Mephisto (Marvel Comics)

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Mephisto is a fictional character appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The character first appears in The Silver Surfer #3 (Dec. 1968)[1] and was introduced in the Marvel universe by Stan Lee and John Buscema, based on Mephistopheles – a demon character from the Faust legend, who has sometimes been referred to as Mephisto. He is notable as being an archenemy of Johnny Blaze, the most popular incarnation of Ghost Rider, but has also come into conflict or interacted with other superheroes such as Doctor Strange and Spider-Man in the Marvel Universe.

Mephisto (Marvel Comics character).png
Mephisto, as seen on the variant cover for The Amazing Spider-Man #545 (Jan. 2008).
Art by Marko Djurdjevic.
Publication information
PublisherMarvel Comics
First appearanceThe Silver Surfer #3 (Dec. 1968)
Created byStan Lee (writer)
John Buscema (artist)
In-story information
Full nameMephisto
Team affiliationsSix-Fingered Hand
Legion Accursed
Notable aliasesMephistopheles, Satan, Lucifer, Beelzebub, the devil
AbilitiesSuperhuman physical attributes and intelligence
Magical powers

Debuting in the Silver Age of comic books, the character has appeared in over five 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.

The character was portrayed by Peter Fonda in the 2007 film Ghost Rider, and his new host body played by Ciaran Hinds in the 2011 sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.

Publication historyEdit

Inspired by Mephistopheles of the Faust legend,[citation needed] he was introduced into Marvel comics by writer Stan Lee and penciler John Buscema, Mephisto debuted in The Silver Surfer #3 (cover-dated Dec. 1968), and was established as a perennial foe for the cosmic hero,[2] 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."[3]

Mephisto went on to become a foe for the Norse god 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 to and thus had been cursed to become the Ghost Rider,[4] in a retcon 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 miniseries: The 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 miniseries Mephisto vs. #1–4 (April–July 1987), battling several of Marvel's super teams. The miniseries was penciled by co-creator Buscema.

In Daredevil #266 (May 1989), penciler John Romita, Jr. redesigned the character, re-imagining him as a bloated, naked creature with short, vaguely frog-like legs and a demonic-looking head. Romita explained, "I couldn’t see the Devil with tights and a cape."[5] 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.[6]

Fictional character biographyEdit

Introduction (1960s-1970s)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.[7] 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.[8] Mephisto refers to his domain as Hell.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

Secret Wars II, 1980s and Infinity GauntletEdit

In Secret Wars II, 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 group.[12]

Mephisto later creates his 'son' Blackheart, a demonic entity that plagues many of Earth's heroes.[13] 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.[14][15] When the Scarlet Witch attempts to use magic to conceive children with her husband, the android Vision, she unknowingly summons two of Pandemonium's soul fragments, which are born as her infant twins. The revelation of her children's origin, followed by their loss when they are reabsorbed into him, drives the Scarlet Witch insane.[16]

Mephisto also tries to destroy the Avenger Hawkeye when he enters Hell to try to save the soul of his deceased wife, Mockingbird.[17]

Mephisto acted as servant of the mad Titan Thanos during the "Infinity Wars", seeking to attain that power for himself.


One More DayEdit

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 would result in him tormenting a soul that is willing to accept the punishment because its sacrifice saved another, a righteousness which disgusts him). He also, at Mary Jane's request, erases all knowledge of Peter's identity. During the process, Harry Osborn is also brought back to life;[18] the alteration of the timeline retcons details of Harry's death being faked by his father.[19]



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 that were created by Odin's father Bor.[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 realm of Hel and feast on the souls of the Asgardian dead. Mephisto tells her that he has no interest in Hel, but he does not object to their invasion.[20] 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.[21]

"Fear Itself"Edit

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.[22] 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 he occasionally wants to do human things.[23] Magma later confided to Blink that she has subsequently seen Mephisto again, but wishes to keep it secret.[24] 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.[25]

