Underworld Unleashed – 3

General Info

Issue No:
3
On Sale Date:
November 1995
Cover Date:
Late December 1995
Era:
Modern Age
Story Title:
Part Three: Seduction of the Innocent

Creative Team

Cover Artist:
Howard Porter, Dan Green
Writer:
Mark Waid
Penciller:
Howard Porter
Inker:
Dennis Janke
Letterer:
Chris Eliopoulos
Colourist:
Rick Taylor
Editor:
Brian Augustyn, Ruben Diaz (associate), Ali Morales (assistant)

Characters

Main:
Justice League: Wonder Woman (Princess Diana), Blue Devil (Daniel Cassidy), Flash (Wally West), Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz), Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Gypsy (Cynthia Reynolds), Triumph (William McIntyre), Warrior (Guy Gardner)
Heroes:
Batman (Bruce Wayne), Atom (Ray Palmer), Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), Black Condor (Ryan Kendall), Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Booster Gold (Michael Carter), Captain Atom (Nathaniel Adam), Captain Marvel (Billy Batson), Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), Huntress (Helena Bertinelli), Robin (Tim Drake), Sentinels of Magic: Deadman (Boston Brand), Doctor Occult (Richard Occult), Fate (Jared Stevens), Phantom Stranger, Sentinel (Alan Scott), Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Zatanna Zatara, - plus numerous cameos
Villains:
Neron, Blaze, Blockbuster (Roland Desmond), Gorilla Grodd, Major Disaster (Paul Booker), Metallo (John Corben), Satanus
Olympians:
N/A
Amazons:
Artemis
Other:
Trickster (James Jesse)
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Synopsis

As Neron’s power continues to grow, the effects of his influence have taken hold of the Earth. The entire world appears to be erupting in waves of violence and panic.

The full might of the Justice League pierces the barrier to the Underworld and confronts Neron’s demonic army. Convinced that Neron has captured Superman, they navigate through the circle of Hell to find him. Neron meanwhile, sits atop his throne with Lord Satanus kneeling before him. Satanus acknowledges Neron’s power, and offers up his own sister Blaze in exchange for leniency. Blaze is outraged, citing that they have no chance of overcoming Neron if their power is divided. In a moment of brief defiance, Satanus remarks that there is a single word that would give even Neron pause. Neron destroys Satanus before he has the chance to utter the word, but the Trickster, having stayed hidden behind Neron’s throne, now realizes that there is in fact a way to beat the Devil.

Back on Earth, the JLA reserves conduct damage control in various cities swept in a grip of violence. Triumph, Gypsy and Mystek fight demonic gargoyles in Paris. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold try to help crowds of people consumed by a mystical hunger. In Montana, Damage, Green Arrow and Black Condor protect a National Guard armory from civilian raids. In San Francisco, the Sentinels of Magic fights off hordes of cultists and demonic agents. In Gotham City, Major Disaster causes a massive traffic jam, which enables Gorilla Grodd, Metallo and Blockbuster the chance to hijack a truck carrying nuclear weapons. Fortunately, Batman, Robin, Black Canary and Huntress arrive just in time to stop them.

Back in Hell, the heroes continue their advance against Neron’s minions. Blue Devil is the first to reach him, and threatens to gain his “pound of flesh” for the inadvertent death of Marla Bloom. Neron turns Blue Devil’s trident against him and the resulting energy surge appears to destroy him.

Soon after, the heroes discover that Superman is not trapped in the Underworld at all. Trickster begins to realize that Superman was never the “pure soul” that Neron sought at all. His true target was Captain Marvel. The evil influence of Hell begins to overwhelm the other heroes and they fall prey to their darkest, most base instincts. Neron manipulates them into attacking Captain Marvel, who thus far, seems unaffected by the corruptive reach of Hell. Captain Marvel tries talking to the heroes, but they keep coming after him.

Unexpectedly, Blue Devil rises from the dead – now a true devil, rather than a man trapped inside of a costume. As Blue Devil busies himself with Neron, Trickster sneaks out and approaches Captain Marvel. He tells him that Neron fears a magic word, and Marvel immediately knows what to do. He speaks the magic word “Shazam”, and a powerful mystic lightning bolt erupts in Hell, freeing the other heroes from Neron’s dark influence. While the heroes attack Neron, Trickster pulls Captain Marvel aside and tells him his plan. Captain Marvel offers his soul in exchange for Neron freeing the Earth and all the heroes with no other demands. Neron greedily takes Marvel’s soul and makes the deal only to discover that the pure soul, offered altruistically, couldn’t be retained by him as Trickster knew would be the case. Thus all the heroes and the Earth are freed with Captain Marvel retaining his soul.