Classic John Buscema Mephisto sits on a red throne, surrounded by demons. He's staring directly at us over steepled fingers, a slight smile curling one corner of his mouth.
MEPHISTO: No introductions are necessary.
MEPHISTO: If you've been reading these stories as long as I think you have, you know my name.
He changes to mad, tentacle-faced John Romita Jr. Mephisto, a huge face leaning into the panel with tiny chains of tortured demons burning in the background.
MEPHISTO: You'll believe me too, when I say... I know you. All you are in this world.. all your sins... all your desires.
MEPHISTO: I'm here today to offer you a trade - one for the other. But it's not the deal you think it is.
Main panel. Suddenly he's a far more human Mephisto in a scarlet business suit, sitting at a desk with a briefcase open in front of him. He's Business-Mephisto... you thought the other two were bad! He's staring into the briefcase as he rearranges some papers, talking without looking at us. Behind him, everyday office furniture.
MEPHISTO: It's a little game I sometimes play, when there aren't any superheroes, gods or galactic heralds to torment.
MEPHISTO: The one you desire most in this world. I don't even care enough to ascertain whether it's your spouse, your lover, or some secret fancy you've never confessed to anyone.
MEPHISTO: On the stroke of midnight, they will know your mind. Every dark secret. Every grubby corner. Every shameful thought you've ever withheld. Unless...
He pushes an airline ticket towards us across the desk. His smile now is almost benevolent. He's offering us an out, after all.
MEPHISTO: Unless you take this ticket. Pack a bag, catch a taxi to the airport, get on a plane to far, far away... where you'll never see them again.
Having closed his briefcase, he stands to leave. This meeting is over. He smiles a genuine farewell.
MEPHISTO: It's a straightforward offer. A simple decision. I'll leave you to make up your mind. Till midnight, then...