X-Factor (1st series) #253

Issue Date: 
May 2013
Story Title: 
Hell on Earth War part four

Peter David (writer), Leonard Kirk (penciler), Jay Leisten (inker), Matt Milla (colorist), VC’s Cory Petit (letterer), David Yardin (cover artist), Jennifer M. Smith (assistant editor), Daniel Ketchum (editor), Nick Lowe (X-Men group editor), Axel Alonso (editor in chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Having fled from New York, Wolfbane, her son Tier and the rest of X-Factor enjoy a moment of respite in a cabin in the woods. Nevertheless, they are soon located by Satana, who attacks Tier with the aid of her demons. However, like with Pluto, Tier attacks with an unexpected ferocity which ultimately drives Satana and her demons away. Realizing that this will not stop, Polaris becomes convinced that they must take the battle to the hell lords and use Tier, who seems to be the only thing which can stop them. Before departing, however, Layla informs Monet that she knows she is bleeding in her head, a condition which will kill her. Meanwhile, his daughter now securely bound in his realm and guarded by the demonic transformed Madrox, Mephisto departs to assail the rest of the demon lords. However, shortly after he has gone, Jezebel is rescued by Guido, who reveals that he’s not actually on the side of her father but on his own, and now offers an alliance with her.

Full Summary: 

In the realm of her father, Jezebel asks Mephisto what he has done to Madrox. Towering over Madrox, now transformed into a man-demon, Mephisto replies that he had to do something, did he not? After her betrayal… She didn’t betray him, the bound Jezebel interrupts. She just… Instantly, Jezebel finds her father’s hand around her neck, yelling for her not to speak to him! Not a syllable, Mephista! Oh, that’s right, he corrects himself. Not “Mephista.” She prefers “Jezebel” now. She slumbers for years and when he manages to awaken her, she suddenly concerns herself with affairs of mortals! Care to explain why?

Though her father’s immense hand surrounds her whole neck, Jezebel manages to reply. Someone has to care about humanity in all this, she replies. Obviously he’s not going to… so she guesses it’s up to people born of mortals… like her. Disgusted, Mephisto tosses his daughter back to the ground and orders demonic Madrox to watch her. When demon Madrox replies with a “yesssssss,” Mephisto orders him not to hiss. It annoys him. Yes, demon Madrox corrects himself.

As he walks away, Jezebel tells her father that he can’t keep trying to kill a child to decide who’s going to be ruler of all the hells. He agrees, Mephisto replies. That’s why they’re just going to assail each other and see how it comes out. Oh, well, Jezebel replies. Crap.

Back in the real world, all of X-Factor stares in disbelief at the sky. High above, giant wounds crisscross the night, through which blood drips. What the hell is that? Polaris asks. It has to do with the hell gods, Rictor answers. That’s for damned sure. They have to shut it down, Longshot voices. Asked by Shattestar how, Longshot replies no idea. Honestly, he was hoping Shatterstar knew.

Interjecting, Layla asks why they are discussing this when Jamie is missing? They have to go after him. She wants to go back to New York to find him? Monet asks. Be her guest. Except she doubts Layla will find him. Which she probably knows. No, she doesn’t, Layla counters. She knows stuff not everything. And considering Pluto was smacking Monet around, she wouldn’t be so quick to tell other people about how they should behave. Defensively, Monet rejoins that Pluto wasn’t smacking her around. Told “he so was,” Monet replies that Layla has no idea what she….

Suddenly, Monet faints, much to Layla’s surprise. Fantastic, Polaris quips, and asks Layla to pick her up. They need to get out of there. Asked by Wolfsbane to where, Polaris replies that she doesn’t know. Kinda making it up as she goes. Asked if they have time for guessing, Polaris replies that they don’t, but she doesn’t see them as having any choice.

Changing subjects, Rictor replies that he still doesn’t understand why the sky is bleeding. If he had to guess, Shatterstar voices, it’s the beginning of dimensional rifts. Asked by Rictor if he means from splitting apart different dimensions, Shatterstar replies no. He’s talking about hell dimensions. The different realms ruled by each of the hell lords. The dimensions are starting to bleed together. The separations are slowly dissolving. And it will likely speed up the longer it goes.

