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Comic Book / H'el on Earth

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H'el on Earth is the first Superman family crossover story arc of the New 52. Starting in October 2012, the story begins in Superman #13 and continues through the Superboy, Supergirl, and Superman titlesnote  until its conclusion in Superman #17. It is written by Scott Lobdell, Tom DeFalco, and Mike Johnson.

The story introduces H'el: the third surviving Kryptonian to appear in the New 52 (after Superman and Supergirl). H'el is a mysterious Kryptonian who wishes to resurrect Krypton regardless of the expense to Earth. Superman tries to stop him, but H'el turns out to be more powerful than Superman, Supergirl, and Superboy. How will they combat a threat of this magnitude?

H'el on Earth later gained a sequel story in the form of Krypton Returns.

H'el on Earth contains examples of:

  • Affably Evil:
    • H'el is rather nice to fellow Kryptonian Supergirl, who also wants to go back to her old life on Krypton. He later convinces her join him in his quest to resurrect Krypton, but manipulates her to estrange her from Superman.
    • H'el was also friendly to Superman, initially. When they first meet, H'el hugs Superman and even says he's like a brother. Superman was already suspicious, but then H'el offers to kill Superboy in front of him to prove his loyalty to Krypton (Kryptonians other than Superman are viciously racist against clones). Superman responded poorly to this.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: In Superboy #15, H'el throws Superman and Superboy out of the Fortress of Solitude to use the technology in it for his plans. The fortress is so impenetrable that Superman has to call up the Justice League to launch an attack on it.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: After Superman is done gathering information from Lex Luthor, Luthor gives him something to think about.
    Lex Luthor: Why can H'el do much more than you? Is he more powerful than you... or have you just failed to make yourself as powerful as he? And if that is the case... what are you so afraid of, Superman?
  • Barbarian Long Hair: H'el.
  • Batman Gambit: H'el was counting on Superboy to destroy most of the Star Chamber because he was actually destroying the fueling station for his ship and preparing his ship for launch.
  • Berserk Button: When H'el has Superman on the ropes, he gives him a "Reason You Suck" Speech which ends with him insulting his Earth parents. This gives Superman the strength to get up and fight back.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The comic covers has a line of Kryptonian under the heading that reads "H EL ON EARTH".
  • Body Horror:
    • In Superboy #14, H'el telekinetically deconstructs parts of Superboy's body before putting him back together again.
    • In Superboy #15, H'el damages Superboy so that his DNA unravels, slowly killing him. To save him, Superman puts his Kryptonian battle-suit on him, halting the process, but only temporarily.
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: In Superman #17, Supergirl defeats H'el by stabbing him with a kryptonite shard, but holding the shard for so long heavily poisons her. If Superman didn't act fast, she would've died.
  • But What About the Astronauts?: H'el's origin is explained this way.
  • Car Fu: After Superman punches H'el into a car lot in Superman #14, H'el retaliates by raining down cars on him.
  • Clingy Costume: In Superboy #15, Superboy must wear Superman's battle-suit to keep his DNA from unraveling. Until they can cure him, Superboy must wear the suit or he will die.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • After Superman put his battle-suit on Superboy to save his life, he puts on the shirt and jeans he used to wear in Action Comics (New 52).
    • The alien hornblower from Superman #1 reappears and is shown to be calling an entity named the Oracle to come to Earth to witness its destruction.
  • Curbstomp Battle: In Superboy #14, the Teen Titans take on H'el when he attacks Superboy. H'el blows them away with a psychic whirlwind before they lay a finger on him.
  • Curb Stomp Cushion: Supergirl vs Wonder Woman. It's plainly clear that Supergirl is outmatched and only lasts as long as she does because Wonder Woman is holding back and trying to reason with her, but she still manages to draw blood from the Amazon and even temporarily stuns her with a sunburst, seconds before Wonder Woman takes her down.
  • Daddy DNA Test: A variation. When Superman puts his battle-suit on Superboy, the family crest should have changed the instant it identified his Kryptonian bloodline. It stayed the same, confirming Superman's suspicions that Superboy's his clone.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Superboy. Superman calls him out on this at one point, but he also has his snarky momen.
  • Determinator: When H'el tears Superman's battle-suit off Superboy, Superboy keeps himself from falling apart with only his telekinesis and willpower. It takes a great amount of effort just to move, but he still tries to stop H'el despite his condition.
  • Depending on the Artist: H'el was originally portrayed in promotional art (as well as Superman #13 and Superboy #14) as having a backwards "S" symbol carved on his chest. From Supergirl #14 and onward, H'el is no longer portrayed with the backwards "S", though this was later revealed to have been due to H'el masking the backwards "S" with his powers, with Kara calling him out on it. Given that H'el was originally a new design for long-time Superman doppelganger Bizarro, the backwards "S" did have a clear purpose, but on H'el it's currently unclear as to how he got it and why he tried to hide it.