Mephisto briefly appears to assist Deadpool in destroying one of his demon lieutenants,[26] before taking a major part in the Hell On Earth War,[27] where he is defeated and replaced by X-Factor member Strong Guy as ruler of Hell.[28]

Remaining EraEdit

When the Thunderbolts were accidentally transported to Hell, Mephisto took the opportunity to give them a way out if they defeated Strong Guy.[29] The Red Hulk convinced Strong Guy to abandon the position of Hell-lord and try to regain his lost soul, allowing Mephisto to regain the throne and let the Thunderbolts return to Earth.[30]

New MultiverseEdit

Mephisto is revealed to have assumed the form of the Maker to try to prevent Victor von Doom from redeeming his soul.[31]


Mephisto finds out that Doctor Strange has restored the lives of the Las Vegas citizens that were killed during when Hydra bombed attack during the organization's takeover of the United States. He orchestrates events that cause his demons to bring Doctor Strange to his recently created Hotel Inferno. Mephisto claims that the remnants of Las Vegas were in his realm before it was restored. Hotel Inferno starts to have an effect on the people of Las Vegas. It also had an effect on the Black Panther, Captain Marvel, the Falcon, Hawkeye, and Jane Foster's Thor form where they were all turned into Ghost Rider-like creatures.[32] As Hotel Inferno starts to affect the people of Las Vegas, Doctor Strange fought Mephisto in a game of blackjack. The deal is that Mephisto had to return the souls to Las Vegas if Doctor Strange won and that Doctor Strange's soul would be claimed by Mephisto if Mephisto won. Though Doctor Strange won by cheating, Mephisto found out and had Doctor Strange tortured.[33] Mephisto then turns Doctor Strange into a Ghost Rider-like creature.[34] After Mephisto removes the Ghost Rider from Johnny Blaze, he throws Blaze from the roof.[35] Mephisto appeared on the battlefield and gloated on them sending Johnny Blaze to attack him. Just then, the possessed Avengers attack Mephisto, as Wong revealed that Mephisto rendering his throne vacant has enabled the Ghost Rider to become the new ruler of Mephisto's realm. After Doctor Strange returned from the Realm Between, he assisted the Midnight Sons and the Avengers in preventing Mephisto from returning to his realm to reclaim his throne. Though Doctor Strange defeated him, Mephisto fled back to his realm where he was defeated by Johnny Blaze and the different Ghost Riders from across the Multiverse. After Johnny Blaze sent Mephisto back to Earth, he was kept at the top of Hotel Inferno in countless restraints as Hotel Inferno remained on Earth. As Doctor Strange, the Avengers, and the Midnight Sons left upon Las Vegas returning to normal, Wong remained behind to keep an eye on Hotel Inferno's casino.[36]

Doctor Strange later spoke to Mephisto about removing the One Below All's possession from the Hulk after the brief Defenders reunion. Mephisto states that the One Below All is far stronger than he is.[37]

"War of the Realms"Edit

A flashback revealed that Mephisto came into contact with the Power Elite at some point and helped them out by creating simulacrums that the Power Elite programmed to become the Squadron Supreme of America. This group is used by a somehow-revived Phil Coulson to become the sanctioned superhero team for the United States.[38]

Spider-Geddon's AftermathEdit

When the Spider-Man of Earth-44145 threatens the life of James Martin, the Superior Spider-Man (Doctor Octopus' mind in the Proto-Clone) uses a signal move he learned from Doctor Strange to call Mephisto, who states that the Spider-Man of Earth-44145 is out of his jurisdiction. The Superior Spider-Man asks Mephisto to restore him to the man he once was for a day so that he can fight the Spider-Man of Earth-44145. While Mephisto states that he either has or does not have his soul, he does have a counteroffer that will restore his body without disease (physical and mental) and the taint of Peter Parker. As the Superior Spider-Man tells Anna Maria Marconi that there is no other option, he expects Mephisto to uphold his end of the bargain.[39]


