Mephisto (comics)

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See also: Mephistopheles
Mephisto
Mephisto, as seen on the variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #545 (Jan. 2008).
Art by Marko Djurdjevic.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
First appearance Silver Surfer #3 (Dec. 1968)
Created by Stan Lee
John Buscema
In-story information
Species Demon
Team affiliations Six-Fingered Hand
Legion Accursed
Notable aliases Satan, Lucifer, The Devil, Mephistopheles
Abilities Superhuman physical attributes and intelligence
Immortality
Magic

Mephisto is a fictional character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in Silver Surfer #3 (Dec. 1968) and was introduced in the Marvel universe by Stan Lee and John Buscema, based on Mephistopheles – a demon character from the Faust legend, who often went by Mephisto as a nickname.

Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, the character has appeared in over four decades of Marvel continuity. The character has also appeared in associated Marvel merchandise including animated television series, feature film, toys, trading cards, and video games.

In 2009, Mephisto was ranked as IGN's 48th Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time.

Publication history[edit]

Inspired by the Mephisto of the Faust legend,[citation needed] he was introduced into Marvel comics by writer Stan Lee and penciler John Buscema, Mephisto debuted in Silver Surfer #3 (cover-dated Dec. 1968), and was established as a perennial foe for the cosmic hero, also appearing in Silver Surfer #8–9 (Sept.–Oct. 1969) and #16–17 (May – June 1970). Author Mike Conroy has described Mephisto as "the tempter who could offer the endlessly soul-tormented Silver Surfer the world, even dangling the Surfer's off-limits long-distance lover in front of him. As always the case with Lee's heroes, the Surfer's goodness and nobility won out, but Mephisto was only stymied, not defeated, and the pattern was set.[1]

Mephisto went on to become a foe for the Norse god superhero Thor in Thor #180–181 (Sept.- Oct. 1970), Astonishing Tales #8 (Oct. 1971) and Thor #204–205 (Oct.–Nov. 1972). He was later revealed to be the being to whom Johnny Blaze had sold his soul and had been cursed to become the Ghost Rider,[volume & issue needed] in a retroactive continuity that placed him in the role originally played by Satan. This was later retconned back to Satan,[volume & issue needed] though Mephisto's influence is still felt in the 1990s by the Danny Ketch Ghost Rider.

Other appearances included posing as Satan in Marvel Spotlight #5 (Aug. 1972); tormenting the titular superhero team in Fantastic Four #155–157 (Feb.–April 1975) and Thor #310 (Aug. 1981) and #325 (Nov. 1982). Mephisto also guest starred in two limited series: Vision and the Scarlet Witch vol. 2, #1–12 (Oct. 1985 – Sept. 1986) and Secret Wars II #1 9 (July 1985 – March 1986), before starring in the self-titled limited series Mephisto vs. #1–4 (April–July 1987), battling several of Marvel's super teams. The series was penciled by co-creator Buscema.

In Daredevil #266 (May 1989), penciler John Romita, Jr. redesigned the character, re-imagining him as a bloated, nude creature with short, vaguely frog-like legs and a demonic head. Romita explained, "I couldn’t see the Devil with tights and a cape."[2] Subsequent portrayals have varied between Mephisto's original appearance and the Romita redesign.

Mephisto continued to torment the Scarlet Witch in Avengers West Coast #51–52 (Nov.–Dec. 1989); created a new adversary for the Marvel heroes in Daredevil #270 (Sept. 1989); and appeared in the graphic novel Triumph and Torment: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom (1989). Additionally, he was featured prominently in the One More Day storyline in The Amazing Spider-Man #544; Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24; Sensational Spider-Man (vol. 2) #41 and Amazing Spider-Man #545 (Oct. 2007 – Jan. 2008).

In 2009, Mephisto was ranked #48 on IGN's list of Greatest Comic Book Villains of All Time.[3]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Mephisto is a perennial villain in the Marvel Universe, and is responsible for a number of evil acts, including capturing and holding the soul of Cynthia Von Doom – the mother of Doctor Doom — until Doctor Strange and Doom free her to ascend to heaven.[4] He was jealous of the worship of the fire demon Zarathos, so, posing as Satan, Mephisto creates the Ghost Rider by bonding Zarathos to Johnny Blaze.[5] In one story where he battled Thor, he was shown to have various historical villains in his realm, such as Adolf Hitler, Blackbeard, and Attila the Hun.[volume & issue needed]

