Hey comic book world, it’s time for another week of old school greatness in the weekly column of Ye Olde School Café! This week, we’ll see the conclusion to the limited series from Al Milgrom and John Buscema – Mephisto Vs.! Back in 1987, when this book hit the shelves, Buscema and Milgrom had already been wowing people with their skills for a while, but this is one of those books that will always remind me of those two guys. Without further interruption, let’s find out what happens when a demon tempts a god!
As Mephisto is taunting the X-Men, he comes to the realization that mutants are a species that interests him. He tells them that in the future, he’ll keep a closer eye on them. He then releases the souls of the X-Men one by one, except when only Rogue remains. She questions his ability to keep their souls, and he regretfully informs her that he can’t keep them since they didn’t go willingly. Some of the demons overhear this, get the bright idea that Mephisto is losing his power, and then decide to try and attack him! He easily slaps them aside like children, and they realize he still has plenty of power, and they run away. As Rogue is trying to figure out why it seems like Mephisto’s power is fading, all of a sudden a flash appears out of the sky and one of the elders of the universe confronts Mephisto. It’s the Living Tribunal, and he’s come to tell Mephisto that the balance of power has shifted and good and evil are not on the level. The Tribunal shows Mephisto that his realm is falling apart, and Mephisto then blames Hela for the realm crumbling. The Tribunal then informs Mephisto to not mess with power beyond his control.
Next, we watch as Mephisto seeks out the thunder god to make him an offer. He finds Thor, unconscious after a battle with the Midgard Serpent. Thor is on death’s doorstep, but a spell by Hela is keeping him from dying. Mephisto knows how much Hela wants Thor’s soul for her realm, so he makes Thor a bargain. He tells him that he’ll allow him to die, if his soul will be promised to Mephisto! Just as Thor is contemplating this offer, Hela appears and warns Mephisto to leave Thor alone. Thor then refuses Mephisto’s offer, and Mephisto acts as if he is going to leave. All this time, Rogue is still present, and Mephisto commands her to kiss Thor. As she touches him, instead of absorbing his soul, she releases it, and Mephisto snatches it inside some kind of mystical bag. Hela then opens the wall of fire that is separating the Avengers from their fallen (he only appears to be dead) comrade. This serves as a distraction to Mephisto, while Hela grabs Thor’s soul and retreats to another dimension. She tries to remove the magical bag, but cannot. Meanwhile, the Avengers (East & West Coast) try to put a beat-down on Mephisto because they think he’s responsible for Thor’s death. Needless to say, Mephisto puts them in their place, and then turns his attention to finding Hela.
Once Mephisto finds Hela, he grabs Thor from her and then begins to torture, then later tempt the Asgardian to try and make him agree to give over his soul upon death. Thor tells him no, and then Mephisto gets so crazy he actually eats Thor! Yeah, really, he throws him down the proverbial hatch, but Thor still resists him and busts out of his body. Thor tells Mephisto that he will never give in to one such as him, and Mephisto then realizes his attempts are futile. He then returns Thor’s soul to his body, and after a brief verbal confrontation with Hela, vanishes before everyone’s eyes. Hela, ponders what has transpired, and then decides to mind-wipe everybody who has witnessed this fantastic event. Upon returning to his dimension, Mephisto is attacked by some more demons that believe his power is fading. He tosses them into a fiery pit for their insolence, and then has another discussion with the Living Tribunal. He tells the Tribunal that even though he didn’t acquire Thor’s soul, he’s beaten Hela, because when she tries to capture his soul, he wreaks havoc in her domain to resist her. The Tribunal then warns Mephisto to keep a care with his machinations or one day he might regret his actions. Mephisto then remembers other beings that have defied their master. The Silver Surfer, Dormammu, and so on, all rebelled against their masters and lived to tell the tale, so it only stands to reason that someday he will as well!
I hope you enjoyed this walk back in time to witness Thor’s temptation, Rogue’s bedevilment, and Reed Richards’s being pushed to the point of a nervous breakdown. What a great mini-series this was, and I highly recommend picking this one up. See you next week!