Characters Appearing: Belathauzer, Devil-Slayer, Flying Dutchman
Marvel Comics Presents #46-49 (Devil-Slayer)
Issue(s): Marvel Comics Presents #46, Marvel Comics Presents #47, Marvel Comics Presents #48, Marvel Comics Presents #49 (Devil-Slayer story only)
Of course i could do without the hard sell. You don't have to tell me he's "like Wolverine, like the Punisher."
Devil-Slayer is raging to the demon Belathauzer/Balthazar, who sends the Flying Dutchman after him.
The Dutchman tempts Devil-Slayer with women and food.
The idea being that, as a former mercenary, Devil-Slayer has delivered a lot of souls to Mephisto, and this is his reward. But Devil-Slayer rejects the reward (which would have been at the price of his own soul), and he's sent to a Central American country where Contras are trying to force the locals into giving up information on the Communists.
Devil-Slayer almost literally turns into the Punisher while he's helping out.
And he doesn't even seem to question why the Flying Dutchman would have dropped him into this scenario.
Devil-Slayer continues to fight against the CIA backed counter-revolutionaries, and attracts the attention of the CIA commander.
Who it turns out that he knows from his mercenary days.
It seems Eric Payne tried to get the colonel court-martialed during Vietnam. The colonel tries to lure Payne to his side or at least give him info on the supplier of all his awesome weapons, but Devil-Slayer refuses, and the CIA forces withdraw for the moment. Then, at a festival celebrating the village's victory, Payne gets into a fight with the mayor when he tries to offer one of the local women to him as a reward. Meanwhile, the Flying Dutchman approaches the CIA colonel and offers to supply him with weapons (as Michael says in the comments it seems they've formed an alliance with the Communists at this point, considering Payne to be the bigger threat). With the aid of the now treacherous mayor, the CIA's forces, armed with exo-skeletons provided by the Flying Dutchman, attack the village priest.
The attack also destroys Devil-Slayer's cloak, preventing him from pulling any more weapons out of his dimensional pocket.
The mayor blames the death of the priest on Payne, and the villagers drive him from their village. With Devil-Slayer gone, the CIA forces destroy the village. And then the Flying Dutchman and the CIA go after Payne.
Devil-Slayer flees, heading back to the church where his cloak was destroyed. The Flying Dutchman follows, and raises hell (literally).
At the church, Devil-Slayer fights back.
Devil-Slayer chases the Flying Dutchman away with holy water.
In the end, Eric Payne declares Devil-Slayer dead, and that he's going to use his second chance in life to redeem himself.
At the top i said that this story was an opportunity to make the character of Devil-Slayer interesting. With four parts, it does better than average for a Marvel Comics Presents story about a minor character. There is enough room for a character arc, with Payne hopefully finally giving up on the despondent misery that has been a part of his character pretty much since he was introduced. But the story itself isn't very strong; it basically consists of multiple bad guys tempting Devil-Slayer with rewards and Payne steadfastly refusing each time. Not much actual temptation going on. Beyond that, this story highlights the kind of mishmosh of elements that make up Devil-Slayer. He's got the pseudo-mystical thing going, and he's also a soldier of fortune with a dark past (although not so dark that he didn't try to get his commanding officer court marshaled over the destruction of a Vietnamese village). But what's really important about Devil-Slayer is that he's got a cloak with a tesseract in it and he can pull out bad ass weapons. Any story about the Devil-Slayer should really include him pulling awesome crazy weapons out of his cloak while slaying devils. The Flying Dutchman is a potentially interesting opponent for him, but not mixed up with early 90s Central American politics and no actual fighting between Devil-Slayer and his supernatural opponent. So, a decent attempt but ultimately a disappointment.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: N/A
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
The Flying Dutchman seemed to have gone on to heaven at the end of Silver Surfer 9 but here he appears back in Mephisto's service.
Posted by: Michael | July 31, 2015 5:44 PM
There will be a letter-to-the-editor in an upcoming issue of Deathlok that decries Marvel as a Leftist haven, summoning as evidence the supposedly fawning treatment given to Latin American Marxists. Maybe the letter-writer had this story in mind... of course, Michael points out that the revolutionaries weren't morally pure either. And then of course the Cap story in 47 "balances it out" by making the revolutionaries pure madmen caricatures.
Posted by: cullen | July 31, 2015 10:26 PM
I agree that this is not the type of story you want to use to promote Devil Slayer. He is much more 4 color heroics than most occult themed characters, and any plots need to highlight those elements. He'd be much better fighting Claremont's N'garai demons who have fought 4 color heroes (X-Men) and are known to have cults around the world.
Your end comments are spot on. This is pedestrian. Hard to believe with all the people trying to break into comics, that Marvel couldn't find more talented writers.
Posted by: Chris | August 1, 2015 1:07 PM
Michaels said: The Flying Dutchman seemed to have gone on to heaven at the end of Silver Surfer 9 but here he appears back in Mephisto's service.
Perhaps his attempted murder of the Vision when he was a member of the Legion of the Unliving got him damned again?
Posted by: Omar Karindu | November 15, 2015 1:45 PM
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