Synopsis for “Hell on Earth! / Chapter 2: Hulk Dr. Strange Sub-Mariner / Interlude One / Chapter 3: Nighthawk, Gargoyle, and Devil Slayer! / Interlude Two / Chapter 4: Silver Surfer Valkyrie Clea / Chapter 5”
Continued from last issue…
The Defenders are the prisoners of the Hell-Lords Mephisto, Satan, Satannish and Thog, who have pooled their resources together through their pawns the Six-Fingered Hand to create a Hell on Earth. Showing them an illusion of things to come, the Defenders notice that Nighthawk and Hellcat are also in their thrall. With the Defenders debating on what to do next, Son of Satan leads Hulk and Sub-Mariner on a direct attack but they are easily tossed back via Satan’s powerful magics. As the team regroups, Satan reveals that Hellcat is his daughter, shocking the Defenders — especially Daimon who was just beginning to fall in love with Patricia.
Satan reveals that he posed as Patricia’s father and spawned her through her mother, then let her continue her own life unaware of her Satanic origins and aided behind the scenes to mold her into the super-hero known as Hellcat. When Valkyrie tries to talk Hellcat into helping the Defenders, Hellcat attacks and when Nighthawk tries to stop her he is tossed to the other Defenders. Mocking his son for loving his possible sister, Satan blasts Daimon when he tries to attack again. Dr. Strange then steps in and challenges Satan to a duel between the Defenders and his fellow Hell-Lords to determine the fate of the Earth. Satan agrees telling them that their key to victory is to find the light in darkness’ heart and teleports them all away except for Hellcat and Son of Satan so that he can discuss things with his son.
Dr. Strange, Hulk and Sub-Mariner find themselves in Rutland, Vermont where they must face Satannish. The Hulk and Sub-Mariner decide to take a direct approach, fighting off Satannish’s demonic hordes and then battling his demonic constructs of Xemnu the Titan and Yandroth the Man-Machine. Dr. Strange having been briefly knocked out following the clash with the demons, sends his astral form through the mountain to find that Satannish holds two pairs of Hulks and Sub-Mariners, one pair the Doctor’s true allies, the other two illusions. When Satannish drops them into the lava below, Dr. Strange puzzles together Satan’s riddle and uses his Eye of Agamotto’s light to shatter the illusion and save the real Sub-Mariner and Hulk. However, as he escapes the mountain-turned-volcano, it suddenly and violently explodes.
Son of Satan meanwhile is forced to have a conversation with his father and Hellcat, and has to come to the realization that he has fallen in love with someone who is possibly his sister.
Elsewhere, Gargoyle, Nighthawk and Devil-Slayer find themselves transported to a giant battle field where it appears that warriors from conflicts all throughout history are waging war. Gargoyle finds himself dressed in his World War I uniform, Devil-Slayer in his Vietnam uniform, and Nighthawk finding himself with his old draft notice he received in 1969. They find themselves mocked by soldiers who died in battle and then stormed by an army of soldiers led by Thog. Realizing that the light in darkness’ heart in this battle is the rational ability to cease fighting, and Nighthawk convinces the soldiers to stand down, stopping Thog’s army dead. Furious, Thog then has the battle field decimated by bombs, blowing everyone up.
Back in the demonic version of Citrusville, Son of Satan demands to know why his father continues to seek to torment him and Satan gives him a simple explanation: If his own son will not rule beside him in Hell, then he will torment him for all eternity.
The Silver Surfer, Clea, and Valkyrie find themselves in a empty limbo where they are confronted by Mephisto. Mephisto offers them their hearts content: Clea the total mastery of magic surpassing the power of her own teacher Dr. Strange; Valkyrie leadership over the Valkyrior; and the Surfer his beloved Shalla-Bal. They reject these offers and utilizing their passions, they battle Mephisto, defeating him. As they speed toward the exit from this ephemeral realm they are suddenly blinked into nothingness before they can escape.
The Defenders soon find themselves back among Satan and the other Hell-Lords who admit that hey cheated to gain victory. With time running out, Son of Satan continues to balk against his father and then is forced to fight Hellcat. Easily besting her in combat he is about to land a killing blow, and cannot bring himself to do it, finally admitting that he truly does love her. Deciding that he must now battle Satan to determine who is the master once and for all, Daimon locks in battle against his father. Realizing that Daimon will lose the fight, Dr. Strange decides to go against the rules and pool all the Defenders life forces through his Eye of Agamotto to unleash the full power of Daimon’s Dark Soul.
While they succeed in doing so, Daimon is still unable to defeat his father. Before Satan can kill Daimon with his trident, Satan stops when he realizes he cannot kill his son for the same reason Daimon could not kill Hellcat: Love. Satan decides that the battle is over and begins to restore things to normal. Son of Satan, now fully under the power of his Dark Soul decides that he wants to rule beside his father, allowing for this Satan teleports him away. Before going, Satan turns Hellcat over to the Defenders, using his powers to restore her to her human form. As he departs, Satan points out that the entire ordeal may have all been a deception to win Daimon back, casting double into Hellcat’s true linage. He mocks the Defenders for compromising their morals in order to aid Daimon in battle. He teleports the Defenders into the middle of New York City, leaving them to wonder about his words.