The most recent issue of Avengers reveals the real reason Apocalypse turned evil, and it involves Marvel’s Prince of Lies himself–Mephisto!
Spoilers for Avengers #38 ahead!
Marvel has revealed why the X-Men’s Apocalypse, turned evil and it is none other than the dark lord Mephisto. In Avengers #38, writer Jason Aaron (Southern Bastards) and artist Ed McGuinness (Superman/Batman), reveal to fans the full extent of Mephisto’s evil, and the horrible influence he has had on the Marvel Universe; not only did the Prince of Lies turn Apocalypse evil, his dark manipulations led to some key events in Avengers history!
Mephisto has always been Marvel’s stand-in for the Devil, dealing in souls and making bargains that always favor him in the end. First appearing in Silver Surfer #3 in 1968, and created by Stan Lee and John Buscema, Mephisto has become one of the most fearsome villains in the Marvel Universe, regularly tangling with the Surfer, Thor, and many others. He allied himself with Thanos during the Infinity Gauntlet saga and is even a thorn in the side to some villains, Doctor Doom among them. Recent events unfolding in Aaron’s Avengers run have repositioned Mephisto as a Marvel heavyweight; Moon Knight, working under his god Konshu, waged a one-man crusade against the Avengers, all in a bid to take their power to use against Mephisto, who is planning and scheming…something.
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This issue gives readers just how far back Mephisto’s influence stretches: millions of years. Fans see him, in the form of a worm, advise the Mad Titan Thanos to attack Earth – an attack turned back by the Stone Age Avengers, the first time they would come into contact with Mephisto. In response, he tells a young Apocalypse to slaughter the Avengers, calling them “false gods” who stand between Apocalypse and his dreams of world domination. Sure enough, he goes to war against the Avengers of his time, including Thor!
This issue raises a large number of continuity-related questions. The developments in this issue related to Apocalypse seem at odds with the revelations being currently made about the character in the X-Men family of titles. There is also the issue of Thanos first attacking the Earth over a million years ago as well; it will be interesting to see how the creative teams reconcile these two events.
Beyond the continuity issues, this issue reaffirms why Mephisto is one of the premiere Marvel villains: he rarely gets his hands dirty in the pursuit of evil. He manipulates others into doing his dirty work for him; in the case of Apocalypse, this dirty work would resonate throughout the centuries, costing many innocent lives.
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