Mephisto claims to have been created, along with many other demons, by the supreme being whose suicide resulted in the creation of the Marvel universe as well as the Infinity Gems. He also claimed that his total evil nature is because the supreme being did not choose to make him good as that being had no concept of it.[6]

Mephisto acted as servant of the mad titan Thanos during the War of the Gems, seeking to attain that power for himself. He is also responsible for capturing the souls of heroes Mister Fantastic (whose intelligence was also stolen by Mephisto), the Invisible Woman, and Franklin Richards due to a botched summoning by an exorcist.[7]

During the Secret Wars II storyline, Mephisto seeks to steal Beyonder's powers or to destroy him to win the favor of Death. Mephisto sends an army of supervillains called the Legion Accursed to attack the Beyonder, who is saved by the Thing. After the Legion Accursed was defeated, Mephisto returned its members to where they were before he formed the Legion Accursed.[8]

Mephisto later creates his 'son' Blackheart, a demonic entity that plagues many of Earth's heroes.[9]

Mephisto later manipulates the sorcerer Master Pandemonium into gathering the five scattered fragments of his soul that were lost in an ill-fated encounter with the aforementioned Franklin.[7][10]

When the Scarlet Witch attempts to use magic to conceive children with her husband, the android Vision, she unknowingly summons two of the soul fragments which are born as her infant twins. The revelation of her children's origin, followed by their loss when reabsorbed into Pandemonium, drives the Scarlet Witch insane.[11]

Mephisto also tries to destroy the Avenger Hawkeye when he enters Hell to try to save the soul of his deceased wife, Mockingbird.[12]

Mephisto also heals May Parker in exchange for changing the personal timelines of Peter Parker (Spider-Man) and Mary Jane Watson so that they never married, claiming he did so only because he hated their happiness (also adding that he has no interest in taking Spider-Man's soul because such a deal results in him tormenting a soul that is willing to accept the punishment because their sacrifice saved another, a righteousness which disgusts him). He also, at Mary Jane's request, erases knowledge of Peter's identity. During the process, Harry Osborn is also somehow brought back to life.[13]

During the Siege storyline, Mephisto had bartered part of his realm to the Asgardian death goddess Hela for 1,001 years in exchange for control for 101 days of the 13 surviving Dísir, dangerous evil predecessors to the Valkyries.[volume & issue needed] This troubles the minions who had previously lived in this territory, and part of Siege Aftermath shows the "last stand of the perfidious diaspora" in what seems to have been a revolt. The revolt is quickly put down by the Dísir under Mephisto's command. The Dísir leader Brün tries to negotiate with Mephisto because she wishes to invade Hela's Hel and feast on the souls of Asgardian dead. Mephisto tells her that he has no interest in Hel but he does not object to their invasion.[14] Thor, trying to defend Hel and its dead, enters Mephisto's domain to find the Eir-gram, a magical sword that can cut the otherwise insubstantial Dísir. Mephisto offers to give him the Eir-Gram and a "happily ever after" for Asgard if he agrees not to interfere with one of Mephisto's plans, which is not at that time named. Thor remains silent the whole time. Mephisto grants him entry to Hell, but Thor must survive many difficulties before he finds the blade.[15]

During the Fear Itself storyline, Mephisto appears before a de-powered Johnny Blaze during the attack by Sin in the form of Skadi and states that he has damned the human race. Mephisto then states that he will help Johnny save the human race from the Serpent and the Worthy.[16] Mephisto goes on a date with New Mutants member Magma; apparently confiding in her, he explains that, while he is the embodiment of one of the great forces of the universe, the force that created him also gave him desires and emotions, and occasionally wants to do human things.[17] Magma later confided to Blink that she has subsequently seen Mephisto again, but wishes to keep it secret.[18] After speaking with the Gods at the Infinite Embassy, Mephisto headed to the Devil's Advocacy to speak with the other demons about the Serpent's threat on Earth.[19]

Mephisto briefly appears to assist Deadpool in destroying one of his demon lieutenants,[20] before taking a major part in the Hell On Earth War,[21] where he is defeated and replaced by X-Factor member Strong Guy as ruler of Hell.[22]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Mephisto is an extremely powerful immortal demonic entity possessing magical powers and abilities gained by manipulation of the forces of magic. Mephisto is capable of using his power for a variety of uses, including superhuman strength, shape and size shifting,[23] projecting illusions,[24] manipulating memories,[25] altering time,[26] and is highly resistant to injury.[27]

