Underworld Unleashed

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Underworld Unleashed
Underworld Unleashed #1 featuring (top) Neron,
(left to right) Doctor Polaris, Lex Luthor, Joker, Circe and Abra Kadabra,
art by Howard Porter.
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Format Mini-series
Publication date November–December 1995
No. of issues 3, plus tie-ins and one-shots
Main character(s) Justice League America
Neron
Trickster
Creative team as of November 1995
Created by Mark Waid
Howard Porter
Written by Mark Waid
Penciller(s) Howard Porter
Inker(s) Dan Green
Dennis Janke
Colorist(s) Rick Taylor (Heroic Age)

"Underworld Unleashed" was a multi-title comic book crossover event released by DC Comics in 1995. As well as the core storyline of the three-issue Underworld Unleashed mini-series, most of the DC titles published in November and December 1995 (including two in October 1995 and one in January 1996) and a number of one-shot issues were also part of the storyline.

The main theme of Underworld Unleashed involved the new ruler of Hell, a demon-lord named Neron, offering many of the DC Universe supervillains and a number of the DC Universe superheroes various deals-in which they would be given their greatest desires in exchange for their souls or for completing a task for him-and the consequences of those deals.[1][2]

Underworld Unleashed is one of the very few DC Comics major crossovers not to directly involve Superman; at the time of the mini-series he was off-world as part of The Trial of Superman storyline. This is important to the Underworld Unleashed storyline, since the superheroes involved are driven by the belief that Superman is the key to Neron's plans.

Plot[edit]

Five members of Flash's Rogues Gallery- Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, Mirror Master II and Weather Wizard- are approached with an offer by Abra Kadabra, who had become an agent of the demon Neron in exchange for true magical powers to replace his technology-based magical powers. Abra Kadabra persuades them to cause havoc by destroying five separate targets (an arms depot by Captain Boomerang, a nuclear reactor by Captain Cold, a dormant volcano by Heat Wave, an oil field by Mirror Master II and a chemical dump by Weather Wizard) simultaneously, with the promise of 'respect' and 'a guarantee that they would be remembered forever, not as has-beens but as the most infamous villains of their age' . But Neron's deals are demonic, twisted and unfair and they were not told that their actions would cost them their lives and unleash Neron upon Earth. All five are killed in the ensuing explosions, all of which form a pentagram that releases Neron.

Soon after, Neron kills a priest who administers to the prisoners of Belle Reve Penitentiary and, disguised as him, makes a deal for the soul of one of the inmates (who is bent on revenge for the theft of a treasured calendar) in exchange for a gun. Neron himself had stolen the calendar in question to engineer the situation and he also makes deals to a number of key Belle Reve personnel or persuades or manipulates them in other ways to be absent that evening. The ensuing chaos allows 142 supervillains to escape from Belle Reve. Another member of the Rogues Gallery, Trickster, reads of the deaths of his fellow Rogues and determines not to waste any more time on petty crime but to finally make a major villain of himself. A week later another supervillain, Rainbow Raider, shows Trickster a carved black candle he and other recently escaped supervillains had received, with instructions to light it at midnight on a certain day to 'open the door to fame, power and glory' . Trickster steals the candle, secretly replaces it with a rubber chicken, and upon lighting it is instantly transported to Hell, joining over sixty other supervillains who had done the same. Neron appears to the gathered supervillains and offers them all their greatest desires in exchange for their souls, then introduces his "Inner Council" - Lex Luthor, Joker, Circe, Doctor Polaris and Abra Kadabra. Fiddler figures out that Neron is actually the devil and Trickster overhears him; then several dozen of the supervillains accept Neron's offer while the rest are returned to Earth. At the end of Neron's speech and empowering session, Justice League America member Blue Devil, who had worked out that the locations of the deaths of the five Rogues Gallery members formed a pentagram, appears. He is offered fame and fortune in exchange for performing a simple task: the destruction of an unmanned electrical power station.[3]

The supervillains who accepted Neron's offer (with the exception of Neron's Inner Council and Trickster) are returned to Earth to fulfill their deals and wreak havoc, many of them with enhanced powers; while Neron turns his attention to Earth's superheroes. As well as trying to gain the souls of Batman, Flash III and an unknown number of other superheroes, Neron offers to resurrect Alexandra DeWitt from the dead in exchange for Green Lantern V's (Kyle Rayner's) soul. Kyle refuses, and after Neron defeats him in battle he spares his life, giving Kyle the message that what he covets most is 'a far more noble soul' who Kyle knows and that when he has it, Earth will be his. Kyle assumes this means Superman (who is off-world because of his trial in space[4]) and carries the message to the Refuge, the Justice League's space station headquarters.[5]

