|Previous Comic||Dead for a Day|
|Next Comic||Dead Will Follow|
|Assistant Editor||Kristy Quinn|
|Cover Artist(s)||Frederico Dallocchio & Jonny Rench|
|Genre||Graphic Novel, Action|
|Released||December 9, 2009|
- "But the one thing pain does is bring up things that show a man who he really is inside. Like it or not."
- — The man remembering his old friend.
Dead Life is the second comic book in the Modern Warfare 2: Ghost series published by Wildstorm Productions as a companion to the main series game Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, which was released in the same year.
Back in Lisichansk, Ukraine, the man has the undivided attention of everyone while he continues his story. He explains that Riley, Kevin Sparks and Marcus Washington experienced immensely painful torture that damaged both their minds and bodies. He explains that all this pain was the reason Riley was able to find out who he really is. Riley built himself upon discipline, precision and control, but all that was broken down during his experience in Coahuila.
Flashback to Manchester, England in March 2004 where Riley's father is at a concert booing at the "Maggots," the band that was currently playing. A man tries to shut him up but receives a head butt in return and they fight. Riley, dressed in uniform, arrives breaks his dad away from the fight. He drags him to the back of the building and throws him into a garbage pile.
The father stands from the heap and starts smoking. Riley informs his father that he will be taking care of the family and that they won't be needing him anymore. His father refuses and Riley reasons that he hurts Ms. Riley since he cheats on her constantly and that Tommy, Riley's brother, almost died from drug addiction due to influence from his old man. His father provokes a fight between them by saying that Riley's job was just being a "hit man for the queen." As Riley punches his father, the flashback disappears and reveals Riley being forced to fight Washington in Coahuila while being watched by Manuel Roba, his right-hand man and Vernon.
A punch from Riley sends Washington unconscious, causing him to fall to the ground. Roba orders Vernon to bring Riley to a tent where women will be waiting. Vernon complains and says that Riley's not ready for "Stage 2" since he held back in his fight with Washington. Roba agrees and Vernon orders some men to put Riley in a box where he'll be trapped with a scorpion.
Riley's struggle with the scorpion reminds him of the time his father brought a snake home. He was eight years old, sleeping in his bed when his father sat down holding his baby brother, Tommy, and a snake that he called Rocco. Riley was scared but his brother was having fun, which only led his father to tease him of being a coward. His father then forces him to kiss the snake. Back in his prison cell in Mexico, a man is literally licking the wounds of Riley (particularly around the lips) while he is unconscious. Vernon and Roba arrive to check on Riley while talking about some Afghan guests that would be arriving.
Seeing that everything is okay, the pair go to a surgery room where Sparks is being operated on. He is blindfolded, barfing and is severely bleeding from his stomach. The doctors are holding him down as one of them readies an injection. Vernon reveals that what's happening is a brainwashing process but he doubts that Sparks will be able to survive it judging from the mortality rate. But he believes that Riley will survive but will take longer to turn. Roba says that they have enough time but couldn't care either way since everyone is expendable.
Riley goes is brought to the tent that Roba mentioned before, there he finds Roba with his face painted in the likeness of a skull. He is asked to take off his clothes and is given an actual skull, and a naked woman arrives and embraces him from behind. Roba says that the skull is the skull of Riley's mother, and that the woman is named Pilar, and that "she can do things with her hips that men would kill for." Roba says that everyday will start like this and that this is his choice. Riley looks at the woman and then the skull, he smiles and pulls the skull closer to him. Making his choice clear. That night, Riley was hanged from a tree from his waist, but this did not kill him.
Riley flashes back to his house in Manchester. He had just come back from the military and finds his mother crying in front of the television set. He tells his mother that he had been gone for eighteen months after being asked. He then asks her in return where Tommy is.
His mother then explains that they had an argument, because Tommy was asking for money she couldn't provide and Tommy just took some vinyl records from her to get the money. Later that night, Riley finds his brother passed out in his house. Riley wakes him up and tells him he's bringing him to the clinic. Tommy admits he regrets what he's done. As they move towards the door way, five people arrive, the leader says that Tommy's been staying here without permission. Riley tries to negotiate but they bring out knives and run at him. As they fight, the faces of the people around him suddenly have their faces painted as skulls. And as he punches each of them, they turn into skeletons. Riley continues fighting as if this was normal, but then a girl from the group jumps on him and bites his neck. He punches her too, turning her into a skeleton. As he holds the woman's skull in his hands, he starts laughing.
Back in Mexico, Riley is fighting again, but this time he's fighting Vernon while laughing. The Afghans that were mentioned before have arrived and are watching the fight with great interest. Roba orders one of his men to give Riley a knife and the Afghans start chanting "Kill!" Once Riley sees the knife, he stops laughing, and punching and remembers his brothers wedding. Riley just stares down at Vernon. Riley is escorted back to his cell, Sparks and Washington are set against each other and Vernon is brought before a knife-wielding Roba.
One night after a few months, Riley is woken up by Sparks and Washington. They tell Riley that they heard one of the guards say that all three of them will be killed at dawn and that they are escaping before then. The skeleton key that Washington rigged fails to work on Riley's cell door, so Riley just urges them to leave him.
After a few moments the guards arrive and bring him to Roba (once again wearing skull-paint) outside. A coffin has been freshly dug up from the ground and is opened to reveal Vernon's maggot-infested corpse. Riley is shoved inside and the coffin is buried once again.