Modern Warfare 2: Ghost
Modern Warfare 2: Ghost is a six-part comic book mini-series. The series ties-in with the 2009 video game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The first issue of the series debuted on November 11, 2009, and the second issue followed in December.
Modern Warfare 2: Ghost was announced by Community Manager Robert Bowling via Twitter on August 17, 2009. The comic was published by Storm Productions and written by David Lapham, with art by Kevin West and Federico Dallocchio, who drew the covers of each issue.
Modern Warfare 2: Ghost relates to the history of Ghost, an important character in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2. The comic series is set before Ghost became a member of Task Force 141, with events from both before and leading into the game, focusing on the origins of the character, his skull-like mask, and why he calls himself Ghost.
Episode 1: Dead for a Day
The first installment begins to tell the story of how Ghost came to use his skull-branded balaclava. The narrative begins in a school in Lysychansk, Ukraine, and shows Ghost captured by a group of masked hostage-takers. He then begins to tell about an old friend of his called Lieutenant Simon Riley. He was recruited from 22 (spoken as 22 regiment) Special Air Service to join a task force made up of United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group and Delta Force members. The group is given a task involving eliminating a terrorist-smuggling drug lord. However, things start to unravel as one member of the team's parachute fails and he is killed. Riley suspects there is a rat in the team. His hunch turns out to be correct as one of the team turns and reveals himself to be in collusion with Roba. Riley manages to shoot his way out of trouble only to be shot himself by Roba, leaving the action at a cliffhanger.
Episode 2: Dead Life
During 'Modern Warfare 2: Ghost #2', it is revealed that Lt. Riley and his team are captured by the Mexican cartel. During their captivity, they endure continuous torture and brainwashing techniques, in order to be used as hired guns for various criminal and terrorist groups. Throughout this ordeal, the reader sees flashbacks of Riley's early life, from his childhood and how he had to endure an abusive fiend of a father, to his early years in the SAS and how he—after coming back from his first tour of duty in Afghanistan in January 2003—takes care of his abused mother and helps clean up his drug-addicted younger brother named Tommy. In March 2004, he finally puts an end to his father's abuse to him and his mother, and kicks him out of the house, then in June 2006, Riley is seen as the best man at his brother Tommy's wedding, who is now completely free of drugs. During these flashbacks, many of Riley's adversaries are seen wearing "ghostly" makeup (presumably a hallucination of Riley) of similar style to that worn by participants in the Day of the Dead celebration. Eventually, the USSOCOM members Sparks and Washington are able to escape, having learned that the Mexican cartel plan to kill them due to the fact they can not break them down, but they are forced to leave Riley behind. Moments later, Riley is dragged outside, and after a lecture from Roba, he is thrown into a coffin that has been dug up, and then buried alive with the decaying corpse of Major Vernon, also of his team.
Episode 3: Dead Will Follow
The first few panels start with everyone back in the school, with Ghost telling Lt. Riley's story, until he interrupts himself when he eyes one of the terrorists taking a good look at one of the young female victims and how upset and uncomfortable she's becoming. He shouts at him and catches him off-guard, making a comment that he basically knows what he's thinking of doing to her ("Prom's not for month's yet!" etc.), before continuing his story.
After being buried alive in the previous issue, Lt. Riley is now in a coffin with his deceased Major and wondering what he's going to do. It is only by using Major Vernon's lower jaw bone, that Riley digs himself up from the grave, which takes him thirteen hours. After a quick rest, he makes for the border, and within days, is struck by dehydration and delirium. He has vague memories of people helping him, but by the time he makes it across the border, about a month later, he has badly infected cuts, sores and wounds, is badly dehydrated and delirious. He collapses in the sand and just lays there to die. He is later found by a Texas sheriff who takes him to a hospital. The story then jumps to December 18, 2010 (four months and a few weeks later); Riley is being debriefed about his experience to his superiors. Physically Riley is fine, but his superiors fear that his mental state is still in question. Riley has nightmares, with Roba haunting and taunting him. After one of his nightmares, his mother and he have a small talk, and he learns a few things about his father that are both disturbing, but meaningful to the plot as well.