Meanwhile, Neron causes further disruption on an Earth now seething with violence and war as a result of his demonic influence on people and the chaos caused by the supervillains in his debt. He also spreads chaos on New Apokolips, giving all those who desire the missing Darkseid's throne information on each other's plans, thus causing New Apokolips to wage war with itself.[6] Back in Hell, Luthor and Joker force Trickster to reveal that Neron's power is contained within his Soul Jar, and succeed in rupturing the Jar using Circe's, Polaris' and Kadabra's magical and scientific resources together. As the Jar is breached a swirl of green smoke reaches outward, spiriting Circe, Polaris and Kadabra away, which is what Luthor and Joker had actually planned all along. However, Neron had preempted them by fooling Trickster into giving them false information, thus removing his Inner Council before they could become a threat to his power. He traps Luthor and Joker in a snowglobe - although they believe they are in a snowstorm in Metropolis until they reach the glass walls of the globe.[7] As Earth collapses into war, anarchy and chaos, Justice League America calls most of the world's superheroes together to stand against Neron. Like Kyle, all assume that because he is missing, it is Superman that Neron referred to as the pure soul he wanted and that he had already been captured. The elite of Justice League America decide to take the fight to Neron and Blue Devil, who had been fooled by Neron's Faustian deal into indirectly causing the death of his friend, filmmaker Marla Bloom, takes them to Hell. Now alone in Hell after the fall of the Inner Council, Trickster, who had not yet been offered a deal for his soul, realizes that he had been taken for a fool again and that Neron had deeper plans that he had not revealed. He begins to scheme against him.[5]

On Earth, Doctor Fate's home, the Tower of Nabu, has become the portal to the Underworld that the demoness Blaze is trying to secure so Neron can send Hell's demonic forces to Earth. Sentinel and Fate fight to close the portal, Sentinel destroying the tower to do so.[8] While Fate battles back from being flung into far dimensions,[9] Sentinel is drawn away from his wife Molly Mayne, a.k.a. Harlequin, who opens a box containing one of Neron's candles and accepts a deal to become young again, losing her soul in the process. Sentinel contacts Phantom Stranger, Zatanna and Jim Corrigan (Spectre, but without his full powers as the Spectre-Force within Corrigan had made a deal with Neron for a separate existence from Corrigan) for help. Together with Deadman, they enter Hell to get Molly's soul back from Blaze. Spectre tries to help, but discovers that his deal keeps him from opposing Neron and, as a result, he is Neron's slave and is destined to become his successor. Realizing that he is not prevented from fighting other demons, however, he joins the others and Sentinel rescues Molly's soul. Blaze is forced to flee from Neron for failing to stop the supernatural team and while the magical heroes escape, Sentinel is captured by Neron and taken captive to Hell.[10]

With Blue Devil's power, Justice League America pierces the barrier to the Underworld and confronts Neron's demonic army, battling through the circles of Hell to find Superman. Ray II, Firestorm II (Ron Raymond), Captain Atom and Maxima are killed on the way, while the other superheroes, with the exception of Captain Marvel, begin to be corrupted by the influence of their hellish surroundings. In Hell, the demon Satanus bargains with Neron for the return of his soul after failing in his task to stop the Leymen of Primal Force,[11] offering up the whereabouts of his sister Blaze in exchange, but once his soul is returned and Blaze imprisoned by Neron, he reveals to her that Neron can be beaten by a single word that if spoken, even in Hell, would give Neron pause. For this betrayal Neron kills Satanus, though not before his comment is overheard by Trickster. At that moment Blue Devil, seeking revenge for the death of Marla, finally reaches Neron ahead of Justice League America and is killed; while Neron reveals that it was Captain Marvel's soul that he wanted all along, just as Trickster realizes the truth.

Neron has kept Blaze alive because her demonic powers dampen Captain Marvel's powers. She reverses this by augmenting his powers instead, saving him from death; while Blue Devil, who cannot die in Hell, attacks Neron in a new demonic body. Taking advantage of the diversion, Trickster tells Captain Marvel about the magic word and Captain Marvel deduces that the word is 'Shazam' . When he uses it, the resulting lightning bolt in Hell stuns Neron and releases Justice League America from their spell to attack him again. Trickster uses the time provided to persuade Captain Marvel that he has a plan to defeat Neron. Captain Marvel suddenly offers Neron his soul, in exchange for 'the release of my friends ... the release of Earth' . When Neron asks 'And...' ? he says 'No "and", nothing else. Nothing' . Neron tries to take the deal, but because it was purely altruistic, the first time someone had ever asked for something without personal gain involved, he cannot do it - then he realizes that he still has to honor the deal. Taunted by Trickster he disappears and everyone is returned to Earth, including Luthor and Joker, who are freed from the shattered snow globe.[12] In addition, all of the supervillains who accepted Neron's offer are allowed to keep their enhanced powers and are no longer in debt to him, although one of them - Major Disaster - while silently gloating about this fact, soon finds out by looking at his reflection in a window that he has the number 666 etched into his forehead (and that only he can see it), thus implying that the rest of them do, too.[13]

Offers of Neron[edit]

Superheroes who accepted Neron's offer[edit]

