Mephisto is the Marvel Comics version of the devil, and while he is just one of many demons, he has ruined many lives with his deals.
One of the biggest storylines in Marvel Comics in 2021 saw Spider-Man battling the demonic villain Kindred. It was revealed toward the end of the battle that this demon was working with Mephisto to take down Spider-Man and it brought the horrors of people making a deal with Marvel’s devil back to the forefront.
The demon Mephisto first showed what making a deal with him looked like when he took the soul of Johnny Blaze and brought Ghost Rider to Earth. It seems almost surprising to see how many heroes and villains have made a deal with the devil, and these always ended up backfiring on the heroes, although some actually took it to Mephisto in the end.
The most famous deal with Mephisto came with Johnny Blaze in Marvel Spotlight #5 by Gary Friedrich and Mike Ploog. While the tempter called himself Satan, it was shown in Ghost Rider Vol. 2 #68 to have been the demon Mephisto. Johnny’s adopted dad developed cancer and was dying.
Wanting to save Crash Simpson’s life, Johnny studies the occult and summoned the demon Mephisto, and offered his soul to save his father from cancer. In exchange, Mephisto bonded Johnny with the demon Zarathos and Ghost Rider was born. As is the case with Mephisto, there was a twist and Crash died anyway, albeit in a motorcycle accident, making Johnny’s sacrifice for nothing.
The most controversial deal with Mephisto came in Amazing Spider-Man #545 by J. Michael Straczynski and Joe Quesada. This was “One More Day” where Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson made a deal with the devil to save Aunt May’s life after she was shot.
He agreed to save Aunt May’s life in exchange for eliminating Peter Parker and Mary Jane’s marriage from existence and Mephisto used his power to make everyone forget it. It was revealed at the end of the Kindred storyline that Mephisto made this deal – and others – because Spider-Man would be who would cause his downfall at the end of time and he wanted to find ways to weaken the Wall-Crawler.
Long before Mephisto made a deal with Spider-Man, he made a deal with Spidey’s greatest enemy and he said he did it to try to weaken and destroy what Peter Parker cared about. This deal was made with Norman Osborn and happened long before he ever became the Green Goblin.
Norman made a deal with Mephisto, seeking great power. In exchange for being given power, knowledge, and success, Norman offered Mephisto his first-born son. This was Harry Osborn and this is why Harry’s life was always so rough and the deal eventually brought the demonic Kindred into the world to try to destroy Spider-Man.
During the Avengers battle with Moon Knight’s god, Khonshu, they realized that the Moon God was embroiled in a war with Mephisto. The two fought relentlessly with Khonshu killing Mephisto over and over, but after the final death, Mephisto couldn’t get back on his own.
He brought in someone who made a deal with him years before in Tony Stark’s father, Howard Stark. In the form of a giant dog, he went with Stark to devour people who had made deals with him in the past. When Tony was a young child, his father began to throw sacrificial ceremonies to appease Mephisto and went from a hero to a very evil man.
Agent Phil Coulson was one of the top S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, a man who served former commander Nick Fury loyally and had a great love for superheroes like Captain America. However, things went dark for Coulson in the comics. During Secret Empire, Coulson was one of the men who realized something was wrong with Captain America and was assassinated as a result.
Mephisto brought Agent Coulson back to life, and when he returned he had an intense hatred for superheroes because of the betrayal and his death. Agent Coulson then made a deal to serve Mephisto and created a new world called Heroes Reborn, where he was the U.S. President and Hyperion was one of the multiverse’s most powerful heroes. When this world failed, Coulson ended up trapped inside his Pandemonium Cube.
Peter Parker wasn’t the only Spider-Man to make a deal with Mephisto. Doctor Octopus became a superhero known as the Superior Spider-Man and went on to have a great career as a hero on the West Coast. However, much like Peter Parker, Doc Ock made a deal to save someone he loved.
In this case, an alternate universe’s Norman Osborn tried to kill him and the lives of his close friend Anna Maria and her child were in danger. Knowing he couldn’t beat Norman as Superior Spider-Man, he made a deal with Mephisto to revert to the ruthless Doctor Octopus. In exchange, Mephisto stripped him of the morality that made him a hero.
Loki made a deal with Mephisto, and it was a case where he ended up better after making the deal, an anomaly for those who deal with the demon. This is because Loki had a plan and put it into motion before he ever approached Mephisto. When Asgard fell, Hela had no kingdom to rule over. She told Loki she would give anything if he could get her a kingdom for her rule.
Loki then made a deal with Mephisto, offering him a group of valkyries he had defeated in exchange for a portion of the devil’s kingdom for Hela to rule. Mephisto agreed and gave up his claim to Loki’s soul – and in exchange Hela took Loki’s name out of the Book of Hel, making him mostly immortal.
Illyana Rasputina is the mutant Magik, the little sister of Colossus and a long-time member of the New Mutants. She is also the Sorceress Supreme for the Limbo dimension. An alternate dimension version of Magik made a deal with Mephisto to save her son.
Magik had a son named Hutch, but the boy was born between dimensions so he never had a body. Magik made a deal with Mephisto to give her son a body in exchange for the death of every mutant in every dimension. She made this deal but the boy sacrificed his own life to stop the slaughter of the mutants.
Doctor Strange has always put his own life at risk to help others. He proved this as Spider-Man recently battled the demonic Kindred and Doctor Strange learned that it had something to do with Mephisto. Strange went to Mephisto’s realm in Las Vegas and made a deal with the devil.
The two had a game with Mephisto sending Kindred after Spider-Man, and this is where readers learned there were two Kindreds and both were demons possessing clones Harry Osborn created years before. Strange also got two champions in the fight and if he lost, Mephisto would own his soul. Strange was smart and used Mary Jane as his second champion, beating Mephisto and saving his soul.
Mephisto had a big plan to help him in a future battle with Hela and he used the Fantastic Four to help him achieve this. After transporting the team and Franklin Richards to his realm, he convinced Sue that Reed Richards had made a deal with him years before, which was a lie.
He then took away Reed’s intelligence, which caused Susan to make a deal with Mephisto to stay in his realm in exchange for returning the intelligence to her husband and return her family to Earth. Luckily, Jean Grey traded her soul for Sue’s and then Thor’s soul, which he was unable to hold onto.
NEXT: 10 Best Dark Reign Storylines Featuring Norman Osborn
Shawn S. Lealos is a senior writer on ScreenRant who fell in love with movies in 1989 after going to the theater to see Tim Burton’s Batman as his first big screen experience.
Shawn received his Bachelor’s degree in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma with a minor in Film Studies. He has worked as a journalist for over 25 years, first in the world of print journalism before moving to online media as the world changed. Shawn is a former member of the Society of Professional Journalists and current member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. He has work published in newspapers such as Daily Oklahoman and Oklahoma Gazette and magazines such as Vox Magazine, Loud Magazine, and Inside Sports Magazine. His work on the Internet has been featured on websites like The Huffington Post, Yahoo Movies, Chud, Renegade Cinema, 411mania, and Sporting News.
Shawn is also a published author, with a non-fiction book about the Stephen King Dollar Baby Filmmakers and has begun work on a new fiction series as well. Visit Shawn Lealos’ website to learn more about his novel writing and follow him on Twitter @sslealos.