My name is Wolverine. And I'm heading towards the palace of the prince of Madripoor to warn him about the danger of the deadly Gehenna Stone... when suddenly, I'm jumped by ravenous pseudo-vampires. I hate when that happens.
The Gehenna Stone Affair began some thirteen-thousand years ago in the ancient city of Gehenna. Gehenna was a desolate region near Jerusalem and was lorded by an evil deity known as Ba'al-Hadad. Ba'al's followers, often referred to as Baalists engaged in grotesque acts of debauchery and depravity in Ba'al's name. In honor of their lord, they performed occult rituals which included the consumption of human blood. As legend has it, God sought to punish the people of Gehenna and so he sent down a warrior known as the Hand of God. The Hand of God slew Ba'al, and Ba'al's spirit regurgitated itself from his corpse, coalescing into a multi-faceted piece of rock that eventually became known as the Gehenna Stone. The Hand of God used his sword and splintered the Gehenna Stone, casting its shards to the four corners of the globe, insuring that Ba'al's spirit could not reconstitute itself.
The individual fragments of the Gehenna Stone remained lost for many centuries. In the 20th century however, pieces of the Gehenna Stone began to surface and with it, Ba'al was able to take possession of a human host. He required the completed stone however in order achieve ultimate power. He began bestowing power to new underlings who swore total fealty to Ba'al, and they patterned their image and behavior after vampires (though they were not true vampires).
One piece of the Gehenna Stone was discovered in Egypt by the mentally unbalanced millionaire Burt Corrigan. Another piece came into the possession of twin brothers from Madripoor named Larry and Gar. Burt Corrigan knew that he had found something of value, but did not understand the true significance of the piece. He donated it to the San Francisco Museum of Antiquities. Upon researching the relic however, Burt knew that it was too powerful an item to display at a museum so he used his resources to buy himself a seat on the Museum's board. From there, it was easy for him to steal the Gehenna Stone and swap it out for a replica.
Ba'al sent his agents to the Museum to steal the stone, but when he learned that it was a fake, Ba'al sent his "vampires" to located and kill Burt Corrigan. Fortunately for Corrigan, he was accompanied by several able-bodied defenders including his brother Archie, as well as Archie's friends, Wolverine and Jessica Drew. Archie, Wolverine and Jessica saved Burt from Ba'al's minions, but were unable to safeguard the Gehenna Stone fragment.
Ba'al booked passage to Madripoor to acquire the final piece, but Wolverine and his friends followed Ba'al, intercepting their plane before it could touch down in Madripoor. Wolverine sabotaged the plane and it crashed into the ocean, but Ba'al survived and made his way to Madripoor.
In Madripoor, Prince Baran also learned about the final missing piece of the Gehenna Stone and sent his aide, Johann, to procure it for him. This piece passed through several sets of hands in a relatively short period of time including Princess Bar owner O'Donnell, Lindsay McCabe, and Madripoorian police officer, Captain Tai. It eventually found its way to the prince's castle.
Ba'al approached the prince and tried to barter for the stone. He promised to make the prince immortal, but when Baran took too long to consider the offer, the impatient Ba'al took the fragment and completed the Gehenna Stone artifact. All at once, Ba'al began bristling with power and engaged in a rematch with Wolverine. For reasons that remain unclear, Wolverine possesses some spiritual link to the original Hand of God. Perhaps he is a descendent of the Hand of God, or perhaps he is the warrior reincarnated. Whatever the truth may be, Ba'al recognized this connection and grew fearful of Wolverine. Wolverine slashed at the Gehenna Stone with his claws, destroying it. After which, he stabbed Ba'al through the chest, seemingly killing him. Although Ba'al would surface again years later, the threat of the power of the Gehenna Stone was gone forever.
The Gehenna Stone Affair Event: Episodes and Synopses
In Madripoor, Archie Corrigan approaches Patch and asks him to help him sort out his brother's affairs. Archie's brother, Burt, has inherited the family fortune, but he is mentally unstable and a competency hearing is being held to determine whether he is mentally responsible to handle the money. Patch reluctantly agrees and the two fly back to the United States.
In San Francisco, two thugs break into the Museum of Antiquities and attempt to steal what they believe is the Gehenna Stone. A guard tries to stop them, but the thugs reveal themselves as Vampires. The following day, museum curator Mister Tuttle, discovers that the purloined artifact was a fake and that the real Gehenna Stone has already been stolen. He hires Jessica Drew to investigate the case.
