Cover art for Fantastic Four: Foes #5.
Art by Jim Cheung.
|First appearance||Fantastic Four Vol.1 #13 (April 1963)|
|Created by||Stan Lee & Jack Kirby|
|Alter ego||Ivan Kragoff|
|Abilities||Intangibility, air-walking, and invisibility.|
The Red Ghost (Ivan Kragoff) and his Super-Apes (Mikhlo, Igor and Peotr) are a group of Marvel Comics supervillains, who started their career fighting the Fantastic Four, before confronting other Marvel heroes like Iron Man and Spider-Man. The characters were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in Fantastic Four #13 (April, 1963) and #29 (August, 1964).
Ivan Kragoff was born in Leningrad, in what was at the time the Soviet Union. Before becoming the Red Ghost, Ivan was a Soviet scientist bent on beating the Americans to the moon and claiming it for the Communist empire. He assembled a crew of three trained apes — Mikhlo the Gorilla, Igor the Baboon, and Peotr the Orangutan — which he subjected to specialized training regimens of his own design, then took off on his lunar rocket trip on behalf of the USSR, while on the very next panel, the Fantastic Four were aiming their own rocket for the same destination.
Kragoff knew enough of the Fantastic Four's history, and he purposefully designed his rocket in such a way that he and his crew would be heavily exposed to the cosmic rays that would, he expected, give them superpowers. This was successful: Kragoff gained the ability to become as intangible and invisible as a "ghost", Mikhlo became super-strong and super-durable, Igor gained the ability to shapeshift and could transform into nearly anything, and Peotr gained the ability to control either gravity (like Graviton) or magnetism (like Magneto) (accounts vary by writer). Additionally, the apes became smarter. Probably due to the similar origins, these supersimian abilities parallel, and even surpass, the Fantastic Four's own.
The Red Ghost and his Super-Apes, as he called them, battled the Fantastic Four soon after gaining their powers. Red Ghost encountered Uatu the Watcher during this fight, in which he and his apes were defeated by the Fantastic Four.
With his Super-Apes, he later again battled the Fantastic Four on the moon, and again encountered the Watcher. Kragoff was accidentally teleported to Earth by the Watcher's matter transporter. The Red Ghost was expelled from the Communist Party and his Super-Apes were impounded. He formed an alliance with the Mole Man, and battled the Avengers, but was defeated. Back with the Super-Apes again, Kragoff appeared among the villains assembled by Doctor Doom to destroy the Fantastic Four. Kragoff eventually lost his original powers. He formed an alliance with the Unicorn to steal Anthony Stark's cosmic-ray intensifier, which he used to gain the new superhuman power of a mist-like form and to give powers to his new trained apes, Alpha and Beta. He battled Iron Man and the Unicorn, but was defeated by Alpha and Beta, who turned against him. He later formed an alliance with Attuma and battled the Defenders, but was defeated. 
Kragoff next experimented with a cosmic-ray intensifier to attempt to increase his own superhuman powers but instead unintentionally caused himself to be unable to leave a state of intangibility. He had his original Super-Apes kidnap Anthony Stark and forced him to build a “cosmitronic cannon" and return him to a tangible state. He battled Iron Man, but the next time Kragoff became intangible, his atoms began to disperse as a side effect of his treatment with the cannon. Kragoff’s consciousness managed to force his atoms to remain together, although his body remained in an intangible and, at times, invisible state.
Months later, Mister Fantastic went into space to expose himself to cosmic radiation to revitalize his own powers. Unknown to Richards, Kragoff, still intangible, was also aboard the spaceship. Kragoff used his invisibility to hide from Richards for days until he was able to immerse himself into cosmic radiation. The radiation restored his powers to what they originally had been. The Red Ghost could again become tangible or intangible and visible and invisible at will. He even gained the power to make other objects in his vicinity intangible. Fully recovered, he battled the Fantastic Four, and escaped.
