#25, December 1996
Hell and Back: Part Two
Merritt’s henchmen bring him word of the story Jack and the O’Dares have been spreading: the poster will be kept in Opal for two more days and then moved to Metropolis. He tells his men they will have to strike soon, because they’ll have no chance of recovering the poster in Metropolis. Later, shortly after he finishes with a prostitute, Merritt is visited by an image of the Poster Demon, who tells him that he must kill a woman named Charity, or they’ll both be in danger.
Meanwhile, Mason and Charity talk at the hotel room Mason got for them. Charity is able to get the usually quiet and shy Mason to come out of his shell and talk to her. He tells her a lot about his motivations in staying a beat cop while his brothers all became detectives and why he is so cavalier and acrobatic in his job. Sadly, their talk is cut short as two of Merrit’s thugs show up to kill Charity. Mason crams himself into the space between walls in the narrow hallway entering the room, allowing him to shoot the thugs as they enter the room.
After a humorous discussion about Hope’s galeocentric nature, Irish cooking and a story about their fathers, Jack goes home and talks to his father about the spirit of adventure and demons, Ted telling Jack about when he faced a demon who spoke on rhyming couplets (Obviously Etrigan. See Starman #42 for that tale). Jack then meets and talks to Mikaal for the first time. We find that while Mikaal has regained his ability to speak English, he can no longer remember anything that happened to him before Jack save him from the circus. Not even what planet he is from. We also find that Grundy has disappeared again. Ted and Mikaal go to search for him as Jack flies off to meet up with the O’Dare’s again.
Before Jack returns, Hope, Barry and Clarence each make a silent promise to themselves. Barry promises to go out and get drunk and get laid. Clarence plans to tell his wife he loves her, first thing. Hope promises to do all the things she’s always wanted to; learning how to play the piano, learning French and reading all the classics she never did . Shortly after Jack returns, Merritt and his men attack the station. In the ensuing battle, the demon tries to grab Barry but Jack fights it off with his staff. Determined to stop the demon once and for all, Jack flies into the poster after it.