WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Cosmic Ghost Rider #1 by Donny Cates, Dylan Burnett, Antonio Fabela and VC's Clayton Cowles, in stores now.
Who is the Cosmic Ghost Rider? Well, it's a little complicated. Frank Castle was the Punisher, see? And in an alternate timeline, when Thanos invaded Earth, Castle took part in the battle against the Mad Titan -- only to be killed along with pretty much everyone else on the planet.
However, this wasn't the end for the skull-sporting vigilante -- once he found himself in Hell, the Punisher struck a deal with Mephisto and became the Spirit of Vengeance. Then, after spending a few hundred years alone on Earth, Galactus came knocking, imbuing Castle/Ghost Rider with the power cosmic in order to become his newest herald. The result? Marvel's got another character fans were quick to demand more from.
The character first appeared in Donny Cates and Geoffrey Shaw's "Thanos Wins" storyline, an arc that ended with Cosmic Ghost Rider getting killed by a Mjolnir-wielding Silver Surfer. The character is proving to have as many lives as a cat, because the Cosmic Ghost Rider is back, this time starring in his own solo series having been brought back from the dead by the Asgard's All-Father, Odin. However, this isn't really a solo title -- he's coming with a very special guest in tow: Baby Thanos.
An endless lifetime of leisure in Valhalla wasn't good enough for the restless Frank Castle, so the Asgardian king reverted him to his cosmic form. What's more -- and this is at the center of the series -- Odin also gave Castle a choice to go anywhere in time and space to start his new journey. For Castle, there is only one answer: Titan, at the time of Thanos' birth.
Castle wants to change everything, to stop the genocidal maniac before he ever has a change to get started. After all, were it not for Thanos, the Cosmic Ghost Rider would never have come to be in the first place -- he is the source of his predicament, and of his misery. No Thanos means no attack on Earth, which means there's no Cosmic Ghost Rider.
There's only one problem. When Castle finds Thanos in his crib, it proves there's a bit of a hero left inside him still. No matter what Thanos grows up to become, it doesn't change the fact that, as a child, he is nothing more than a
defenseless innocent. But this doesn't mean Castle can't try to change his fate. Instead of killing the baby, he decides to take him for his own, and bring him on his adventures through the cosmos. Perhaps then will that change the course of time, and perhaps Thanos will grow up to become something different.
Or perhaps not. Whatever happens, it will be interesting to see if the future of the Mad Titan can be changed, or if he will grow up to become the nefarious villain he's always been.