Ghost (Marvel Comics)

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Ghost (Marvel character).jpg
Ghost (left), and Crossbones (right) on the cover of Thunderbolts #146
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Iron Man #219 (June 1987)
Created by David Michelinie
Bob Layton
In-story information
Team affiliations Thunderbolts
Roxxon Oil
Abilities Skilled marksman
Brilliant inventor, tactician and skilled hacker
Superb intellect
Battle suit grants:
Stealth technology

The Ghost is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. He originated as one of Iron Man's foes, and appeared as a member of the Thunderbolts during the "Dark Reign" and "Heroic Age" eras.

Publication history[edit]

The Ghost first appears in Iron Man #219 and was created by David Michelinie and Bob Layton. Originally portrayed as a supervillain, the character was later developed into an anti-hero figure.

He has appeared as a regular character in Thunderbolts since issue #144, and has remained with the team since the title transitioned into Dark Avengers beginning with issue #175.

Fictional character biography[edit]

Very little is known about the identity of the Ghost. He claims to have been an IT researcher at one time, and to have been made into what he is by corporate greed. The Ghost is an anticapitalist saboteur who seeks to destroy various political and economic institutions he views as oppressive, apparently being most interested in those dealing with advanced technology and surveillance. He has, at times, hired his services out to corporations and other organizations, such as Norman Osborn's Thunderbolts, that wish to destroy rival groups, but invariably plans to turn on his own employers and topple them as well.


As the Ghost himself told Moonstone, he once worked as both a programmer and an engineer at a rising IT company called Omnisapient. Impressing the board of directors with his technological prowess and genius intellect, he quickly rose up the ranks and assumed the company's flagstaff project for which he developed a revolutionary processor that could physically change in reaction to its environment, becoming intangible before overheating. Thanks to his Ghost Tech, the company's stock skyrocketed while the board, ever more dependent on the man who would become Ghost, collected the credit. Exhausted after months of work, the socially introverted programmer decided to leave on vacation, conflicting with the board of directors' expectations for an ahead-of-schedule launch that could increase their profit margins significantly. Approached by an attractive co-worker as he was about to leave, the young man cancelled his travel plans and began a relationship with her. Happier and more productive than ever, he now found every single aspect of his life tied to the company, all part of a well-oiled machine, until his lover died in an explosion at her apartment. Depressed over her death and unable to cope with its apparent randomness, he sought solace by immersing his consciousness into the data networks he created by wiring his own flesh with his flux-state processors. Within this network, no randomness existed and his unconscious mind, in a state of alpha, could solve any dilemma his conscious mind was unable or unwilling to. In this state, he pieced memories and hidden fragments of data together to realize his dead lover had been hired by the board to seduce him, keeping him happy and available to the company's every demand, and later murdered for blackmailing them for more money. Terrified, he attempted to flee, but his discoveries had been detected by the board of directors which dispatched a contract killer after him. The hitman detonated a bomb in his apartment before he could leave, destroying the entire building and killing dozens of tenants. However, he survived, made intangible by the flux-state processors fused with his body when a wall of fire hit him. The experience completed his psychological transformation and the once naive workaholic emerged as the Ghost, a paranoid vigilante bent on wiping out corporatocracy. He immediately took revenge upon the board of directors, butchering them all along with their contract killer, and then erased all records of his previous life.[1]

The Accutech Merger[edit]

Sometime after this, The Ghost was hired by Carrington Pax, a leading executive of the Roxxon Oil Corporation, to destroy Accutech Research and Development. Accutech was trying to develop a beta particle generator and when they refused to sell it to Roxxon, the Ghost was hired to drive Accutech into bankruptcy. Tony Stark was interested in acquiring Accutech's technology and bought the company. Investigating a disturbance at the new facility as Iron Man, he first met the Ghost. Iron Man managed to drive the Ghost from Accutech, but the Ghost swore that he would have his revenge on Iron Man's employer, Tony Stark.[volume & issue needed]

For the next few weeks, Tony Stark spent all his free time modifying his armor. Sometimes, for extra security, he would sleep in his armor, too. When Pax and the other executives at Roxxon heard that the Ghost had gone rogue, they feared his actions would make the company look bad, so they called in Spymaster to take care of him. After a fierce battle at Stark Enterprises, the Ghost killed Spymaster. Using a modified version of his intangibility circuits, the Ghost made Spymaster materialize in a wall. The shock caused Spymaster's whole body to shut down, and he was believed dead.[2] It was shown years later in Dark Reign that the Spymaster had faked his death.[3]

