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.
- Wolverine (Vol. 2) #11
- Wolverine (Vol. 2) #12
- Wolverine (Vol. 2) #13
- Wolverine (Vol. 2) #14
- Wolverine (Vol. 2) #15
- Wolverine (Vol. 2) #16
"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.