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Appearing in "Demon from Within"
- The Champions
- Hades / The Link (Main story and flashback)
- Cult of Hades (First appearance)
- Victoria (First appearance)
- Reporters and soldiers
- Titans (Main story and flashback)
- Zeus (Only in flashback)
- Belasco (Only in flashback)
- Mephisto (Only in flashback)
- Satannish (Only in flashback)
Synopsis for "Demon from Within"
Somewhere in the woods of northern California, a group called the Cult of Hades has gathered. Their leader, referred to as the Link, singles out one member, Victoria, as a traitor.
Later, the members of X-Force are taking in the sights of Yosemite National Park. As they drive, they are caught in a landslide. Using their powers, they make it through unscathed. Dani Moonstar looks for the source of the slide, and she and the others observe an immense hand rising from the landscape. They also notice some commotion taking place near the hand, and they proceed toward it. There, the team finds Hercules engaged in a fight with the Cult of Hades. X-Force aid Hercules, driving the cultists off. Hercules introduces Victoria, whom he just rescued, and who had contacted him regarding the Cult's activities.
The demigod explains that the hand belongs to an ancient Titan which the Cult was attempting to revive. When Hercules was with the Champions, their first adventure pitted them against Hades (then called Pluto) and his Titans. Then, they had been able to rout the Titans thanks to an incantation provided by Zeus. Later, James Proudstar makes calls to summon Hercules' former teammates (Black Widow, Archangel, Iceman and Johnny Blaze), while Tabitha Smith (Meltdown) expresses her distrust of Victoria. Sam Guthrie (Cannonball) fires back at Tab that he finds her less trustworthy than Victoria. Speechless, she wanders off to brood, soon to be joined by Bobby DaCosta (Sunspot).
The next morning, amidst a throng of soldiers, reporters and gawking civilians, the former Champions arrive at the site of the titanic hand. With a sense of urgency, Black Widow orders her erstwhile teammates to takes up the positions described in the ritual scrolls provided by Victoria. Too late, the heroes realize the ritual is meant, not to banish the Titan, but to complete its revival. In addition, the reawakened Titan is meant to destroy whomever raises him.
As it rises, earthquakes rumble, and Sam is knocked out. With some trepidation, Victoria saves herself, leaving Sam under some rubble. She is met by the Link, who, now that the ritual is going as he'd planned, reveals himself to be Hades. The two teams combine forces to take on the god, while Sunspot and Meltdown clear the rockfall to rescue Sam. However, when they find him, he's not breathing. X-Force and the Champions continue to fight Hades, now using a new tactic: they berate him as a minion acting under someone else's command. Enraged, Hades adamantly declares he is solely responsible for the Titan's rise. Upon hearing this, the Titan's attention is directed to the god as the one he is meant to destroy. In defeat, Hades escapes from the earthly plane, while Victoria screams at him not to abandon her.
The two teams then turn to deal with the Titan. At Siryn's suggestion, the Champions again recite the incantation to open the dimensional gate, at which point, Dani Moonstar reaches into the Titan's mind, forcing it to visualize that which it most fears, driving it back whence it came.
As the heroes regroup and recover, Sam, having been resuscitated by Tabitha, sees Victoria being taken by the authorities, and chides her for betraying him. In response, Vic tells Sam she truly did care about him, but not as much as Bobby and Tabitha do.
- Wraparound cover.
- Champions last appeared in a flash back in Peter Parker, The Spectacular Spider-Man #18, where they disbanded.
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- Images from X-Force / Champions Annual Vol 1 '98
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