In his second adventure we learn how the Son of Satan first came to learn he was the Son of Satan. Admittedly you’d have thought that being called Daimon Hellstrom, having a sister called Satana, having a great big pentagram on his chest, pointy ears and hair in the shape of horns might have all have been pretty big giveaways but our Daimon’s clearly none too bright and it seems he only found out when he read it in his mother’s diary.
Obviously her diary was somewhat more interesting than the one I tried keeping when I was younger because it seems to carry no references to anybody’s new albums or having once seen a bloke at the local Jobcentre who looked a bit like half-forgotten Olympic steeplechaser Colin Reitz.
The plot of this issue is to a large degree a retread of Marvel Spotlight #12, in which our "hero" goes to Hell and steals something from Satan. Last time out he stole Johnny Blaze and some woman. This time he steals something far more valuable; Satan’s horse and cart. He also steals his trident whose metal is the only thing that can weaken Satan. Why Satan carries a trident made of a metal that weakens him is never explained. With a level of critical analysis I never had as a kid, it now strikes me as being like Superman carrying a sword made of Kryptonite.
But, as today’s teeny-boppers say, it’s all fab stuff. SOS hasn’t mellowed yet into being an out-and-out good guy - although he’s already more morally compassed than in his first outing - and Herb Trimpe’s overwrought pencilling’s perfectly suited to the subject matter, while Frank Chiaramonte’s inking’s perfectly suited to Trimpe’s pencilling. Virtually every character looks as though their soul’s been wrung out like an old dish cloth and their bones are about to burst through their skin.
And, if the whole thing’s totally derivative of The Exorcist, The Omen and Rosemary’s Baby, somehow it doesn’t matter. All that matters is Satan’s in it and, as Samuel Johnson never got close to saying in his own diary, when a man’s tired of Satan he’s tired of life.