Today's issue of Thanos came with the surprising revelation of who the new, cosmic Ghost Rider is.
SPOILER WARNING for Thanos #15. Spoilers follow.
Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw recently took over Thanos. When they did, they introduced a unique premise. Thanos has been summoned into the future by his own triumphant self from later in his timeline.
Present day Thanos needed to be brought to the future by force. Future Thanos wasn’t going to bother getting his hands dirty on this little task, so instead Thanos sent the Ghost Rider to do his bidding.
This Ghost Rider wasn’t Johnny Blaze, Robbie Reyes, or any of the other Ghost Riders that Marvel fans have met before. For one thing, this Ghost Rider was endowed with both the spirit of vengeance and the power cosmic as a result of having been Galactus’ herald before Thanos defeated the world-eater. This Ghost Rider is also pretty chatty and possibly a bit deranged.
In Thanos #15, the cosmic Ghost Rider finally revealed his name: Frank Castle. That's right, the Punisher somehow became the herald of Galactus and possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance as the Ghost Rider.
There have been plenty of different Marvel characters to call themselves Ghost Rider. These have typically been characters created to be Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze, Daniel Ketch, Robbie Reyes. However, if the Punisher can become a Ghost Rider, then all bets are off.
So we decided to take a look at the vast library of characters in the Marvel Universe and consider which other heroes would make for interesting choices to become a new Ghost Rider. Some of them are natural fits, others oddball choices, but we think they all bring something interesting to the Ghost Rider concept.
Keep reading to see 10 more Marvel heroes who should become Ghost Rider.
Ghost Rider is the Spirit of Vengeance, and who better personifies "vengeance" than the occasionally feral mutant known as Wolverine.
The crux of most Wolverine stories come down to whether or not this man can contain his animal instincts. Its a challenge because of the Weapon X experiments that were designed to amplify those animal urges and degrade Logan's humanity.
We imagine a story where Wolverine becomes Ghost RIder would be that deals with what happens when a third entity gets involved in that spiritual tug-of-war. The Spirit of Vengeance can be as cruel as Wolverine's worst instincts but still focused. Can Wolverine come back from whatever he does as the Ghost Rider?
The Devil of Hell's Kitchen has always been devoted to justice. What happens when justice becomes vengeance.
Matt Murdock has always walked a fine line. As a lawyer, he's devoted to the law. As a vigilante, he's devoted to protecting his neighborhood and using violence to make those who would prey on the innocent regret their actions.
When violence is involved, the line between justice and vengeance can be blurred very quickly. That Daredevil practically lives on that line makes him an easy choice to become host to the Spirit of Vengeance. Would Matt Murdock be able to maintain his life's balance?
Squirrel Girl would make an
Obviously, a story involving Squirrel Girl as Ghost Rider would be a very different kind of Ghost Rider story. Squirrel Girl has become popular by existing in a light-hearted corner of the Marvel Universe.
For her to become Ghost Rider the story would have to be some kind of parody or satire of the kinds of stories that Ghost Rider is normally involved with, blending Ghost Rider's grittiness with Squirrel Girl's fun.
When the cosmic Ghost Rider in Thanos was introduced, his bizarre personality and devil may care attitude led many fans to believe he would turn out to be Wade Wilson, aka Deadpool.
That turned out not to be the case, but that doesn't mean it isn't still a fun idea.
Deadpool is already a mercenary, so there's little of the moral quandary that would infect other characters possessed by the spirit of vengeance. In fact, being Ghost Rider would at least give Deadpool a clear mission.
Instead, this would be a purely visceral, violent romp of a comic book story.
Blade is already someone who runs in the same circles as Ghost Rider. Combining the two of them isn't that much of a stretch.
Blade is a vampire hunter with some vampiric traits. Giving him the powers of the Spirit of Vengeance could turn him into the ultimate supernatural monster killer.
A story where Blade becomes the Ghost Rider would have to be a supernatural blockbuster of a comic book. Blade has been policing the underworld for years. Now he has the power to truly burn it down.
This potentially could be the end all, be all of Blade stories.
Can a synthetic being be possessed by the spirit of vengeance? Why not find out.
Typically Ghost Riders are personified around their thirst for dealing out vengeance, a thirst brought out by the mandate of the Spirit of Vengeance itself.
Typically there's a balance that needs to be struck between the spirit's mission and humanity of its mortal host. But what if the spirit of vengeance's host had not humanity and no typical soul to share space with.
This would presumably become either a story about Vision overcoming the spirit's possession, or the other Avengers having to stop him themselves.
A story in which Black Widow becomes the Ghost Rider has the potential to take Ghost Rider out of the usual urban haunts where he deals with criminals and murderers and out into the wide world of international espionage and geopolitical intrigue.
One assumes that a spy who works on an international level like Black Widow has a different perspective on justice and vengeance than a stunt biker like Johnny Blaze.
How far would Black Widow go in her pursuit of vengeance? Could she assassinate world leaders? Would she topple entire governments? If she did choose to do so, what would stop her with the power of the spirit of vengeance?
According to Thanos, the cosmic Ghost Rider is Frank "The Punisher" Castle after being turned into a herald of Galactus.
But when Marvel fans hear "herald of Galactus," usually they think of a different character: the Silver Surfer.
The idea of someone who already wields the power cosmic being infused with the powers of the spirit of vengeance is a truly terrifying concept.
Imagine the Silver Surfer riding through the universe on a flaming surfboard, off the seek vengeance on any number of cosmic entities. A being of that power with that mission could alter the balance of power in the Marvel Universe forever.
The idea of a calm, pleasant person like Phil Coulson becoming the spirit of vengeance seems so far out there and that's what makes it such a great idea.
While Coulson is a staple of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not much has been done with him in the Marvel Comics Universe. Coulson was briefly the Ghost Rider in an episode of Marvel's Agents of SHIELD. Maybe Marvel Comics should run with that idea.
Coulson was recently killed by Deadpool, so this would be a neat way of bringing him back and giving him a redemptive story arc.
Plus, Lola surrounded by hellfire would just be cool.
Venom and Ghost Rider are already two characters that have quite a bit in common They're both violent anti-heroes who work on the streets of the Marvel Universe and aren't afraid to get blood on their hands in pursuit of justice.
They're also both heroes who have host bodies. So what happens when someone like Eddie Brock is taken by both an external possessor and an internal possessor.
Would the Venom symbiote and the Spirit of Vengeance be able to play well together? Or would they end up competing for control of Brock? And how many criminals would be left dead in their wake?