  • Blue Devil - He made a deal for fame and fortune in exchange for destroying an unmanned electrical power station, indirectly causing the death of his friend, filmmaker Marla Bloom. The fame and fortune resulted because he was free to pursue other film opportunities without her.[3][14]
  • Warrior (Guy Gardner (originally known as Green Lantern III)) - He was offered the resurrection of his loved ones and the return of Coast City in exchange for killing Green Lantern IV (John Stewart). He agreed because Neron lied to him, telling him that Stewart should already be dead but that a rift in time had prevented it and that this had caused Warrior's tragic history to occur. Warrior then changed his mind and reneged on the deal.[5][15]
  • Harlequin (Molly Mayne) - She had her youth restored and was given the power to create nightmares, but her soul was won back and the deal undone by her husband Sentinel (Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern).[10]
  • Hawkman - One of his "hawk-avatar" spirits within him sold its soul in order to gain ascendance over the other avatars also resident in his body, but it failed to do so.[5][16]
  • Lobo - He had Neron rid him of a radio that had been implanted in his head for twenty years by wishing it to be inside Neron's head after Neron refused to grant the first deal - his own soul - as he did not have one.[5][17]
  • Madame Xanadu - She was given the power to control and command three demons named Bathopet, Maw and Atopeh in exchange for her soul upon her death, which she accepted - in order to trick Neron because she was immortal.[18][19]
  • Ray II (Ray Terrill) - He thought Neron was a beautiful woman, Kathy Noren, who worked in his office. Neron makes a deal with Vandal Savage not to go after Ray II's soul in exchange for Savage guiding Neron to Atomic Skull II instead. Ray II then approaches Kathy/Neron,[20] who avoids the conditions of the deal with Savage by letting Ray II make the offer to take flowers to a hospital and give them to the dying serial film actress who had portrayed Zelda Wentworth (the Atomic Skull II's one true love (at least in his own mind)) in exchange for Death Masque no longer having existed - and thus Ray II's father Lanford "Happy" Terrill, who had been the original Ray, would not die. Did not fulfill the terms of his deal and so did not lose his soul nor benefit from the deal.[5][21][22]
  • Spectre (Jim Corrigan) - The Spectre-Force (not its host, Jim Corrigan) agreed not to oppose Neron in order to be free of Corrigan. As a result, Spectre became Neron's slave and potential replacement in Hell. However, the deal did not include not fighting other demons, so Spectre became involved in the magical heroes' attack on Hell.[5][10][18]
  • Vril Dox II - He sold someone else's soul[23] for information on how to regain control of L.E.G.I.O.N. by killing his son Lyrl Dox. Also had Ice Man killed (actually he asked for him 'to no longer be a problem' , but was happy with the result).[24]

Superheroes who rejected Neron's offer[edit]

The following is an almost complete list of the superheroes who are known to have refused Neron's offer. A number of others may be very briefly being shown dealing with Neron in Underworld Unleashed #2.

  • Batman (Bruce Wayne) - He was offered the resurrection of Robin II (Jason Todd).[5][25]
  • Captain Atom - Unknown offer.[5]
  • Damage - Unknown offer.[5]
  • Flash III (Wally West) - He was offered the resurrection of Flash II (Barry Allen).[5][26]
  • Green Lantern V (Kyle Rayner) - He was offered the resurrection of Alexandra DeWitt.[5]
  • Knockout - She was offered "power, prestige, anything you could dream of".[27]
  • Max Mercury - Unknown offer.[5]
  • Mystek - Unknown offer.[22]
  • Oracle (Barbara Gordon) - She was offered the use of her legs again, plus invulnerability and powers to rival Superman's if she would become his librarian, while her soul was hers to keep. She refused, knowing she would lose her soul anyway.[28][29]
  • Silver Swan II (Valerie Beaudry) - Unknown offer.[3][30]
  • Superboy (Kon-El a.k.a. Conner Kent) - He was offered the chance to become Superman.[5][31]
  • Triumph - He was offered his lost ten years back and thus the opportunity to become a major superhero and lead Justice League America if he simply opened a box containing one of Neron's candles.[5][22][32]

Supervillains who accepted Neron's offer[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of the supervillains who are known to have accepted Neron's offer. Others who accepted may have been briefly shown dealing with Neron in Underworld Unleashed #1 but were not followed elsewhere in the mini-series.

