Dark League Demon Etrigan has just found out what happened to Jason Blood, and it could have been worse than death.
WARNING: The following includes spoilers from “Future State: Dark Justice League: Propheties Part 2” in Future State: Justice League # 2 with Ram V., Marcio Takaro, Marelo Maiolo, and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
The future setting of magic in the DC Universe has never looked so bleak. It was almost completely stolen by the old wizard Merlin and left very few members of the Dark Justice League fleeing to a mobile sanctuary to plan for its inevitable arrival.
Through it all, the Etrigan Demon, one of the few who has survived to this point, has refused to fight back against Merlin. In the past, Etrigan showed no fear for the wizard who bound him mortally. But it was what happened to these mortals that frightened Etrigan, and perhaps his worst fears have been a kinder affair than what actually happened.
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After coming out of hiding (even from himself) Dr. Fate took Etrigan to one side to tell him what happened to Jason Blood. Upon Merlin’s arrival, he violently parted ways with Etrigan from Jason Blood. What it had sewn together centuries ago was easy to separate. Merlin had taken Etrigan’s enmity, threatening to kill him if Etrigan used his demonic magic against the ancient wizard. And as Etrigan put it, “Even demons suffer heartache.” His time attached to Jason Blood had inspired deep concern for his fellow inmate turned friend, and Etrigan couldn’t raise his hand. against Merlin if he bled in harm’s way.
But Doctor Fate crushed those noble ideas with just a few words. He explained that Etrigan’s fears had come true: Merlin had executed Jason Blood. Etrigan refused to believe this, seeing it as Fate’s hard way to try to get a boost out of Etrigan and that anger towards Merlin. Without proof, he would ignore the call to battle, even as Merlin’s forces closed in. But a big speech from his new guest, Detective Chimp, assured Etrigan that he would have to follow Jason’s example and choose to fight, even if it seemed hopeless.
Etrigan seemed to turn the tide abruptly, destroying the Enchantress in a one-on-one fight but was intercepted by an angel sword, shot by Merlin’s bloody knight. Then, to Etrigan’s horror and disappointment, the knight did not believe it was Jason Blood. His time as a prisoner of Merlin had changed, he seemed to have drunk the Kool-Aid, believing that if all the magic in one man’s hands gave order to the magical world. With his new ideas, Jason felt that he and Etrigan had been trying to sort things out for centuries, just failing again and again. Merlin was their best chance to bring peace.
Etrigan was disappointed, but still refused to give up his fight. He knew he was going to die, but that was still his choice. He would not agree to senseless butchery for one’s noble intentions. Jason was willing to deliver the final blow, before Dr. Fate stopped him. He revealed the reason he was telling lies to Etrigan: bring them to this point, so that he could offer Merlin a compromise. He served Merlin, in exchange for letting Etrigan and the others go free. Dr. Fate explained that Etrigan was the best way to change their future, forcing Etrigan to hold on to the hope he had found. For it was the only thing that would save magic from the hands of a tyrant.
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