Digital comics are the future of comics, so says everyone on the Internet and everyone trying to justify their purchase of an iPad and leveraging that into a desperate attempt to generate content for their blogs and stuff. It is in this spirit that the management at Witless Prattle continues the following, exciting, weirdly specific and slightly iconoclastic feature.
Iron Man #220
"Ghost Of A Chance"
Writers: David Michelenie & Bob Layton
Artists: Mark Bright (Pencils) Bob Layton (inks)
And we're back!
Okay, so Tony Stark has gotten so paranoid about the Ghost coming after him he's taken to sleeping in his armour and nearly repulsors Jim Rhodes' head clean off and yeah, you could say he's really freaking out. After all--if Accutech's invention is destroyed or fails to make good, Stark's new business will implode right along with it. Meanwhile, the people who hired the Ghost, Roxxon, have decided the Ghost failed in his mission and has gone renegade, so they decide to cut ties with him.
But the Ghost doesn't play that, declares that he doesn't give a shit about how much money they will or won't pay him, his contract still stands, and should Roxxon decide to make this an issue, he'll come after them next. Roxxon decides they'll call in their backup.
Meanwhile, Stark is busy working on his armour, completely bugfuck paranoid. Rhodes worries about his friend and wouldn't you know it, things go from bad to worse, as there's an alarm right when Stark's been messing with his armour. Only one thing to do--Rhodey needs to get his red and gold suit (not used since #216 when he nearly got burned alive in it) and take the fight to the Ghost.
The Ghost, however, is already there and shoots Tony Stark dead. Except it's actually Spymaster, who manages to shut down the Ghost's systems just as Stark walks in. Spymaster, being unusually polite, tells Stark to piss off so he can put a round through the Ghost's skull. Stark weighs the pros and cons of this for a bit and decides to stop Spymaster from killing him. Spymaster and Stark have a gunfight for a bit while the Ghost reboots his armour and escapes.
Spymaster finds him and they have a shootout in the ladies' room, because well, why not? Stark runs into Spymaster and Rhodes runs into them both long enough to take a shot that would have killed Stark. Rhodes fesses up--after nearly dying in the suit last time, he can't really face putting on the suit again, so Stark, despite his opinion that "The suit symbolises a dark part of my life! A part that's over! It symbolizes the past" (no, really, that hammy and everything) finally says "Screw that" and suits up to fight Spymaster and the Ghost. Spymaster is taken out of the fight pretty early, but the Ghost clips on an intangibility doodad and seems to be leading him to safety.
Only he's not really. In one of the most fucked-up terminations of a character I've ever seen, the Ghost lets Spymaster crawl halfway through a wall and pulls his intangibility device off right in front of him, and, as The Official Handbook of Marvel Universe has informed me on multiple occasions, this kills Spymaster instantly due to fatal molecular disruption. The Ghost leaves a message that Stark shouldn't have saved him, because now he's really pissed off.
To be concluded . . .right here!
The middle part of the first Ghost trilogy is a really good bit that ramps up the tension to a fever pitch, features a kinda cool gimmick (here's Stark back in the old suit!) and really sells the Ghost as more than a good gimmick and a cool costume--his total disdain for money and his outright sadism (seriously, that shit with Spymaster is ice fucking cold, really) We also get some follow-up with Rhodes nearly being killed at the beginning of Layton and Michelenie's second run on the book and why he demurs from wearing the armour (this will, of course, change later on) and it all hums along with some real unflagging energy.