In Abandoned an' Forsaked, we examine comic book stories and ideas that were not only abandoned, but also had the stories/plots specifically "overturned" by a later writer (as if they were a legal precedent). Today, we look at the rather bizarre story where Wonder Man's mother was retroactively killed off by Mephisto.
As you may or may not know, besides wearing a series of terrible costumes and constantly talking about how much his fists are like Thor's hammer, one of the most interesting aspects of Wonder Man's back story is the fact that he is part of this twisted little "family" of beings. You see, Wonder Man was briefly an Avenger in the early days of the team but then he died. Well, at least it appeared as though he died. A number of years later, the villainous Ultron created the synthezoid known as Vision and used the dead Wonder Man's brain patterns as the basis for Vision's mind. So now you had Ultron as the "father" of Vision and Wonder Man and Vision as "brothers." However, since Ultron was created by Hank Pym, then Hank was sort of Ultron's "father." Then the Avengers were attacked by the Grim Reaper, who was the literal brother of Wonder Man, who blamed the Avengers for the death of his brother. Vision then married the Scarlet Witch, making her sort of Wonder Man's "sister-in-law." As a final bizarre twist, Ultron also created the robot, Jocasta, based on the Wasp's brain patterns.
In 1985, Steve Englehart returned to Marvel Comics after a decade-long break (during which he wrote for DC Comics, then wrote novels for a bit and then did independent comic books, initially for Eclipse and then for Marvel's Epic line of creator-owned comics). Englehart had famously married off Scarlet Witch and Vision, so his first big assignment for Marvel was to launch a year-long maxiseries starring those two married heroes, as well as doing the now-ongoing West Coast Avengers series. Wonder Man was a member of that team. Almost right away, Englehart did a crossover between the two titles.
The theme, of course, was brothers and father and sons and lions and tigers and bears and oh, my, I think I went off track a bit there.
In any event, Grim Reaper and Ultron began to work together and captured Wonder Man and Hank Pym and so the West Coast Avengers had to team up with Vision and Scarlet Witch to save them. One part of their plan was, in West Coast Avengers #2 (by Steve Englehart, Al Milgrom and Kim DeMulder), to go visit Wonder Man and Grim Reaper's mother (who was also kind of sort of Vision's mother, too, dude to the whole brain patterns deal)...
Wonder Man's mother became a recurring character in the rest of the Vision and Scarlet Witch maxiseries, which very often brought the whole extended Vision/Scarlet Witch family (which also included Scarlet Witch's twin brother, Quicksilver, and his Inhuman wife, Crystal) into the book, as Scarlet Witch gets pregnant and gives birth in the final issue of the series.
This was all well and good until a storyline in Wonder Man's solo title in 1993. It involved Mephisto getting involved in trying to steal Wonder Man's soul. In Wonder Man #25 (by Gerard Jones, Jeff Johnson and a ton of inkers), we learn that Simon's brother, Eric, the Grim Reaper, had murdered Simon and Eric's parents when they were kids...
This, of course, abandoned and forsaked the earlier story where the Avengers all met Wonder Man's mom as an older woman.