“My name is Wolverine and I’m heading towards the palace of the Prince of Madripoor to warn him about the danger of the deadly Gehenna Stone when suddenly I’m jumped by ravenous pseudo-vampires.” “I hate when that happens.”
Archie Corrigan, Captain Tai, O’Donnell and Wolverine, in his Madripoor disguise of Patch are attacked by “vampires.” Wolverine thinks to himself that, while this isn’t good, he may be able to turn it to his advantage. He knows that Archie, O’Donnell and Tai are capable of handling themselves. They wouldn’t have lived this long if they weren’t.
He allows the “vampires” to drag him into the woods on purpose. He realizes that his mind is only partially on the fight. The rest of it is realizing that if he’s waltzing around with these guys, Ba’al is still alive, maybe even with the prince, getting the last fragment of the stone. That being the case, it’s time to get in gear. One by one, Wolverine takes the “vampires” out. After he has finished, he realizes that it got real quiet out there, which means it’s over out there - one way or the other. He peers through the trees to notice Archie, O’Donnell and Captain Tai mulling about.
O’Donnell calls out for Patch. Captain Tai points out that they have no time to stand around waiting for that surly runt, to which O’Donnell retorts that “look who’s talking.” Ignoring him, Tai continues that they need to get to the prince; Patch can attend to himself. O’Donnell agrees. Although he is human, he puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like us. Over in the trees, Patch is gone, his clothes discarded.
In the palace of the Prince of Madripoor, Jessica Drew is making every attempt to explain to the prince who his “visitor” is. She informs him that this creature is pure evil! Can’t he see that? Ba’al responds with that he’s sorry she finds his birth deformities so appalling. “The good Lord did not bless all of us with natural beauty such as yours.” Jessica shoots back that the good Lord had nothing to do with him, she’d bet him on that!
She turns her attention back to the Prince. She informs him that he can’t let Ba’al have the fragment he possesses. This monster wants to reconstruct the Gehenna Stone and achieve world domination!! The prince finally speaks and tells Jessica that is an absurd tale. Jessica responds by telling him that it’s not absurd… Okay it’s absurd, she admits, but it’s true!!! The Prince continues. If Ba’al were the monster Jessica claims, he would be trying to just take the fragment, instead of discussing price, as would any reasonable man.
Ba’al interrupts him by informing him that, although the price he’s quoted for such a valuable archaeological relic is fair, he was thinking of something in the way of a barter. The prince asks him what he could offer that would interest him? Ba’al then asks the prince how immortality strikes him??
Back in the woods near the palace of the prince of Madripoor, Wolverine slices through the thick underbrush. He thinks to himself that O’Donnell and the others are long behind him now and it will be soon for his confrontation with Ba’al.
On the streets of Madripoor, Burt Corrigan is going around asking various residents of Madripoor if they have seen Jessica. The first man he asks indicates that he hasn’t seen her. The second, an old man, thinks he saw her last week. She’s blonde right? The third person he asks is a prostitute. She informs him that she can’t say that she has.
When she asks Burt if he is a friend, Burt tells her that they were following a vampire and he lost her. To that, he gets a look that he’s crazy. He then asks her if anybody would know where she is. The lady points up to the castle on the hill. The prince would know where she is, she informs him. He knows everything about everything. Burt thanks her and makes his way over there. The lady tries to stop him, she was kidding. He won’t even get into see the... Oh, forget it.
In the palace of the prince of Madripoor, the prince is mulling the offer given to him by Ba’al. Immortality is a fascinating offer - he will have to consider it overnight, as well as what Jessica has said. He tells Ba’al to come back tomorrow Ba’al tells the Prince that he will decide now... or never!!! The Prince spins around and points his finger angrily towards Ba’al. He dislikes his tone. Ba’al, unimpressed, informs him that he can dislike it all he wishes but he will have his decision and his fragment. The prince tells him that he thinks not, it is well hidden. He then orders Johann, his aide, to escort their arrogant guest out.
Ba’al is then surrounded by the Prince’s guards. Ba’al informs the prince that he’s been patient with him because, in many ways, the prince reminds him of himself. But unlike him, he has never been a fool!!! The prince, losing his temper, yells at Ba’al to be silent!! One of the prince’s guards grabs Ba’al by the shoulder and informs him that the prince wants him to leave. Ba’al shoots back with what the Prince wants is as of little consequence as what he wants. He then flings his arms around, knocking many of the guards out.
Angry at this point, Ba’al tells them that they have no idea what they’re dealing with!!!! He will have that fragment and the blood sacrifice needed before the final joining. Fortunately, he will be able to have both at one and the same time. At that moment, he lunges towards Johann and jams his fist into his throat. As Jessica and the Prince look on in horror, Ba’al tells Johann that, just because he swallowed the stone, doesn’t mean he can keep it hidden from him. Nothing could hide it from him. Not the arrogance of the prince nor the deviousness of his underling.
