Red Ghost (Marvel Comics)

Red Ghost

(Ivan Kragoff)


The Red Ghost (and his Super-Apes, of course !) is an early opponent of the Fantastic Four, who appeared in 1963.

He has kept returning since, but not as much as many other early FF enemies. Maybe people don’t take his ape allies seriously enough.

Beyond coming with his own super-team, the Red Ghost is a scientific genius with intangibility powers and a bad case of Soviet Union nostalgia.



  • Real Name: Ivan Kragoff.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: None.
  • Group Affiliation: Intelligencia, leader of the Super-Apes; former member of the Frightful Four, partner of Mole Man, Attuma.
  • Base Of Operations:
  • Height: 5’11” Weight: 215 lbs.
  • Eyes: Brown Hair: White

Powers and Abilities

The Red Ghost can become intangible at will, and turn other objects and people intangible as long as he’s touched them at some point. He can solidify portions of his body at a time, allowing him to use his power offensively, such as reaching in and crushing an opponent’s heart (and ripping it out for effect). He has even managed to knock out the Red Hulk by doing this.

In his intangible form he can become so transparent that he can be hard to see, and he has no need to breathe while phased .

He recently exhibited the ability to use his powers to travel to alternate realities, but has only done so on the one occasion so far.

A scientific genius, Kragoff is skilled in a number of fields including rocket science, engineering, training and communicating with simians, and he has a Ph.D. in radiology.

He has also developed a telepathic connection with his Super-Apes over the years, probably as a result of their shared cosmic ray experiences.



(A more complete history of his association with the Intelligencia can be found in their group entry.)

Born in Leningrad, Ivan Kragoff was the leading scientist of the Russian space program, and was determined to beat the Americans to the Moon. But when the Fantastic Four gained their powers he saw another possibility. He made sure his craft had no shielding against cosmic rays, and indeed would actually accentuate them so he and his crew would receive a stronger dose than the Four had.

As his crew he used a trio of apes (Mikhlo, Igor and Peotor) he’d trained to obey his commands. The launch went as planned, and they were irradiated with a strong dose of cosmic rays. Unfortunately his flight coincided with that of the Fantastic Four’s attempt to reach the Moon, and they raced for the goal.

They landed in different locations of the Blue Area of the Moon, and Kragoff led his empowered apes in ambushing the Thing. While they were winning, the fight was interrupted by the Watcher, whose home was nearby, and who warned them away.

Kragoff ignored him, again ambushing the Four, this time abducting the Invisible Girl. The rest of the Four caught up to him, overcoming his power with a paralysis gun Richards had knocked up. When the Watcher appeared again, the apes took advantage of the distraction to free Kragoff, only to then turn on him for his abusive behaviour.

Return to the Moon

He reappeared soon after. He ambushed the Fantastic Four, and took the Human Torch hostage to force the others to accompany him to the Moon. Once there he jettisoned them from his ship, expecting them to die.

But the Americans made it to the Blue Area’s atmosphere with the air the Invisible Girl managed to trap in her force field, and were able to ambush the Red Ghost when he landed. Leaving his apes to battle them, the Red Ghost tried to find a useful weapon in the Watcher’s home, but after a scuffle with Mister Fantastic, ended falling into a matter transporter.

Wedding Crashers

(I’ve rearranged the continuity of the following two paragraphs so they make sense.)

It’s unclear how he survived, but he next appeared, with the Super-Apes, trying to disrupt the wedding of Reed and Sue Richards. However, they ended up transported to another dimension by Dr. Strange.


Expelled from the Communist Party for his failures, his Super-Apes apparently impounded and bound for extermination, he allied with the Mole Man to attack the surface world. The Avengers stopped them, and the partnership soon collapsed.

Red Ghost (Ivan Kragoff) face closeup

As a probable result of his travel through the Watcher’s matter transporter, Kragoff found his powers waning, eventually disappearing altogether. Desperate to recover them, he used his resources and scientific knowledge to convince the Unicorn (Masaryk), who crash-landed outside one of his secret laboratories, he could cure the fatal effects of his equipment. Kragoff used drugs to keep him in line.

The Unicorn stole Tony Stark’s cosmic-ray intensifier from a S.H.I.E.L.D. transport, drawing the inevitable attention of Iron Man. While Iron Man and Unicorn battled, Kragoff activated the device and regained similar powers, also empowering his new pair of trained apes, Alpha and Beta.

The device destroyed the building, but Kragoff and his apes escaped, leaving Iron Man and Unicorn to die.