  • Abra Kadabra - Neron's lieutenant; he was given real magical powers that replaced his technology-based magical powers and became part of Neron's Inner Council. It is not known whether he sold his soul prior to Underworld Unleashed #1.[3]
  • Atomic Skull II (Joseph Martin)[3][33] - He was given enhanced power and restored sanity which he used to attempt to gain the love of "Zelda Wentworth" (who, in his mind, was the woman he loved).[21]
  • Azrael VI (real name unknown) - One of the false Azraels who seemingly fell to his death after battling the real Azrael V (Jean-Paul Valley)[34] was actually saved during his fall by Abra Kadabra (who was acting on behalf of Neron) and offered his life. As a result of his taking the deal he survived the fall, then was given the Azrael/Batman armored costume (which he used for illegal underground fights) and was also given the chance to kill Batman in order to distract him and keep him from discovering Neron's plans.[35]
  • Blackguard - He was given enhanced intelligence, strength and equipment.[3][36]
  • Black Manta - He was transformed into a human-manta ray hybrid with superhuman powers. Chronologically the first event of Underworld Unleashed, taking place before the crossover even got started.[37][38]
  • Blaze (has used the alias Angelica Blaze) - She initially became one of Neron's lieutenants and was assigned to keep the DC Universe's magical heroes occupied. Sold to Neron by her brother Satanus in exchange for his soul being returned to him.[10][13][39]
  • Blockbuster II (Roland Desmond) - He asked to be smart (and, indeed, was given the mind of a genius), but later realized he should have asked to be human again as well.[3][40]
  • Bolt - He was given a chance to carry out his dream assassination...the murder of a well-protected computer expert.[3][14]
  • Brimstone - The techno-seed and the Brimstone personality possessed a S.T.A.R. Labs scientist who dealt with Neron for power and was killed. Referred to in Underworld Unleashed - Patterns of Fear #1.[22][28]
  • Buggmeister - An alien criminal on the run from Lobo who sold his soul for insect powers and an insect-like body. Eaten alive by a giant stag beetle.[17]
  • Captain Boomerang (George "Digger" Harkness) - He was given healed cybernetic hands and was promised that he would be one of the greatest supervillains ever. Killed carrying out his task.[3]
  • Captain Cold - He was promised that he would be one of the greatest supervillains ever. Killed carrying out his task.[3]
  • Cheetah III (Barbara Ann Minerva) - Initially it seemed that Cheetah III had been transformed into a more cheetah-like form than she had before, with the mind of a wild beast to match, and could grow more savage the angrier she became.[3][36] Later, it was explained that she had sold her soul to bring a friend back from the dead, resulting in the aforementioned reversion to a more bestial state. [41]
  • Chiller - He was given a chance to carry out his dream assassination...the murder of a well-protected rock star.[3][14]
  • Chronos (David Clinton) - In exchange for killing Atom (Ray Palmer), he was given time travel, time manipulation and phasing powers, but these caused accelerated aging. He then devised a special glove that allowed him to age others instead when he held them with it, thus partly negating the deal.[3][42][43]
  • Circe - She was given greater magical powers in order to avenge her many defeats by Wonder Woman. Became part of Neron's Inner Council prior to Underworld Unleashed #1.[3]
  • Copperhead ("John Doe" (real name unknown)) - He was transformed into a human-snake hybrid with enhanced reflexes and agility, venomous fangs and claws, a forked tongue and a prehensile tail, but was now susceptible to cold temperatures.[3][44]
  • Deadline - He was given the chance to carry out his dream assassination...the murder of a Texas district attorney.[3][14]
  • Deadshot - He was given the chance to carry out his dream assassination...the murder of an entire kindergarten class.[3][14]
  • Doctor Bedlam of Apokolips - Unknown offer designed to cause maximum death and chaos on New Apokolips.[6]
  • Doctor Phosphorus - He was given enhanced power and personal temperature control which allowed him to wear clothes without having them burn off of him.[3][45]
  • Doctor Polaris (Neal Emerson) - He sold his soul in order to be rid of his benevolent personality of Neal Emerson. Became part of Neron's Inner Council prior to Underworld Unleashed #1.[3]
  • Earthworm - He was given superhuman powers, including a humanoid worm-like physiology, stretching powers, a vibrational drilling power and psionic control of vermin.[3][36]
  • Enforcer ("Joe Gardner", a Draalian clone of Guy Gardner) - He was given enhanced equipment, superhuman strength and durability and flight powers.[3][46]
  • Evil Star II (real name unknown) - He was given the power to create dozens of his Starling spawn, although they are no longer indestructible like the original five Starlings were.[46]
  • Gorilla Grodd - His intelligence and psionic powers were restored. Told the whereabouts of the Talisman of Arok in order to legitimise his reign over Gorilla City, but Catwoman keeps it from him.[3][47]
  • Heat Wave - He was promised that he would be one of the greatest supervillains ever. Killed carrying out his task.[3]
  • Hellgrammite - He was given enhanced powers and his drone offspring can no longer be changed back to human form by exposure to X-rays.[3][48]
Ice Man as he appears in R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #13.
  • Ice Man - He was given a completely new set of non-ice based powers and enhanced strength. Killed by Neron as part of a later deal with Vril Dox II.[24]
  • Joker - He sold his soul for a box of Cuban cigars. Became part of Neron's Inner Council prior to Underworld Unleashed #1 but double-crossed him.[3][5]
