WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History #6 by Paul Scheer & Nick Giovannetti and Todd Nauck.
The newest miniseries about the Cosmic Ghost Rider, Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History revealed how the character has secretly impacted, and interfered with, established Marvel Comics continuity. However, previous issues hinted that not only do the rest of the superheroes not have any memory of his influence, but that the world has no collective memory of him, either.
The latest (and final) issue of Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History divulges the reason why. Along the way, it's also revealed that this version of Frank Castle actually interfered with a major Marvel crossover, potentially changing the fate of a major character as a result.
WHATEVER HAPPENED TO FRANK?
Cosmic Ghost Rider Destroys Marvel History has featured a framing device in which the future Frank Castle has decided to be be the side of his family on the day they're fated to die. His mission has always been to change the future by saving their lives, preventing him from ever becoming the Punisher. But it's revealed that by becoming the Cosmic Ghost Rider and inadvertently dooming (and then saving) the universe, the death of Frank Castle's family has become a fixed point in time. It can't be changed without severely damaging all of reality. When the day comes, Uatu the Watcher arrives with the Infinity Gauntlet. He freezes time, and ensures the deaths of the Castle family.
Uatu also goes to great lengths to alter the tweaks Cosmic Ghost Rider made to the past, hiding his involvement. He erases any memory of him from the assorted heroes and traps a broken Cosmic Ghost Rider on the Raft. Frank ends up being discovered there instead of the Sentry during the New Avengers storyline "Breakout."
It's Frank who saves Foggy Nelson and rips Carnage apart in space, potentially altering the Sentry's (already odd) history within the Marvel Universe. But instead of joining the New Avengers, Frank enters into self-imposed exile. Without his family, he has nothing to fight for, no reason to keep changing history. He refuses Tony's offer to join the team and instead lays low until the events of Original Sin.
Released in 2014, Original Sin centered around the mysterious murder of Uatu. It was eventually revealed that the original Nick Fury, after having spent decades protecting Earth from secret threats like "the man on the wall," was the one who pulled the trigger on the Watcher.
Even though Uatu's armory had been robbed and one of his eyes had been stolen, he refused to tell Fury the identity of the thieves because it would break his vow of non-interference. Eventually, Fury shot Uatu and stole his eye so he could find the culprits of the robbery and stop them from using Uatu's armor for nefarious purposes.
However, it's now revealed that during the fateful moment where Fury stared down Uatu, Cosmic Ghost Rider arrived at the Watcher's base. Confronting the pair, Cosmic Ghost Rider and the Watcher revealed to Fury that he wouldn't be the one to pull the trigger.
Instead, Frank speaks with Uatu briefly. Uatu tried to apologize for forcing Frank's family to die, but Frank has come to accept the importance of his loss. They look up at the stars together for a moment before Cosmic Ghost Rider shoots Uatu dead and leaves the eye for Fury.
WHAT THIS MEANS
This is actually a huge change for the Marvel Universe and, more specifically, Nick Fury. After he was revealed to have been the one to kill Uatu, Nick Fury was cursed by the rest of the Watchers. He was forced to inherit the powers and role of Earth-616's Watcher, becoming known as the Unseen. It's as a tragic fate for Fury, who'd dedicated his entire life to protecting his homeworld. Now, he'd be forced to watch every threat that comes to the planet but be unable to do anything about it.
Having Cosmic Ghost Rider as the true culprit makes this fate even worse. It means that Fury is suffering a terrible punishment for a crime he never committed. It should be Cosmic Ghost Rider who is chained to the Earth's moon instead of flying around the cosmos.
But it seems that the future Frank Castle still has a role to play in the future of the Marvel Universe, given his involvement in the upcoming "Challenge of the Ghost Riders" story in Avengers. Still, it's a major retcon that could one day allow for the release and return of the original Nick Fury.
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