"Seduction of the Innocent": As Neron's power continues to grow, the effects of his influence have taken hold of the Earth. The entire world appears to be erupting in waves of violence and panic.
- If a demon falls in Hell and no one's around to hear it, does it make a sound? Oh, yeah.
Synopsis for "Seduction of the Innocent"
As Neron's power continues to grow, the effects of his influence have taken hold of the Earth. The entire world appears to be erupting in waves of violence and panic.
The full might of the Justice League pierces the barrier to the Underworld and confronts Neron's demonic army. Convinced that Neron has captured Superman, they navigate through the circle of Hell to find him. Neron meanwhile, sits atop his throne with Lord Satanus kneeling before him. Satanus acknowledges Neron's power, and offers up his own sister Blaze in exchange for lenience. Blaze is outraged, citing that they have no chance of overcoming Neron if their power is divided. In a moment of brief defiance, Satanus remarks that there is a single word that would give even Neron pause. Neron destroys Satanus before he has the chance to utter the word, but the Trickster, having stayed hidden behind Neron's throne, now realizes that there is in fact a way to beat the Devil.
Back on Earth, the JLA reserves conduct damage control in various cities swept in a grip of violence. Triumph, Gypsy and Mystek fight demonic gargoyles in Paris. Blue Beetle and Booster Gold try to help crowds of people consumed by a mystical hunger. In Montana, Damage, Green Arrow and Black Condor protect a National Guard armory from civilian raids. In San Francisco, the Sentinels of Magic fights off hordes of cultists and demonic agents. In Gotham City, Major Disaster causes a massive traffic jam, which gives Gorilla Grodd, Metallo and Blockbuster the chance to hijack a truck carrying nuclear weapons. Fortunately, Batman, Robin, Black Canary and Huntress arrive just in time to stop them.
Back in Hell, the heroes continue their advance against Neron's minions. Blue Devil is the first to reach him, and threatens to gain his "pound of flesh" for the inadvertent death of Marla Bloom. Neron turns Blue Devil's trident against him and the resulting energy surge appears to destroy him.
Soon after, the heroes discover that Superman is not trapped in the Underworld at all. Trickster begins to realize that Superman was never the "pure soul" that Neron sought. His true target was Captain Marvel. The evil influence of Hell begins to overwhelm the other heroes and they fall prey to their darkest, most base instincts. Neron manipulates them into attacking Captain Marvel, who thus far, seems unaffected by the corruptive reach of Hell. Captain Marvel tries talking to the heroes, but they keep coming after him.
Unexpectedly, Blue Devil rises from the dead – now a true devil, rather than a man trapped inside of a costume. As Blue Devil busies himself with Neron, Trickster sneaks out and approaches Captain Marvel. He tells him that Neron fears a magic word, and Marvel immediately knows what to do. He speaks the magic word "Shazam" and a powerful mystic lightning bolt erupts in Hell, freeing the other heroes from Neron's dark influence. While the heroes attack Neron, Trickster pulls Captain Marvel aside and tells him his plan. Captain Marvel offers his soul in exchange for Neron freeing the Earth and all the heroes with no other demands. Neron greedily takes Marvel's soul and makes the deal only to discover that the pure soul, offered altruistically, couldn't be retained by him as Trickster knew would be the case. Thus all the heroes and the Earth are freed with Captain Marvel retaining his soul.
Appearing in "Seduction of the Innocent"
- Justice League America
- Black Canary
- Sentinels of Magic
- Artemis of Bana-Mighdall
- C.C. Batson (As an illusion only)
- Marilyn Batson (As an illusion only)
- President of the United States
- Gotham City
- Washington, D.C.
- Special thanks to John Nyberg.
- This issue is reprinted in the Underworld Unleashed trade paperback.
- Final issue.
- Neron appears next in JLA #6.
- Alan Scott and the other Sentinels of Magic appeared last in Underworld Unleashed: Abyss - Hell's Sentinel #1.
- Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Maxima and Firestorm appear next in Extreme Justice #12.
- Damage appears next in Damage #20.
- Fate appears next in Fate #15.
- Gorilla Grodd appeared last in Catwoman (Volume 2) 27. He appears next in Supergirl (Volume 4) #3.
- The Huntress appears next in Batman #529.
- The President of the United States makes a cameo appearance in this issue. Although not directly identified, the DC Universe U.S. President is analogous to Bill Clinton, the actual President of the United States at the time of publication.
- Neron's true form is revealed in this issue.
- The title is named after the infamous book of the same name that derided superheroes and comic books.
- Underworld Unleashed #1
- Underworld Unleashed #2
- Underworld Unleashed: Abyss - Hell's Sentinel #1
- Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips - Dark Uprising #1
- Underworld Unleashed: Batman - Devil's Asylum #1
- Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear #1
Links and References