The character has been shown to be energized by sources of evil in the human realm, such as the alien Dire Wraiths.[7] Like other demons, Mephisto is symbiotically linked to, and considerably more powerful within, his own realm, and the character is able to transform the structure at will.[28] Within it he has threatened a galaxy, and stalemated a nourished Galactus until the latter threatened to consume his realm.[29] If Mephisto's physical form is destroyed, the character will regenerate and reform in his domain.[30]

Mephisto is known for acquiring souls, but cannot subjugate the will of another being without the victim's permission. This is usually some form of pact.[31]

Other versions[edit]

Guardians of the Galaxy[edit]

In the Guardians' 31st century timeline he has a daughter named Malevolence.[volume & issue needed]

Universe X[edit]

In the Earth X sequel, Universe X, Mephisto is the force behind Pope Immortus (secretly Kang) and his extermination of Reed Richards's Human Torch to assume mutant dominance.[32] It was later revealed that in that reality Mephisto is not the devil, but the very first mutant shaped by mankind's fear.[33]

Ultimate Marvel[edit]

Mephisto (as Satan) appeared in Ultimate Comics: Avengers as the man Johnny Blaze sold his soul to avenge his love Roxanne, and to punish the guilty as a "bounty hunter for Hell."[34]

Marvel Mangaverse[edit]

The demonic Mephisto created Galactus in Marvel Mangaverse.[volume & issue needed]

Marvel Zombies[edit]

Mephisto appears in "Marvel Zombies: Halloween", saving Kitty Pryde and her son, Peter, from a zombified Darkhawk, Alex Power, Squirrel Girl, Karolina Dean, and Mettle, in order to claim Kitty and Peter's souls for later.[35]

In other media[edit]

Television[edit]

  • Mephisto was due to appear in the proposed second season of the Silver Surfer with the demonic nature toned down and made acceptable for children.[36] He makes a cameo at the end of episode 21, "Down to Earth, Part 3".[37]

Film[edit]

  • Actor Peter Fonda plays Mephisto (as Mephistopheles) as one of the two main villains alongside his son Blackheart in the 2007 film Ghost Rider. Peter Fonda had expressed interest in returning to portray the character again for Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance,[38] however Ciarán Hinds was revealed to be playing the character instead.[39] Mephisto appears, as with Blackheart, in his human form throughout most of the film, only showing glimpses of a horned, goat-like demon, making a deal with Johnny Blaze to save his father from cancer in return for his future service, only for Johnny's father to die in an accident the day after making the deal. Some years later, Mephistopheles 'requests' that Johnny act as his agent to recover the Contract of San Verganza, an entire town who sold their souls to the Devil, but the contract is acquired by Blackheart before the Ghost Rider subsequently renders him catatonic, Blaze deciding to hold on to the curse despite the offer to be released from his service so that Mephistopheles cannot recruit a less scrupulous person.
  • Mephisto appears in Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, but is referred to as the Devil. Mephisto appears in the form of a man named Roarke (played by Ciarán Hinds) and has fathered a child with a woman named Nadya (played by Violante Placido) after saving her life. Roarke has plans for the boy named Danny (played by Fergus Riorden) that involve him becoming his host, as Danny's conception means that using him as a host would give Roarke full access to his powers on Earth where he is normally limited to temporary visits in rapidly-decaying bodies. In the end, he is sent back to Hell by Ghost Rider after Danny uses his natural powers to give Blaze a power boost.

Video games[edit]