  • Discard and Draw: When Superboy has Superman's battle-suit put on him, it seems to remove his tactile telekinesis, his visceral connection to his surroundings. Instead, the suit alters his telekinesis, increasing his strength and flight while also requiring him to actually touch something to use his telekinesis on it. Once it's off, his telekinesis returns to normal.
  • The Dragon: Supergirl serves as this to H'el. As long as she doesn't know his plan will destroy Earth, at least.
  • End of the World as We Know It: H'el must be stopped before he uses his Star Chamber or the energy it drains from the Sun will destroy the Solar system. Superman can't stop him in time and he activates it, but he is stopped before he destroys the world.
  • Exact Words: H'el convinces Supergirl to become his Dragon by claiming that Earth won't suffer after his plan is complete. Superboy later points out that H'el didn't exactly lie: Earth won't suffer when his plan is complete because it will be already dead by then.
  • Expy: H'el's pale skin and backwards "S" scar was because he was originally meant to be the New 52 incarnation of Bizarro. However, he was so different that he was made into an entirely different character.
    • Fans have noted H'el has shades of Superboy-Prime including his hatred of Superboy and obsession with the superiority of his homeworld.
  • Face–Heel Turn: H'el convinces Supergirl, who just wants to go back to Krypton, to help him resurrect Krypton. However, he never told her that it would also destroy Earth and thus she didn't understand why Superman's opposed to them. Once she learns the truth, she calls him out and sides with Superman again.
  • False Reassurance: When Supergirl asks H'el if resurrecting Krypton will do anything to Earth, he assures her that the people of Earth won't suffer. That's because they'll all be dead after the Sun implodes if H'el's plan suceeds.
  • Fantastic Racism:
    • H'el hates Superboy, a human/Kryptonian clone, with every fiber of his body. This is because Krypton used to use clones as servants until they revolted and nearly wrecked their planet.
    • H'el also thinks Earth and every human on it is inferior to Krypton and Kryptonians. He doesn't care what price Earth has to pay in his goal to resurrect Krypton.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: When Superboy meets Superman for the first time, he's untrusting of him; only teaming up with Superman because he saved his life. Over time, Superboy warms up to him, impressed by how well he handles situations. He even offers to call in his friends, the Teen Titans to help battle H'el.
  • Genius Loci: While storming the Fortress of Solitude, Superman and Superboy get sucked into a pocket dimension. Superboy senses it's alive and uses his telekinesis to communicate to it and help them get back to Earth.
  • Godzilla Threshold: To stop H'el, Superman fears he may have to break his moral code and kill him. However, it's Supergirl that defeats H'el, as it is the only way to spare Earth.
  • Good Scars, Evil Scars:
    • H'el has a scar over his left eye and another across the bridge of his nose. How he got them is unknown.
    • Lex Luthor has scars all over the left side of his face, which were caused by Superman in a previous confrontation.
  • Gut Feeling: Even with his psychic powers damped down by Superman's battle-suit, Superboy can tell that Lex Luthor is all kinds of evil when they first met in Superman #15.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: H'el certainly thinks so. He takes Supergirl to an urban war zone to try to make her think the same.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: In Superman #17, Supergirl defeats H'el by stabbing him through the chest with a shard of kryptonite.
  • Incredible Shrinking Girl: H'el shrinks Supergirl to enter the Bottle City of Kandor to get the Quantum Crystal to build his Star Chamber. He can't shrink himself, so H'el uses an Astral Projection to follow her.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: In Superman #17, Supergirl admits defeat and asks H'el to take her with him into the Star Chamber. However, this turns out to be a ploy to catch H'el off guard and poison him with kryptonite.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: H'el wasn't always a scarred, pale skinned, black-eyed man. Flashbacks and his hologram in Supergirl #15 show how he used to look back on Krypton, when he was quite handsome.
  • Kaiju: In Superman #13, a mile-long undead prehistoric Kryptonian dragon creature rampages across Metropolis. It's so strong that a whack from its tail sends Superman flying all the way to Ireland! It is defeated when Superman ignites an oil rig, engulfing the creature in a huge ball of fire. Turns out H'el sent it to test Superman's abilities.
  • Kryptonian Popsicles: The Bottle City of Kandor is a Kryptonian city that was shrunken and locked in stasis many years ago by the Collector of Worlds. It's now located in the Fortress of Solitude. Supergirl finds the place disturbing, especially when she finds her old friend, Tali, frozen in time like the rest of the inhabitants.
  • Kryptonite Factor:
    • Since H'el's a Kryptonian, he's as vulnerable to kryptonite as Superman and Supergirl. Superman planned to use a kryptonite shard he kept in the Fortress of Solitude against H'el, but H'el got to it first and used it to build his Star Chamber
    • When most of the Star Chamber is destroyed, the kryptonite shard falls out. Supergirl uses it stab H'el and finally defeats him.
  • Mistaken for an Imposter: Lois Lane mistook Supergirl for a "comely cosplayer" at their first meeting, mostly because she walked into Clark Kent's apartment when Clark and Lois were arguing with each other and romantic jealousy had cropped up.