Tony finally took the offensive against the Ghost. He set up a trap and the Ghost walked right into it. After a short battle between Iron Man and the Ghost, Iron Man cornered the Ghost in the room with the beta particle generator. He had it turned on so he could see the cloaked Ghost better, since radiation from the generator would cause interference in the Ghost's sophisticated tech-suit. However, prolonged exposure to the generator was fatal, and Iron Man didn't want to stay in the room for too long. But the Ghost had sworn to bring down Stark Enterprises and nothing, not even the chance of dying, would stop him. As he tried to reach the generator to destroy it, the intense heat from his overloading costume caused the floor to melt and the Ghost fell through. As Iron Man searched for him, all he found of the Ghost was his burnt costume. Still, Tony didn't believe that the Ghost was dead.[4]

Unholy Ghost[edit]

Indeed, fairly soon after, the Ghost reappeared - this time plaguing a company in Italy, owned by none other than Justin Hammer.[volume & issue needed] The shrewd industrialist intended to sell the company, Electronica Fabbrizi, to Tony Stark, ridding him of a dangerous enemy and a useless asset, as well as sticking a business rival with a nasty problem.[volume & issue needed] However, after Tony Stark discovered the true ownership of the floundering company, a compromise was reached: Hammer's forces and Iron Man would cooperate in taking out the Ghost.[volume & issue needed] Hammer sent his operatives Blacklash, Blizzard, and Boomerang to help Iron Man fight the Ghost. However, Hammer's team betrayed Iron Man, planning to get rid of both their enemies.[volume & issue needed]

Ghost attempted to kill Iron Man by rendering him intangible. While Iron Man managed to save the lives of everybody involved, Electronica Fabbrizi was irrevocably destroyed and the Ghost escaped. However, when the mysterious villain confronted Hammer, it was revealed the ruthless business man had defenses developed against the Ghost's intangibility powers, and made his own escape, leaving his assailant trapped. Blasting his way out, the saboteur vowed to continue his crusade against Hammer and all companies anywhere.[5]

Ghost was next hired by the Kingpin to steal the new Roxxon process to create synthetic vibranium, and battled Spider-Man and the Black Panther.[6]

The Ghost was then defeated by Sunturion, but escaped and was then defeated by Ultron.[7]

The Big Bang Theory[edit]

Much later, several companies were suddenly and violently destroyed when bombs, apparently installed in personal computers, went off in inner-city offices. Tony Stark, who at the time was undercover as a common employee at one of the companies that went under, managed to track down the source of the attacks: the "Advanced Corp", a cover for AIM. It was then revealed that AIM, not usually operating in common business circles, on this occasion had employed a special agent to eliminate the competition: the Ghost. Nearly defeating Iron Man in their first fight and escaping without a hitch, he hit a nasty snag during their second fight when he attempted to phase his costumed hand into Iron Man's chest, and Tony Stark's then-artificial heart defended itself, knocking him unconscious. He was subsequently arrested, but his identity appears to have remained unknown.[volume & issue needed]


Later still, having apparently escaped, the Ghost (in a new, more streamlined outfit) was employed by the third Spymaster to help free the Living Laser, who was "held captive" by Stark Industries at the time. He attempted to kill Iron Man, and believed to have succeeded. In the end, he proved too unreliable and quirky, and was abandoned by his employer,[volume & issue needed] remaining at large.

The Ghost was mentioned by Gauntlet as the one who attacked him and left a NW mark on him (when it was actually the seemingly light-hearted recruit Slapstick).[8]

"Dark Reign"[edit]

Ghost as seen on a cover for Thunderbolts.

