Writer: Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum
Artist: Scott Hepburn
Colorist: Antonio Fabela
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artists: Scott Hepburn & Antonio Fabela; Adam Gorham & Brian Reber; Gerardo Zaffino; Logan Lubera & Rachelle Rosenberg; Ron Lim & Israel Silva
Backup: Donny Cates (w); Geoff Shaw (a); Matt Milla (c)
Release Date: December 18th, 2019
The Cosmic Ghost Rider is back! What’s in store for the anti-hero hybrid of Punisher and Ghost Rider? Let’s unchain Dennis Hallum’s REVENGE OF THE COSMIC GHOST RIDER #1 and find out!
The issue opens with some gray long-hair in a Punisher tee being escorted through a Shi’ar prison. Hold on a tic, that’s our lovable anti-hero, Frank Castle! Get a haircut hippie! Frank’s guards, as well as his own inner dialogue and flashback panels, catch the reader up to what Castle has been doing and what has led to his imprisonment— you guessed it: a whole bunch of killing. Dennis Hallum does a good job reintroducing the character to old fans as well as introducing him to new ones. Some of Frank’s dialogue is pretty hokey, but Hallum’s overall narrative carries the story well.
It seems ol’ Frankie boy just wanted to be arrested in order to do some punishing, and even though random thug #1 gets in the first licks (a back-breaker Bane would be proud of), it’s not long before the inmates realize that Frank’s not locked in with them…THEY are locked in with him! Castle goes full Cosmic Ghost Rider, and Scott Hepburn’s transformation art, and ultimate full page spread of the CGR is just plain badass. Hepburn’s art throughout perfectly matches the fun tone of the story. The only hiccup is the consistency of Frank’s partner in this five issue mini, who we’ve yet to meet….
As Cosmic Ghost Rider wreaks havoc on the inmates and the prison itself, one guard manages to get to a self-destruct button and blow the whole place to hell. “Months later” a scavenger crew of pirates are collecting valuables from the debris, and one unlucky moron picks up a human skull he finds floating in space. The pirates board their ship with their space booty, and Hallum introduces readers to the aforementioned eventual partner of CGR, Cammi. She’s a tough broad who holds her own among the alien crew, and is very reminiscent of another space badass from the movie “Aliens”….
Frank’s skull sparks to life in an amusing scene, then goes about judging and punishing Cammi’s crew mates, rebuilding his body in the process. There’s a cute scene between Cammi and Cosmic Ghost Rider when the latter judges the former as an innocent. Dennis Hallum makes you really like this new character right out of the gate. The last few pages offer up what will likely be the series’ big bad and sets up the direction of future issues; readers can discover this for themselves.
Oh, and there’s also a short backup story about Cosmic Ghost Rider meeting his former self at his wife’s grave. It doesn’t feel very necessary, but it doesn’t feel like it’s stealing pages from the main story either. So no harm, no foul.
REVENGE OF THE COSMIC GHOST RIDER #1 does a good job of catching up old fans of the Frank Castle spin on Ghost Rider as well as introducing him to new readers. Dennis “Hopeless” Hallum tells a fun introductory tale to the mini, and Scott Hepburn’s art style absolutely fits. Even the backup story doesn’t detract from the issue. Aficionados of Punisher, Ghost Rider, and the combination of both should feel anything but “hopeless” about this series after issue number one.