Mephisto vs.... #3
Issue(s): Mephisto vs.... #3
This is where the plot of the Mephisto vs... series goes completely off the rails. Things have been played pretty much straight from this point, with Mephisto playing a fairly traditional "devil" role of using deceit and temptation to acquire souls. Things get more satirical at the beginning of this issue, with Mephisto putting Jean Grey in a "mystic mylar" bag so that he can preserve his new collector's item as he continues to trade-up souls.
And while Mephisto's "unknown quantity" comment leading to Mr. Fantastic contacting X-Factor was contrived, the jump to the X-Men this issue is even more strained. When Mr. Fantastic gets word that Sue has been freed at the expense of Jean Grey's soul, he immediately realizes that Mephisto is upgrading. From human to mutant, and now mutant to god or demi-god.
And of the four characters shown above, which is the least like the others? But clearly it's Storm that Mephisto is after (except he isn't). And for some reason Mephisto needs Mr. Fantastic to contact the X-Men (Cyclops won't do it because "we don't even have ties with our former organization").
Wolverine takes the call from Mr. Fantastic.
And when Storm asks if such a fantastical threat could be real, Wolverine says it has to be because he's worked with Mr. Fantastic before (to my knowledge, no moreso than Storm has).
The X-Men decide to be proactive about the threat, and so Storm has Psylocke mentally scan the Earth for him. And since a random probe like that should have no chance of succeeding, she combines her powers with Longshot's luck.
No idea if that really ought to work, but it does in this case since Mephisto obviously wants it to.
Now, what follows is actually pretty clever on the face of it. Mephisto manipulates Rogue into absorbing the psyches of each of the X-Men...
...so that, by possessing Rogue, he can possess each of their souls. Longshot is excluded because he "has no soul -- at least none of any interest to me at this juncture... perhaps this creature's soul resides in his home dimension... perhaps it is as yet unformed". He also dumps Wolverine's soul because he says he's too much of an animal.
Once he has the souls of the X-Men (an art error shows Longshot instead of Psylocke; that'll be corrected at the beginning of next issue)...
...he says that he can drop Jean Grey. You'll notice the rules keep changing. First he had to lie to get the Invisible Woman to give up her soul, but then he said that he didn't legitimately have it, and in any event he gave it up as part of the deal he made with Jean. Now he just forcibly takes Rogue's soul...
...and lets Jean's go just because.
Also last issue he told the Invisible Woman that he was doing this because he wanted a pure soul instead of the "shriveled spirits" that typically come to his domain. In this issue we find that his domain is crumbling, and it's to prevent that from continuing that he's really doing all of this.
We'll also learn next issue that the scheme to get Rogue to absorb the other X-Men, the most clever part of this issue, is completely meaningless (i also question whether or not Rogue's absorption powers truly capture her targets' souls, but i'm willing to let that slide if it led somewhere interesting).
The scenes with Mephisto and Rogue get a little sexual (Milgrom's "yore" phrasing bothers me)...
...and like last issue, an image based loosely on the scene from Silver Surfer #3 where Mephisto entices Shalla-Bal into his cloak.
Quality Rating: C-
Chronological Placement Considerations: This has to take place after Dazzler has joined the X-Men in Uncanny X-Men #214. Longshot has been with the X-Men since Uncanny X-Men annual #10, but he doesn't appear in the regular book until Uncanny X-Men #215; however, the MCP has Longshot appearing here before #215 (which is fine). Cerebro is shown to still destroyed at this point. As with the gap between issue #1-2, it's technically possible that time passes between issues., although the Human Torch is still with the FF so this most likely still occurs prior to Fantastic Four #299 (and definitely before X-Factor #13 since Jean is held captive).
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showCyclops, Dazzler, Human Torch, Invisible Woman, Jean Grey, Longshot, Mephisto, Mr. Fantastic, Psylocke, Rogue, Storm, Thing, Wolverine
It's weird that Mephisto can't take Longhot's soul in this issue, since in X-Men 227, Forge is able to use Longshot's soul against the Adversary and in Inferno, N'astirh was able to turn Longshot evil by feasting on his soul.
Posted by: Michael | March 2, 2014 3:08 PM
Sorry if this is obvious from actually reading the issue (which I haven't), but does this issue complicate the whole "X-Men don't know Jean Grey is alive" thing? I know that continues through Inferno.
Posted by: Uncanny Michael | March 4, 2014 12:02 PM
It's not obvious but i would say it doesn't complicate things. There's just the one scene with the Longshot art error where Rogue is in the same scene as Jean, and even if that scene isn't conceptual, Rogue is juggling 3 additional personalities in her head plus processing being taken to Hell, so she probably didn't even notice what Mephisto was saying about Jean (who she also never met firsthand). The rest of the X-Men never see Jean.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 4, 2014 1:52 PM
Look more carefully at the scan of the lost page, guys- Mephisto explicitly states that none of the X-Men will remember seeing Jean.
Posted by: Michael | March 4, 2014 7:56 PM
Guess it *was* obvious after all!
Posted by: fnord12 | March 4, 2014 10:32 PM
Comments are now closed.
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