Hellstrom: Evil Origins

Writer / Artist
Hellstrom: Evil Origins
Hellstrom Evil Origins review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-3029-2516-1
  • Release date: 2020
  • UPC: 9781302925161
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no
  • CATEGORIES: Supernatural

As the 1970s became the 1980s it dawned on Marvel that having one their characters called Son of Satan, was perhaps not commercially advisable, and from then on Daimon Hellstrom has either been marketed under his own name, or as Hellstorm. Either way, this weirdly random selection of reprints from the 1970s was punted out to provide something to coincide with the 2020 Hellstrom TV series.

It’s mediocrity almost all the way, with Hellstrom barely appearing in the Ghost Rider material by Gary Friedrich preceding a full introduction followed by an origin explaining how Hellstrom came to be the Son of Satan. The four chapters are mired in horror cliché, and artists Tom Sutton, Jim Mooney and Herb Trimpe ensure there’s an accompanying lack of atmosphere.

Next Chris Claremont has to spend several pages summarising issues not reprinted here before giving Hellstrom an emotionally overwrought reunion with his sister. While Sal Buscema is a reliable superhero artist, he’s not at his best with horror.

It can’t be said of Russ Heath, this collection’s standout artist (sample left). He mixes creepy creations with creatively disturbing horrors as per the sample page, but his imagination isn’t matched by writer John Warner who has Hellstrom tempted and then reveals it was all a dream. Oh dear. It was also the last solo Hellstrom for around a decade.

That accounts for Evil Origins being rounded out by three Defenders stories in which Hellstrom plays a part. Head back to the days when Doctor Strange was still with Clea, the Hulk was simple, and Nighthawk not that far off a Marvel headliner. Get past some very ordinary art from Don Perlin (sample right), and J. M. DeMatteis provides a couple of spiritually interesting stories, the first less relevant to Hellstorm himself, and the second a journey within before an old Marvel villain. They’re not masterpieces (although may seem that way compared to the remainder of Evil Origins), but are readable if you accept they’re team rather than solo stories.

Randomly skimming through the early years in this manner does reveal there’s no cohesive vision of what Hellstrom should be, and none of them match the TV show identity. Here he’s the tortured Son of Satan, but later he’d be given greater definition.

All bar the Defenders material is found in the more Hellstrom-oriented The Son of Satan Classic along with more from Warner and the chapters prior to Claremont, which form the best of the run.