We find the Falcon not dead - yet not alive. And his protege, the Patriot, is left to figure out what to do.
You can just imagine what this is like for the Patriot who, I am sure, had the usual ideas and expectations of what it would be like to be - in effect - a superhero in training. This moment would certainly not be part of those parti-colored expectations. This moment is dismal, unhopeful and panic-inducing. Enough for Patriot to call family for assistance. A lot really depends on what his mother will say to him right now. Will she panic herself and cause her son to be even more troubled? Will she council him to keep his distance, making a betrayer of him in the moment when the Falcon needs him most? No on both counts, I think she says the best possible thing at this moment.
What a Mom! And what level-headed counsel, just what Patriot needs to hear at this moment. She continues with the good advice.
It is the tough times that define us. It is who we are in front of our most formidable problems that reveal who we really are.
The Falcon is obviously in some kind of fugue state. But where is he? It turns out that he's in Hell.
In Hell he meets the Two-Gun Kid and wonders why the Kid is there. After all Hell is for bad guys and the Two-Gun Kid is a good guy. The Two-Gun Kid doesn't know why he's in Hell himself but he surmises it's because of his choice of a violent lifestyle. It's all this heavy-handed discussion of Hell and Judgment but what amuses me most is that in Hell the Two-Gun Kid has unlimited ammo and he can just up and shoot the demons roaming around - Hell isn't so bad.
Oh yes, at this point, Falcon is in denial that he's dead - heavier questions will arise later from this circumstance.
So Sam and Matt begin walking the environs of hell and one of the more interesting things we see is this.
Racist burning in hell - how do you like the Klu Klux Klan now my friend?
In the Marvel Universe Satan doesn't exist. In his place is Mephisto.
I like the touch of the sort-of-sexy-but-not skull headed assistants surrounding the head honcho. I also like that when Mephisto laughs it reverberates in his entire realm as shown by the lettering in this panel.
Here is the big question from Sam: Why is he here? He's a good guy. It's not exactly answered.
Sam pretty much runs out of options in Hell but he does have friends that are still trying to find ways for him. For example Doctor Voodoo who approaches Daimon Hellstrom.
Daimon Hellstrom is the right choice to approach for help. Also known as the Son of Satan Daimon is half-demon and half-human. And yes, he is Hellish royalty. Specially important because Sam got sent to Hell by Blackheart, Daimon's stepbrother.
Back on Earth and speaking of Blackheart, he has started a riot which is being quelled by both Patriot and Falcon II.
With that done, everybody meets around the body of Sam Wilson.
Falcon IIs eyes are really getting to me.
Among Sam's friends a discussion is taking place. The discussion is very interesting and it revolves around Sam's question in Hell, which is: Why is Sam in Hell? The group tries to come up with a list of Sam's possible violations, but there's really nothing. There is this though.
Remember those issues of Captain America with the title Captain America and the Falcon? For the longest time Falcon was a sidekick. Just like Robin yes, but unlike Robin, the Falcon never had a Nightwing transition. When the transition came it was to take up the mantle of Captain America, Sam did not take up his own identity but took up Steve's identity. This is definitely not somethng that should buy any sort of time in Hell, but it is an issue. Enough of an issue for this story to veer towards requiring Sam to make some inroads on this identity problem before he can escape Hell. But I'm getting ahead of myself, let's go check things out . . .
Back in Hell, Sam meets his father who is very revealing about his (the father's) flaw as a preacher.
He confronts other personalities from his past among those are the two versions of Steve Rogers.
With this, one of the personalities, Jim, makes a painful quip about his time as Captain America.
It's the identity question and Sam is forced to scream out a startling truth.
Doctor Voodoo uses his powers to let Sam know what he must do at this juncture.
This is Sam's response.
With this declaration, Sam, who is naked in Hell, suddenly manifests his Falcon costume and breaks free from his restraints. Sam makes peace with his visitors.
Here is Sam escaping from Hell.
Daimon Hellstrom tries to restrain his father on the ground. The Two-Gun Kid does what he can with his unlimited ammo. On the other side, after displaying some hesitation, Patriot does his part.