Dumbfounded, Longshot asks why. To this, Darwin asks why he thinks. The demons have been waiting for this war to start for who-knows-how-long. And now that it’s finally here… nothing is going to keep them apart from each other… Not even the desperate efforts of every superbeing on the face of the Earth.

Even as Darwin explains, back in New York the hosts of demons from various hell realms indeed have entered the mortal world. However, as Darwin guessed, they do not find the world unprotected and are met by the likes of Spider-Man, the Avengers, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Hulk.

At their hideout in a country cabin, Polaris offers the only plans she has: they take the fight to the hell lords. Asked with what, she replies “Tier.” He can kill them. They should use that. Hands on her hips, Layla replies that she had a feeling she’d say that. And why shouldn’t he, Darwin asks. Asked by Rictor who says he gets a vote, Darwin replies that he thinks he says so. They’re hunting him too, remember? So he thinks that means he gets a say. To this, Polaris interjects that ultimately the only one whose say matters is Tier’s. Yes, he took out Pluto… but she’s not even sure he was aware he did it. He was so berserk…

Lost in her own thoughts, Polaris turns to Rahne, reminding him that Tier’s her son. Sheepishly, Rahne replies that she wants t’know if she thinks he’d make a useful killing machine, is that it? Well, yes, Polaris replies, to be honest. Quietly, Rahne opens the door to a darkened bedroom. Spying her sleeping son within, she replies that all she knows is she finally got him t’sleep. So if they are gonna take the fight to the dark gods… they’ll have t’wait ‘til he wakes up. Because otherwise she doesn’t see…

In the darkened room, Tier hears a voice call his name. Tier, the voice repeats. She knows he can hear her. As Tier opens his eyes, the voice replies that there he is. Suddenly, Tier’s eyes go wide and he exclaims you! and tells her to get away from him! How can he say that? Satana asks, standing before him in radiance. Doesn’t he understand anything that’s happening? He has the chance to walk away from this unscathed.
Though still lying on his bed, Tier finds he is no longer in a darkened room, but in a luminous void of white. Asked how, Satana replies by surrendering to her, of course. If he surrenders his power to hers, he can rule at her side! It’s his only chance for survival. Sitting on the edge of the bed, Satana adds that Tier got lucky killing Pluto. They both know that. She is literally his last hope. As the youth stammers that he’s not sure, Satana presses, moving to his side and placing her arm around his shoulder in a lovingly manner. He’s thinking about it way too much, she tells him. They both know he isn’t a warrior. All he really wants is a peaceful life… Moving her mouth to within inches of his ear, she tells him that she can give that to him.

For a moment, it all makes sense to Tier. And then, he spies Satana’s shadow, which shows her arm holding her sword. Crying out both fear and fury, Tier kicks Satana away, causing her to drop her sword. From the void, Tier hears someone call his name, telling him to wake up. In the real world, Rahne is at her catatonic son’s side, asking what’s happened to him. Suddenly, a portal to a hell realm opens up. Flanked by demonic creatures with mouths of inhuman teeth, Satan announces, “Plan B it is!”

Quickly, Polaris instructs Tier to go, then orders the others to take down Satana. It’s the only order that she has time to shout before Satana’s demons take her down. Next they come after Rictor and Shatterstar. Everything happens so quickly, with such ferocity, that Tier doesn’t know where to look first. Then, a fist comes out of nowhere and catches him in the face.

The owner of the first is Satana, who holds her sword in her other hand. To think that he’s the champion people were counting on, she mocks. He should have surrendered… When he rejoins that she was going to kill him, Satana declares it nonsense. He imagined it. Or perhaps Mephisto or Asmodeus tricked him into imagining it. As she swings her sword, barely missing the youth, Satana adds that maybe she just lied to him. Hard to be sure. A second swipe of her sword connects with Tier, ripping open his hoodie and drawing blood. Laughing to herself, Satana asks if Tier seriously believes he could frighten her, daughter of…

Again, Tier snaps. Fangs and claws bared, he leaps for the hell goddess, who realizes she has indeed miscalculated. By the time Tier connects a moment later, Satana is nothing by mist, and Tier passes through with a roar. His mind split by his berserker rage, Tier is only half lucid, with random, disjointed thoughts floating through his mind. He takes a moment to note the battle between X-Factor and Satana’s demons, how they are being pounded from all sides. He looks desperately for something… anything… to cling to for hope… There’s nothing to see. The ferocity calls to him. He has to listen.