Doctor Strange later visited Mephisto at the Hotel Inferno asking about what was wrong with Peter Parker's soul as well as how Harry Osborn was revived as Kindred.[40]

Powers and abilitiesEdit

Mephisto is an extremely powerful immortal demonic entity possessing abilities used by manipulating the forces of magic. Mephisto can use his power for a variety of uses, including superhuman strength, shape and size shifting,[41] projecting illusions,[42] manipulating memories,[43] and altering time.[44] He is also highly resistant to injury.[45]

The character has been shown to be energized by sources of evil in the human realm, such as the alien Dire Wraiths.[46] 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.[47] Within it he has threatened a galaxy, and stalemated a nourished Galactus until the latter threatened to consume his realm.[48] If Mephisto's physical form is destroyed, the character will regenerate and reform in his domain.[49]

Mephisto is known for acquiring souls, but cannot subjugate the will of another being without the victim's permission, which is usually done with some form of pact.[50]

Other versionsEdit

Guardians of the GalaxyEdit

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

Universe XEdit

In the Earth X sequel, Universe X, Mephisto is the force behind Pope Immortus (secretly Kang) and his extermination of Reed Richards' Human Torch to assume mutant dominance.[51] It was later revealed that in that reality, Mephisto is not the devil, but the first mutant to exist, shaped by mankind's fear.[52]

Ultimate MarvelEdit

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."[53]

Marvel MangaverseEdit

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

Marvel Zombies: HalloweenEdit

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.[54]

In other mediaEdit


  • Mephisto makes a cameo appearance in the Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends episode "The Prison Plot". He is featured as an illusion caused by Mastermind.
  • 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.[55] He makes a cameo at the end of episode 21, "Down to Earth, Part 3".[56]


  • Actor Peter Fonda plays Mephisto (as Mephistopheles) alongside his son Blackheart in the 2007 film Ghost Rider. Mephistopheles appears, as with Blackheart, in his human form throughout most of the film, only showing glimpses of a horned goat-like demon. This incarnation of the character is the Devil, 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 Venganza, an entire town who sold their souls to Mephistopheles, but the contract is acquired by Blackheart before the Ghost Rider subsequently renders him catatonic, with 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.
  • Mephistopheles appears as the Devil in the sequel Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.[57][58] The Devil 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. Employing Nadya's mercenary ex, Ray Carrigan, 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. After Carrigan is near death following an attack by the Rider, Roarke revives him as a demon with the power to decay, as he captures Danny. 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 gamesEdit

  • Mephisto appears as a stage boss in the Silver Surfer video game for the NES.
  • Mephisto appears as a secret character in the game Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter as a palette swap of Blackheart.
  • Mephisto's voice is heard in a bonus mission in the 2005 Fantastic Four video game.
  • Mephisto appears as a boss in the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance voiced by Fred Tatasciore.[59] 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 the Ghost Rider trapped, he tells the player that he will release the 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 engage 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 is not 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. He also has a special dialogue with Doctor Strange (in Mephisto's final boss stage entrance) and Nightcrawler (Xbox 360 downloadable content voice files only, before switching places with the Ghost Rider and in Mephisto's final boss stage entrance), which were never being used in the gameplay.
  • Mephisto appears in the Ghost Rider video game voiced by Kirk Thornton.[60] He brings the Ghost Rider to Hell and has him fight the demonic forces that plan to resurrect Blackheart.
  • Mephisto appears in the ending of Morrigan Aensland in the video game Marvel vs. Capcom 3: Fate of Two Worlds.
  • Mephisto appears in the 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.
  • Mephisto is featured as a boss in the Facebook game Marvel: Avengers Alliance.
  • Mephisto is featured as a champion in the mobile game Marvel: Contest of Champions.[61]
  • Mephisto is a playable character and the second boss added in the gamemode World Boss Legend in the mobile game Marvel: Future Fight.[62]


Mephisto was ranked #13 on a listing of Marvel Comics' monster characters in 2015.[63]


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External linksEdit