"The Devil to Pay": Blue Devil agrees to accept a mission on behalf of Neron. He knows that making a deal with the Devil is a poor decision, but Neron only asks him to destroy an abandoned power station. Blue Devil scopes out the territory and
Synopsis for "The Devil to Pay"
Blue Devil agrees to accept a mission on behalf of Neron. He knows that making a deal with the Devil is a poor decision, but Neron only asks him to destroy an abandoned power station. Blue Devil scopes out the territory and makes certain that no innocents will be harmed by his actions. He strikes his trident upon the ground, and a rippling wave of energy emerges, consuming the power station.
Meanwhile in Hell, Neron sets a welcome table for those villains who agreed to serve him; namely, Lex Luthor, Doctor Polaris, Circe and the Joker. Neron finds the Trickster scurrying about behind the others and pulls him out into the open. Trickster really has no idea why he is even bothering to listen to the arch-demon. Neron leaves, and the other villains have fun tormenting the Trickster, especially the Joker. Convinced that he knows the source of Neron's power, they interrogate him further, until the Trickster reveals that Neron's power is contained within his soul jar. The villains begin conspiring to steal Neron's power for themselves.
Meanwhile in St. Louis, the Flash races about the city putting out fires. Neron appears before him and makes him an offer. In exchange for his soul, he will grant his fondest desire — the return of his mentor Barry Allen. An image of Barry flickers in front of the Flash's eyes, but the hero knows better than to make deals with demons. He refuses the offer and runs off.
Later, Neron appears inside the Batcave. He addresses Batman and makes a similar offer. The visage of Batman's deceased former protégé Jason Todd walks up to greet him. Batman is haunted by the image, but staunchly turns down Neron's offer.
In California, movie producer Marla Bloom flies across a remote bluff in the hopes of capturing some ideal stock footage. Her location brings her close to the power plant that Blue Devil only recently destroyed. Unable to see because of the loss of power, their helicopter collides with a power transformer and explodes. Blue Devil soon hears the news and falls into a state of shock.
In New York, Neron appears and finds Green Lantern averting a crisis in Central Park. He makes the same offer that he made to the others, but Kyle reacts violently and the two begin battling each other across Central Park. Neron gains the upper hand, but also mentions that the soul he covets most is one of purity and innocence.
Back in Hell, Luthor and the Joker come up with a plan to pierce Neron's Soul Jar. Polaris, Kadabra and Circe pool their mystical and scientific resources together and succeed in rupturing the container. As the jar is breached, a swirl of green smoke reaches outward spiriting Polaris, Kadabra and Circe away. Luthor and the Joker are not at all shocked by the spectacle. In fact, everything went exactly as they had planned. Now there is no one else to challenge their bid for power. The Trickster keeps a safe distance from them, and wanders off to come up with his own plan.
At the Justice League satellite, Flash and Green Lantern call in the reserves and tell them about their respective experiences with Neron. Kyle mentions Neron's quest for a pure soul, and the other heroes believe that he intends on capturing Superman. The Man of Steel is not present at this meeting and nobody knows where he is.
Appearing in "The Devil to Pay"
- Max Mercury
- Spectre (Jim Corrigan)
- Justice League America
- Flash (Barry Allen) (As an illusion only)
- Robin (Jason Todd) (As an illusion only)
- Marla Bloom (Dies)
- Jack Tomer (Behind the scenes)
- Rob Chapman (Behind the scenes)
- Taylor Campata (Behind the scenes)
- Gotham City
- Justice League Satellite II
- New York City
- This issue is reprinted in the Underworld Unleashed trade paperback.
- The nature of Marla Bloom's death is expanded on in Teen Titans (Volume 3) #42.
- Ironically, Superboy would have risked nothing by accepting Neron's offer, as he did not actually have a soul with which to sell. Superboy did not develop a true "soul" until Teen Titans (Volume 3) Annual #1.
Links and References