Ba’al holds up the blood covered stone in his hand. Jessica, shocked, leaps towards him and calls him an animal!!!! More of the prince’s guards burst through the door to help out the situation.
At this point, a horde of vampires bursts through the castle’s window. The master needs them; blood for the master. A melee then breaks out between the prince’s guards and Ba’al’s followers. Jessica has a hold of Ba’al and yells to him that he just killed a defenseless man!! Ba’al smacks her off with one swipe of his hand and asks her so what? He has more important things to attend to you than her. Jessica, using her old Spider-Woman powers, clings to the wall. She thinks to herself that he bet he does. Also, that there’s absolutely no earthly reason why Wolverine should be on his way there, so she better start praying for some unearthly ones.
Just outside the palace, Wolverine hears the sounds of a fight and thinks that it smells like Ba’al. As he climbs up the wall, he also realizes that there’s death there
On the path up to the palace, Archie, O’Donnell and Tai are making their way. Tai points out that it’s not that much further. O’Donnell asks if they think that Patch got there before them, to which Archie replies that something tells him that he hopes so. Just then, they hear the sound of a vehicle coming down the path. Tai tries to stop him, but the jeep barrels along. Archie, noticing who is driving, yells at Burt to get back there!! Burt informs him that there’s no time, a climactic sequence is coming up.
Back at the palace, Wolverine comes crashing through the door. His claws popped, he rhetorically asks the horde of vampires why nobody is ever glad to see him. At that point, they all converge on him yelling to kill him!! Wolverine responds with he told them so and proceeds to hack and slash his way through the vampires. As he does so, he thinks to himself that the trouble is that there’s no appreciation for stylists anymore. There’s so much slaughter, with such grace and economy of movement. He’s an artist, but artists are only loved after they’re dead. Maybe that’s why people are always trying to kill him.
In another room of the palace, Ba’al stands with the Gehenna Stone in one hand and in the other, the missing piece. Both of his hands are glowing. He is proud of himself. This is beautiful; the culmination of two incarnations of striving. Without turning around, he informs the Prince to come in and throw his dreary knife if he wishes. The prince does, but when it hits Ba’al, all it does is bounce off of him, without even making a mark.
Ba’al tells the Prince that it does him no good. Centuries ago, it took nothing less than the Hand of God to stop him. That was in the day of miracles and those days are as dead as the creator who was responsible for them. With that, Ba’al places the missing gem into the Gehenna Stone.
Back in the main part of the palace, Jessica is holding her own, until one of the vampires is able to sneak up on her and grab her from behind. He informs Jessica that her luck has run out. Wolverine arrives at that very moment and puts his claws up the vampires nose. He then tells him that somebody’s luck has. As he continues to hack and slash the vampires away, he asks Jessica where the prince is. With Ba’al is the answer, he receives. He then asks her where Ba’al is. When Jessica responds with the fact that she doesn’t know, Wolverine sarcastically says that she is some detective.
In the room with the Prince, Ba’al is surrounded by energy. He triumphantly declares that he’s done it – a new age of miracles is upon the world!! As Wolverine and Jessica enter the room, they see Ba’al, wide-eyed, with fangs and a wild look on his face saying that his shall be the hand that shapes them!!! Jessica asks what happens now and Wolverine tells her to hit the deck. Just as they do, energy that stinks of evil crackles over their heads. It strikes the followers of Ba’al and, for a moment, it seems that he’s obliterating his own people. That’s not the case though, he’s transforming them into what, until now, they’ve only pretended to be – vampires!!!!
Jessica and the prince grab some swords off the wall. Jessica asks him if he knows how to use these or are they just for decoration. The prince responds with they will have to find out. While Jessica and the Prince hurl themselves into battle with the vampires, Wolverine approaches Ba’al. He notices that his scent has changed, like he’s someone else. Although they’ve met twice before, Ba’al is looking at him as if he is truly seeing him for the first time and he looks scared????
Ba’al orders his followers to kill him. As Wolverine slashes his way through the vampires, he notices that Ba’al sounds scared as well and he doesn’t understand it. Ba’al has the followers, the power, and all of the cards - why is he scared of him, it’s crazy!!! Then again, so is Ba’al… and so is he.
Ba’al, with his new power, extends the nails on his fingers to claws. He takes a swipe at Wolverine, who ducks out of the way. They swipe at each other again and meet with a thunderous clash. Ba’al tells Wolverine that he won’t defeat him again; this is his time, his place! He has the power and his time is past! Wolverine and Ba’al hack and slash, thrust and parry, trying to get in tight then dancing back, just out of reach. All the time during this fencing match, Ba’al is screaming at Wolverine as if he’s somebody else. Wolverine wishes that he knew what in blazes he was talking about. In Ba’al’s mind, he is again fighting the Hand of God!!!!! Ba’al is finally able to connect and knocks Wolverine through a pillar.
