X-Factor (1st series) #255

Issue Date: 
July 2013
Story Title: 
Hell on Earth War part six

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: 

In Mephisto’s realm, Monet continues her assault against Guido, who seems more powerful than ever. Much to Guido’s surprise and horror, however, Monet suddenly collapses in mid-fight. In the mortal world, X-Factor continues to face against both Jezebel and the army of demon Madroxes. However, the fight ends quite suddenly when Mephisto proclaims to all of his followers around the world that he has won the Hell on Earth War and that all who followed him will be rewarded in his earthly castle fortress. Seeing no point in any further form of conflict, Jezebel decides to flee with demon Madrox, suggesting that the rest of the team do what they can to survive. Moved by her attitude, Tier offers to take the fight to her father, if Jezebel will take her there. Jezebel agrees, but not before Shatterstar forces her to take him to rescue Monet. Transported by her to Mephisto’s hell realm, Shatterstar is horrified to find Monet dead, being cradled in the arms of a grieving Guido. When Guido refuses to help her in their battle against Mephisto, the two return to Earth, leaving Guido behind as he is being surrounded by a host of demons. Meanwhile, in his castle fortress, Mephisto readies himself for the arrival of X-Factor and the “god killer.”

Full Summary: 

New York City
Lifting two demon Madrox dupes aloft as she floats above the horde battling X-Factor below, Polaris curses that they just keep coming. Fighting a few on the ground, Longshot muses that it kinda sucks to be on the wrong side of that equation for once. Nearby, Shatterstar remarks that they have to go down after Monet, to which Rictor responses that there’s nowhere to go! She got yanked into some sort of… he doesn’t know… dimensional portal. Wherever she is… she’s on her own.

hell realm:
Delivering a brutal left hook to him, Monet yells to Guido that he brought this on himself! He allied himself with the wrong people, and now he’s going to pay for it! Allied himself? Guido asks. He wound up with the people she pushed him to. Whoever he wound up with, it’s her fault, not his! Oh that figures, she rejoins. Everybody but himself. It doesn’t get more typical than that!

He’s not blaming anybody for anything! Guido rejoins. He leaves that all to her! With that, Guido kicks her, mightily propelling her through the rocks which rise and descend from the floor and ceiling of the cavernous hell realm. Speaking to the now distant Monet, Guido remarks that, whenever anything goes wrong, she’s there ready to start pointing fingers and blaming it on… Guido stops midsentence as he sees Monet has not yet recovered from his blow. Asking what the hell is wrong with her, he says that that shouldn’t’ve hurt that much. Nothing, she replies. She’s fine.

Approaching her, Guido remarks that he’s serious. She’s moving like sludge. There’s something going on with… She said nothing! Monet interrupts, lifting a giant rock and tossing it at Guido. And since this is obviously the last fight they’re going to have… it would be nice if he could actually pay attention to what she was saying for once!

New York:
Floating above Layla’s force dome, currently encapsulating herself, Wolfsbane and Tier, Jezebel asks if the two of them will come out already. They know they can’t stay protected in there forever! She’s actually unaware of that, Layla counters. She was planning to stay there for a long time. Unleashing her infernal vision, Jezebel asks to what point and purpose? They know that Tier is the only one who can stop the hell lords. Instead, she’s letting him hide in her forcefield… while an army of her demonized husbands is laying waste to his team. So will she stop wasting her time and give him to her? Under the dome and in whispered tones, Tier sheepishly asks Layla if she can keep it going. Visibly straining, Layla whispers back for a little while longer, but maybe he should start trying to come up with other arrangements.

Reprieve comes unexpectedly for the two, as a smoldering Wolfsbane leaps onto the airborne Jezebel, yelling for her to get the hell away from her son. Forced to the ground, Jezebel mocks Rahne, declaring that she should be the first one in line getting him to do this. When Wolfsbane rebuffs the suggestion, Jezebel replies that she knows what has to be done. And she knows that… Jezebel’s words trail as an astonished expression crosses her face. A moment later, she reacts as if reeling from a physical blow, much to Wolfsbane’s surprise.

My children, an inhuman voice booms over the battlefield. Wonderful news… I am pleased to tell you that the Hell on Earth War… is finally over. As the voice booms, the battle pauses, as Jezebel, Guido and the dupes of demon Madrox take note and listen, seemingly unable to do otherwise. As internal flames burn across the planet in his hellish revelry, Mephisto proclaims to his demonic followers that they have all aided him in a brutal fight against not only his fellow hell lords, but also the champions of the earth. It has been a long struggle but ultimately worth their while. And now… now it is time to celebrate. And so, he has created home there on Earth to celebrate his new status. It is open to any who pledge their allegiance to him. It also serves as the new home for his former enemies. Come and see them and laugh at their defeat.

As the proclamation ends, the inner light within Guido’s eyes fade, taking with it the last image Mephisto bestowed: his castle of hell, transported to Earth. Ironically cursing that he’ll be damned, Guido can’t believe Mephisto actually did it. However, before he can fully voice it, he received a devastating right cross to the jaw from Monet, who immediately follows it up with a left hook to his abdomen. She doesn’t know what distracted him, Monet announces, but he doesn’t win a fight with her without keeping his attention focused! With that, she deals another blow, knocking him into solid rock.

Okay! Guido proclaims, recovering quickly. That’s it! No more screwing around! With that, Guido punches the ground, creating shrapnel which pummels Monet. Before she can react, Guido is within arm’s length and grabs her by the throat. He’s through dancing with her! he yells. She wants to go the distance? Fine! That that, he tosses her violently into solid rock, which crumbles at the impact.

