How Frank Castle Became the Cosmic Ghost Rider
As he begins destroying the Marvel Universe, look back at Cosmic Ghost Rider's origins alongside Thanos!
Alternate realities and possible futures have been a part of the Marvel Universe since it's beginning, and it's always interesting to see how well-known characters change given their cross-dimensional circumstances.
That's one of the reasons readers seem so drawn to Cosmic Ghost Rider, whose COSMIC GHOST RIDER DESTROYS MARVEL HISTORY launched this week from Paul Scheer, Nick Giovannetti, and Gerardo Sandoval. And the other reason is that he's just delightfully bug-nutty!
But where did he come from and why does he seem so familiar? For that we have to look back at THANOS #13-18 by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw. In that first issue, the brand new character rode in like Hell on fire and interrupted Thanos' recent assumption of the throne on Chitauri Prime with howling laughter and blazing weapons.
With the combined might of the Power Cosmic and the Spirit of Vengeance, he quickly and simply told Thanos he needed to take him somewhere. After taking a titanic slug to the skull, Cosmic Ghost Rider used chains made from the bones of Cyttorak and a piece of the Time Stone to wrap Thanos up and take him to Earth millions of years in the future. To his boss...Thanos!
In this future, Thanos the Elder succeeded in his mission to wipe out nearly all life in existence for Death, but still needed to ice the Fallen One, hence bringing his younger self back to the future.
Readers may have been shocked when CGR introduced himself as Frank Castle, but the name didn't ring a bell for Thanos the Younger. Eons before, the man formerly known as the Punisher had survived until the older Thanos made his last attack on Earth, killing almost everyone in the process. Just before dying himself, Castle called out for vengeance and got it from Mephisto by becoming the new Ghost Rider. However, he gained the power after Thanos had already left!
Driven mad by his loneliness, near-immortality, and lack of purpose, he found himself the only one around when a dying Galactus appeared on Earth. After hearing about Thanos' rampage through space, Castle offered Galactus his services as a herald, which the Devourer accepted. They fought together for untold time until Thanos blasted Galactus' head clean off his body!
Though he still tried to defeat the killer, Cosmic Ghost Rider accepted Thanos' offer to work with him instead. In these later days, with almost everyone dead, Castle ran errands through time for his master, used his Penance Stare on Thanos every morning (the Mad Titan's favorite way of reliving his greatest hits), and fed the dog, known to modern scholars as the Hulk!
More importantly, he fought alongside both the young and old Thanos when the Fallen One–a Mjonir-wielding Silver Surfer–and his Annihilation Horde appeared for a final battle. Though he assumed he'd be evenly matched with his fellow former herald, Frank got smashed to pieces by Thor's hammer.
That wasn't the end for Cosmic Ghost Rider though! Odin gave him a place in Valhalla as a reward, but Frank bristled at the idea. Noting this, Odin returned his CGR powers to him and sent him to the time and place of his choosing. Castle intended to kill baby Thanos, but found no sin in the child yet. He then spent the rest of his own COSMIC GHOST RIDER limited series trying to raise the kid better than he had been, but that didn't exactly work out the way he wanted...
Most recently, he showed up for Thanos' funeral in the first few issues of the new GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY series and became a member of the team! And of course he's got another limited series just launched last week in COSMIC GHOST RIDER DESTROYS MARVEL HISTORY!
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