Adventures of Superman #470 (September 1990)
Soul Search (or “Superman in Hell”), Conclusion: Someone lives! Someone dies! Everyone else continues the way they were! And nothing will ever be the same again.
In Part 2 of this saga, Superman managed to rescue Jimmy Olsen’s soul from the sexy demonic entity known as Blaze, but there are just two problems: 1) they’re still in Hell, or something like it, and 2) Blaze still has Perry White’s troubled son, Jerry. Another thing Blaze has is this giant rock monster trying to punch Superman:
Unfortunately, since Blaze’s powers are magical and Kryptonians don’t get along too well with magic, the more time Superman spends in her domain the weaker he gets. To make matters even worse, Blaze has the hots for Supes and tries to kiss him — he pulls away, but her lips graze his cheek and some sort of satanic herpes starts covering Superman’s face, then his entire body. Literally, all of his body.
Very observant, Jimbo. While Superman is busy dealing with that nasty infection and the giant rock monster, Blaze starts getting romantic with Jimmy. It’s implied that if she kisses you on the lips, your soul is hers forever, and Blaze “feeds” on souls, but still… Jimmy Olsen, Blaze? How starved for affection are you?
(Can you tell I’m loving the art in this issue?)
Anyway, with all the distractions going on, Jerry manages to break himself free from Blaze’s control for a moment and thinks about ditching this place… but then reconsiders because he feels bad about leaving Jimmy. Since Jimmy took a bullet for Jerry recently (in Adventures #469, which started this whole mess), Jerry decides to take a kiss for him and volunteers to make out with Blaze. As a result, she literally sucks the life out of him. Back in the real world, Perry and Alice White are notified that their son has been pronounced dead.
Lois Lane, Jose Delgado and, for some reason, Professor Hamilton are there too and there’s a sad time all around.
Meanwhile, since Superman’s current strategy (punching everything) isn’t working very well, he decides to fight fire with fire: he shoots his heat vision at Blaze’s personal lava pool, and soon her entire domain starts overheating and crumbling down. Yes, Superman burns Hell to Hell. Blaze is squashed by her own giant rock monster (Wizard of Oz style) and Jimmy’s soul self fades away, as he returns to life in the real world. Then we see Superman flying out of a volcano, so I guess Blaze lived there all along, like a Bond villain.
So, yep, Jerry is dead… but then on the last page we see the Black Racer gathering Jerry’s soul from the morgue and escorting him to Heaven, since he’s been “deemed worthy”. (Or at least I think he’s going to Heaven. Maybe he means Apokolips, where Jerry will become one of Darkseid’s generals.) THE END.
"Oh, my cousin Tammy says hi.”
As you can see above, it’s… it’s back! THE BEARD IS BACK! You know shit’s getting real in Superman comics when Superman suddenly sprouts a beard. How long was he fighting Blaze in that volcano, anyway?
- Speaking of The Beard, the following panels officially end the “Jimmy Olsen, Professional Turd” storyline that began over a year ago when Superman accidentally infected Jimmy with an alien virus and they became ex-pals. To recap, Jimmy turned into an elastic freak, lost his hair, got sent to another dimension, had his mom kidnapped by an ape person and literally went to Hell… but the ordeals are over now. For a while.
- When Superman blows up Hell, there’s a sequence with various mystical character in the DC Universe (Dr. Fate, Raven from the New Teen Titans, the Black Racer again) feeling a disturbance on the Force. Always loved those scenes.
- Completely unrelated to the main story: in Smallville, Lana Lang finally sells her family farm to symbolize that she’s moving on with her life after recently accepting she’ll never marry Clark Kent (Superman #45). That gives Pete Ross the opening he’s been waiting for since they were school and he asks her out on a pizza date.
- We finally learn Lex Luthor’s only soft spot: children. Or, his children, at least. Specifically Jerry, the illegitimate son he never bothered to recognize and let his second biggest enemy raise. This is actually consistent with Lex’s character, though, since he’ll go completely gaga over his daughter Lena when she’s born some years from now. And more importantly, Jerry’s death will put Lex in kind of a dark place…
So, yeah, I did go a little overboard with the art in this entry, but there are so many cool sequences. Not coincidentally, this is the first major storyline where the climactic chapter was entrusted to Dan Jurgens: before now, most of them happened in Roger Stern-written titles(“Dark Knight Over Metropolis”, “Day of the Krypton Man”, the Exile in Space… hell, all of “The Brainiac Trilogy” was written by Stern). I get the feeling they were just trying to shake things up for once, since the next big storyline is capped by Jerry Ordway, but leaving the climaxes to Jurgens will become kind of a tradition from now on as he gets more popular. This may seem unfair to the others, but I think it’s fair: big dramatic moments are Jurgens’ strength.