  • Mephisto's voice is heard in a bonus mission in the 2005 Fantastic Four video game.
  • Mephisto appears in the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Fred Tatasciore. Doctor Doom uses Nightcrawler combined with the Mutant Amplifier to teleport to Mephisto's Realm in order to gain a Twilight Sword from Mephisto which Doctor Doom plans to use on Odin. When Nightcrawler escapes them, Mephisto has Blackheart and some demons recapture Nightcrawler and capture Jean Grey. When the heroes find Ghost Rider trapped, he tells the player that he will release Ghost Rider when the one who touches the Book of Despair takes his place for the remainder of the level. After Blackheart is defeated, the players engange Mephisto who uses the astral energy to resurrect the X-Man that was dropped into the Infinity Vortex. The resurrected X-Man when defeated will sacrifice their life to help defeat Mephisto. When it comes to the future part revolving around finding the damaged Ultimate Nullifier at Castle Doom, Uatu mentions that Mephisto will one day seek to conquer Earth. If the player successfully finds the damaged Ultimate Nullifier, Mister Fantastic will repair it and use it to prevent Mephisto from invading Earth before all is lost. If the damaged Ultimate Nullifier isn't found, the team of heroes will be forced to band together once again to fight Mephisto with the resulting battle causing a tremendous amount of destruction. During the credits, Mephisto's voice is heard taking part in the recording session where he mentions to the voice director that he has many contacts in Hollywood. Mephisto has special dialogue with Thor.
  • Mephisto appears in the Ghost Rider video game voiced by Kirk Thornton. He brings Ghost Rider to Hell and has him fight the demonic forces that plan to resurrect Blackheart.
  • Mephisto appears in Ghost Rider's ending in Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3, where Dante and Trish force him to undo his demonic pact with Johnny Blaze. He also appears in Dante's ending, where he tries to coax Dante into forming a pact with him, only for the Devil Hunter to turn it around, forcing Mephisto to send him after Blackheart instead.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Conroy, Mike. 500 Comicbook Villains, Collins & Brown, 2004.
  2. ^ Cordier, Philippe (April 2007). "Seeing Red: Dissecting Daredevil's Defining Years". Back Issue! (TwoMorrows Publishing) (21): 33–60 which page quote on?. 
  3. ^ Mephisto is number 48 , IGN.
  4. ^ Astonishing Tales #8 (Oct. 1971) and Triumph and Torment: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom (1989)
  5. ^ Marvel Spotlight #5 (Aug. 1972)
  6. ^ "Silver Surfer" #45 (Jan. 1991)
  7. ^ a b c Fantastic Four #277 (Apr. 1985)
  8. ^ Secret Wars II #7
  9. ^ Daredevil #270 (Sep. 1989)
  10. ^ Byrne, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Machlan, Mike (i). "I Sing of Arms and Heroes..." Avengers West Coast 51 (Mid-November 1989)
    Byrne, John (w), Byrne, John (p), Machlan, Mike (i). "Fragments of a Greater Darkness" Avengers West Coast 52 (December 1989)
  11. ^ Vision and the Scarlet Witch #1 – 12 (1985–1986); Avengers West Coast #51 – 52 (Nov. – Dec. 1989)
  12. ^ Thunderbolts Annual (2000)
  13. ^ One More DayAmazing Spider-Man #544; Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man #24; The Sensational Spider-Man #41 and Amazing Spider-Man #545 (Oct. 2007 – Jan. 2008)
  14. ^ Thor #611
  15. ^ Thor #612
  16. ^ Ghost Rider Vol. 7 #1
  17. ^ New Mutants #37
  18. ^ New Mutants #41
  19. ^ Journey Into Mystery #627
  20. ^ Deadpool v. 3 #11-12
  21. ^ X-Factor v. 1 #250-256
  22. ^ X-Factor v. 1 #256
  23. ^ Thor #310 (Aug. 1981) and Daredevil #279 (Apr. 1990)
  24. ^ Thor #310 (Aug. 1981)
  25. ^ Silver Surfer vol. 3, #1 (Jul. 1987)
  26. ^ Amazing Spider-Man #545 (Jan. 2008)
  27. ^ Infinity Gauntlet #5 (Nov. 1991)
  28. ^ Silver Surfer #3 (Oct. 1968)
  29. ^ The Silver Surfer: Judgment Day (1988): Written by Stan Lee, the creator of both characters.
  30. ^ Mephisto vs. Fantastic Four #1 (April 1987)
  31. ^ Triumph and Torment: Dr. Strange and Dr. Doom (1989)
  32. ^ Universe X #9
  33. ^ Universe X Issue X
  34. ^ Ultimate Comics Avengers 2 #2 (Aug 2010)
  35. ^ Marvel Zombies Halloween #1
  36. ^ "Interview with Larry Brody". Marvelite.prohosting.com. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  37. ^ "Silver Surfer Script 21". Silver-surfer.us. May 29, 1998. Retrieved February 12, 2011. 
  38. ^ Arya Ponto (August 16, 2007). "Peter Fonda Talks About Working with Russell Crowe and 'Ghost Rider 2'". JustPressPlay.net. Archived from the original on September 26, 2007. Retrieved August 17, 2007. 
  39. ^ "Hinds and Placido Joining Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance". SuperheroHype.com. October 1, 2010. Retrieved October 6, 2010. 

External links[edit]