The Red Ghost then infiltrated a S.H.I.E.L.D. base to gain the technology needed to duplicate the empowerment effect on a larger scale, so he could assemble an army of apes to take over the world. Iron Man and Unicorn, working together to get revenge on Kragoff, caught up. They had Kragoff beaten when Unicorn turned on Stark.

This allowed Kragoff the opportunity to gain the upper hand, but only briefly. Alpha and Beta turned on him, having no intention of letting him rule an empire of apes.

Sea Ghost

Turning his attention from apes to try finding more subservient slaves, Kragoff began experimenting on sea-life. He soon formed an alliance with Attuma.

Kragoff built a device which used a small amount of cosmic radiation to allow him to control animals and people, although it killed most people he tried it on. They took control first of Namor, then of Hawkeye and Valkyrie, using them to attack Atlantis.

The device worked as long as cosmic rays remained on Earth, though, so when Doctor Strange blocked all cosmic rays from Earth, the pair were quickly defeated.


While the timing is uncertain, it’s somewhere around this point in his career at which Kragoff is recruited into the Intelligencia.

The Red Ghost and his apes robbing a bank

Adventures in the Negative Zone

Learning his apes still lived, Kragoff rescued them from captivity.

Accidentally making contact with Annihilus and Blastaar in the Negative Zone, Kragoff formed a partnership with them. Attacking Captain Marvel (Mar-Vell), he had Peotor force Mar-Vell’s Nega-Bands together, replacing him with Rick Jones.

Using alien technology to duplicate the Nega-Bands, he then exchanged places with Mar-Vell, taking Nega-Bands for Annihilus and Blastaar to travel to Earth. Mar-Vell, after freeing Rick, returned to the Negative Zone, destroying the duplicate Nega-Bands and leaving Kragoff stranded there.

Spider-Mobile-jacking Apes

Returning to Earth, Kragoff partnered with Nina Pushnikov, who’d earned an internship with Reed Richards. He thus learned the location of Richards’ gravity localizer. His attempted theft was hampered by it having been installed in the Spider-Mobile by Spider-Man and the Human Torch, to allow it to drive on walls.

The Super-Apes managed to steal the Spider-Mobile. However, Spidey lured them away with fruit pies while the Torch used the gravity localizer to catch Kragoff.

Ghost Stories

His new powers unstable, the Red Ghost had his apes kidnap Tony Stark to help him stabilize his body. Kragoff ultimately failed, and his body dispersed, barely held together by his consciousness as it drifted in an intangible and invisible state.

His form coalesced when Mister Fantastic went into space to regain his (original) powers by focussed cosmic ray treatment. Reforming on the craft, the Red Ghost attacked Richards, leaving him to die in re-entry as he fled.

Attempting to steal a rare mathematical treatise from Empire State University, which he believed could enhance his power, the Red Ghost again battled Spider-Man while trying to keep his presence secret. He again suffered defeat.

Attempting to strike back at the country which had disowned him, Red Ghost then built an earthquake machine with which he intended to devastate a number of Russian cities. The Soviet Super-Soldiers destroyed it before he had the chance to try, and he fled to America.

Space ghost

Running low on funds while building a device to greatly increase his powers, Kragoff coerced the Black Fox into working with the Super-Apes to rob a jewellery store. The Fox fled, drawing Spider-Man’s attention. The wall-crawler trailed the apes back to Kragoff’s base, where he tricked Mikhlo into destroying the device Kragoff was working on.

Red Ghost (Ivan Kragoff) partially transformed into an ape

Returning to the Moon, Kragoff tried a more surreptitious approach to looting the Watcher’s home. But a disturbance caused by Quasar (Vaughn) chasing the Living Laser led to both Kragoff and Quasar getting teleported outside.

Enraged, Kragoff attacked Quasar, seeming to beat him by turning his quantum bands intangible. Quasar had been faking though, and took Kragoff down, returning him to Earth, and probable custody.

Intercepting communications from the alien Snarks, Kragoff learnt of Kymellian Smartship technology, and that one was present on Earth. Determined to steal it, he and the Super-Apes clashed with Power Pack and members of the Fantastic Four, losing and being captured.


The Super-Apes were kidnapped and implanted with devices to allow Belgian Lt. Commander Guillaume Courage to control them. As a result, the Red Ghost was left mentally damaged by the loss of his mental link to them. Dazed, he was easily captured by Courage, but recovered his senses when the Beast (Hank McCoy) damaged Courage’s machines.

Freeing the Apes, Kragoff killed Courage.

More Ghost Stories

He teamed up with the Mad Thinker to create worldwide economic chaos by replacing a number of strategic individuals with android duplicates. The unplanned interference of the Inhumans drew the Fantastic Four’s attention to them and the plot was foiled.