During the "Dark Reign" storyline, seems to have become more unhinged and reclusive, however, as Ms. Marvel mentions "He smells... Badly." and The Ghost himself shows signs of increasing obsessiveness. With the Thunderbolts officially disbanded, Norman Osborn recruits Ghost for his new Thunderbolts, now a black ops team under Osborn's direct control.[9] Ghost helps Osborn take control of Air Force One with the Goblin (actually new Thunderbolts member Headsman), Doc Samson, and the new President aboard.[10] As part of Osborn's plan, the Ghost phases Samson out of the plane, and drops him from the sky.[11] Osborn calls for the Ghost to come to Stark Tower, where he unlocks a vault containing Iron Man's old armors.[12] Ghost later reveals to the Black Widow (actually Natasha Romanoff in disguise) that when Osborn is king of the corporate world, he'll act as "a virus" to bring it down from the inside. He explains he wants to inform Yelena's real boss, Nick Fury.[13] Widow was eventually exposed as Natalia Romanova, who was in fact Nick Fury's undercover agent, and who was attempting to make sure Songbird stayed alive. Paladin, Ghost and Headsman purposely turned on the other Thunderbolts in order for the two heroines to escape. However, Ghost insisted that they stay in the Thunderbolts, for they all have their own agendas. He uses electro-convulsive shock in order to make Scourge and Mister X forget about the betrayal.[14] At the end of the Dark Reign arc, Ghost betrayed Osborn by sending a data package he had collected to whatever heroes could receive it, warning them of Osborn's plans to capture Odin's magical weapon, Gungnir. Aware of the emergency, Quicksilver crossed the Atlantic Ocean and crushed Mister X (who wielded the weapon at the time) in combat, retrieving it.[volume & issue needed]

"Stark Disassembled"[edit]

Because Tony Stark had purposely lobotomized himself into a vegetative state, and had his power of attorney transferred over to Donald Blake, Madame Masque hired Ghost to kill Stark. She provided him a phone made by the Tinkerer, which he could use to execute his phase abilities to reach any place in the world. Ghost managed to track Stark to Broxton, Oklahoma, where he twice attempted to assassinate Stark. All the while, Stark's comrades were attempting to reboot his brain. By then, Stark had regained consciousness and used the Ghost's own phone against him, sending him to a facility in Seoul.[15]

Thunderbolts Post-"Siege"[edit]

For his help in the downfall of Norman Osborn, Ghost was recruited into the new Thunderbolts team formed in the aftermath of Siege.[16] Ghost is the first team member that Cage meets with as he arrives at the Raft.[17] During Shadowland, he would witness Crossbones assassinate a police officer the Thunderbolts were meant to save.[18] Ghost would also prove instrumental in the attempted Thunderbolt break out, but in doing so, managed to go to an alternate dimension, and he came face to face with Iron Man again. In order to beat Ghost, Iron Man transmitted into Ghost's network a confirmation that all Stark Industries divisions were being shut down effective immediately. Ghost therefore resigned from plans to kill Stark, because he is no longer a tech monopolist.[19] After coming back to The Raft, Ghost told Moonstone an unverifiable origin tale, whereupon he mused over whether that means he's regained his capacity to trust or whether he simply perceives her as no threat at all, only to conclude, as he phased through a speechless Moonstone, that both are irrelevant to a man who abandoned his humanity and is truly untouchable.[1]

Ghost is later approached by Tiberius Stone and Mark Raxton, who hire him to sabotage Parker Industries, a competitor to Stone's own company Alchemax.[20] Ghost infiltrates Parker Industries, and while he is subdued by Spider-Man and the company's employees, he still succeeds in destroying their building and everything in it with explosives.[21][22]

Powers and abilities[edit]

The Ghost wears a battlesuit of his own design. Its Ghost-tech enables him to turn himself and any objects he touches invisible or intangible, but not both at the same time. Unknown devices in the battle-suit enable him to hack and reprogram all manner of electronic systems in his vicinity as well as intercept, tamper with or silence electromagnetic signals. This tech along with his superb intellect make him a super-hacker.

The Ghost also invented guns that fire bursts of electricity or concussive force blasts and employs a large arsenal of high-tech weaponry, including incendiary devices, self-targeting Anson grenades and sound-activated bombs. Nevertheless, he often avoids direct confrontations altogether, preferring subterfuge and ambush tactics.

He is a brilliant tactician, inventor and computer hacker.

