6 Historic Deals with the Devil
Look back at four deadly agreements Mephisto can be proud of (and two that blew up in his face)!
For years now, one of Marvel’s most notable devilish types, Mephisto, has been proving himself to be quite the dangerous negotiator—and while he loses now and then—he tends to come out on top.
Currently caught up in his wicked grasp is Miles Morales, as revealed in the first issue of the new CHAMPIONS series. As CHAMPIONS #2 hits shelves today, we thought we would see if any of Mephisto’s past agreements might offer Morales some hope...
Here are some of the most memorable deals with the Devil in Marvel history.
As we all know, Johnny Blaze received the power to be Ghost Rider from bonding with the demon Zarathos. That deal, however, began between Blaze and Mephisto.
When Mephisto, posing as Satan, approached Johnny, the soon-to-be Spirit of Vengeance offered up his soul without hesitation. However, Blaze did so without desire to gain for himself, only to help others; this meant Mephisto would be unable to collect the man’s soul. Rather than accept defeat, however, the demon sought to make an omelet out of the broken eggs.
See, Mephisto had long resented his fellow demon Zarathos because he perceived that Zarathos to be superior to him. The defunct deal with Blaze created an opportunity to punish both the human for not being selfish enough for Mephisto to claim his soul and Zarathos for being more well-liked in Hell. Thus, the bond between the two, forcing Johnny into a kind of hellish existence on Earth and trapping Mephisto’s demon rival in the body of a do-gooder human being.
For the God of Mischief, almost anything worth doing is worth doing in wildly complex ways. Like making a deal with Mephisto.
The God of Mischief’s plan actually began several steps before the deity even approached Mephisto. Loki approached Hela, who had no kingdom following Asgard’s literal fall to Earth. Desperate to rule over something again, she assured Loki she would give him anything if he could make that happen.
With this promise in hand, Loki went to Mephisto and offered the demon a collection of dark Valkyrie known as the Disir. Earlier, Loki had defeated them in combat and thus they were in servitude to the God of Mischief. Loki, however, said that he would let them serve Mephisto for over a hundred days if the demon would give a portion of his kingdom to Hela for her to re-establish Hel for over a thousand years. Mephisto agrees, giving up any and all designs on Loki’s soul. Hela, honoring her promise, erased Loki’s name from the Book of Hel, freeing the God of Mischief from the Ragnarok cycle. Thus, the inevitable life, death, and rebirth that other Asgardian Gods endure no longer applied to him. For the first time, he was truly free.
Alas, shortly thereafter, Loki ended up turned to ribbons by the Void. Thus, Mephisto still kind of won the deal. Loki only brief got to taste true freedom while Mephisto still got to command the Disir for the full agreed time.
The other Spider-Man, Peter Parker, has had his own go-round with Mephisto.
Following CIVIL WAR, Parker found that his previous fears about living a public life as a hero had basis in truth. The evidence of this arrived when a sniper, at the behest of Kingpin, shot Aunt May. While Spider-Man gave in to his rage, doctors at the hospital quickly realized that May could not be saved.
Thus, Spidey had to look outside medical science for help. That led him directly to Mephisto’s door. The demon, perhaps made wise by the likes of Johnny Blaze, rejected Parker’s soul. However, Mephisto offered a different deal: if Spidey gave up his marriage to Mary Jane, the demon would save his Aunt’s life and restore the secrecy of Peter’s identity.
Parker took the deal. Mephisto kept his word. Aunt May returned to full health, Peter and MJ’s marriage became erased from time and Spider-Man’s dual identity stopped being public knowledge.
X-23, Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Venom
When the quartet attempted to defeat Blackheart, the demon and his minions made quick work of them, killing all four. Mephisto, as Blackheart’s dad and a jealous fellow demon, hated the idea of being eclipsed by Blackheart. He therefore approached X-23, Red Hulk, Ghost Rider, and Venom with a deal. He would restore them to life and empower them to defeat Blackheart. However, they would owe him an undisclosed future favor.
The newly christened Circle of Four agreed readily and Mephisto resurrected them. The quarter proved successful in their second go-round and stopped Blackheart’s machinations.
Mephisto’s future favor, however, remains unrevealed. Of the four, only Venom seems preoccupied with it and has learned that the agreement sits not with Flash Thompson, the man who made the deal, but rather with the alien symbiote itself. What this means still remains shrouded in mystery and demonic obfuscation...
Baron Mordo sought to keep things simple when he decided to make his deal with the devil. He went to Satannish and Mephisto, and said they could have his soul if they gave him even more power. They both agreed, unaware of each other’s involvement.
Mordo—having previously made a deal for power with Dormammu that went quite poorly for him—went in with eyes wide open this time. He knew that when the demons attempted to collect on his soul, the resulting disagreement would threaten Earth and the fabric of reality. Doctor Strange could not ignore such a threat and would have to intercede. Then, after Strange defeated the demons, Mordo’s soul would be saved and his greatest enemy would be weak.
All proved true. Mordo out-thought Mephisto and had Strange on the ropes. The only problem turned out to be that even without magic, Stephen Strange could still throw a punch. Before Mordo could best his rival in sorcery, the Sorcerer Supreme straight up cold-cocked him and sent the Baron to the mat.
Living in exile, Black Panther figured out that Achebe had been able to seize the throne thanks to powers from Mephisto. Finding Mephisto on Earth, T'Challa proceeded to brutalize the demon. However, Mephisto still refused to lift Achebe’s powers.
Thus, Black Panther went to Plan B; he offered his soul to the demon in exchange for de-powering Achebe. Mephisto did as asked and Achebe lost his demonic powers. This, however, did not lead immediately to Achebe losing control of Wakanda. Instead he struck a deal with Panther’s stepmom to stay in power and grew increasingly erratic and capricious, as though only the mystical powers were keeping his mental illness in check.
Nonetheless, the Panther honored his word, allowing Mephisto to take his soul. The demon, however, quickly learned that he had been setup. Given the nature of being a Black Panther and King of Wakanda, T’Challa’s soul had been linked to all his predecessors. Therefore, the demon had to take them all at once if he wanted T’Challa’s. This proved simply too impossible a task for even a Lord of Hell to manage, and the demon had to break the contract to save himself.