Hello everyone, and welcome back to another great week here in Ye Olde School Café! This week, I’ll be starting the Marvel mini-series from 1987 called Mephisto Vs.! Yes, that’s right, the demon that screwed up life for all you die-hard Spidey fans has been doing this for years, so don’t be so shocked! This story, though, didn’t annoy readers, but it did get me interested in Mephisto, and I still think he’s a great character today! Story by Al Milgrom, with art by the late great John Buscema!
In issue #1, we see The Fantastic Four (along with She-Hulk) are checking out a utility shaft that wasn’t in the original blueprints for the building. Just as the Human Torch is using his powers to light up the dark shaft, a blast of fire comes whipping up from below and snuffs out Johnny’s flame. Not understanding what just happened, the team goes about their business. As Reed and Sue head for the elevator, Franklin comes running to them crying. He tells Reed that the “bad man” tried to kill them again. They dismiss it as a dream, and then put him back in bed.
The next day starts off with Johnny and Alicia making out in the hallway. As Franklin and the Thing walk by, Ben tells Johnny to cool it with the “groping” in front of the kid. Johnny and Alicia both tell Ben off, and a fight ensues. Normally, this isn’t a big deal with them, but when Ben grabs Johnny and appears to kill him, that’s something new. Alicia tells Ben that he’s a monster and a killer, and that killers go to hell. Then, poof, Ben is gone. At a local tennis match, Johnny and Alicia are having a good time (the other pair were demons). Johnny is giving her play-by-play, but then one of the players tells him to shut up. Next, the player insults Alicia. Johnny ignites his flames, but inadvertently incinerates the nearby people in the crowd. The tennis player (John McEnroe) tells him that murderers go to hell, and Johnny disappears in a cloud of smoke. One by one, the entire team is whisked away to the realm of Mephisto!
Once inside Mephisto’s realm, the Fantastic Four are helpless against his powers. The Thing first tries his luck, but is snatched by Mehpisto who’s now five times the size of him. Mephisto then peels back the rocky exterior and the Thing is left screaming in pain. Then the Human Torch goes after Mephisto, but is tossed aside and put in a lake of fire. Reed then tries to make a deal with the demon, but he refuses. He tells Reed that he already owns his soul, from an encounter when Reed was in college. He explains that when Reed met Doom, and the explosion happened, he struck a bargain with Mephisto, and Mephisto erased it from his memory. Then Mephisto grabs Reed by the face, and shuts down his mind! Sue can’t bear the sight of it, and tells Mephisto that she will sign his contract if it will save the others, especially Franklin. Mephisto agrees and sends the rest of the team back to the surface. Sue is left cursing at Mephisto while being dragged off by his demonic henchmen.
Well, that’s part one of this fiery tale, but come back next week for Mephisto Vs. X-Factor, the fate of Sue Richards, and Mephisto reveals his ultimate plan!