Appearing in "Lo, There Shall Come a Champion!"
- Joseph Threetrees
- Nathan Lubensky
- Anna Watson
- Eternity (Recap)
- Master Order (Recap)
- Lord Chaos (Recap)
- Living Tribunal (Recap)
- Watcher (Recap)
- Dr. Strange (Recap)
- Molecule Man (Recap)
- Green Goblin (Illusion)
- Richard Parker (Illusion)
- Mary Parker (Illusion)
- George Stacy (Illusion)
- Gwen Stacy (Illusion)
- Uncle Ben (Illusion)
- Betty Leeds (Illusion)
Races and Species:
- Mephisto's Realm
- An armada of alien ships
- Goblin Glider (Illusion)
Synopsis for "Lo, There Shall Come a Champion!"
Following his failed attempt at eliminating the Beyonder, Thomas Fireheart returns to his tribe to advise his uncle of his failure. When his uncle tells him that he suspected that the Puma would fail, he hopes that if their agent of death could not stop the Beyonder then perhaps an agent of light could instead.
Many trillions of miles into space, the Beyonder floats in the void considering if he should destroy all existence or not. Considering how he had failed to find fulfillment his rage causes upheaval across the cosmos. When a legion of alien races attack the Beyonder, their most powerful weapon has no effect on him. In anger, the One From Beyond not only eradicates his attackers from existence -- he also destroys their home worlds and the worlds of every race that ever interacted with them. As a final touch to his punishment he erases all memory of these wiped out races from existence as well.
In his hellish netherworld, Mephisto watches over this and becomes angry that the Beyonder has snuffed out so many billions of lives and every soul is denied to him. With the Beyonder's consideration to destroy the universe approaching, Mephisto begins plotting to find a way to stop him as the destruction of all that is will end his existence as well. As he plots he is suddenly visited by the Beyonder himself who detected his thoughts and came to start his destruction by wiping out Mephisto's realm. Mephisto however begins discussing the Beyonder's origins and history, how he came to Earth and the cosmic powers that be could not stop him however Dr. Strange sent him on the path to enlightenment. However after the Puma failed to destroy him and the Molecules Man's betrayal he has come to the conclusion that existence must be wiped out. However, Mephisto appeals to the Beyonder, telling him that there must be some who are worth living that he has met on his travels. When the Beyonder admits that he has met a few, Mephisto makes a wager with him: Pitting one of these beings against one of his own forces of evil to grant the multiverse a reprieve.
The Beyonder agrees to this wager, but on his own terms: He decides that if Mephisto's champion of good wins he will let everything continue to exist for another 24 hours. He then selects the Spider-Man as Mephisto's champion and selects the demon Zarathos as his, promising Zarathos if he succeeds he will be free from Mephisto's imprisonment until he destroys the universe. After the Beyonder dispatches Zarathos to Earth, the two begin monitoring the contest from a screen created by the Beyonder.
Peter Parker is at the hospital with Aunt May, Anna and Mary Jane Watson visiting Nathan Lubensky -- who is still recovering following his heart attack. After they depart, Peter is invited to go see the Christmas Show at Radio City with the others, but with a freelance assignment with the Bugle reaching its deadline, Peter declines and departs. As he changes into his Spider-Man costume and web-slings across the city, Peter's mind wanders to his worries about Nathan's hospital bills, his lack of money and the bind he is for buying Christmas gifts for Aunt May. He soon arrives at a warehouse where the Bugle was tipped off about a car ring that was about to be busted by the NYPD. As Spider-Man snaps photographs, he overhears the crooks plotting to assassinate the Kingpin that evening at 6:00 when he goes for his regular dinner at the Century Club. Before Spider-Man can learn any more about he attempt the police bust in and arrest the crooks.
As Spider-Man silently leaves the scene he thinks to himself how the assassination of the Kingpin would be for the better of the city, but his sense of responsibility cannot allow someone -- even someone as evil as the Kingpin -- to be murdered in cold blood. As the Wall-Crawler swings away he is suddenly confronted by the visage of Zarathos who envelops him in a cloud of brimstone causing him to drop down to the rooftops. As Spider-Man regains his bearings his Spider-Sense goes off and he is shocked to see that he is being attacked by his old foe the Green Goblin. Thinking it is an impostor, Spider-Man is even more shocked when he manages to unmask the Goblin and sees that it is Norman Osborn. Unable to believe that Osborn is still alive, Spidey struggles with his attacker until the Goblin crashes into the side of a building. Jumping to safety, Spider-Man is disorientated by the attack and wonders if what happened was real and decides to go home and rest before dropping his photos off at the Bugle and then investigating the potential assassination of the Kingpin. As Spider-Man heads for home, Mephisto becomes worried that Spider-Man is already beginning to doubt himself and begins marshaling his powers in order to cheat so that Spider-Man wins.
