Our team of severely broken people arrives at the State Home for Foundlings and things get unbelievably messy in Hellions #2. Well, messier, because let’s be honest, things were already messy for this group of chaos engines.
Rain Beredo (cover), David Curiel (colors), Tom Muller (design), VC’s Cory Petit (letters), Stephen Segovia (art and cover), Zeb Wells (writer)
July 22, 2020
Right from the start things immediately go downhill. Honestly, that’s not the fault of the team, but the fault of the racist police officers that meet them at the orphanage. This was written before everything that’s been going on the last couple of months, obviously, but that just goes to show that this is a problem that’s been here and been ignored. It reads differently today than it would have before four months in quarantine and two months of the world screaming for justice. Psylocke tells them that their presence is both unwanted and unnecessary and while arguing with one of them, things come to a boil with an aggressive police dog, and a feral Wild Child. Greycrow saves the officer, and refreshingly Havok steps up to back Psylocke’s leadership.
Once the crew gets inside the orphanage things get no better. The place reeks of childhood fear and loss and has obviously been long abandoned. Influenced by Empath, Nanny is overwhelmed by these feelings and gloms on to Greycrow, who is very much surprised by and unwanting of such attention. Psylocke is able to get Empath to stop messing with Nanny, but it’s too late. See, if you remember from Hellions #1, Greycrow explicitly warned Manuel, “Listen. Very closely. I think for a second you’re using your powers on one of us, at any time, for any reason… I’m gonna shoot you between the eyes.” Empath clearly thought this was an empty threat until he took that promised bullet right between the eyes. I feel for Psylocke in having to deal with the bureaucracy of filing a “workplace death” report.
We dig a little deeper into Havok’s emotional state, as he seems more put together than the rest of the team for a little while before the deep psychological scars of this place start to overwhelm him. We see the small cracks widen deeper and deeper as the team confronts the zombie clones of the original Marauders and their ‘kween’. And HOO BOY. We’d seen Segovia’s Maddie just briefly last issue, but here she is depicted in all her glory. She’s dripping venom at having been ignored and forgotten. It’s righteous anger, and you can feel it through Segovia’s body language and facial expressions.
The ensuing fight between Maddie’s Marauders and the Hellions goes about as well as one would expect. The Hellions aren’t really designed to be a team and it shows. They’re a demolition crew, a group of damaged assholes who just need to get the frustration out. They don’t work together, and poor Alex is just at his wit’s end, trying to coordinate these people and think tactically, while everyone else is getting their collective asses kicked. Nanny gets SCRAMBLED for god’s sake.
It’s a whole mess, that’s just compounded with Maddie’s confrontation of Alex. The “You stand between me and my lover” line was just so good, especially when followed with “Madelyne… you’re bleeding…” and Maddie’s quiet retort, “Shhhhhh… You will too.” The sexual and dramatic tension just hangs in the air, and manipulating Alex out of the fight makes it go even more poorly for the rest of the team.
Segovia’s art is so dynamic and visceral throughout the fight sequence, and we can feel the power and brutality of all these characters. Psylocke’s doing her very best to get things under control, but the issue ends with all of the Hellions in a bad spot. Arclight preys on Greycrow’s love for his friends, Nanny has fallen and can’t get up, Orphanmaker is down for the count. Alex is having confusing feelings for an old flame. Empath is waiting for the Five to resurrect him. And Wild Child? Wild Child is going for Kwannon’s throat because he smells blood.
The team is indeed in dire straits, but the book itself is not. Hellions #2 was a raucous adventure from the first page to the last. It continues to be one of the very best books in an already immensely strong X-book line-up, and I can’t wait for more delicious drama to come.