Later, Archie and Patch attend Burt's competency hearing. Burt hasn't arrived yet and Archie gets into an argument with his aunt, Ruth, who is contesting Burt's right to the inheritance. Suddenly, Burt Corrigan bursts through courtroom window riding atop a horse, and brandishing a coat and fedora ala Indiana Jones. He goes on about stopping the forces of evil. Suddenly, a horde of vampires burst through the broken window and begin attacking people. Patch gruffly muses to himself, "For this I left Madripoor?"
Running out into the street, Burt and Jessica take off on Burt's horse, while Archie and Logan follow after him in a stolen police cruiser. The vampires continue chasing them, and their pursuit takes them all throughout the city. Logan hangs his body out the car window and manages to slash the front tires of the pursuing vehicle with his claws. One vampire manages to get a lucky shot however, and a bullet grazes Logan's skull, momentarily stunning him. Another group of vampires bears down on them in their own stolen squad car, but Logan has Archie force their vehicle into the center of the road where it collides with a trolley.
Elsewhere, a mysterious villain monitors the affair, anxious to recover the Gehenna Stone fragment so that he can complete his artifact.
Logan, Archie, Burt and Jessica all regroup into one vehicle and head towards a private hanger where Archie's plane is waiting. A San Francisco police cruiser begins chasing them and instructs them to pull over. Logan back flips out of their stolen convertible, landing on the hood of the squad car. He pops his claws and drives them into the engine block, forcing the car to stall.
Returning to the stolen vehicle, he listens as Burt tells them about the legend of Gehenna. He tells them of the ancient deity Ba'al and how he had corrupted the land of Gehenna until the day a warrior known as the Hand of God slew him. Ba'al's soul spilled forth, coalescing into a multi-faceted gem which would come to be known as the Gehenna Stone. The Hand of God splintered the stone with his sword, then cast the separated pieces to the four corners of the globe.
In Madripoor, O'Donnell greets two twin brothers, Larry and Gar at the Princess Bar. Larry begins flashing a fragment of the Gehenna Stone, proud of the fact that they had recently acquired it. Gar criticizes his brother for being so showy with the valuable gem. The brothers rent a room at the bar, but continue arguing with one another over the stone. As time passes, it becomes apparent that the Gehenna Stone fragments have a corrupting influence on their possessors, turning them uncharacteristically violent.
Back in California, the stone's properties begin to affect Burt Corrigan as well, who jealously holds to it, refusing anyone the opportunity to take it away from him.
They reach the airplane hanger only to discover that the location has been compromised by Ba'al and his brood. Hordes of vampires spill forth engulfing Logan and his friends. One of them succeeds in knocking Burt out and recovering his fragment of the Gehenna Stone. Logan tries to take the fight directly to Ba'al, but the evil entity backhands Logan as if he were a gnat. Having taken possession of the stone fragment, Ba'al and his followers leave.
In Madripoor, O'Donnell notices blood dripping down from the ceiling of the bar and goes upstairs to investigate. He finds that the twin brothers have killed one another over possession of their fragment.
At the Princess Bar, O'Donnell talks to the local police and shows them the room containing the two dead brothers. Taking note of the Gehenna Stone fragment that the brothers killed each other over, O'Donnell pockets it. The police captain notices it, but decides to let O'Donnell keep it. Lindsay McCabe wants to see the stone, but O'Donnell ignores her and goes upstairs. Lindsay follows after him and seduces him in the hopes of getting a hold of the stone.
In the skies above Madripoor, the Baalists notice Archie's plane and begin firing at it. Archie swoops in close, allowing Wolverine and Jessica the opportunity to sky-dive over to Ba'al's plane. Wolverine takes down two of the gunmen with his claws and gets into the cabin. Jessica is still crawling across the hull of the plane, and dispatches errant henchmen as they exit the hatch. Ba'al uses his powers to mutate one of his pseudo-vampires into a monstrous brute and sends him to kill Wolverine. The two fight one another in the cockpit of the plane and the monster accidentally kills the pilot. Wolverine drives his claws into the plane's control panel and uses the electrical discharge to electrocute his foe. This causes tremendous damage to the plane and it begins going into a tailspin. Wolverine and Jessica sky-dive back to Archie's plane and watch Ba'al's vessel plummet into the sea. Wolverine does not believe that Ba'al was killed in the crash.
At the Princess Bar, O'Donnell and Lindsay's lovemaking episode is interupted by the arrival of Johann, aide to the prince of Madripoor. He tells O'Donnell that the prince has learned that he possesses something of great interest to him and he expects him to surrender it.
