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Subj: *cracks knuckles while hoping for feedback, especially from Nitz the Bloody and Omar Karindu...*
Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 04:30:55 pm EST (Viewed 139 times)
Reply Subj: What were your ideas?
Posted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 at 01:51:45 am EST (Viewed 124 times)

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I would love to hear them. Not trying to call you out or anything, but I generally love to hear new ideas, especially when people claim they are great.

> I would love to hear them. Not trying to call you out or anything, but I generally love to hear new ideas, especially when people claim they are great.

And I'll be happy to repeat them.  This was originally posted back in April of 2008 on the Spider-Man forum regarding ways to undo Brand New Day and restore the spider-marriage, with a few updates here and there.

Keep in mind that I prefer the Brand New Day status quo to the JMS run, but here we go anyway.  For the purposes of this analysis, assume that most of what officially happened actually did happen, including Peter agreeing to the deal with Mephisto...

It begins with Peter Parker 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.  Never before has the Hulk murdered people during his rampages, never would the worlds' most powerful heroes organize themselves into a secret, unaccountable cabal to wield their power with no check or balance on it. 

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. While the Sleepwalkers are formidable warriors when it comes to directly confronting demonic invasions and other physical entities that threaten human minds, they have a harder time dealing with external mystical influences they can't directly confront from the Mindscape, 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 trauma 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...

...Civil War.

The Civil War, the increasingly fascistic actions of Iron Man, the control of superheroes through forcing them to register, the launching of the Hulk into space and his rampage on his return, the Illuminati, 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 and distract him from what was really going on. 

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.

With the peoples' minds free of the influences of Mephisto, support for the Superhuman Registration Act plummets and every incarnation of it is quickly dismantled worldwide, as critics from every side of the political spectrum begin tearing it to shreds by pointing out its many, many logical fallacies.  While the public is still leery of superheroes and mutants, this is the way they have always been in the Marvel Universe and, for the reasons I cited before, would never support any idea of superhuman registration and giving governments what basically amount to super-powered armies.  The feeling is that, since they all operate independently of one another, none of them possesses enough power to threaten a legitimate government or impose a tyranny, even as legal experts cite the SHRA as unconstitutional, based on the fact that the Mutant Registration Act was previously repealed on the same grounds.  A sizable minority of the public also strongly supports superheroes in any event, viewing them in the same tradition as the gunfighters of the Old West, or a more modern incarnation like Paul Kersey or Dirty Harry, tough citizens who play by their own rules and strike back in defense of the little guys and the defenseless, the lone gunslingers who fight on behalf of truth and justice.  
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 fact that so much public remains just as leery about superheroes and mutants in general? How does the Hulk cope with the destruction he wrought on Earth after his return?  The fallout from Stamford and Civil War, and the characters' actions, still exist, even if the large-scale changes no longer apply.

This new status quo would free writers and artists from the creative restrictions of superhuman registration, and otherwise provide plenty of fodder for the development of characters like Iron Man and the Fantastic Four, and explains why so many characters were acting so irrationally and otherwise out of character. 
Even the Hood was a stooge for Mephisto, the true owner of the cloak and boots he wears.  While wearing these infernal garments, the Hood made a perfect conduit through which Mephisto could exercise his influence and power over so many supervillains, many of whom would have otherwise never supported him, in effect making them a perfect slave army without even realizing it.  When Robbins accepted the presence of the demon within him, he implicitly signed over his soul.  There's still a chance for him to be redeemed, and to regain his old persona, but does he have the willpower to overcome the monster within? 
And don't forget the Hulk.  He's had enough to cope with in either fighting or embracing the monster within, and possibly to keep from sliding into true evil and becoming like the Maestro, a sadistic creature that actively uses his power to rule over the "puny humans" and make their lives a living hell.  He came very, very where does that leave the Hulk and Mephisto? 

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