At that moment, Satana reappears in a puff of hell smoke, her sword already raised for a down stroke. He should have surrendered, son, she yells. You first, Tier replies, stopping the blade in mid-stroke by clasping his hands together and catching it. Before she can react, Tier pushes against the blade, causing the hilt to impact against Satana’s chin, knocking her back. By the time Satana looks up, she finds that Tier has recovered her dropped sword. With the weapon in hand and frothing at the mouth, he reminds her that she started it, but he’s going to stop it!

Unfortunately for Tier, his sword strike encounters nothing but mist as Satana disappears. A second later, her demon horde does the same, disappearing in luminous smoke. As the members of X-Factor try to understand what has happened, Tier is the first to speak. Addressing Polaris, he asks that she’s the one who wanted to fight them, yes? Fine. They should go. Replying with her own “fine,” Polaris asks Layla if Monet is going to be well enough to travel, to which Layla replies that she’s still banged up from when Pluto was smacking her around. Well, get her on her feet, Polaris tells her. They can’t stay there. On it, Layla answers.

Turning to Shatterstar, Polaris asks if they’re good to go. Replying yes, he asks her anywhere in particular. Yeah, she replies. New York City. Layla’s getting her wish. They’re going to unleash Tier on the hell lords. If he can kill them, then that’s what he’ll do.

Nearby, Layla kneels next to Monet, who rubs her head. As Layla begins to speak about her condition, Monet interrupts. She took a few rough shots, that’s all. No it’s not, Layla replies. Again, Monet tries to explain that it was just a few lucky shots, but Layla’s demeanor turns even more sorrowful. She’s bleeding, Layla tells Monet. Inside her head. She tried to take on a hell god and now she’s dying because of it. As Monet looks on in shock, Layla asks if she understands what she’s telling her. Is she certain, Monet finally asks. Afraid so, Layla replies. Standing under her own power, Monet points a finger at Layla, telling her to tell no one. Of course not, Layla replies.

Back in Mephisto’s realm, Jezebel struggles against the ropes which bind her. Her work is soon interrupted, however, by her warden, the demonic Madrox, who hisses through his non-mouth for her to stop it. When she declines to do so, Madrox orders her again, this time punctuating it with a slap. The next moment, the demon Madrox is pulled away from Jezebel by the powerful arms of Guido. Apologizing, Guido tells him it ‘hasta be done and clasps him tightly in a headlock.

Calling his name, Jezebel asks what he’s doing there. She just figured… she means, she thought… That he was sticking with her because he figured she was workin’ for Mephisto? he asks. The guy who recruited him in the first place? That he didn’t know she had her own agenda? See, this is why the ‘Phist needed some extra hand. Too much for him t’pay attention to. ‘Specially with the war goin’. Uh, Guido, Jezebel finally voices. Does he really wanna kill Madrox? Quickly, Guido drops Madrox, sheepishly offering an apology. That done, he walks over to Jezebel, suggesting they get her outta there.

Pulling off her ropes, Guido notes that once the ropes are broke, she’ll be able to teleport, yeah? Replying that that’s the theory, Jezebel then remarks that she still doesn’t understand. He’s not on her father’s side? Not really, nope, he replies. Her side, then? she asks. Pulling off the last of the ropes, Guido replies that he’s on his own side, baby. Right now, that’s all she needs t’know. So… where to? Rubbing her wrists, Jezebel replies that they’ve got to get to wherever Tier is. He’s the one who started this… and he’s the one who’s going to be able to end this.

Characters Involved: 

Butterfly, Longshot, M II, Multiple Man, Polaris, Rictor, Shatterstar (both X-Factor)

Strong Guy

Satana’s demons

Captain Marvel IV
Captain America, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Thor
Rogue, Wolverine
Ant-Man II, Miss Thing, She-Hulk

Story Notes: 

When originally created, Satana was supposed to be the daughter of the actual “Satan.” Later stories retconned her father to being a demon entity of high power known as Marduk Kurios.

Though Monet indeed suffered a beating at the hands of Pluto last issue, her brain injury was sustained during her battle with Guido in #250.

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