  • Killer Frost II (Louise Lincoln) - She was given greater cold power.[3][27]
  • Killer Moth (Drury Walker a.k.a. Cameron van Cleer) - He was transformed into a carnivorous human-moth hybrid and renamed himself Charaxes (the name was based on an actual butterfly genus).[3][49][50]
  • Kryppen (full name unknown) - An inmate at Arkham Asylum who made a deal with Neron to get him Batman's soul by poisoning everyone in Arkham and then forcing Batman to kill someone in the asylum to get the antidote. The plan was thwarted when Batman poisoned Kryppen to make him give up the antidote's location.[51]
  • Lex Luthor - He was restored completely to full health after his cloned body fell victim to a "clone plague" in exchange for his soul and giving "consultancy" to Neron. Became part of Neron's Inner Council prior to Underworld Unleashed #1 but double-crossed him.[3][5]
  • Major Disaster - He was given the magical ability to perceive probability and locate weak points in objects and people in exchange for killing Aquaman. Mistakenly kills Thanatos (who had usurped Aquaman's place on the throne of Atlantis) instead.[3][52]
  • Merlyn the Dark Archer - He was given the chance to carry out his dream assassination...the murder of Batman.[3][14]
  • Metallo - He was given the ability to morph into any mechanical shape he could imagine and project his consciousness into any technological or metallic device, as well as absorb any machinery he came into contact with to further enhance his body.[3][53][54]
  • Mirror Master II (Evan McCulloch) - He was promised that he would be one of the greatest supervillains ever. Killed carrying out his task.[3]
  • Mist (Kyle Nimbus) - He was cured of his senile dementia and his sanity was restored in exchange for destroying Opal City and harming Shade.[55]
  • Mr. Freeze - He was given natural cryokinetic powers (such as the ability to emit cold blasts from his hands) and was made able to survive in warmer temperatures without his refrigeration suit, although later he was reverted back to his original subzero biology (how this happened is never revealed) and developed a new refrigeration suit and freeze gun as a result. He also briefly changed his name to Freeze before changing it back to Mr. Freeze.[3][56][57]
  • New Gods of Apokolips - Granny Goodness and Virman Vundabar were given information about each other's plans (so as to perpetuate their civil war), although Targa of New Apokolips refused to make a deal. In exchange, Neron caused war and chaos on New Apokolips.[6]
  • Ocean Master - He was given a trident that granted him great mystical power, but it also caused him excruciating pain when he was not actually holding it.[3][58]
  • Psycho-Pirate II (Roger Hayden) - He was given enhanced power and restored sanity by being merged with his Medusa Mask (which was reduced to an eyepatch over his right eye, with the metal of the mask largely replacing one half of his brain), becoming a psychic vampire as a result who stayed sane by draining the remaining life from others after his mask had fed on their emotions.[3][59]
  • Purgatory - A man named Paul Christian who lost his legs and was given temporary legs by Green Lantern V (Kyle Rayner). He was given permanent legs and a Green Lantern-type green flame power in exchange for killing Green Lantern V. Taken to Hell by Neron when he fails.[56]
  • Rag Doll (Peter Merkel, Sr.) - His youth was restored and his flexibility was enhanced in exchange for destroying Opal City and harming Shade.[55]
  • Satanus (has used the alias Colin Thornton) - He became one of Neron's lieutenants and was assigned to kill the Leymen of Primal Force publicly. When he failed, he traded information on the whereabouts of his sister Blaze to get his soul back, but was killed after betraying Neron when it was returned to him.[11][13]
  • Shadow Thief - He was given a more powerful costume that possessed the ability to bring shadows to life and change other people and objects into evil shadows under his control.[3][60]
  • Shrapnel - He was given enhanced power.[3][22]
  • Louie Snipe - The criminal informer who helped kill Jim Corrigan before he became Spectre. His soul was freed from Hell in exchange for acting as the host for the Spectre-Force instead of Corrigan.[18]
  • Sledge - He was given enhanced strength.[3][22]
  • Spellbinder III (Fay Moffit) a.k.a. Lady Spellbinder - She was given visually based illusion powers that only worked if her eyes were uncovered. The deal was made after she killed her boyfriend, the original Spellbinder (Delbert Billings), who refused the offer.[3][61]
  • Star Sapphire II (Carol Ferris) - Carol Ferris was offered a normal life without Star Sapphire's spirit or her child (which was actually the child of Star Sapphire and Predator (both of whom were aspects of her personality)). She was separated from both Star Sapphire and Predator, after which both of them were killed by Neron, who then took the child.[3][62][63]
  • Trickster (Giovanni Giuseppe a.k.a. James Jesse) was not actually offered a deal, but Neron used him to watch his Inner Council, telling him that there would be time for a deal later. However, when he realized that Neron, a master player, had used him as a pawn, he became a key figure in the demon's defeat. Afterward, realizing that he has just pulled off the biggest sting of his career-and that no one even witnessed it-he decided to reform, because he definitely did not want to go to Hell where Neron could get a hold of him when he died.[3][5][13]
  • Tezcatlipoca II (Chama Sierra) - He was transformed into a human-jaguar hybrid.[64]
  • Weather Wizard - He was promised that he would be one of the greatest supervillains ever. Killed carrying out his task.[3]

