Mephisto’s Spider-Man Vision Mashes Up Marvel’s Future Timelines – CBR – Comic Book Resources

In Amazing Spider-Man #74, Mephisto reveals a vision to Doctor Strange that questions what the future holds for the Marvel Universe.
WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Amazing Spider-Man #74, on sale now from Marvel.
Mephisto is one of the oldest embodiments of evil in the Marvel Universe, and his machinations have shaped the course of its history in ways that are still being revealed. No matter how petty his manipulations may seem in the moment, Mephisto is always playing the long game, influencing individuals and events in ways that will ultimately benefit him somewhere down the road.
After suffering one of his greatest defeats in Amazing Spider-Man #74 (by Nick Spencer, Christos Gage, and a collection of artists including Marcelo Ferreira, Mark Bagley, Zé Carlos, Dio Neves, Carlos Gómez, Ivan Fiorelli, and Humberto Ramos), Mephisto reveals that he has seen a vision of his future and stared into the face of the one destined to destroy him. Mephisto’s vision of Marvel’s future not only reveals why the Lord of Hell wants to ruin Spider-Man’s life but also implies that the various alternate futures branching out from Earth 616’s present might not be mutually exclusive.
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While it initially appeared that Mephisto’s and Spider-Man’s acquaintance was limited to the marriage-erasing deal he made with Peter and Mary Jane during “One More Day,” the climax of Spencer’s “Kindred Saga” has revealed that the demon has been influencing Peter’s life both before and after that controversial storyline. As it turns out, Mephisto was directly responsible for creating Gabrielle and Sarah Stacy, the supposed children of Norman Osborn and Gwen Stacy, who have been putting Spider-Man through hell as the demonic villain Kindred.
Dr. Strange, after noticing Mephisto’s unusual fixation on his fellow Avenger, forces Mephisto to relinquish his hold on Peter’s soul after wagering his own on Spider-Man triumphing over Kindred in their final battle. After this comes to pass, a defeated and unusually vulnerable Mephisto reveals to the Sorcerer Supreme why he is so obsessed with destroying Spider-Man; his life, and his brief rule over the Earth, are destined to end at the hands of Peter and MJ’s daughter May Parker.
Mephisto’s vision of a demon-infested future is interesting for several reasons. Not only does it explains why the devil went out of his way to destroy Peter and MJ’s relationship, but it also features characters who shouldn’t exist within Earth 616’s timeline. Among the many fallen heroes who litter the streets of Mephisto’s apocalyptic kingdom are James Rogers, the son of Captain America and Black Widow, and Beast’s X-Men, a version of the X-Men who became an incarnation of the anti-human Brotherhood of Mutants after the first mutant president was assassinated.
These heroes first debuted in Next Avengers and Battle for the Atom, storylines involving alternate futures differing from that of Marvel 2099, which Spencer had established as the true future of Earth 616 earlier in his run on Amazing Spider-Man. Even May herself originally debuted in the MC2 timeline, as her counterpart in mainstream continuity was allegedly stillborn in 1996’s Amazing Spider-Man #418, by Tom DeFalco and Steve Skroce.
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With Peter and MJ’s relationship being strengthened in the wake of Kindred’s defeat, the odds of May eventually being born on Earth 616 are fairly high. However, the appearances of the other heroes open up some interesting possibilities for how the future of Marvel’s main timeline might play out.
It’s been stated before that the various timelines making up the multiverse all branch out from Earth 616, but the connection has always been casual before, with the different characters and events from these alternate timelines being unique to their respective Earths. Now that we’ve seen that characters from these alternate timelines can exist within a shared timeline, it seems that these alternate timelines aren’t independent realities that have become unique universes but are instead funhouse reflections of outcomes that may be destined to play out in the mainstream Marvel universe.
The revelation that Mephisto’s fate is directly tied with that of the Parker family offers an interesting look into the workings of the Marvel multiverse. Mephisto’s premonition not only implies that certain events and characters were always destined to be, but it also solidifies the fact that Peter and MJ were always meant to be together and that nothing, not even the machinations of Hell itself, will ever be able to tear them apart.
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Drew Kopp is a Comics Features Writer for CBR who holds a Bachelor’s Degree of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. As a die-hard fan of comic books, fantasy/sci-fi literature, and video games, he loves nothing more than injecting his love of storytelling into his writing, and he also loves nothing more than writing about all things nerdy. When he isn’t busy obsessively theorizing over comic book plots or drooling over the next big indie game, he can be found writing about those topics.


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