Helstrom: The Comic History of Marvel’s Son of Satan
A staple in the sorcery corner of Marvel's universe, Son of Satan Daimon Hellstrom has battled evil and himself for nearly 50 years.
On Oct. 16, Hulu will be releasing the latest Marvel tie-in series Helstrom. It’s not so much like one of those upcoming Disney+ MCU shows that feature high-profile superheroes telling stories that will be important to the overall fictional universe. It’s more like Daredevil or Runaways where quality be damned, you’re never going to hear anyone in the movies make anything close to a reference to it, but it counts as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe anyway.
The series is about siblings Daimon Helstrom and Ana Helstrom, who have seemingly normal lives, but oppose demons and evil people on the side. Their mother is institutionalized, which is fairly true to the comics, but their father is also referred to as “a powerful serial killer.”
In the comics, things are a bit grander. Their father isn’t just any serial killer, but a variation of Satan. Marvel has a bunch of guys whose identities are “basically Satan, but not really.” Instead of suits and turtlenecks, the two have comic adventures where they dress like they shopped off the sexy Halloween costume rack at Party City.
Daimon Helstrom (played by Tom Austen) gets both L’s in the comics as Daimon Hellstrom, but also has the rad nickname of Son of Satan. Shockingly, he’s a good guy! Mostly. Even when bare-chested with a glowing pentagram over his torso. Even with a magical pitchfork as his weapon of choice.
Son of Satan and his sister Satana are essentially the Marvel versions of Dante and Vergil from Devil May Cry. Both are half-human/half-devil and they lean on opposite sides of their genetics.
So let’s say you want to get into Hellstrom’s comic book exploits. Well, you’re in luck because we have a list of his main character runs since showing up in 1973.
The Early Spotlight (1973-1975)
Hellstrom made his first appearance in Ghost Rider #1. In the first two issues of that series, Hellstrom was hired as an exorcist to help deal with a missing woman who had been possessed. Interestingly enough, they never gave a clear look at Hellstrom in those two issues other than the demonic birthmark on his chest.
Initially, Hellstrom had a Jekyll and Hyde gimmick to the point that he told the woman’s loved ones to lock him up in a dark room and not let him out no matter what he said. Unlike the supporting characters in Young Frankenstein, the bozos didn’t take that to heart and let Hellstrom’s more maniacal personality Son of Satan loose.
Sidenote: His adventures were originally going to be called “the Mark of Satan” with more emphasis on Satan as the antagonist, but doing comics focused on Satan was deemed a little over-the-line, so they changed it.
Second sidenote: I did not hit her, it’s bullshit, I did not hit her, I DID NOT! Oh hi, Mark of Satan!
Son of Satan’s adventures continued into Marvel Spotlight #12-24. It didn’t take long for Marvel to realize that giving him a double-identity was kind of a lame idea and instead had Satan Sr. magically handwave that away and make Son of Satan just one dude. Definitely for the better as he no longer felt so blatantly like Marvel’s answer to Jason Blood/Etrigan.
Hellstrom continued to fight against ghoulish enemies while opposing his father’s ways and dated some generic woman whose name I couldn’t tell you if you paid me a million dollars. It all culminated in a really strong finale issue where Hellstrom fought against and with his sister Satana, but maybe ignore the part where Hellstrom had a dream about the two of them making out.
Striking Out Solo (1975-1977)
Son of Satan had his own self-titled ongoing series that only lasted eight issues. From the beginning, Hellstrom went to Hell to basically tell off his dad as a way to say that this series wouldn’t be about their rivalry. Instead, it was Son of Satan dealing with a bunch of random villains that nobody would ever really remember.
There was one ridiculous enemy named the Possessor (not to be confused with the Elder of the Universe) who wore a mask to hide the fact that he had demon faces where his ears are supposed to be. Too bad he never showed up outside of this series.
It was a trippy outing, but ended before it could find its footing.
Demon Defender (1981-1983)
The Defenders are, of course, the bundle of heroes who don’t quite fit in with the Avengers, Fantastic Four, or X-Men but need people to hang out with. Guys like Hulk, Dr. Strange, Namor, Valkyrie, etc. Son of Satan became a regular ally in the team’s early days, appearing to help out every now and then. Most notably, he was part of a storyline where the Serpent Society kidnapped the Defenders and Clea put together a second team to rescue them, featuring the likes of Son of Satan, Daredevil, and Luke Cage.
Then again, the only thing anyone truly remembers about those issues is a very bizarre and legendary scene of a random guy getting killed by an Elf with a Gun.