With the Super-Apes, the Red Ghost attempted to steal a rare mathematical treatise from Empire State University. He battled Spider-Man, but escaped. He attempted to cause earthquakes in Soviet cities, and battled the Soviet Super-Soldiers. He forced the Black Fox to accompany the Super-Apes on robberies. He once again battled Spider-Man, but escaped.
Alongside Klaw, Living Laser, and Venom during the Acts of Vengeance, he attempted to steal alien technology from the Watcher's home on the moon. Red Ghost used the powers he had gained from his re-exposure to attack Quasar. He was captured in this attempt. With the Super-Apes, the Red Ghost attempted to steal the alien technology of the smartship Friday; he battled Mister Fantastic, the Invisible Woman, and Power Pack, and was captured.
The Super-Apes later show up alone, having divorced themselves from the Red Ghost and started a life of crime on their own by taking over a private zoo in Salina, Kansas. They had turned the animals against the local population and captured three members of the New Warriors when they entered the complex. Instead of fighting their way out of the situation, they used their intellects and settled on a peaceful coexistence with the people of the town.
Shortly after the Fantastic Four returned from a pocket dimension created by Franklin Richards, the Super-Apes had gained high levels of intelligence and were working on a virus that would take out humans, leaving simians dominant. The Red Ghost, conversely, had degenerated into a child-like mental state and spent most of the time interested in a bunny rabbit.
The Red Ghost and the Super-Apes teamed up again and the Red Ghost regained his original intelligence. They attempted to build a new Communist state in the political vacuum of Niganda — the Socialist Simian Republic of Niganda, "A country where a new form of Marxist-Leninist socialism can grow, based on the purity of the ape world."
The Red Ghost possesses the ability to become intangible at will. Through concentration, the Red Ghost can achieve different degrees of intangibility and can even become like a diffuse mist. He can either float while intangible or walk on air (in a manner similar to Shadowcat). The Red Ghost can become transparent or invisible when in intangible form, to the extent that Reed Richards was unable to detect him hiding in the same spacecraft over several days with sensitive equipment. The Red Ghost can alter the tangibility of parts of his body independently of each other. Thus, he can grab an object in a hand while the rest of his body remains intangible. Since his additional exposures to cosmic rays, Red Ghost can make people and objects become intangible if they are nearby or in his field of vision. While he is intangible, his body metabolism enables him to go without eating or without breathing for extended periods of time.
The Red Ghost is a scientific genius with advanced knowledge in fields including rocketry, engineering, communications, genetics, robotics, physics, hypnotism, and the training of simians. He is an expert in radiology with a Ph. D. in radiology. He has perfected force-field devices, devices to mentally communicate with and control other primates, a cosmitronic gun, freeze ray pistols, rocket fuel from material found in a meteorite crater, and spacecraft made of transparent ceramic plastic to be unshielded against cosmic ray storms. He has studied various forms of socialist and communist theory.
The Ultimate version of Ivan Kragoff was introduced in Ultimate Fantastic Four #47 (Dec 2007). He is based in a laboratory in Siberia, and is first seen experimenting on a bear named Misha, with the ability to talk. He is in contact with Dr. Franklin Storm, and persuades Storm that Sue and Reed might be interested in his work. His assistant Sorba Rutskaya then destroys their plane with a beam weapon and captures them. It appears Kragoff's work is focused towards reviving a woman named Irina, whom Storm believes is dead. Sorba later stabs Kragoff, and reveals that she plans on using a beam of energy from the N-Zone to merge herself with Sue so that she can gain her powers and use them to destroy those that she believes are harming nature. As the beam is about to combine the two, Sue escapes and the beam hits Sorba and several vials of simian DNA. When the smoke clears, it is revealed that Sorba has become a gigantic, deformed, gorilla-like creature with multiple simiian limbs and heads, as well as a single human head which retains her insane personality. She begins to attack Sue as Reed, Johnny, Ben, and The Crimson Dynamo rush to save her. In addition to possessing the intangibility powers of the original Red Ghost, Sorba can also create apes and monkeys from her body that are subservient to her will. Each creature is capable of manifesting N-Zone superpowers.