Does Lucifer exist in the Marvel universe? The MCU’s devil, explained

Marvel Mephisto
Image via Marvel Comics

The Marvel universe is full of strange and powerful supernatural creatures. From street-level magic users to massive, universe-destroying beasts. However, many Marvel fans often wonder if Lucifer, the legendary devil of religious myth, exists in the Marvel universe. Or if Mephisto, the creature famous for his role in the infamous Spider-Man storyline One More Day, is the Marvel universe’s equivalent of Lucifer. 

And the answer is surprisingly complicated. Here is everything you need to know. 

Does Lucifer exist in the Marvel Universe?

Marvel lucifer
Image via Marvel Comics

Yes, Lucifer does exist within the Marvel universe. However, it isn’t as clear-cut as it first appears, as there are actually two main characters called Lucifer, and the second one is involved in a strange continuity snarl. 

The first Lucifer to appear in Marvel made his debut in The X-Men #9 in 1965. This Lucifer wasn’t the Hell-dwelling beast of religious myth. He was actually an alien, born on the planet Quistalium. Over the years, this version of Lucifer has frequently battled the X-Men, with the group ultimately banishing him to an extradimensional space called the Nameless Dimension.

The other Lucifer made his debut in Marvel Preview #7 in 1976, where he was mentioned in a story called Damnation Waltz. This version of Lucifer is said to be the one who started his existence as an angel. However, Lucifer became corrupted and led an army of one-third of Heaven’s angels into battle, hoping to displace God and take over Heaven. This plan failed, and God banished Lucifer and his generals Beelzeboul, Kazann, Olivier, Pazuzu, and Xaphan to Hell. Over time, Lucifer would come to rule Hell, creating the mythical devil that humanity knows today. 

This version of Lucifer would be seen frequently in Ghost Rider as the entity responsible for bonding the demon Zarathos with Johnny Blaze to create Ghost Rider. As Blaze offered to sell his soul to save his adoptive father, Crash Simpson.

Weirdly, Marvel’s Lucifer has lots in common with Marvel’s Santa Claus, as both are gestalt entities born from humanity’s collective belief in specific myths. This means many creatures call themselves Lucifer, but they are all slightly different, meaning “Lucifer” can change appearance, powers, and personality randomly. 

This is best summarized in 2007’s Marvel Zombies: The Book of Angels, Demons & Various Monstrosities, which starts Lucifer’s biography by saying:

“Due to numerous demons using the identity of Satan and laying claim to the creation of Ghost Rider, as well as the fact that many of these demons sometimes merge into a gestalt entity, it is unclear exactly which demon is responsible for binding Zarathos to Johnny Blaze, or whether it was a collaboration.”

But who is Mephisto?

Avengers 2018 32
Image via Marvel Comics

Of course, it’s impossible to talk about the devil and the Marvel universe without talking about Mephisto. This demonic character has been at the center of some of Marvel’s most infamous storylines. Plus, the character has become a meme in the MCU fandom due to how often he appears in fan theories. 

Mephisto made his debut in Silver Surfer #3 in 1968 and was originally a regular foe of both Silver Surfer and Ghost Rider. However, as time has progressed, he has expanded his influence, doing battle with Spider-Man and many other Marvel heroes. 

It should be noted that his involvement with the second Ghost Rider is actually due to a retcon. As previously mentioned, when Johnny Blaze offered to sell his soul, he summoned Satan or Lucifer. However, Marvel retconned this to Blaze selling his soul to Mephisto, with Blaze merely believing Mephisto to be Satan.

This is a recurring element in Mephisto’s lore. Mephisto knows that large swathes of humanity fear a demonic creature they refer to as Satan or Lucifer, and thus he will often present himself thus. For instance, he often calls his domain Hell, despite his kingdom not actually being the mythical Hell.

However, despite this, they are still two different characters. So Marvel could write a storyline where Lucifer and Mephisto go on a cross-country road trip together. But in the modern age, Marvel uses Mephisto way more than Lucifer, likely because it prefers to use original characters.