Supervillains who rejected Neron's offer[edit]

The following is an incomplete list of the supervillains who are known to have refused Neron's offer. Others who were briefly shown dealing with Neron in Underworld Unleashed #1 may also have refused, but have not been directly identified as having done so. Those in the latter category are herein marked with an asterisk (*).

List of Underworld Unleashed titles[edit]

The following DC Comics titles contained stories linked to Underworld Unleashed. They are listed in a roughly chronological order as the story did not flow in a strictly linear manner-most titles fit loosely into a framework delineated by the three issues of the mini-series:

  • Superboy (vol. 3) #20 (October 1995): 'The Hunt' ;[67]
  • Azrael #10 (November 1995): 'Arena' ;[68]
  • Steel (vol. 2) #21 (November 1995): 'Stalker' ;
  • Underworld Unleashed #1 (November 1995): 'Underworld Unleashed' ;
  • Manhunter (vol. 2) #11 (October 1995): 'Until the End of the World' ;
  • Manhunter (vol. 2) #12 (November 1995): 'The World is a Wonderful Place' ;
  • Fate #13 (November 1995): 'The World, the Flesh, & the Devil' ;
  • Ray (vol. 2) #18 (November 1995): 'Monsters' ;
  • Ray (vol. 2) #19 (December 1995): 'Monster3' ;
  • Justice League Task Force #30 (December 1995): 'Thunderworld' ;
  • Starman (vol. 2) #13 (November 1995): 'Sins of the Child Part II: Ted's Day' ;
  • Detective Comics #691 (November 1995): 'Will It Go 'Round in Circles' ;
  • Detective Comics #692 (December 1995): 'Lying Eyes' ;
  • Aquaman (vol. 5) #14 (November 1995): 'Lamentations' ;
  • Damage #18 (November 1995): 'Going Down' ;
  • Flash (vol. 2) #107 (November 1995): 'Fade to Black!' ;
  • Green Arrow (vol. 2) #102 (November 1995): 'Underworld Unleashed: Jaguar Moon' ;
  • Green Arrow (vol. 2) #103 (December 1995): 'Underworld Unleashed: Gods and Tourists' ;
  • Green Lantern (vol. 3) #68 (November 1995): 'Hellfire and Ice' ;
  • Green Lantern (vol. 3) #69 (December 1995): 'Bargains' ;
  • Guy Gardner, Warrior #36 (November 1995): 'The Darker Side of Evil' ;
  • Guy Gardner, Warrior #37 (December 1995): 'Let's Make A Deal' ;
  • Extreme Justice #10 (November 1995): 'Sapphire Blues' ;
  • Extreme Justice #11 (December 1995): 'Creation for Two' ;
  • Impulse #8 (November 1995): 'Smart Men, Foolish Choices' ;
  • Justice League America #105 (November 1995): 'The Killer Elite' ;
  • Justice League America #106 (December 1995): 'Up from the Underworld' ;
  • Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips-Dark Uprising #1 (November 1995): 'Apokolips: Dark Uprising' ;
  • Underworld Unleashed: Batman-Devil's Asylum #1 (November 1995): 'Arkham: Devil's Asylum' ;
  • Spectre (vol. 3) #35 (November 1995): 'Evil Intent' ;
  • Spectre (vol. 3) #36 (December 1995): 'Forces of Hell' ;
  • Fate #14 (December 1995): 'No Direction Home' ;[69]
  • Underworld Unleashed: Abyss-Hell's Sentinel #1 (December 1995);
  • Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear #1 (December 1995): 'Patterns of Fear' ;
  • Underworld Unleashed #2 (early December 1995): 'The Devil to Pay' ;
  • Showcase '95 #12 (December 1995)- 'The Shade-Incident in an Old Haunt' ;
  • Superboy (vol. 3) #22 (December 1995): 'Fire and Ice' ;
  • Hawkman (vol. 3) #26 (November 1995): 'Fear Visits' ;
  • Hawkman (vol. 3) #27 (December 1995): 'Hawkmad!' ;
  • Lobo (vol. 2) #22 (December 1995): 'Soul2Soul' ;
  • Robin (vol. 2) #23 (December 1995): 'Buggin' ;
  • Robin (vol. 2) #24 (January 1996): 'Insects and Violence' ;
  • Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #75 (December 1995): '2-Timer' ;
  • Legionnaires #32 (December 1995): 'Here and Now' ;
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #13 (November 1995): 'Earthbound' ;
  • R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #14 (December 1995): 'Howl' ;[70]
  • Batman #525 (December 1995): 'Frozen Assets' ;[71]
  • Catwoman (vol. 2) #27 (December 1995): 'Groddspell' ;
  • Primal Force #13 (November 1995): 'Severance' ;
  • Primal Force #14 (December 1995): 'The Course of All Things' ;[72]
  • Superman (vol. 2) #107 (December 1995): 'Bottled Up' ;[73]
  • Adventures of Superman #530 (December 1995): 'Different Demons' ;
  • Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #3 (winter 1995): 'Fighting Back' ;
  • Underworld Unleashed #3 (late December 1995): 'Seduction of the Innocent' .

