Comics
Published October 31, 2022

Mephisto’s Wildest Schemes

Mephisto has some grand plans for the Marvel Universe, and none of them are good. From his grudge match with Hela to his Multiversal ambitions, here are a few of his most insidious plots!

Since his introduction in SILVER SURFER (1968) #3 by Stan Lee and John Buscema, Mephisto has tangled with heroes like the Avengers and the X-Men, repeatedly proving himself to be a major threat in the Marvel Universe. Due in large part to his wild – and often unpredictable – machinations, Mephisto has almost won on several occasions. In celebration of Mephisto month, here are five of the demon’s wildest schemes.

Mephisto Absorbs Silver Surfer’s Mind

Mephisto’s debut in SILVER SURFER (1968) #3 established him in a big way, proving the lengths he’ll go to spread corruption and evil throughout the universe. In that issue, a despondent Silver Surfer, AKA Norrin Radd, brought human civilization to a standstill by disabling its technology because he had become frustrated with their penchant for violence. This attracted the attention of Mephisto, who wanted humanity to remain hostile, as that corruption would lead to his eventual victory over them. He thus set out to destroy the Surfer.

The first stage of Mephisto’s plan saw him approach Shalla-Bal, Radd’s love from Zenn-La, before he became a Herald of Galactus. Mephisto convinced her that he could reunite her with Radd and transported her to a spaceship near Earth. When the army brought down the spacecraft, Mephisto departed, leaving the Surfer to find Shalla-Bal among the ruins. He healed her, but Mephisto quickly returned to take her to Hell.

The Surfer went to Mephisto’s realm, where the demon tempted him with – among other things – a harem of women before forcing him to battle demons. When all his other plans failed, Mephisto reduced the Surfer to a thought and then implanted him in his own brain, where he could (theoretically) bend him to his will – but the plan didn’t work. The Surfer’s sheer goodness helped him escape Mephisto’s mind and defeat him, though afterwards Radd was once again separated from Shalla-Bal.

Mephisto Vs. Hela

In addition to his deviousness, Mephisto is also aggressively petty, paying back every slight against him in kind. That’s nowhere more evident than in Al Milgrom and John Buscema’s MEPHISTO VS. (1987), which saw the titular demon enact a convoluted plan to get revenge on Hela for stealing souls he believed belonged to him.

To kick off the plan, Mephisto brought the Fantastic Four to Hell, where he lied to Sue Richards and claimed Reed Richards got his intelligence via a deal with the devil. Sue sacrificed herself to preserve Reed’s mind and return the Fantastic Four to Earth. Reed then contacted X-Factor for help, leading Jean Grey to give up her soul to get both Sue and her teammates out of Hell. As the story progressed, Mephisto tricked Rogue into absorbing the souls of various X-Men and, with her in tow, headed off to steal Thor’s soul. 

After a fight with the Avengers, Mephisto wasn’t able to actually keep Thor’s soul, so he gave the God of Thunder up. However, in conversation with the Living Tribunal – who was upset about Mephisto’s threats against the universe’s balance of power – the Prince of Lies revealed he never intended to keep Thor’s soul. Instead, he tampered with the God of Thunder’s soul in such a way that, when Thor dies and goes to the Asgardian afterlife, it will cause problems for Hela.

Mephisto Tries to Steal the Infinity Gauntlet

In INFINITY GAUNTLET (1991) by Jim Starlin, George Pérez, and Ron Lim, Thanos gathered the Infinity Gems and became one of the deadliest threats the Marvel Universe has ever faced. Mephisto played a key role in that story, though – in keeping with his character – the Prince of Lies eventually turns against the Mad Titan. 

At the start of the series, Mephisto – who previously sought Death’s favor during SECRET WARS II (1985) – seemingly swore himself to Thanos. Mephisto’s advice motivated Thanos to try and impress Death by first resurrecting Nebula and then snapping away half the universe. Soon, though, it became clear Mephisto didn’t have Thanos’ best interests in mind. During the Mad Titan’s battle with the heroes of Earth, Mephisto convinced Thanos to hold back and not just wipe them out immediately by claiming that Death would find that more impressive.

When Thanos proved successful against those heroes, the Marvel Universe’s most powerful cosmic entities arrived on the scene. During that battle, both Mephisto and Death turned against the Mad Titan, with the former attempting to steal the Infinity Gauntlet right off his hand. Thanos killed them both in retaliation, with Mephisto ending up just a breath from one of the most powerful weapons in creation.

Mephisto Brings Hell to Nevada

During SECRET EMPIRE (2017), Hydra destroyed Las Vegas, Nevada, killing thousands in the process. In response, Doctor Stephen Strange used his magic to restore those who died back to life. However, as Mephisto already had a claim on their souls and the city itself, this created a massive conflict between the two, which was the subject of Nick SpencerDonny Cates, and Rod Reis’ DOCTOR STRANGE: DAMNATION (2018).

In DAMNATION, Mephisto built the Hotel Inferno, from which he ruled the city. With an established foothold on Earth, Mephisto soon began taking the souls of those who made even minor mistakes, leading him to possess several key heroes, including Hawkeye and Black Panther. Doctor Strange tried to stop Mephisto with a card came. The stakes were the Sorcerer Supreme’s soul versus Mephisto returning to Hell and giving up his claim on Las Vegas. Strange won by cheating, which Mephisto soon discovered. He punished Strange by turning him into one of his minions.

To stop the catastrophe, Wong formed a new Midnight Sons team and used the group, which included Johnny Blaze’s Ghost Rider, to try and stop the Lord of Darkness. The Midnight Sons successfully defeated Mephisto, and Blaze ended up ruling Hell. Mephisto, for his part, was imprisoned in the Hotel Inferno for a time.

Mephisto Goes Multiversal with His Plans

Following Phil Coulson’s death in SECRET EMPIRE (2017), Mephisto brought the S.H.I.E.L.D. agent back to life. The Prince of Lies gave Coulson the Pandemonium Cube, which he then used to change history so that the Squadron Supreme replaced the Avengers as Earth’s main superhero team. This led to the HEROES REBORN (2021) event by Jason Aaron and Ed McGuinness

The Avengers eventually beat Coulson, and Mephisto revealed that helping Coulson was actually part of a different plan. The demon empowered Coulson to show the Council of Red – a group made up of various versions of Mephisto from across the Multiverse – the damage they could do if they joined forces. 

The Council of Red soon made a deal with Doom Supreme – an alternate version of Victor von Doom – to recruit versions of villains from across the Multiverse to form the Masters of Evil. This group has destroyed various Avengers teams across time and space, causing the Avenger Prime to deploy Deathloks to try and stop them. At the time of writing, the Masters of Evil are still a major problem for Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, and their battle is set to conclude in the pages of AVENGERS ASSEMBLE (2022).

Mephisto’s plan to destroy the Avengers continues in AVENGERS (2018) #62, on sale November 9, before ramping up in AVENGERS ASSEMBLE ALPHA (2022) #1 on November 30!

Interested in reading more about Mephisto? Check out his bio and a list of his greatest deals 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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