Triumphantly, Ba’al raises his hand that is holding the Gehenna Stone. He calls out that, this time, ancient enemy, the day is his!!! At that very moment, a bullwhip comes out of nowhere and it knocks the stone out of Ba’al’s hand. Burt, climbing through the window asks if he is too late. Ba’al, enraged, shoots a blast of energy out of his hand towards Burt, though he is able to duck out of the way at the last second. However, it gives Wolverine time to lunge for the stone. He can feel Ba’al’s power is ebbing since he lost contact with the stone.
Just as he gets there, Ba’al picks it back up. He asks Wolverine why he concerns himself with him. He unleashes a huge blast of energy into Wolverine, frying him faster than his healing power can handle. Ba’al continues, asking why did he even for a moment allow him to cause him any doubt.
Wolverine realizes that in a couple of seconds he’s going to be a walking adamantium skeleton and a few shreds of skin. He’s completely blind and he decides to do something he hasn’t done in ages. He prays. Not the light, easy hope to god this works prayer, but an earnest, sincere plea for a higher being to guide his hand. With that, he strikes out at Ba’al.
He connects and breaks the stone into a million pieces. Even as he hears the stone shatters, he slams down his foot, pivots off it, spins and stabs Ba’al, aiming for the kill. Ba’al’s screams are washed away by what he’s feeling. All of a sudden, the energy is released like a circuit has been completed. Ba’al’s life, his dark energy, flows into Wolverine’s claw, through his body and out as if he was a conduit, a conduit to something greater. Something beyond their understanding.
Finally, O’Donnell, Archie, and Tai make their way up the stairs of the palace. Tai points out that it sounds like the whole place is about to explode. Archie sarcastically asks why in heaven’s name are they running towards it? O’Donnell, abruptly stops and points up to the wall of the palace. A huge blast occurs, with Wolverine and Ba’al flying out of the blast area. Ba’al is ranting that it was his time!!! They fall hundreds of stories down into the water that surrounds the palace.
In the palace, order is finally starting to be restored. O’Donnell makes a joke that the cleaning woman is going to be busy for weeks. One of the vampires, who has now turned back into a regular person, asks where the master is and why they aren’t vampires anymore. One of the prince’s guards tells them to shut up as they arrest them. Archie asks Jessica if she has seen Burt, last time he saw him he was driving by us like...
Jessica cuts him off. Burt was there all right and he helped stop Ba’al. After that she doesn’t know, he vanished in all of the confusion. When Archie asks again, O’Donnell responds this time by telling him that it’s apparent that she doesn’t know. Maybe he’s with Patch.
Down at the ocean, Wolverine pulls himself out of the water onto the beach where he collapses. He’s killed Ba’al, shattered the Gehenna Stone, maybe saved the world. Now what? He’s going to Disneyworld. As Wolverine lays exhausted on the beach, the water bubbles and Ba’al rises up, only to collapse again - this time dead. Good. He was ugly and he had bad breath. Wolverine gathers himself and walks away.
Back in the Princess Bar, Archie, Jessica and Wolverine discuss the events that have transpired Archie asks how they know the Gehenna Stone won’t just be reassembled again. Jessica explains that what gave it power was the living essence of Ba’al, just like Burt said. That essence was placed in the stone until it took over the host body. When Wolverine shattered the stone and killed the body, the spirit of the original Ba’al had nowhere to go. Wolverine retorts with nowhere but down, he hopes.
At that same time, he notices O’Donnell and Lindsay over at a table by themselves. He points out that it’s nice to see those two make up. Without stone fragments mucking up with their minds, maybe they get a clear shot. Archie then points out that the stone never made Wolverine act any differently that he usually does. To which, Wolverine responds that he’s always nasty, it’s just business as usual for him.
Jessica then points out that Burt said the original Ba’al was slain by a divine warrior named the Hand of God. So, if the Ba’al we faced was really a direct descendent, or even a reincarnation of the original... what does that make Patch??? To this, Patch replies, “Thirsty.”
As the bartender brings the table another round of drinks, Archie expresses his concern about his brother Burt - what if he never shows up again? Patch responds that if Arch’s crazy brother can handle vampire hordes and demon monsters, he can handle anything. He then raises his glass and toasts Burt Corrigan, wherever and whomever he may be.
In a casino somewhere, an unidentified man is playing blackjack. He wins again. As the crowd cheers, the owner of the Monte Carlo Grande comes over to the player to inform him that he’s just broken the bank. The player, Burt, responds not again. The casino owner then tells this stranger that he is a very rich and lucky man, Mr.... Burt then tells him his name. It’s Bond, James Bond.