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Subj: The Devil's Gambit...
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 at 06:57:48 pm EDT (Viewed 10 times)
Reply Subj: What If.....how would you undo BND if you worked at Marvel, and were told to do so?
Posted: Thu Apr 03, 2008 at 04:20:16 pm EDT
First off, let me say that I like BND and I prefer it to about the last six or seven years of spider-comics, so I don't think it should be changed. But, if you insist...
As it turns out, Mephisto's plans have far, far more to them than simply taking over Peter's marriage...
...Peter is having increasingly haunted dreams, with something tormenting him that, for all his efforts, he can't identify. He starts to feel ill once again, the way he did at the beginning of The Other.
At first, Dr. Strange can't tell what's going on. But Peter's words make him stop and think: People are not acting like themselves, with their worst traits being magnified, causing them to sink slowly into evil. Meditating on the problem, Dr. Strange examines his own aura, and shudders at what he sees...
Sleepwalker reports disturbing things going on in the Mindscape, as human minds are beginning to act irrationally, almost as if their wills are being corrupted, even though they seem to be acting of their own conscious desires. As they were currently occupied with a massive invasion of the Mindscape by Nightmare, they could not devote their energies to find out what was going on with the human minds until now. Sleepwalker's kin have contacted him with the details.
It seems that some entity with which the Sleepwalkers are unfamiliar has been infecting the minds of many different humans, playing upon their darkest natures and wickedest subconscious desires. This isn't something the Sleepwalkers are exactly experts in dealing with, so they asked their kinsman trapped on Earth to pass the information along to Dr. Strange.
Reviewing the last several months, Dr. Strange uses the information the Sleepwalkers have given him to realize just how long this manipulation has been going on. The manipulations initially began in a place called Stamford, Conneticut. At first, the manipulations only affected the New Warriors and the supervillains there, but the mental anguish released by the events of the tragedy opened the way for the entity to begin manipulating those anguished minds, which began a spiralling pattern of anger and mistrust, that allowed the mysterious being to prey on the natural dark sides of many of Earth's heroes, that culminated in...
The Civil War, the increasingly fascistic actions of Iron Man, the control of superheroes through forcing them to register, the otherwise insane plan of recruiting murderous supervillains through the Thunderbolts, all of it came from Mephisto, who had found a surer and more subtle way to corrupt humans than by openly tempting them; make them destroy themselves by strengthening their most debased natures. Better yet, by keeping the heroes at each others' throats, it's less likely that they'll notice what he's up to.
What does all this have to do with Peter?
For all his manipulations in the Mindscape, Mephisto still has difficulty accessing the human world directly without the means to some contract. Hence his manipulations of Iron Man and Peter to motivate him into unmasking, which got Aunt May shot and killed, and Peter half out of his mind with grief...
...and along comes Mephisto, kindly offering to solve everything.
Spidey hasn't had much in the way of dealings with Mephisto, which makes him much easier to exploit than, say, Daredevil, Thor, Dr. Strange, or other prominent heroes. What he gets from Spider-Man's agreeing to his deal isn't really the marriage, which is just a cover for his REAL goal, which is to gain a proper foothold on Earth, which is what he has now...and from there practically free rein to operate on Earth on a grander scale
Unfortunately, there's a snag in Mephisto's plans. Spider-Man has wisened up to it, and now there's a hope, however faint, of stopping him. He's apparently become strong enough, through means unknown, to resist further attempts by Mephisto to manipulate him.
Here's where it gets interesting...
Spider-Man finally learns that Loki has been manipulating him for quite a while now. In truth, Loki was the one behind everything from the Totem, to Morlun, to Ezekiel, to Shathra and the events of The Other, and all the other mystical stuff Spidey's been going through. Loki put Spider-Man through all that to test his soul, to see how strong he was, and if he would be a worthy tool to oppose Mephisto. Killing and then "rebirthing" Spidey, pitting him against the catspaw Morwena, and everything else was to see how far Loki could push him without breaking. Ezekiel and others were meant to keep Spider-Man's guard down
Loki is trying to stop Mephisto not out of altruism, but because he bears the devil a grudge for various reasons, not the least of which is Loki's thinking that Mephisto is horning in on his "turf" by tricking humans, which, as the god of mischief, he views as his purview.
There are no Totems, there are no Ancients. All the mystical gobbledygook doesn't make sense because it wasn't supposed to-it was just Loki playing Spider-Man like a puppet. He chose the wall-crawler because, given Spider-Man's general lack of affiliation with the supernatural, he'd be one of the last heroes Mephisto would suspect. Unfortunately, Loki was too clever by half, as he toughened Spidey up to the point where he could see through Loki's illusions.
Needless to say, Spider-Man is outraged at being used and manipulated by two evil cosmic entities. He, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, and the other heroes realize how they've been played for fools, and nearly brought to destruction by their own darkest natures.
The breaches caused by Civil War are healed as Iron Man and Captain America (freed from Mephisto's realm) team up alongside Spidey, Thor and others to defeat Mephisto and Loki, and put an end to their sick, twisted games.
The Superhuman Registration Act is dismantled, the villains of the Thunderbolts are put back behind bars, and the manipulations of Spidey's life by Loki and Mephisto are undone. He's married to Mary Jane, and everything is back to the way it was...
...but now the ramifications of it all must still be dealt with. How do Tony Stark and Reed Richards look at themselves in the mirror, realizing how they had been played like fiddles by Mephisto? How does the superhero community cope with the hard feelings and deep divisions that still exist? How do they cope with the public still being at least as leery about superheroes as they are about mutants? The fallout from Stamford and Civil War, and the characters' actions, still exist, even if the large-scale changes no longer apply.
So, there you have it. The Totem, Civil War and Registration, and BND all taken care of in one neatly wrapped package.
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