While spending Christmas with his family, Riley gets a surprise visit from Sparks. While having a beer together at a local pub, Sparks and Riley rehash old times and their experience during those hellish months in Mexico. Sparks tells Riley that he and Washington are getting ready to deploy to Afghanistan. Sparks also sees a woman with a nice body that he likes – and wants - while they talk about Mexico and what happened, and how Sparks and Washington operate now. As they are walking back home, Sparks approaches the young woman he previously saw at the pub and tries to sweet talk her into bed - the young woman is not impressed. Angrily, Sparks knocks the woman unconscious and orders Riley to help him get her inside her house so that they can rape her. Riley secretly calls the police and they arrive just before any harm can be done to the woman, forcing Riley and Sparks to retreat. Once they both arrive at Sparks' hotel room, Sparks starts having a panic attack and collapses on the bed and asks Riley to get his pills for him. Riley suspects that Sparks is up to something and when he finally pieces together the clues, Sparks points a gun at Riley's head. Riley immediately disarms Sparks, cutting him in the process and interrogates him. At first, Spark just says he "Wants to go back", but then finally, Sparks reveals that himself and Washington have been working for Roba, showing that they have been successfully brainwashed. Before Riley can get any more information, Washington arrives from a task, exclaiming "Sparks! You won't believe what I---" and gets cut off when he sees Riley, panics somewhat and attempts to gun down Riley. Riley escapes by jumping through Sparks' hotel window, slightly injuring his leg by getting a glass shard stuck, and steals a cab to make his get away. Remembering about what Roba said about his family, and what would happen if he screwed up.. (ex. "You were told what would happen..." "This is your Mother's Skull..." "This is your Brother's Skull...") Riley speeds towards his family's home and witnesses a shocking display. His mother, brother Tommy, Tommy's wife Beth, and his nephew Joseph, have all been executed, no doubt by Washington himself. Riley vows that he will kill them all; Sparks, Washington—and Roba, and his entire clan.
Episode 4: Dead Won't Leave
Now that Riley is back in the real world, he's finding it hard to tell what's real anymore...until a face from his botched mission in Mexico appears.
Episode 5: Dead Won't Rise
In an elementary school classroom, Ghost is still tied and bound as a hostage, and continues his story of "Lt. Simon Riley". The leader of the terrorists barges in fully armed and says the soldiers outside are taking positions and to get ready for a fight. Ghost looks at him and basically ignores him to continue his story. When he continues, Riley is shown sneaking into a military base. He locates the barracks and immediately kills Lt. Washington in his sleep and then locates Lt. Sparks. He takes him back to his house, showing him the bodies that had been executed. Sparks swears it wasn't him that killed his family, but it doesn't matter. Riley isn't listening. Riley binds, gags, and beats Sparks for the murders of his family members (his mother, brother, nephew and sister-in-law). He is then executed and the house is set on fire. Before torching the place, Riley switches dog tags to make it look like it is his body in the fire (since it is his house afterall). Lt. Washington's body is discovered the next morning and the base is put on alert. The head officer heads to the security room to check the video surveillance of the night previous. In Mexico, two ex-military types are enjoying themselves on vacation. They are ambushed and killed. Riley learns about this ambush and quickly starts the hunt for the killers. He locates the leader and kidnaps him. He is taken to a remote location and tortured for the information he wants and needs.
Episode 6: Dead and Gone
After finding out the location of El Gordo's manor, Riley travels through the jungle in order to finish off the criminal. He kills the guards and finds Roba, who tries to escape, but is ultimately captured by the protagonist. Roba then tells Riley that, when his parents died in a crossfire, the terrorist then saw that a few people are nothing among a billion. Riley then finishes him off, escaping Roba's burning mansion while fighting his guards. Back at the elementary school, the terrorists holding Ghost and the kids hostage decide to act, but Ghost, freeing himself while telling Riley's story, stops them while backup arrives from the windows. A girl then asks if Ghost is Riley and if the story he told is true. Ghost then answers that it is "true enough to that lot". We then flashback to Riley walking away from the burning manor. He is confronted by a high-ranking military man with a "Task Force 141" Badge, leaving the reader to believe this is Ghost's origin.
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