The phrase "pallete cleanser" feels like it has somewhat of a negative connotation, but here I mean that phrase in a positive way.
As an occasional fan of Cates' writing I've been meaning to read this for a while, and with the announcement of a new Cosmic Ghost Rider series coming soon, it motivated me to go back and read the stories he's in written by Cates, both handily collected in this one nice oversized hardcover.
These days I tend to switch between indie comics and superhero comics, so this was a nice breather in between some tonally heavier indies. If you have experience with any of Cates' Marvel writing you probably know what to expect here.
Fun, blockbuster action on a bombastic, cinematic scale with some larger than life characters. In "Thanos Wins" the first major story in this collection, it was interesting to see the reflection on Thanos as a character in a way I wasn't expecting. Additionally as someone who loved God Country, and some of Crossover both written by Cates and illustrated by Geoff Shaw, it was great to finally read one of their Marvel collaborations here.
Then there's not too much to say about the Cosmic Ghost Rider mini-series, but it was very entertaining. The art by Dylan Burnett was energetic and exciting, and it was nice to get the spotlight on the Rider himself. The story was wild, thrilling, and just what I wanted and expected really.
One thing I appreciated that stood out to me about this was how complete it felt as collection. Also included with those two 5 issue stories I mentioned above was an annual, and a story from "Thanos Legacy #1", a one-shot released back in 2018 around the time of the Infinity Wars event.
The annual was a highlight, with some stories that felt both funny and comically tragic, some that were just tragic with a sinister feel, and overall it was a very entertaining annual. It was fun in particular to see the story of the Rider carry through "Thanos Wins", the annual, and then into his solo mini-series, which is part of why this collection felt so complete and satisfying to me.
Finally as someone who started reading single issues weekly in 2018, that read and enjoyed the Infinity Wars event, it was fun to read something involving Thanos that built off that and led into Cates & Shaw's Guardians run, which I still need to read eventually.
Overall a fun ride of a collection that's worth a read if you're interested and haven't read these stories already, particularly as a potential breather between more serious reads, like I mentioned at the start of this review.
You can also find his podcast on Twitter @JoeTalksComics, which you can listen to through Anchor, where you can find links to the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify, or you can click those hyperlinks directly.