|SYNOPSES:||MARVEL UNDERWORLD||JANUARY ‘84||SCHEDULE (#4)|
|“PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS”|
This story is part of Assistant Editor’s Month.
The cover of this issue should parody that of issue #1. Dressed as 1930s gangsters, position the various mega-heavy demons (Mephisto, Satannish, Dormammu, and Shuma-Gorath) in the same exploding character design as the magia members featured on the issue #1 cover. Cover the Marvel Underworld logo in flames. Where the issue #1 cover featured the ”Spectacular First Issue!” starburst should be the AEM “BEWARE!” stamp featured on various covers this month. For the direct market, fill the UPC box with the AEM “Warning” label.
Open in an empty large natural cavern with many side tunnels somewhere in Svartalfheim. A purple dot turns into an expanding, swirling purple haze that deposits A, Lucky Strike, Midnight, Mr. Echelon, Phagh, and Pixie before dissipating. Phagh gloats and summons help before being defeated. A goes down the tunnel from which the re-enforcements are arriving. Phigh is leading a band of Lesser Svarts who overwhelm him. Midnight closes the tunnel, sacrificing A but saving the rest of the group.
The heroes cannot find any normal clues, but eventually discover that they are able to sense a mystical trail of souls that appear to be coming from Midgard and going down one of the tunnels. (This is the first, subtle foreshadowing of a future storyarc for this would-be team of heroes if they prove popular enough to bring back in this title or elsewhere.) Following the trail, the heroes make their way from Svartalfheim to Hel. (Yes, the criminal underworld has ties to the underworld of the dead. That’s the nod for AEM.)
The tunnel opens up to a large cavern with an industrial-style city of dwarves. The trail of souls leads to a two-story smithy. On the bottom floor of the smithy we see the trail of human souls enter a trough of molten metal from which dwarves are smithing magical weapons in an assembly line. Being dead and under orders, they continue their work unabated by the heroes’ presence. Upstairs Soul Man is torturing the bound in chains form of Arcanaut.
The heroes confront Soul Man, with the souls of Mr. Echelon and Pixie being absorbed by Soul Man’s briefcase. Arcanaut is freed from the mystic chains which bound him. Soul Man’s secret cache of soul-crafted weapons are discovered in a hidden compartment of his stone desk and used against him. Mr. Echelon and Pixie try to organize the various souls within the briefcase in an attempt to escape. Meanwhile, Mr. Echelon’s soulless body is used as a club against Soul Man. Midnight causes the souls in the briefcase to escape, so Soul Man decides to cut his losses and banish the heroes to Central Park. The heroes debate keeping the soulforged weapons they had picked up to fight him, but decide against it.