On June 29, 2018, the comic book community lost an icon. Steve Ditko, one of the men who helped revolutionize the comic book industry, passed away at the age of 90. Ditko gave us as readers and fans some spectacular stories and amazing characters. And in his honor, I’ve compiled a list of what I consider to be the five best characters he’s ever created or co-created.
I will be the first to admit, when it was announced that Ta-Nehisi Coates would relaunch the Star-Spangled Avenger with Captain America #1, I was really surprised. I had long admired Coates’ work on Black Panther, and I’m very much enjoying the current “Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda” storyline he’s writing, I just hadn’t thought he’d want to write any title other than Black Panther. I’m very glad he ended up branching out, however, because I absolutely loved the first issue of this new story. This is a story about the international and domestic ramifications of Hydra’s US takeover. On the domestic front, the audience sees that Captain America’s legacy has been tarnished, perhaps beyond repair. And not only has America lost faith in Cap, but Cap’s lost faith in America. America has forgot the values she was built on and allowed Hydra (led by a Hydra manipulated cosmic cube clone of Cap) to so easily take control. This first issue, beautifully drawn by Leinil Francis Yu (like everything he draws), sees Cap fighting members of the Nuke Army, enhanced soldiers with the American flag tattooed on their faces and twisted views on America, before being told to stand down by the U.S. government. Soon after, Cap has decided, even though he’s not officially sanctioned anymore, to find out who has poisoned his country, which will have him face his toughest enemy yet. The international consequences show us a potentially deadlier threat, with anti-American sentiments being spread throughout Russia under the guise of these sentiments being anti-Hydra.
Donny Cates has been on a roll recently. Since he started writing for Marvel Comics he’s worked on and finished Thanos, Doctor Strange, and Doctor Strange: Damnation, and currently writing Venom, Death of the Inhumans, and the subject of this review, Cosmic Ghost Rider, all of which have proven massively popular with fans so far. His short but sweet run on Thanos gave us the instantly classic Thanos Wins story, in which the titular character is whisked eons into the future by his older self in order to kill the last remaining opposition to his rule and finally allow him to be with Lady Death, his one true love. One of the most intriguing additions to the Marvel Universe that Cates gave us was the Cosmic Ghost Rider, a former servant of Mephisto, herald of Galactus, and now Black Right Hand of Thanos. Fans found the Cosmic Ghost Rider endearing due to his insane personality and the fact that he’s not Johnny Blaze, Danny Ketch, or Robbie Reyes, but Frank Castle, the vigilante formerly known as The Punisher.
Marvel is nearing the end of their current era of films, with many of their current stars nearing the end of their contracts and other franchises, such as the Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers, ending. Because of that, I’ve put together a list of the ten properties that Marvel could certainly turn into bankable franchises. I’ve excluded characters and teams associated with the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, since we’re pretty much guaranteed to get those movies now that the Fox/Disney merger has been approved by the US Department of Justice.