all. No prizes for guessing who that is, given the guy’s history.
I’ll admit that I’m not particularly familiar with Dylan Burnett’s previous work, but man is he pretty much the perfect artist for a series like this. With a bold, energetic style and some hilariously cartoonish facial expressions, there’s never any real danger of things being taken too seriously, which is absolutely the right way to go for this particular character. Movement and impact is captured brilliantly, the cosmic sections are given a wonderfully epic sense of scale, and the whole thing is just an absolute joy to look at, quite frankly.
Adding to the visual package is Antonio Fabela, who completely buys into the crazy tone that Cates and Burnett are going for with a bold, in-your-face colour palette that infuses the pages with a real sense of energy throughout. Seriously, Asgard and the Rainbow Bridge never looked so damn appealing.
The story itself sees Cates pushing the envelope like only he can, and there are a couple of beautiful build-up moments that culminate into an air-punching splash, including the final page which, let’s be honest, pretty much needs to be made into a poster or T-shirt right now. I’d buy it, that’s for sure.
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.