His powers starting to fluctuate, as his eyes and skin temporarily turned red. Kragoff briefly joined the Frightful Four, where he unsurprisingly found himself facing the Fantastic Four again.

The powers of the Red Ghost and the Super-Apes began merging, so all had access to each other’s powers. The apes also developed greater intelligence and the capacity to speak. Whether due to the effect of this (or, as was suggested by Reed Richards, due to the conspiring of the apes) the Red Ghost’s intellect diminished, leaving him a babbling idiot.

The apes infiltrated a NY-based research facility as lab animals. There, they spent their nights working on a virus to wipe out humans. One of the scientists working there stumbled across their plans and called Reed Richards before they could stop her. Investigating, Reed clashed with the Super-Apes, and managed to beat them.

Ape Nation

The Red Ghost had recovered his intellect by his next appearance. Seeing an opportunity in the political vacuum of Niganda, the Red Ghost decided to turn it into a simian communist utopia. Working with scientist Dr. Erich Paine, he established a factory to experiment on evolving more apes.

Red Ghost (Ivan Kragoff) and his Super-Apes

The turmoil in the area saw some of Paine’s experiments escape into the wild, drawing the attention of the X-Men and the Black Panther.

Paine, more interested in money than the Red Ghost’s communist ideals, tried to use the X-Men against Kragoff. Cutting his losses, Kragoff ripped Paine’s heart from his chest and fled.

Fall of the Hulks

Kidnapping T’Challa (Black Panther) and the Beast as part of the Intelligencia’s plan for world domination, Kragoff’s retreat was interrupted by the traitorous Red Hulk, who killed Mikhlo. The enraged Red Ghost attacked him, reaching in to crush his heart.

The Red Hulk proved too powerful for him to kill, but Kragoff managed to knock him out with the move, getting away with his targets while he could.


Acquiring a baby gorilla, Grigori, Kragoff subjected him to cosmic rays, empowering him with super-strength. He’d barely completed the process when the She-Hulks, hunting down the escaped members of the Intelligencia, found them. They stunned Kragoff before he could phase.

He awakened before they’d expected, on the flight to prison, and attacked them, but was again beaten, and locked up in the Gamma Base prison.


Kragoff is maniacally driven to see the world perfected as a communist utopia, preferably governed by an army of apes under his command. His determination seems unaffected by his string of defeats. He appears to have no end of self-confidence, and is willing to face any foe. This is no doubt helped by being virtually impossible to harm when phased.

Kragoff is often bordering on abusive with his apes, being short-tempered with any deviation from his commands. He frequently abandons them as being too unreliable, but inevitably reunites with them. Perhaps they’re the only constant in his life he can return to.

When Mikhlo was killed Kragoff flew into a rage and attacked the Red Hulk, although it isn’t clear whether this was due to affection for Mikhlo, the pain this caused over his psychic link, or whether he was incensed at one of his pets being killed.

Despite his general level of mania, he rarely uses his powers to seriously try and kill opponents. He only reached into people’s chests to crush hearts twice, the first after he’d been betrayed, the second after Mikhlo’s death.


“You have seen but a fraction of our power ! Now you will face the most unbeatable foe of all as you are defeated by the Red Ghost !”

“At them, my primate partners.”

Red Ghost: “How do you think this state of affairs makes my sensitive Russian soul feel ? Hmm ?”
Peotor: “Comrade master sick ?”
Mickhlo: “Your soul weeps like waters of Volga ?”
Red Ghost: “That was a trick question, Peotor. I don’t have a soul, Russian or otherwise. Souls are a fabrication of a decadent bourgeois society. Perhaps you should be sent back to Moscow for retraining.”
Peotor: “Wouldn’t do much good, comrade Kragoff. There’s a Nike sports store where the Marxist training school used to be.”
Peotor: “Right next to the Taco Bell, Heh ! Heh ! Hoo !”

Peotor: “All the old Eastern bloc go the same way. Admit it, Red Ghost, the dream’s over.”
Red Ghost: “The dream, as you put it, is far from over. The dream simply requires a new arena in which to flourish. A new country… ripe for communist rule. A country on its knees, a country riven with strife and anarchy ! A country where a new form of Marxist-Leninist socialism can grow… based on the purity of the ape world. And built around a strong leader with an unshakable belief in dialectical materialism.”

DC Universe History

His dreams of ruling an ape empire have brought the Red Ghost into conflict with Grodd over the years, with Grodd incensed at his command over apes.

While the Super-Apes tried working with Grodd during one of the periods they weren’t with Kragoff, they found him just as dictatorial and soon parted ways. On a later occasion he dominated them mentally into serving him, but Kragoff freed them.

Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG

Tell me more about the game stats

Red Ghost

Dex: 05 Str: 03 Bod: 05 Motivation: Power Lust
Int: 07 Wil: 07 Min: 08 Occupation: Super-Criminal
Inf: 06 Aur: 05 Spi: 06 Resources {or Wealth}: 010
Init: 018 HP: 050

Dimensional Travel: 06, Dispersal: 18, Invisibility: 05, Sealed Systems: 12, Telepathy: 04

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Dimensional Travel only allows Travel (-2), is Contingent on Dispersal (-1), and is Serious Marginal (-2).
  • Dispersal has the Partial Dispersal Bonus (+2), doesn’t protect against sonic attacks (-1), has Range but only allowing him to phase objects or individuals he’s previously touched (+2), and attacking with Dispersal does no damage to the Red Ghost (+2).
  • Invisibility is Contingent on Dispersal and only available when he’s phasing (-1).
  • Sealed Systems is Contingent on Dispersal (-1) and only lasts as long as he’s dispersed (-0).
  • Telepathy only works with his Super-Apes (-1).

Animal Handling (Animal Training, Apes): 07, Gadgetry: 08, Scientist: 08, Thief (Stealth): 07, Vehicles (Air, Space): 06, Weaponry (Firearms): 05

Bonuses and Limitations:
Thief (Stealth) is a Powered Skill (-1), Contingent on Dispersal and only available when he’s phasing (-1).

Genius, Languages (Russian), Scholar (Simians, Rocket Science, Radiology).

Super-Apes (High), Intelligencia (High).

SPI (When he loses his mental link to his Super-Apes).


  • He has access to a number of secret bases (Expansive HQs), vehicles (air and space), and often has a weapon at his disposal. He’s usually armed with a science fiction gun of some type [BODY 04, Energy Blast: 08], and has used the following devices in his time:
  • Freeze Gun [BODY 04, Ice Production: 08].
  • Cosmic Ray Hypnosis Device. He used this device when working with Attuma, and it allowed him to control the actions of Namor and Hawkeye. [BODY 05, Hypnotism: 10, Miscellaneous Drawback (device is powered by cosmic rays, and if they’re blocked from the area the effects of the Power are ended)].
  • Flying Spy Camera. This remote-controlled (via his Vehicles Skill) miniature flying camera was used to spy on the Fantastic Four. [BODY 03, Flight: 06, Radio Communications (Scrambled): 08, Remote Sensing (Video and audio): 08, Thief (Stealth): 06].

Previous stats

When he used stolen Stark technology to try recovering his powers, his new power set actually allowed him to transform his body into a gaseous compound rather than phase, so he needed some kind of a hole to pass through rather than simply walking through objects.

He had Fluid Form: 12, and Sharpness: 06 which allowed him to destroy machines by solidifying inside them.

He didn’t display the Dimensional Travel Power until recently (after the Niganda incident).


Aside from the original Super-Apes (Ivan, Mikhlo, and Peotor, who are described in their own write-up), the Red Ghost has used other enhanced apes in his time, but few reappeared after their initial appearance.

He’ll generally train them to be obedient to him, then dose them with cosmic rays to give them random super-powers, and usually increasing their intellect, sometimes to the point where they can speak English.

Alpha and Beta were a pair of regular gorillas whom underwent this process, Alpha emerging with enhanced strength, and Beta having mental control powers.


Dex: 04 Str: 12 Bod: 10 Motivation:
Int: 02 Wil: 02 Min: 02 Occupation:
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}:
Init: 008 HP: 005

Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 02, Density Increase: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent doesn’t have the Tracking component (-1).
  • Density Increase is Always On, Adds to STR, and is Already Factored In (-1).

Acrobatics (Climbing): 02

Prehensile Feet.


Dex: 03 Str: 05 Bod: 05 Motivation:
Int: 04 Wil: 05 Min: 04 Occupation:
Inf: 02 Aur: 02 Spi: 02 Resources {or Wealth}:
Init: 009 HP: 005

Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 02, Control: 10, Density Increase: 01

Bonuses and Limitations:

  • Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent doesn’t have the Tracking component (-1).
  • Density Increase is Always On, Adds to STR, and is Already Factored In (-1).

Acrobatics (Climbing): 02

Prehensile Feet.


Following Mikhlo’s death, Red Ghost subjected a baby gorilla to cosmic rays.

Still small, he’s nowhere near Mikhlo’s stats yet, and his stats as he grows are difficult to gauge at the moment, but he managed to punch a surprised She-Hulk (Walters) through a wall, so he has a STR of at least 11.

By Gareth Lewis.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z, Wikipedia, Sébastien Andrivet.

Writeup completed on the 19th of November, 2011.