WARNING: The following article contains spoilers for Champions #2 by Jim Zub, Steve Cummings, Marcio Menyz and VC's Clayton Cowles, on sale now.
In the relaunch of Marvel's Champions, the status quo has well and truly shifted. Miles Morales' Spider-Man, Kamala Khan (Miss Marvel), Amadues Cho (the Hulk known as Brawn) and former Nova Sam Alexander are all leading a widely expanded roster.
They're more or less acting as a young version of the Avengers, with recent missions seeing teams in Japan and Mexico pull off enormous rescues. However, the mission Miles' squad embarked on in Dubai was kept under wraps except for one big revelation -- Miles struck some big deal with Mephisto. Well, in the latest issue, we find out exactly what it is and, as expected, it comes at a mysterious yet dear cost.
In Issue #1, as the teams celebrated their trifecta of wins, Miles retreated to his room, distraught. Only Amadeus knew what was going on, but readers were kept in the dark. All we knew was that an emotional toll was exacted, resulting in Miles lashing out at Sam and Kamala. When Mephisto appeared on the final page, asking him if this wasn't everything he hoped for, it became abundantly clear Miles struck a pact like Peter Parker did in "One More Day."
That cost Peter his marriage to Mary Jane, though it did save Aunt May's life. Still, fans decried Peter's decision, as we all know superheroes shouldn't be bargaining with devils like Mephisto. And, once again, the demon plays on a Spider-Man's biggest fears and selfish nature when it comes to protecting the people he loves, as we see disaster tugging at Miles' heartstrings in Dubai.
When the team touches down to face Zzzax, who's basically a walking electric field, they can't contain the energy-based entity and an explosion that claims several lives erupts. However, Miles was able to save one mysterious young girl in a hijab just before, giving him hope he could prevent the destruction to come. Sadly, it just isn't meant to be, and by the time Miles recovers in the wake of the near-nuclear fallout, death has hit home. He recovers Kamala's body from the rubble, while Amadeus is cradling the lifeless frame of Viv Vision.
Mephisto, as is his nature, sees this as the most opportune moment and offers Miles a choice in front of Amadeus -- he'll rewind time so they can contain Zzzax using their special device and thus prevent the death of their friends. Amadeus warns Miles against it, but Mephisto makes it clear this deal involves no souls, blood pacts or debts in general. It's a favor, "free and clear," and one a heartbroken Miles accepts so he can reverse the tragedy.
And so, the devil rewinds time, allowing them to stop Zzzax, prevent mass destruction and save civilians they couldn't before. Most importantly, Kamala and Viv are alive and well. This is why Miles was affected mentally and didn't want to celebrate. No one knew what was up apart from Amadeus, and now we see it's because he saw what Miles went through.
The key moment in his decision comes at the end, however, at ground zero in Dubai, as it's revealed the woman Miles initially saved ends up dying in this new timeline. It turns out her life was deemed a worthy exchange for his friends. Now, we don't know if Miles found out about her death or why Mephisto considered her important, but it emphasizes nothing is free.
Maybe she was a random sacrifice and a victim of chance, but Miles should know better, especially when it comes to altering the course of history, which the likes of Doctor Strange and Brother Voodoo have sensed. Expect consequences for this, because Miles and Amadeus should not have been duped -- the devil's always in the details, and it seems we now have one more dilemma to contend with.