Dedicated to the definitive superhero non-team.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Hello, Mr. Hellstrom

On one of his signature rampages, Hulk fought a rocket-blasting robot the U.S. military had designed for such an occasion. With one punch, the $2.5-million mechanoid was demolished. That was only the beginning of Hulk's problems (Giant-Size Defenders #2).

A mysterious young girl offered to help Hulk flee the scene, leading him through a back alley, then down a secret stairwell to the caverns below. As the green-skinned Defender grew suspicious, the girl transformed into a horned demon, announcing that they were now in hell. Suddenly, six 10-foot-tall versions of Bruce Banner appeared, each with enough strength to injure the Hulk.

Through his crystal ball, Dr. Strange saw that Hulk was in danger. A shrouded spirit then appeared, insisting that Dr. Strange, Nighthawk, and Valkyrie must aid the forces of evil in exchange for Hulk's freedom. Refusing such demands, Dr. Strange sought out Daimon Hellstrom. With their combined powers, the sorcerer supreme and the "Son of Satan" uncovered the supernatural staircase that Hulk had descended. As they entered, the Defenders each confronted their own personal horrors.

An executioner with a noose scorned Nighthawk for his treacherous past, while faceless amazons mocked Valkyrie as a woman without an identity. Dr. Strange encountered the ghosts of patients whose lives he might have saved as a surgeon, and Daimon Hellstrom witnessed demons torment his deceased mother. The Defenders courageously overcame these haunting images.

Daimon Hellstrom detected the true source behind these metaphysical threats. The wicked Asmodeus had died of a heart attack (Dr. Strange #177) but arranged to return to the world of the living by exchanging the souls of the Defenders for his own. With abilities well-suited against the netherworld (different from the spellbook magic of Dr. Strange), Hellstrom pointed his magic trident and repelled the giant Bruce Banners away from Hulk, then defeated Asmodeus.

Giant-Size Defenders. Vol. 1. No. 2. October 1974. "H … as in Hulk … Hell … and Holocaust!" Len Wein (writer), Gil Kane and Klaus Janson (artists), Glynis Wein (colorist), Dave Hunt (letterer), Roy Thomas (editor).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Have you been reading the new miniseries "The Last Defenders"? Hellstrom is in it and playing a major role in these final issues of it. The miniseries is very uneven, but at least we get to see Nighthawk in action again.

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