Other versions[edit]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

The Ultimate Marvel version of Ghost is introduced in Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #1, where he sneaks into one of Tony Stark's underground hideouts and steals an ornament from him. His armor has the traditional phasing capabilities, and he is also able to generate teleportation fields that allow him to warp objects away.[23] He is later revealed to be working for "Project Tomorrow" under the Titanium Man.[24] After Justine and Tony are kidnapped by Titanium Man's forces, who reveals himself to be Howard Stark Sr., he and all the other experiments except Tony are killed by an EMP that destroys all tech nearby.[25] Very little is known about this Ghost, but according to Howard Stark Sr., "He got a funny accent."[26]

In other media[edit]


  • Ghost appears in the Avengers: Ultron Revolution episode "The Kids Are Alright", voiced by Jim Cummings.[citation needed] While Ghost being an enemy of Iron Man is intact with this show, this version is also shown to be an Inhuman descendant where his Inhuman abilities have enhanced his phasing abilities. Ghost infiltrates Avengers Tower in order to steal Friday while disabling Captain America and Iron Man as well as abducting Falcon, Hawkeye, and Inferno. Once Ghost gets his hands on Friday, he uses his phasing abilities to sink Avengers Tower into the ground. While Inferno uses his fire abilities to keep Avengers Tower at the surface, Ms. Marvel gets Iron Man to his lab so that he can work on a device to use on Ghost. Once the device is done, Iron Man uses it to disable Ghost's phasing abilities. After being knocked down by Captain America, Ms. Marvel beats him up while telling him never to return. In the episode "Avengers No More" Pt. 1, Ghost spies on the Avengers setting up the Stark Expo in preparation for the event that Iron Man can be saved from the unstable dimension. He then tries to target some Stark Industries technology only to be detected and subdued by Thor. Before being taken away by S.H.I.E.L.D. and making a comment about Iron Man not being with them, Ghost warns the Avengers that things will get worse for them.
  • Ghost appears in the Spider-Man episode "Stark Expo," voiced again by Jim Cummings.[citation needed] This version is a former Stark Industries employee who had been fired by Tony Stark. Spider-Man briefly encounters him on the roof of where the Stark Exp was being held until he left upon Iron Man's arrival. During the unveiling of the Iron Man Armor Mark 50, Ghost crashed the event and phased right into the Iron Man Armor Mark 50. After Spider-Man and Iron Man worked together to drive Ghost out of the Iron Man Armor Mark 50, Ghost revealed that he was actually after the inter-connectivity disks which he uses to take control of every technology at the Stark Expo. When Ghost start to try to remove Tony Stark's arc reactor, Spider-Man had to take the risk of using the V-252 which causes him to defeat Ghost and deactivate the inter-connectivity disks.


Video games[edit]

Motion comics[edit]


  1. ^ a b Thunderbolts #151 - A Ghost's Story, 2010
  2. ^ Iron Man #220
  3. ^ Dark Reign: Made Men #1
  4. ^ Iron Man #219-221
  5. ^ Iron Man #238-240
  6. ^ Amazing Spider-Man Annual #25
  7. ^ Spectacular Spider-Man Annual #11
  8. ^ Avengers: The Initiative #6
  9. ^ The Osborn Supremacy: Thunderbolts
  10. ^ Thunderbolts #128
  11. ^ Thunderbolts #129
  12. ^ Dark Avengers #1
  13. ^ Thunderbolts #133
  14. ^ Thunderbolts #133-136
  15. ^ Invincible Iron Man #20-24
  16. ^ [1]
  17. ^ Thunderbolts #144
  18. ^ Thunderbolts #149
  19. ^ Thunderbolts #150
  20. ^ Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Victor Olazaba (i), Edgar Delgado (col), Chris Eliopoulos (let), Nick Lowe (ed). "The Graveyard Shift, Part One: The Late, Late Mr. Parker" The Amazing Spider-Man v3, #16 (11 March 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  21. ^ Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Victor Olazaba (i), Edgar Delgado (col), Chris Eliopoulos (let), Nick Lowe (ed). "The Graveyard Shift, Part Two: Trust Issues" The Amazing Spider-Man v3, #17 (1 April 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  22. ^ Dan Slott and Christos N. Gage (w), Humberto Ramos (p), Victor Olazaba (i), Edgar Delgado (col), Chris Eliopoulos (let), Nick Lowe (ed). "The Graveyard Shift, Part Three: Trade Secrets" The Amazing Spider-Man v3, #18 (6 May 2015), United States: Marvel Comics
  23. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #1
  24. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #3
  25. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #4
  26. ^ Ultimate Comics: Armor Wars #4
  27. ^ Breznican, Anthony (July 22, 2017). "Michelle Pfeiffer will play Janet Van Dyne in Ant-Man and The Wasp". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on July 22, 2017. Retrieved July 22, 2017. 
  28. ^

External links[edit]