With his traditional red and blue costume reeking of brimstone, Peter puts his black costume on under his civvies and goes to sleep. As he rests he has a dream that he is visited by his parents who express their disappointment that Peter has dropped out of college. When Peter tries to talk sense into his parents they turn into demonic figures and blast him with hellfire. Peter wakes up and goes to the bathroom. He feels ill and sees that he has strange boils growing on his face. Mephisto begins to feel angry that the Beyonder is gloating over the current state of the contest. As Mephisto continues to plot some cheat, one of his slaves notices what he is up to and decides to rally the others -- deciding that oblivion is better than being forever tormented by Mephisto.
As the Kingpin finishes his daily affairs, Peter is walking the streets trying to get to a doctor but his strength fails him and he almost collapses. A police officer helps Peter into the back of his squad car and goes to drive him to the hospital. Peter is shocked to see that the office is the late George Stacy, who berates Peter for allowing him to die. To Peter's horror, Stacy transforms into a demon and the squad car into a demonic chariot and flies off into the sky. Even though Peter is sick, he manages to break free, denying any fault for Stacy's death -- hanging onto the idea that there was nothing he could do to save his life. As he falls to the city below he happens to see his dead former love Gwen Stacy falling also. Coming to his wits, Peter manages to save her unlike on that fateful day when she was murdered by the Green Goblin. However, Gwen tells him that she is already dead and it's his fault for not being able to save her. She suddenly transforms into a bird creature and flies away, leaving Peter alone and begging her to come back.
Peter's grief is interrupted by Zarathos who confronts him and attacks him openly. Stripping off his civilian clothing and putting on his costume, Spider-Man is prepared to fight off his demonic attacker. As the fight rages, the Kingpin prepares to leave for his appointed rendezvous at the Century Club. Spider-Man gains the upper hand in battle and manages to unmask Zarathos, but is once more surprised when Zarathos' face resembles that of his late Uncle Ben. "Ben" blasts Peter with hellfire and begins demanding that he toss away his morality, his sense of responsibility, and start thinking only of himself.
Despite the pain and flooding him with images of all those who have suffered as a result of his career as Spider-Man, Peter does not relent and refuses to give in. Thinking Spider-Man is about to fail, Mephisto is about to use his powers to help him when he is attacked by his minions, forcing him to use his power to fight them off instead. The Beyonder remarks that he knew of Mephisto's plot all along and refused to act. Fighting off the hellfire, Spider-Man then attacks Zarathos, banishing him away with a single punch. As the 6 o'clock hour tolls near, Spider-Man gathers his strength and manages to prevent the Kingpin from being shot by a rooftop sniper. When the police arrive on the roof, Spider-Man escapes angry that the Kingpin will never know -- or care if he did -- that he had saved his life. As he heads to the Daily Bugle to drop off his pictures he wonders if maybe he should revisit his morals and values.
With the contest over, the Beyonder tells Mephisto that he has won a 24-hour reprieve for all existence. The Beyonder departs telling Mephisto that he will give the multiverse some consideration but warns the Lord of Lies to enjoy it while it lasts as he will likely destroy everything.
A Secret Wars II tie in. The Beyonder battles Mephisto.
- The Puma reports his failure to destroy the Beyonder. He attempted to do so in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #111.
- The Beyonder and Mephisto recount the Beyonder's arrival on Earth in Secret Wars II #1, the cosmic beings who attempted to destroy him in Secret Wars II #6-7 and lastly the Molecule Man's failed attempt to destroy the Beyonder in Secret Wars II #8.
- Zarathos is temporarily freed here since his imprisonment in Ghost Rider Vol 2 #81.
- Peter Parker is haunted by the ghost of people in his life that have died, or believes to be dead. These people are:
- The Green Goblin, Norman Osborn, was seemingly killed in Amazing Spider-Man #122. However, unknown to Peter at this time, Norman survived as revealed in Spider-Man: The Osborn Journal #1. He will resurface in Amazing Spider-Man #410.
- His parents, Richard and Mary Parker, who were secret agents who were killed while on a mission, as depicted in Amazing Spider-Man Annual #5.
- George Stacy, who was killed by falling debris during a battle between Spider-Man and Doctor Octopus circa Amazing Spider-Man #90.
- George's daughter Gwen, who died during a fight between Spider-Man and the Green Goblin in Amazing Spider-Man #121.
- Lastly, Peter is haunted by his Uncle Ben, who was killed by a burglar in Amazing Fantasy #15.
- The Beyonder makes his decision about Earth and his final fate are seen in Secret Wars II #9.
- This issue is reprinted in comics and books, see references for more info.
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