Wolverine and his friends arrive in Madripoor. He finds Captain Tai's police force antagonzing the staff at the Princess Bar. They want to take the Gehenna Stone and believe that Lindsay McCabe has it. She argues with the police and then gets into a physical fight with O'Donnell who no longer has the item either. Wolverine witnesses all of this, but cannot understand the elevated levels of anxiety that seems to surround this item. Archie and he visit O'Donnell's office to discuss the matter. During the course of conversation, Wolverine learns that nobody was fooled by his "Patch" disguise and that everyone knew he was Wolverine all along. O'Donnell tells Logan that the prince's aide, Johann, took the Gehenna Stone from him.
A short while later, a group of Baalists attack Jessica Drew and Burt Corrigan. Burt plays up his "Indiana Jones" persona and even succeeds in ensnaring one of the attackers with a whip. Jessica Drew though prefers the dependability of a handgun. Although these Baalists pattern themselves after vampires, they die just as easily as anything else.
Back at the Princess Bar, a squad of Captain Tai's men raid the building, aggressively looking for the stone. Wolverine and O'Donnell engage in some good old fashioned fisticuffs to take down the over-eager police officers. Wolverine learns that O'Donnell's stone is part of the same piece as the one that Burt Corrigan previously carried. His mood sours when he learns that Prince Baran now possesses it.
Meanwhile, Jessica parts company from Burt and goes to the prince's castle. She is secretly working for him and wants to warn him about the threat of the Baalists. When she arrives though, she is shocked to find Ba'al, alive and well, and apparently a guest of the prince.
At the castle, Jessica Drew tries to talk Prince Baran out of siding with Ba'al. Ba'al offers to make Baran immortal in exchange for the final piece to the Gehenna Stone. Baran muses over the offer, but his unwillingness to commit to a decision right away makes Ba'al impatient. Baran orders him to leave, but Ba'al decimates Baran's guards. He forcibly takes the final peace to the Gehenna Stone and Jessica leaps upon his back.
Wolverine and Burt Corrigan arrive at the palace (from two different origin points) and make their way to the prince's throne room. Wolverine slashes his way through more of Ba'al's agents, but he is not quick enough to prevent Ba'al from inserting the final fragment into the now-completed Gehenna Stone. Charged with power, Ba'al unleashes a wave of energy at his enemies. Jessica and Prince Baran fight the Baalists that begin pouring into the room while Wolverine takes the fight directly to Ba'al. Ba'al senses something strange about Wolverine -- something that reminds him of the Hand of God, the warrior who first slew him ages ago. As if he were channeling the Hand of God's spirit, Wolverine slashes at the Gehenna Stone, shattering it. He then stabs Ba'al in the chest. The impact of the blow sends both men through the wall and down into the water below. Wolverine gets up immediately. Ba'al rises, staggers, then pitches forward, seemingly dead.
With the excitement now over, Wolverine, Archie and Jessica retire to the Princess Bar for some well-earned relaxation. They suddenly notice that Burt is not with them. Burt has gone off on his own. Assuming a new persona, that of super-spy James Bond, Burt goes to the poker tables of Monte Carlo and breaks the bank.
"The Gehenna Stone Affair" was a six-issue storyline chronicled in issues #11-16 of Wolverine (Volume 2). The story was written by Peter David with artwork by John Buscema and Bill Sienkiewicz. Coloring was provided by Glynis Oliver and Gregory Wright with lettering by Ken Bruzenak. The story was edited by Bob Harras. The story is only one small chapter in the ongoing legacy of Wolverine, but it does add one significant element to the character's history. Although it is never outright stated, it is heavily implied that Wolverine is the reincarnation of an ancient warrior known as the Hand of God. It was the Hand of God that first slew Ba'al and destroyed the Gehenna Stone, scattering its fragments to the four corners of the globe. Also during this storyline, Wolverine's friends in Madripoor, O'Donnell, Archie Corrigan, Lindsay McCabe and Jessica Drew, reveal that they always knew that "Patch" was actually Wolverine in disguise. Wolverine assumed the "Patch" identity in Marvel Comics Presents #1, shortly after the "Fall of the Mutants" storyline. Following the "Fall of the Mutants", the general populace of Earth believed that the X-Men were dead. In truth, they were operating out of Australia. Wolverine split his time between Australia and Madripoor and was able to travel between the two countries courtesy of the mutant known as Gateway.