Mephisto’s Most Impactful Deals
Mephisto's deals have shaped the Marvel Universe. From the end of Spider-Man's marriage to the erasure of the Avengers, here are a few of his most impactful pacts!
Over the decades, many of the Marvel Universe’s heroes and villains have found themselves wishing for something more than they have, or a solution to an otherwise impossible-to-solve problem. That’s where Mephisto comes in. For a price, Mephisto can give someone what they desire – but when it comes to making a deal like this, the devil always gets his due. In celebration of Mephisto month, here are seven of the Lord of Lies’ most impactful deals in the Marvel Universe.
A Deal With Mephisto Creates Ghost Rider
In MARVEL SPOTLIGHT (1971) #5 by Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog, daredevil Johnny Blaze traded his soul to Mephisto to save stuntman and father figure Crash Simpson from terminal cancer. Despite the trade, Simpson died in a stunt gone wrong soon after his recovery. An angry Blaze confronted Mephisto, who made clear that he technically kept to the word of their deal, as cancer wasn’t the cause of Simpson’s death.
The deal itself resulted in Blaze bonding with Zarathos, the Spirit of Vengeance, giving the stuntman his powers. However, Blaze’s choice to use his abilities for good, and thus against Mephisto, earned him the demon’s ire. Since then, Mephisto has remained one of Ghost Rider’s most stalwart enemies, while the latter has remained one of the Marvel Universe’s most important heroes.
Mephisto’s Deal with Cynthia von Doom Forever Changes Her Son
When Victor von Doom was a child, his family experienced persecution in Latveria under the Baron due to their Romani heritage. His mother, Cynthia von Doom, responded by making a deal with Mephisto, trading her soul for the power to fight back against her oppressors.
However, unbeknownst to her, the power Cynthia wielded against her enemies resulted in the death of innocent children. As Cynthia lamented her actions and renounced her power, she was killed by one of the Baron’s men and her soul became trapped in Hell.
Cynthia’s deal with Mephisto had massive ramifications for her son Victor and, in many ways, drove him to become a villain (and occasional antihero). For example, the accident that disfigured Victor was the result of an attempt to build a machine that could communicate with her in the afterlife. He also learned magic in hopes of rescuing her. Eventually, with the help of Doctor Stephen Strange, Victor freed his mother in DOCTOR STRANGE & DOCTOR DOOM: TRIUMPH AND TORMENT (1989) by Roger Stern and Mike Mignola.
Spider-Man Trades Away His Marriage in “One More Day”
In the 2000s, Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man, was married to Mary Jane Watson – and there’s a good reason why that’s not the case anymore. AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (1999)'s “One More Day” storyline by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada saw Aunt May on her deathbed after she was shot in the wake of Peter’s decision to unmask during CIVIL WAR (2006). Wracked with guilt, Peter frantically sought a way to save her. When all other avenues failed, Mephisto came to him.
Disguised as a young girl (eventually revealed to be Peter’s future daughter with Mary Jane), Mephisto offered to save Aunt May’s life. In return, the Wall-Crawler had to give up his marriage with Mary Jane. Spider-Man eventually agreed to the deal.
A lot of questions surrounded Mephisto’s deal with Peter: why did he trade for the hero’s marriage, rather than his soul? Why he seem to bring Harry Osborn back from the dead? SINISTER WAR (2021) by Nick Spencer, Mark Bagley, and Federico Vicentini answered that and more, revealing that Mephisto made the deal because – in the future – either Peter or his daughter with Mary Jane would thwart the demon’s eventual reign over humanity.
Norman Osborn Sells His Son’s Soul
Additionally, SINISTER WAR (2021) revealed that not only was Mephisto’s deal with Spider-Man designed to prevent him from eventually opposing him, but that it was connected to another of the devil’s secret pacts. As a younger man, Norman Osborn struggled in business and, when things looked most dire, Mephisto offered to give him success in exchange for the soul of his son, Harry.
Norman’s deal with Mephisto resulted in Oscorp – one of the Marvel Universe’s most important companies – rising to prominence. However, the deal also precipitated Norman’s eventual descent into madness and transformation into the Green Goblin, one of Spider-Man’s fiercest and most deadly villains.
Mephisto’s Deal with Loki Changed the God of Mischief
Brian Michael Bendis and Olivier Coipel’s SIEGE (2009) event saw Loki manipulate Norman Osborn into attacking Asgard with his Dark Avengers. While that was happening, Loki captured the Disir, the undead Valkyries of Bor who fed on gods. Using the Disir as a bargaining chip, Loki traded them to Mephisto. In exchange, the demon gave Hela a piece of his realm to replace the one she lost. As a result, Loki was struck from the Books of Hel, giving him absolute freedom from both Asgard and its afterlife.
The deal, which could only be made with Mephisto, changed Loki in some major ways. Following his heroic death at the end of SIEGE (2009), Loki was able to reincarnate as Kid Loki. In this new form, the God of Mischief turned away from being one of the Marvel Universe’s villains and instead became more of the antihero he is today.
The Devil Makes Doc Ock a Villain Again
In the 2010s, Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus, swapped bodies with Spider-Man, seemingly killing his old foe in the process. However, as the story of this self-proclaimed Superior Spider-Man continued, Octavius grew to understand the negative impact of his past actions, leading him to become more of a hero. As a hero, he even played a key role in stopping the Inheritors in both SPIDER-VERSE (2014) and SPIDER-GEDDON (2018).
During SPIDER-GEDDON (2018), Octavius made an enemy of an alternate version of Norman Osborn with the powers of Spider-Man. In the pages of SUPERIOR SPIDER-MAN (2018) by Christos Gage and Mike Hawthorne, the two tangled, and it soon became clear Octavius couldn’t win the battle the way he was.
Octavius tried to strike a deal with Mephisto to restore him to his old self for one day. Instead, the devil countered with an offer to permanently return Octavius to his original form, minus what he’d learned during his time in Peter’s body. Octavius agreed and beat Spider-Osborn, but in the process, he lost some of his closest friends and returned to being a villain.
Phil Coulson Erases the Avengers in His Deal with Mephisto
In DEADPOOL (2015) #31, which was a tie-in to the SECRET EMPIRE (2017) event, Deadpool killed Phil Coulson on the orders of a villainous Captain America, pushing over the first domino in one of Mephisto’s cleverest deals. The demon revived Coulson, who sold his soul to Mephisto in exchange for the Pandemonium Cube, which he used to re-write reality.
In this new world, which was the focus of Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness’ HEROES REBORN (2021), the Avengers weren’t superheroes, Mephisto was worshipped as a godly figure in the United States, and the Squadron Supreme was the country’s premier crime-fighting team.
By the end, Blade – who was unaffected by Coulson’s actions – rallied the Avengers. Together, they restored reality and defeated Coulson. However, as Mephisto soon revealed, he had an ulterior motive. Giving Coulson the Pandemonium Cube proved to the Council of Red – a group of Mephistos from across the Multiverse – just how much damage a single Mephisto could do. This kicked off the Multiversal war he is currently waging in the pages of AVENGERS (2018).
Interested in reading more about Mephisto? Check out his bio and a list of his wildest schemes right here on Marvel.com, and don't miss the culmination of his AVENGERS (2018) schemes starting in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE ALPHA #1, on sale November 30! Happy Mephisto Month!
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