With the Hellfire Gala over, the Hellions return to the lingering plot threads left over from the previous event in Hellions #13 and #14.
Hellions #13 and #14
Rogê Antonio (art), Rain Beredo (cover and color), Ariana Maher (letters), Tom Muller (design), Stephen Segovia (cover), Zeb Wells (writer)
July 7, 2021 and August 4, 2021
This review contains spoilers for Hellions #13 and 14.
With the Gala wrapped, Hellions shifts its focus back to plots from back before and during X of Swords. The first of these is the baby mutant AI that Nanny rescued from the Right. The Hellions have had little downtime since their first two missions, so Hellions #13 is mostly an issue about that downtime, giving the characters a little room to breathe and unpack.
It also serves as a downtime issue for Segovia, who only provides the cover while Antonio takes over on interiors for these two issues. Antonio’s pencils are a little more exaggerated than Segovia’s and for an issue focused on quiet moments, that works extremely well. The exaggerations make for more dramatic facial acting, and that is enjoyable in these issues.
One of those quiet moments is the father-son bonding of Greycrow and Peter. Is cleaning guns the best activity to bond over? No, probably not. But it’s nice to see this group growing closer and building connections. That’s something that will be important to their development and healing. One point of conflict is that Alex still feels like he’s too good for the rest of the team, as demonstrated at the Gala. Luckily as he’s confronted about that, Sinister’s alarm goes off.
Because the other lingering plot point is that of the Locus Vile and Tarn, and oh boy, did they come swinging back hard. With the Arakki mutants now on planet Arakko, it was only a matter of time before Tarn and his brood returned. The first hint of this was the reappearance of the Sinister that was sacrificed in Amenth. He’s stitched together like a glam Frankenstein’s monster, and it’s just a little bit unnerving. It turns out that Frankenstein Sinister is now a servant of Tarn, and he brought the Locus Vile with him for a rematch.
Hellions #14 opens at the Great Ring on Arakko, with Regent Storm denying Tarn his revenge on Sinister for stealing the DNA during X of Swords. However, much like Sinister himself, Tarn seems to be fine working outside of the council, as he’d already dispatched his Sinister and the Vile to reclaim his stolen pro, and as a blade fish arrives from Mother Rapture, Tarn makes his way to Krakoa.
Before Tarn’s arrival, it seems like the changes that altered Nanny, Peter, and Wildchild are beneficial in this rematch, as their ferocity allows them an edge they did not have the last time they encountered the Vile. The first data page of the issue explains that this isn’t a subtle change, but an evolution to make it harder for them to die the same way the next time. This is also the basic concept behind Doomsday in the Superman comics, as he was just a monster that kept getting killed and remade in different ways until he was an unstoppable rage monster.
And this new energy is substantial to give the Hellions the upper hand, ever so briefly, until Tarn and his mastery over genomes turn the tide as he strips away this gift from Wildchild and subdues the rest of the team. Tarn also reveals Sinister’s secret to the team; namely, he killed them all upon their return so they did not know his full plan. As Sinister then panics and releases the rest of his clone selves, he also flees through a gate programmed to only his genetic code alongside the Frankensteined version of himself. That seems like a bad plan since that one’s under the control of Tarn, but nobody ever said Essex was smart.
So just as the first of his betrayals is revealed, he betrays the team again, leaving them at the mercy of the Locus Vile. But that is a story that will be continued next month.