In addition:

  • Azrael #4 (May 1995) is a story that takes place several months before the crossover starts which is continued–and concluded–early on in the crossover.
  • Deathstroke #53-54 (November 1995 – December 1995) both allude to events in Underworld Unleashed but are not labeled as tie-ins on the covers.
  • Aquaman (vol. 5) #18-20 (March–May 1996) reveals Ocean Master's deal with Neron a few months into the following year after the crossover ended but is not labeled as a tie-in.
  • Justice League Task Force #37 (August 1996) reveals that Triumph's previously rejected deal with Neron was accidentally made by Gypsy and Ray II due to their misguided good intentions many months into the following year after the crossover ended but is not labeled as a tie-in.
  • Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #115-119 (November 1996 – March 1997) reveals the exact reason that Cheetah III made her deal with Neron several months into the following year after the crossover ended but is not labeled as a tie-in.
  • Starman (vol. 2) #70-72 (October–December 2000) reveals that Shade's rejection of Neron's offer led to deals with Mist and Rag Doll to harm Shade and destroy his adopted home, Opal City, but these deals were only seen in flashbacks within the story, which was published several years after the crossover ended.
  • Teen Titans (vol. 3) #42 (February 2007) reveals Kid Devil's deal with Neron - and the consequences of the deal - in a story published several years after the crossover ended.

Other information[edit]

  • When the supervillains arrive in Hell,[3] Neron's first words to them are "Please allow me to introduce myself", the opening line of the Rolling Stones' song Sympathy For the Devil. It is also the first thing he says to Paul Christian, who becomes Purgatory thanks to him.[56]
  • There are later repercussions from Neron's actions, mainly due to an unknown number of candles that still exist. Among the superheroes, both Triumph[74] and Kid Devil[75] are most seriously affected, but these events happen outside of the Underworld Unleashed storyline.

Reprints[edit]

