The Hellfire Gala has begun, and perhaps understandably, the only members of the Hellions that managed to snag an invite are Kwannon and Alex, along with their overseer Sinister. The cover to Hellions #12 gives us a glimpse as to the reason for that decision, as Segovia and Beredo deftly illustrate the chaos that this crew might sow at a fancy party. I don’t know if my favorite part is Wildchild swinging from the chandelier or Empath making off with an entire plate of fried chicken, but the entire cover is pretty amazing.
Rain Beredo (cover), David Curiel (colors), Ariana Maher (letters), Tom Muller (design), Stephen Segovia (art and cover), Zeb Wells (writer)
June 2, 2021
This review contains spoilers for Hellions #12.
So with the first week of the Gala in the books, I have to say I’m a little underwhelmed. Marauders was good and fun (with some problems that were pointed out by my fantastic colleague Zoe Tunnell), but did not really seem to have the heft and import of a “red issue” since we don’t actually see what happened to make it an important issue. X-Force to me seemed completely skippable and included one of my least favorite characters in comics. Luckily though, Hellions #12 saved the whole damn week.
It’s not that I don’t appreciate the storytelling trick the books are using for the Gala in showing the night’s events from different angles and approaches, it’s that I don’t think the first two chapters of the event used that tactic to their best ability. Hellions, on the other hand, used the format beautifully, and in a way that perfectly highlighted both the strengths of the book itself and the characters within.
One of the things I appreciated most about this issue, is that how, in the setting of the Gala, the book still managed to push its own plots forward. Alex is able to corner both Professor X and Magneto at various points in the night to interrogate them about Madelyne Pryor, truly showing his heart and commitment. Along with that, we also got more movement on the Greycrow and Kwannon romance plot, steadily pushing forward a ship I never would have considered before this book. Segovia does a great job of displaying just how enamored with Kwannon John is.
On top of those plots, we also got continued fantastic bits of character interaction among the teammates. Whether it’s Empath and Orphan-Maker actually making nice, or John and Kwannon enjoying a quiet drink this issue is full of quiet bonding moments that show how the team is coming together. But the best of these, even though it ends remarkably poorly, is John helping Wildchild with his Aurora problem. Despite how poorly it ends, it’s also another testament to the growth of this team that so many of them came to Kyle’s aid when he lost control.
But the absolute highlights of this issue were the interactions between Sinister and Nanny. Nanny harbors a deep grudge against Sinister for wanting to kill Orphan-Maker, and she makes her feelings about the man widely known throughout the night. And as only Zeb Wells can, she does so with a panache, flair, and humor that drives this book to the top of my must-read list. From her interruption of Sinister’s self-aggrandizing introductions to Black Panther and Thor to the amazing bottle-breaking threat of “Judgment day, mother#@$%##!” Nanny was the absolute star of the first week of the Hellfire Gala.
Also Magik makes a hell of a bouncer. Just another great comedic beat in the best X-Men-related issue of the week.