The Marvel Cinematic Universe has pathways to all sorts of dimensions and parallel universes, but does it have an avenue into Hell itself?
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law, of all things, may have just kicked down the door.
In the fourth episode of She-Hulk, Wong (Benedict Wong) returns for the services of L.A. lawyer Jennifer Walters (Tatiana Maslany). Wong has beef with a D-list celebrity magician, Donny Blaze (Rhys Coiro), a former Kamar-Taj student who’s appropriating Mystic Arts techniques for his struggling show.
Not only is Wong peeved that Donny makes a mockery of the Mystic Arts for personal gain, but Donny isn’t trained to handle problems should the show go wrong. Eventually it does, and Donny accidentally unleashes demons from the netherworld.
The episode also introduces the MCU’s newest star: Madisynn (Patty Guggenheim), a woo girl Donny Blaze sends to Hell during his show. Miraculously, Madisynn not only survives, but safely finds her way back to Wong’s place in Kamar-Taj, interrupting his Sopranos binge.
What’s interesting is what Madisynn says she saw. If her testimony is accurate, the MCU may have just introduced a few key — and Satanic — figures into its universe.
What Did Madisynn See in Hell?
Madisynn says she encountered a “talking goat” who wanted “six drops” of her blood to help her escape a lava pit.
Later, while giving testimony in court, she says she met a “Goblin King.”
These might sound like generic evil creatures, but nothing is generic in the MCU. Based on the brief descriptions Madisynn provided, she may have just survived a brush with some very evil beings.
Is the “Talking Goat” Baphomet?
Baphomet, commonly depicted as a winged humanoid with the head and feet of a goat, is a deity in the canon of Western occult beliefs. Chances are you’ve encountered depictions of Baphomet before, and he has a place in Marvel’s comics canon.
He first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #15, as part of a story centered around the antihero Daimon Hellstrom, a.k.a. Son of Satan. You might know the latter name from either Marvel’s short-lived Son of Satan comics in the ‘70s or the recent, short-lived TV series Helstrom on Hulu.
In one of Daimon’s appearances in Marvel’s anthology series Marvel Spotlight, he’s tasked with investigating a cult at a university.
Long story short, the cult was actually a ruse by Daimon’s father, Satan, to trap his son. The “leader” of the cult is Baphomet, a powerful servant of Satan. A battle and chase ensue, but Baphomet meets his end falling off the St. Louis Arch, sending his spirit back to Hell.
True to his common depictions, Marvel’s Baphomet is a talking goat. The “six drops” of blood that Madisynn was told to give him might have consequences, but it sounds like a generic stereotype of devil worship invented by She-Hulk’s writers. Either way, it drives home the idea that Madisynn met a truly sinister figure and still managed to walk away with no repercussions.
Is the “Goblin King” Norman Osborn?
In court, Madisynn also namedrops a “Goblin King,” but doesn’t go into detail.
It might be a coincidence, but Marvel’s comics do have a Goblin King. Norman Osborn takes the name in Superior Spider-Man, a series where Doc Ock places his mind inside Peter Parker’s body and poses as Spider-Man to prove he’s the “superior” of the two. To challenge the Superior Spider-Man, Norman builds an army and dubs himself the Goblin King.
The Goblin King name is also taken by Phil Urich, the nephew of Daily Bugle journalist Ben Urich. Phil tries to be a superhero, only to end up as the Hobgoblin, and later Goblin Knight. In The Amazing Spider-Man #5 in 2014 he took on Norman’s abandoned Goblin King mantle for himself, but is later deposed by Osborn.
It’s highly unlikely that Madisynn encountered either Norman Osborn or Phil Urich in the dimension Donny Blaze sent her to, given that neither has been properly introduced into the MCU’s prime reality. It’s just a good name for a malevolent figure who keeps a mailing address in Hell.
Is Donny Blaze Ghost Rider?
This isn’t suggested by Madisynn, but isn’t it strange that Donny Blaze’s name sounds close to Johnny Blaze, who takes on the Spirit of Vengeance and becomes Ghost Rider?
Like Goblin King, this might just be a coincidence; Blaze is a good name for a bad magician. However, it’s worth noting that She-Hulk head writer Jessica Gao had fun reassuring Deadline on the red carpet that Blaze is “just” a magician. Maybe he’s just a magician with a more notable sibling?
What does it mean that Hell exists in the MCU?
The short-lived series Helstrom was meant to adapt the ’70s Son of Satan comics, but the show’s connections to the MCU were tenuous at best. Even showrunner Paul Zbyszewski told Entertainment Weekly that Helstrom was “siloed off” from the MCU given the “darker” nature of the series.
As of now, there’s still no precedent for Hell in the MCU beyond whatever Madisynn endured in her offscreen escape. It’s doubtful that anything from the Son of Satan comics will be implemented in the MCU, especially with so much else going on in Phase Four. But in the meantime, Hell is verifiably real, and one can imagine a number of MCU evildoers ending up there. If a portal ever opens up, perhaps they’ll get legal counsel from Jennifer Walters.
She-Hulk: Attorney At Law streams Thursdays on Disney+.