Plenty of versions of Ghost Rider existed over the long course of the character’s existence. Several individuals in history have held the mantle of Ghost Rider, and some are more popular than others, but did you know that Francis Castle, aka Punisher, was at one point a Ghost Rider, and not only that, he was among the most powerful versions of the character. Today, we decided to explore this as we analyze who exactly is Cosmic Ghost Rider and how powerful he is.
Cosmic Ghost Rider is The Punisher from Earth-TRN666, a reality where Thanos won and decimated all of Earth’s heroes in the catastrophic battle of New York. During the fight, Frank Castle found himself mortally injured by a piece of flying debris, and upon his death, he sold his soul to Mephisto, which transformed him into Ghost Rider. Ghost Rider spent eons on Earth alone, waiting for the chance to get back at Thanos. Galactus happened upon Earth eventually and granted Castle the powers of his Herald, transforming him into Cosmic Ghost Rider. Cosmic Ghost Rider has all the powers of the Ghost Rider and Power Cosmic, which ultimately makes him one of the most powerful versions of the character.
There’s more to this story than we can fit into a single paragraph, so if you’re interested in how Ghost Rider doublecrossed several powerful characters at once, stay with us and keep reading!
Punisher died during the battle for Earth but was resurrected by Mephisto
Francis Castle of Earth-TRN666 had a nearly identical background as his Earth-616 version, and when Thanos came to Earth in order to annihilate all life, he joined the last stand against the cosmic tyrant fighting side by side with the Earth’s mightiest heroes. Punisher witnessed Thanos tearing Iron Man in half and killing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and several other notable heroes. Everything was lost, or so it seemed at the time.
But what’s interesting is that Thanos wasn’t directly responsible for Castle’s death. He died when he was hit by debris thrown by Hulk. But, he decided to direct his rage toward Thanos, who was directly responsible for the chaos.
Upon dying, Punisher ended up in Hell and met Mephisto, who offered him the deal. Punisher claimed that he would have given everything to punish Thanos and gets his revenge on him, and Mephisto accepted the deal and infused Castle with the Spirit of Vengeance, making him the next Ghost Rider. And this is the story of how Ghost Rider was created, but what’s up with the Cosmic part? This is where Galactus comes in.
How did Ghost Rider become the Herald of Galactus?
After Punisher was transformed into Ghost Rider, he spent a couple of eons just wandering around. But after Thanos decimated almost the population of the Universe, there was nothing to avenge and no one to kill. After some time, Thanos even managed to kill Mephisto, which pushed Ghost Rider nearly to the brink of insanity until Galactus happened upon Earth.
Galactus was hunted across the stars by Thanos, and he actually came to Earth to seek help from Richards and other heroes who helped him in the past, but all he came across was a lone Ghost Rider.
Galactus explained to Ghost Rider that Thanos moved from the regular species like humans, Kree, and Skrulls and was slowly moving up when it came to the celestial pantheon, killing the Watchers and the gods of the North. Galactus knew it was only a matter of time before Thanos’ bloody rampage caught up to him.
Hearing that, Ghost Rider recognized the opportunity to gain more power and the opportunity to really hurt Thanos. He proposed to Galactus that he makes him his Herald, and in turn, Galactus can eat Earth if he wants to. And this is how Cosmic Ghost Rider was created, but it was not the last deal that he will make.
Cosmic Ghost Rider eventually betrayed Galactus and joined Thanos
Galactus and Cosmic Ghost Rider, now officially Herald, fought for ages side by side, offering resistance to Thanos’ advance, but soon, Thanos caught up with them and defeated Galactus.
Thanos noticed that he could not kill Cosmic Ghost Rider (because only god can kill him) and offered him a deal. If Cosmic Ghost Rider joins his cause, he will show him unimaginable evil that he can punish. Since Ghost Rider’s primary purpose was to punish the evil-doers, he accepted, and he became the right hand of Thanos.
The Fallen One ultimately defeated Cosmic Ghost Rider
Cosmic Ghost Rider, now serving as Thanos’ lapdog, was crucial in bringing younger Thanos to the current timeline. Now Old, King Thanos granted a piece of Time Stone to Rider, so he could go past and fetch his younger self. The Rider gave younger Thanos a tour of the palace. He saw the insanity that surrounded his older version. He even kept Hulk as his pet, forcing him to eat Captain America.
Seeing this, Thanos wondered what the point of him being brought to the future was. Ghost Rider told him that King Thanos needed him to stand beside them in a battle to defeat the Fallen One, A Silver Surfer deemed worthy of Mjolnir. Thanos accepted, and they managed to defeat The Fallen One and his order of warriors, but not before Ghost Rider was smashed to pieces by the Fallen One.
Cosmic Ghost Rider died, and after Thanos figured out that King Thanos actually needed him to kill his older self, so he could be with Lady Death, he got pissed that King Thanos was acting so pathetic and decided to erase that reality altogether, which means that Cosmic Ghost Rider was erased from the reality as well. Or was he?
Cosmic Ghost Rider was resurrected by Odin
Odin will eventually resurrect Cosmic Ghost Rider and grant him a place in Valhalla, but the Rider instead decides to travel back in time and kill Thanos in his crib, which was actually impossible since, at that age, Thanos was still as innocent as any child, free of all crimes. This is what motivated Frank to kidnap Thanos and raise him according to his own standard.
And even though this version of Thanos didn’t follow the same path when it came to the annihilation of all life in the Universe, he became a different type of tyrant eventually, which once again prompted Castle to hate him and try to get rid of him.
How powerful is Cosmic Ghost Rider?
Considering that Cosmic Ghost Rider has combined powers of Spirit of Vengeance and Power Cosmic, he is extremely powerful, among the most powerful entities in the Marvel Universe.
Cosmic Ghost Rider had at his disposal some standard Rider powers such as Penance Stare, Hellfire manipulation, and Mystical Chain. But he also had the powers to travel through dimensions, project powerful cosmic energies, and use telekinesis to a major extent.
Cosmic Ghost Rider’s signature ability, however, remains his “Cosmic Penance Stare” This is your usual Penance Stare but with a twist, empowered by Power Cosmic.
By using Cosmic Penance Stare, Ghost Rider can incinerate sinners from the inside out with cosmic energies, no matter whether they feel remorseful for their sins or not. And even though in the past, it’s been shown that Penance Stare won’t work on some special characters (like the Punisher or Thanos), the same exemption from the general rules of Penance Stare isn’t valid when it comes to Cosmic Penance Stare. It’s capable of frying even the biggest cosmic psychopath.
And this is the story of the Cosmic Ghost Rider and his lengthy journey to acquire his powers. Have something to add? Let us know in the comments below!