Seeing her not move, Guido mocks his former teammate, asking what’s the matter? Not bouncing back from that one so quick? Moving to pick her up, he notes that she must have some kind of snappy… Guido’s words trail as he sees Monet is actually unconscious, blood trickling from her nose. Gently laying her down, he calls out her name. Come on, he tells her, he didn’t hit her that hard. Quickly his emotions turn from disbelief to anger, telling her this is some kind of trick, right? Come on, wake up! Wake up, dammit!

Elsewhere, Polaris slaps Jezebel back to the world of the conscious, adding a “wakey wakey” for good measure. When Jezebel remarks that it’s her, Polaris incredulously replies of course it is. And them. She remembers: the people she was trying to kick the crap out of. Rising to her feet, Jezebel dusts herself off, replying that there’s no point to it anymore. If it helps her balance the scales, they can feel that they won. The boy can stay with them. Congratulations.

Stunned by this, Polaris begins to question, but Jezebel angrily interrupts. Her father won, okay? Happy? He managed to put down the other hell lords somehow and now he’s saying he’s won! And apparently there’s no one left to tell him he didn’t. He’s got a castle set up as a monument to his greatness and he’s settling in to rule the world. Any of them have a problem with that? She sure hopes not, because this is their new world and they’re welcome to it. She tried to avoid it, but it’s what they’re stuck with. Good luck. As for her, she’s going to try and find someplace more hospitable. Like maybe Mars.

Listening to this from behind Layla’s forcefield, Tier for a moment believes Jezebel to be kidding somehow, that it’s some sort of new trick. However, he quickly realizes she’s serious and voices it aloud. Of course she’s serious, she rejoins, emphatically waiving her arms. She’s telling them that they can go off and do whatever they want. She tried her best, but they are done. Hearing this, Tier instructs Layla to drop her field, and replies that he’s positive when she asks if he’s sure. Walking up to the winged, demon woman, Tier tells her he thought the only way someone could win was to kill him. Obviously they found another way, Jezebel replies. Lucky him.

Turning her back to them all, Jezebel tells them all to take care. It’s been surreal. Seeing demon Madrox turn to follow her, Layla calls for her husband, only for Jezebel to rebuff her. He was changed by Mephisto into a demon, she reminds her. She doesn’t have the juice to change him back. Sorry. Tears streaming down her face, Layla can only whisper his name…

Can she get them there, Tier asks suddenly. To Mephisto’s stronghold? Turning back to the group, Jezebel replies that she can. But what’s the point if… Can he kill him? Tier asks of himself regarding Mephisto. Rahne is quickly at her son’s side, her hand on his shoulder, but Tier is adamant. Again, he asks Jezebel if he can kill Mephisto. She doesn’t know, she replies. With all the power he has… all the resources now… She doesn’t know. To himself, Tier decides that he’s wasted too much time being indecisive. The whole damned world’s upended and it’s all his fault. Then again, he guesses being ordinary was never an option for him anyway. His decision made, Tier suggests that they find out. Clearly worried, Rahne asks her son if he’s sure, but Tier remarks that he doesn’t have the option not to be.

Before they can move further, Shatterstar orders them to stop. They’re not going anywhere until they find Monet! Okay, fine, Jezebel replies, grabbing Shatterstar by his good arm. A moment later, she has transported herself and him via hell flame to her father’s infernal realm. As they arrive, Jezebel worries that they could be anywhere, but Shatterstar quickly spots Guido, kneeling in a corner, his back to them. To his horror, he finds that Guido is cradling an inert Monet, whom Guido announces through tears is dead. He… doesn’t understand it, he says. He didn’t hit her that hard. There’s… there’s no reason… Why is she dead?

Incensed, Shatterstar extends the twin blades of his right arm, those in his left trapped within his sling, yelling you murdering bastard. Without even dropping Monet, Guido grabs his former teammate inn mid-leap and slams him into the ground, ordering him to get offa him! Shatterstar quickly recovers but finds Jezebel positioning herself between him and Guido. They don’t have time for this, she announces. Turning to Guido, she informs him that they’re mounting an attack on her father’s castle. Is he in? Turning his back on them both, Guido tells them both to get the hell out of there. A doesn’t even bother to look their way as Jezebel’s portal flame consumes them. Though they are gone, Guido is not alone. Slowly, a host of demons appears from the shadows, surrounding him.

Back in the mortal plane, in his castle, the captive Satana informs her “Lord Mephisto,” that Jezebel is coming. And she is bringing the god slayer with her. Asked if she is quite sure, Satana confirms. And, if he would only believe her pledge of loyalty to him, and release her, she can aid him against… Interrupting from his throne and between sips from his flagon, Mephisto remarks to his prisoner, whose hands are bound by stocks and surrounded by three armed guards, that that will hardly be necessary. He assures her… he will be more than ready for them.

Characters Involved: 

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

Strong Guy

Mephisto, Satana (all hell lords)
Mephisto’s demons

Story Notes: 

Guido left X-Factor after an argument with Monet and immediately thereafter joined a demonic creature, later revealed to have been Mephisto. [X-Factor (1st series) #241]

Though its location is not mentioned here or the next issue, Mephisto’s fortress is revealed in #257 to be in Marrakesh, Morocco.

Monet apparent suffered a brain injury during her fight with Guido in #250. It was detected by Darwin in #251 and confirmed by Layla in #253.

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