The three-issue mini-series Underworld Unleashed, together with Underworld Unleashed: Abyss-Hell's Sentinel # 1, was collected as a trade paperback called Underworld Unleashed (DC Comics, 1998, 158pp (ISBN 1-56389-447-5)).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Writer Mark Waid said, in his afterword to the trade paperback reprint of the mini-series, that his original concept was to beef up a bunch of the old lame DC supervillains, but then he decided that they were actually pretty cool as they were, so he did not need to beef them up after all...at least not too much.-Underworld Unleashed trade paperback (DC Comics, 1998 (ISBN 1-56389-447-5))
  2. ^ Mark Waid was not impressed with the concept of or his own work on Underworld Unleashed. In his afterword to the trade paperback reprint of the mini-series he said of the storyline: "Knuckle-headed, well-intended creators ashamed of corny old characters have been, for most of a decade, dragging half-forgotten heroes and villains kicking and screaming into their own little hardware store of creativity. There, haunted by a guilty fear that these ancient superdoers aren't kewl enough for a generation of videogame-entranced readers, said knuckle-headed creators fool themselves into thinking they're doing them a good turn by bludgeoning all the innocent charm and colorful individuality out of them. I tried that once. Learned a lesson." -Underworld Unleashed trade paperback (DC Comics, 1998 (ISBN 1-56389-447-5))
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh bi bj bk bl bm bn bo bp bq br bs bt bu bv bw bx by bz Underworld Unleashed #1
  4. ^ The Trial of Superman storyline in the late 1995 - early 1996 Superman titles
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r Underworld Unleashed #2
  6. ^ a b c Underworld Unleashed: Apokolips-Dark Uprising #1
  7. ^ Superman (vol. 2) #107
  8. ^ Fate #13
  9. ^ Fate #14
  10. ^ a b c d Underworld Unleashed: Abyss-Hell's Sentinel #1
  11. ^ a b Primal Force #13-14
  12. ^ Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #3
  13. ^ a b c d Underworld Unleashed #3
  14. ^ a b c d e f Justice League America #105-106
  15. ^ Guy Gardner, Warrior #36-37
  16. ^ a b Hawkman (vol. 3) #26-27
  17. ^ a b Lobo (vol. 2) #22
  18. ^ a b c Spectre (vol. 3) #35-36
  19. ^ Neron offered Madame Xanadu a deal just to prove that he could tempt those with "gray souls" as well as those who were evil.
  20. ^ It is unclear as to whether it is actually Neron who is disguised as Kathy. Kathy changes into Neron when Ray II kisses her, but later changes from Neron into Circe and later again appears as Neron in Justice League Task Force #30 (avoiding Ray II's question as to which one he is). Circe does not approach anyone else in the series and she is shown in Hell with the other members of the Inner Council throughout the series, which leads to the supposition it is Neron all along.
  21. ^ a b c Ray (vol. 2) #18-19
  22. ^ a b c d e f Justice League Task Force #30
  23. ^ When asked, Vril does not make it clear whether he sold his own soul or someone else's. Neron told Vandal Savage in The Ray (vol. 2) #18 that it was not possible to sell someone else's soul, but he might have been lying.
  24. ^ a b R.E.B.E.L.S. '95 #13-14
  25. ^ Batman was wise to refuse Neron's offer, as Jason Todd returned to life anyway in Batman Annual #25 (May 2006).
  26. ^ Like Batman, Flash III was also wise to refuse Neron's offer, as Barry Allen also returned to life anyway in the DC crossover event Final Crisis (2008).
  27. ^ a b Superboy (vol. 3) #22
  28. ^ a b Underworld Unleashed: Patterns of Fear #1
  29. ^ Like Batman and Flash III, Oracle was also wise to refuse Neron's offer, as she would regain her mobility and become Batgirl again in Batgirl (vol. 4) #1-6 and #0 (November 2011-April 2012 and November 2012).
  30. ^ Note: a continuity error. Although Silver Swan II is among the supervillains assembled by Neron in Underworld Unleashed #1, she had become an active superhero four years before in the DC crossover event War of the Gods (1991).
  31. ^ Ironically, Superboy would have risked nothing by accepting Neron's offer, as he did not actually have a soul with which to sell at the time. He did not develop a true "soul" until Teen Titans Annual (vol. 3) #1 (April 2006).
  32. ^ He did not accept, but his soul was accidentally sold by Gypsy and Ray II several months into the following year after the crossover ended in Justice League Task Force #37 (August 1996) when they unknowingly lit his candle. This resulted in Triumph getting his lost time back but as a failure of a superhero, with the Justice League Task Force still the same as it had always been and Gypsy still alive even without him being in the League. It was because of this incident that Triumph later became evil.
  33. ^ Note: technically not a supervillain in the DC Universe at this point, more like a misguided nuisance
  34. ^ Azrael #4 (May 1995)
  35. ^ Azrael #10
  36. ^ a b c Guy Gardner, Warrior #36
  37. ^ Superboy (vol. 3) #20
  38. ^ Black Manta was later changed back into his human form by Aquaman in Aquaman (vol. 6) #8-12 (September 2003-January 2004).
  39. ^ Fate #13-14
  40. ^ Impulse #8
  41. ^ Wonder Woman and Cheetah III's friend later changed her back into her human form in Wonder Woman (vol. 2) #115-119 (November 1996-March 1997)
  42. ^ Legion of Super-Heroes (vol. 4) #75
  43. ^ Legionnaires #32
  44. ^ Damage #18
  45. ^ Starman (vol. 2) #13
  46. ^ a b Guy Gardner, Warrior #37
  47. ^ Catwoman (vol. 2) #27
  48. ^ Adventures of Superman #530
  49. ^ Robin (vol. 3) #23-24
  50. ^ Note: possibly a continuity error. Killer Moth is seen in Underworld Unleashed #1 as one of the supervillains in Hell who agrees to the deal there, but then Robin (vol. 3) #23 shows the deal taking place in his prison cell. It is possible that the deal was similar to Metallo's and Killer Moth was given a candle in his cell to transport him to Hell, but this is not specified in the story and he is later seen in the same issue using his new powers in his cell.
  51. ^ Underworld Unleashed: Batman-Devil's Asylum #1
  52. ^ Aquaman (vol. 5) #14
  53. ^ Steel (vol. 2) #21
  54. ^ Note: this is a different deal than all the others. Metallo was approached directly by Neron and given a temporary new body and the candle to burn, then a deal was struck later in Hell after he had burned the candle.
  55. ^ a b c Starman (vol. 2) #70-72 (October–December 2000)
  56. ^ a b c Green Lantern (vol. 3) #68-69
  57. ^ Batman #535
  58. ^ Aquaman (vol. 5) #18-20 (March–May 1996)
  59. ^ Manhunter (vol. 2) #11-12
  60. ^ Flash (vol. 2) #107
  61. ^ a b Detective Comics #691-692
  62. ^ Extreme Justice #10-11
  63. ^ The reason why Neron wanted the child was never revealed and the incident has never been referred to or even mentioned again. Later, the DC crossover event Infinite Crisis (2005) erased it from history.
  64. ^ Green Arrow (vol. 2) #102-103
  65. ^ Showcase '95 #12
  66. ^ This incident clearly shows that even Neron has standards when it comes to making deals.
  67. ^ Black Manta's new body and powers are shown and Neron is alluded to as the cause (although his name is never mentioned) one month before the crossover starts.
  68. ^ This is directly linked to an earlier event in Azrael #4 (May 1995), which occurred several months before the crossover starts. The false Azrael who took the deal also took several months to heal from his fall in this story (instead of being killed).
  69. ^ Note: not identified on the cover as connected to the crossover, but completes the linked storyline of the previous issues and contains the introduction to Underworld Unleashed: Abyss-Hell's Sentinel #1.
  70. ^ Note: not identified as an Underworld Unleashed tie-in on the cover, but explains the second part of Vril Dox II's deal with Neron.
  71. ^ Note: although identified as an Underworld Unleashed tie-in on the cover, the story has no real connections to the crossover other than having Mr. Freeze possibly showing new powers and one of his two henchmen in the story mentioning his battle with Green Lantern V to the other one in passing. (The two henchmen in this story are named Ice and Cube (a Caucasian woman and an African-American man, respectively), with each one having a tendency to finish a sentence spoken by the other in rhyme.)
  72. ^ Note: not identified as an Underworld Unleashed tie-in on the cover, but continues directly from the previous issue.
  73. ^ Note: although not identified as an Underworld Unleashed tie-in on the cover, it has Luthor and Joker thinking they are in Metropolis, but later discovering they are really under Neron's spell and trapped in the snow globe shown at the end of Underworld Unleashed #2.
  74. ^ Justice League Task Force #37 (August 1996)
  75. ^ Teen Titans vol. 3 #42 (February 2007)

External links[edit]