As the series reached its 92nd issue, Hellstrom finally joined the team. On one hand, having Son of Satan on the team meant the Defenders had to take on the occult more than usual. On the other hand, Hellstrom soon fell in love with fellow Defender Hellcat, who was regularly dealing with constantly being possessed and turning into a scantily-clad demoness.
When Defenders hit its 100th issue, they did a really climactic storyline where a handful of the various Marvel Devil guys invaded Earth and Son of Satan had to take on Father of Son of Satan for the fate of Earth. The conclusion is rather surprising.
Prince of Lies (1993-1994)
Okay, so Daimon Hellstrom and Patsy Walker have been married for ten years (our time). It’s a fairytale romance where they’ve made a few guest appearances here and there, but have otherwise retired, happily ever after. What could POSSIBLY taint such true love?
90s comics. That’s your answer.
Welcome to Hellstorm: Prince of Lies, a 21-issue ongoing series where every issue looks like a Nine Inch Nails video and they try to see how much lanky nudity they can get away with showing in a Marvel comic. Like, holy crap, there has to be a world record for shadowed-out junk in this series. They even edit in some obvious, hastily-drawn underwear on characters at times as if the editor has realized they’ve gone too far.
It’s a gritty and grimy series that you’d expect from a 90s comic where much of it is written by Warren Ellis and the main character is Satan’s son. Lots of spikes, sharp teeth, long hair, suffering, insanity, and so on. It’s most definitely a product of its time.
Plus it’s called “Hellstorm” instead of “Hellstrom.” Scout’s honor, I didn’t notice the difference until my editor pointed it out.
Maximum Hellstorm (2006-2007)
Ah, Marvel MAX. The days when Marvel decided to give R-rated comics a shot and just threw everything at the wall. Hellstorm: Son of Satan was one of them, going for five issues. By this point, we’re in the mid-00s, so Hellstrom has a more down-to-earth look and is constantly talking to his father on a cellphone and tries so hard not to remind us what he looked like in the 70s and 80s.
But because it’s Marvel MAX, it means that his adventure is filled with lots of curse words, ultra-violence, gross demon boobs, and explicit Jesus imagery you normally wouldn’t see in a comic like this.
While the whole “Hellstrom messes with Egyptian underworld deities” storyline is a bit high concept, it still feels more like the new Hulu show than anything else.
Zombie Slayer (2009)
Speaking of gritty Marvel trends, there’s Marvel Zombies! While the initial Ultimate Fantastic Four storyline and the first two volumes of Marvel Zombies dealt with the happenings of a doomed universe, the next few volumes went slightly more uplifting. After all, sometimes you need to have people to root for who can back it up.
In Marvel Zombies 4, the Black Talon and the Hood (under the influence of Dormammu) try to use the decapitated head of Zombie Deadpool (otherwise known as Headpool) to bring forth the zombie apocalypse in the regular Marvel universe. Yes, we actually have canon stakes this time.
To prevent this, we have the Midnight Sons, made up of Son of Satan, Morbius, Jennifer Kale, Werewolf by Night, and Man-Thing. It’s an incredibly badass group working through an incredibly badass adventure. Too bad the team doesn’t last.
On a similar note, around this time there was a miniseries called the Last Defenders where Son of Satan was a major character. It’s just that by the time the team came together, they were an immediately-forgotten afterthought, so there’s no use in giving it its own entry.
Ghost Riders in the Sky (2009-2010)
Jason Aaron had a really, really, really great run on Ghost Rider. Most definitely read it. It’s pure grindhouse and I love it.
The whole run finished with Ghost Riders: Heaven’s on Fire. This culmination featured Johnny Blaze and Danny Ketch working together against a corrupt angel, the anti-Christ, and a group of villains from earlier in the run teaming up.
At least they have Daimon Hellstrom there to help out. Unfortunately, Hellstrom looks outright goofy with a bald head and Fu-Manchu mustache. The story brings back Jaine, his EXTREME love interest from the 90s series who he ended up with after his relationship with Patsy went very south.
Anyhow, Jason Aaron’s Ghost Rider run. Read it!
Much like how X-Men had X-Force as the team that would do the really dirty work, Avengers had a spinoff team called Strikeforce. Made up of Winter Soldier, Angela, Blade, Spider-Woman, Wiccan, and Spectrum, the team soon brought Hellstrom into the fold. Which is just as well, since he was working for Baron Zemo for a little while and really needed to get his head back on straight.
Unfortunately for Hellstrom, 1) he retained his bald look from Heaven’s on Fire and 2) the series didn’t last all that long. Only nine issues, sadly. Eh, it was fun while it lasted.
At least he’s joining the Savage Avengers next! And they’re giving him his hair back!