  • Mr. Exposition: Superboy notes how Superman tends to lecture him during situations in Superboy Annual #1. Superman claims he doesn't, he merely explains.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: In Superboy #17, Supergirl pounds Superboy into the ground for trying to stop them from resurrecting Krypton. Having been severely weakened, he doesn't even bother fighting back and instead tries to reason with them.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When H'el uses his Star Chamber, he directs the temporal portals in it with his psychic powers. When Supergirl mortally wounds him, the portals close, sparing Earth and keeping Krypton dead.
  • Out-of-Character Moment: In Superman #14. After Superman and H'el are caught in an explosion, Superman comes out of the inferno looking absolutely pissed at Supergirl. He grabs her by the throat, blaming her for everything bad happening and calling her a stupid peroxide brat. He then strangles her unconscious and hangs her by the cape on a lamp post. Why is Superman so angry? Because it wasn't him. It was really H'el disguised as Superman attempting to estrange the two so she would ally with H'el.
  • Pillar of Light: When H'el activates the Star Chamber and it reaches full power, it emits a giant beam of light that shoots through the sky and out into space.
  • Post-Victory Collapse: At the end, Supergirl stabs H'el with a shard of Kryptonite and pushes him through a dimensional gate, ending his threat. Kara mutters she wasn't about to leave things to her baby cousin before collapsing.
  • Punched Across the Room: Happens several times throughout the story. Considering the strength of the characters, they go much farther than a room.
    • In Superman #13, an undead Kryptonian dragon swats Superman from Metropolis all the way to Ireland.
    • In Superman #14, Superman punches H'el into a car lot when he tries to kill Superboy.
    • In Supergirl #17, H'el punches Superman so hard, he's sent flying into space.
  • Sequel Hook/Trapped in the Past: In Superman #17, H'el falls into a temporal portal after being stabbed by Supergirl. He ends up back on Krypton twelve years before its destruction, where he is found by a young Jor-El.
  • Set Right What Once Went Wrong: H'el's plan is to travel back in time to before Krypton exploded, and prevent its destruction. However, the energy needed for the time travel would destroy the entire Solar system. Not that H'el cares about our star system.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: H'el talked Supergirl into helping him save Krypton, assuring that no one would suffer. She believed him... until she found out that he omitted several key details when he explained his plan.
    Supergirl: H'el, you never said anything about sacrifice! About threatening this planet! About killing innocent people!
    H'el: Killing? I'm not killing anyone! When we go back in time, this planet and its people will still exist, only thrust back to its own past! What happens to them today will be no more real than a bad dream! Surely you see that, beloved —
    Supergirl: Don't call me that! You used me! You told me everything I wanted — everything I needed — to hear! And now people might be dying because I helped you!
  • Spell My Name with an S: Is the main antagonist's name H'el or H'El? Promotional materials alternate between the spellings. Since the comics use the traditional all caps font, it is uncertain which spelling is correct.
  • Superpower Lottery: Not only is H'el stronger and faster than Superman, he also has many other abilities, such as telekinesis and giving Supergirl the ability to speak and understand English.
  • Storming the Castle: After H'el takes over Superman's Fortress of Solitude, Superman calls in the Justice League to help take it back.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: Lex Luthor is the only prisoner in a prison that he designed himself. He built the prison when Superman challenged him to create a prison that even he couldn't break out of.
  • Teleport Interdiction: When the Justice League assaults the Fortress of Solitude, Cyborg tries to save time by teleporting the League to H'el with a boom tube. However, H'el toys with them by redirecting their boom tubes, forcing the League to break in the hard way.
  • True Companions: On Krypton, H'el was like family to Superman's birth parents, Jor-El and Lara Lor-Van. The day before he was sent into space, they gave him the family crest, making him an honorary member of the House of El.
  • Unskilled, but Strong: When Wonder Woman fights Supergirl, she remarks that while they are closely matched in strength and speed, she is much more experienced and skilled while Supergirl lashes out with no thought or strategy.
  • Unwanted Rescue: When the Justice League storms the Fortress of Solitude, The Flash is tasked with finding Supergirl. However Supergirl doesn't want to be rescued because she's on H'el's side.
  • Unwitting Pawn: H'El seduced Supergirl and talked her into helping him bring Krypton back, assuring that no Earthmen would suffer. She joined him... until she found out that his plan involved blowing the Sun up and destroying Earth. Then she turned on him right away.
  • Villainous Crush: H'el claimed to love Kara... and he planned to blow the Sun up in order to save Krypton.
  • Villain Teleportation: H'el can teleport himself and others with little effort. When Superboy harms Supergirl in Superman #16, H'el becomes so mad that he teleports the entire Fortress of Solitude miles away.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: H'el never wears a shirt over his muscled chest.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: All H'el wants is to resurrect his home planet, Krypton. Unfortunately, Earth has to be destroyed for him to bring back Krypton.
  • Wham Line: Supergirl #15 ends with these two lines: "You are with me, aren't you Kara?" "Y-Yes. I'm with you."