Hey everybody, welcome to another edition of Marvel Snapshot! You know, every once in a while I get an itch to spotlight a character that some have never even heard of, or that is just on the periphery for others. The Red Ghost is one such character, and along with his Super Apes, will get the spotlight today! This Lee and Kirby creation from Fantastic Four #13 (vol. 1, 1963) is about as crazy as it gets, because you know as Sue would say…”Reed, we can’t let the Commies beat us to space.” OK, let’s get ready to get down to business.
Ivan Kragoff was a Russian scientist who was obsessed at reaching the moon and colonizing it for the Russians. He assembled a team that consisted of three apes, all of whom were trained for space travel and other duties. As Kragoff was preparing to take off, so were Reed Richards and his crew (Ben Grimm, Sue Storm, and Johnny Storm). Kragoff made a few better calculations than Reed, though, and he expected and hoped that the cosmic rays would empower him and his apes. They did, and then Kragoff and his crew were reborn. Kragoff obtained the ability to become invisible, while each ape also gained powers. Mikhlo received super strength and durability, Peotr the power over gravity (or magnetism), and Igor became a shape-shifter.
Immediately, the Red Ghost used his Super Apes to attack the Fantastic Four on the moon. He actually succeeded, but then was defeated when his Super Apes turned on him. As he was in retreat, he entered the home of The Watcher, but before he could do anything, he was thrust out of the structure by Uatu. The FF then captured him.
Later, the Red Ghost formed an alliance with the Mole Man, and tried to defeat the Avengers this time. That didn’t go any better, though, and he even later sided with Dr. Doom, as well, to try and defeat the Fantastic Four. Somewhere around this time, Kragoff lost his powers, but he eventually regained them and put them to better use this time. He attempted to steal a device from Tony Stark, that he though might return his powers to him, and it did , but it also gave him some sort of powers to turn into mist.
Eventually, the Red Ghost would come into conflict with Spider-Man. He was confronted by Spider-Man while trying to steal from Empire State University. Very shortly after that fight, he once again had to deal with Spider-Man. He also was part of Acts of Vengeance, and tried to steal from the Watcher again. An adventure with Attuma followed, where they fought the Defenders, but with no luck. He’s been spotted by comic book readers recently as well, so there’s no way of telling when or where he’ll strike next!
As usual, check out my recommended reading list, plus some great cover shots from the Red Ghost in his prime! Enjoy!
Fantastic Four Omnibus vol. 1 HC
The Avengers #12 (1963)
Amazing Spider-Man #223, 255 (1963)
The Defenders #7 & 8 (1972)
Iron Man #15, 16, 82, 83 (1968)