Hellions consistently at the top of the pack when it comes to the X-Line of books because it’s a gorgeous engaging fun character development-filled series focused on broken and flawed people who have found their own little family niche and are just trying to make it. There is so much heart and pain surrounded by delightful humorous moments that make this entire issue a delight from start to finish.
The Hellfire Gala has arrived and anyone who is anyone has been invited to the giant mutant gathering. Everyone except a majority of the mutants relegated to the group known as the Hellions. Thing is, big matters of state parties/galas are great and all, but clearly the best party is any party that includes the members of the Hellions.
When announcing the ‘Hellfire Gala‘ sort of mini-event Marvel made sure to make it clear that the mini-event is a series of things all happening during the same party across these twelve titles. There is an overall goal to reach and a big revelation still on the way, but the various books are also tackling different angles and moments of the momentous occasion.
Since the first issue of this book, Zeb Wells has never shied away from how broken many of these mutants are within the book, yet at the same time, they are also some of the most put-together individuals on the island because they realize who and what they are and are forming their own little family. Just like previous issues, this one is a solid mix of character development, emotional gut punches, and hilarity that leaves you bouncing around delightfully from start to finish.
All of that emotion and hilarity are perfectly captured and brought to stunning life by Stephen Segovia and David Curiel. There is just something so entrancing about how they can capture each moment in the best way possible. There are plenty of panels that are the standard type that showcase all the characters in a scene and what’s happening, but they are elevated by the constant use of close-up panels that give us a deeper look at what is happening.
Far too often lettering is a topic that isn’t mentioned in a lot of reviews, a lot of casual comic conversations and even at times, the industry itself leaves it out of the conversation. Which is a giant crime. Ariana Maher is a truly fantastic letterer, helping sell some of the best moments of this issue. When Orphan Maker/Peter enters the fight of the issue giddy screaming about bananas it’s a hilarious moment in all respects but the letting choice for the word Bananas just takes it up to a whole other level.
Hell the moment between Mr. Sinister and Nanny at this point in the issue might make this the issue of the year, maybe even the decade.
One of the hallmarks of X-Men comics has always been the ‘soap opera’ close (whether functional or dysfunctional) relationships between characters. There are books and times where plot and focus on a particular character supersede this, but not with Hellions. The series easily combines action and overarching plotlines alongside the character development/moments into something that is a joy to read every issue. Even when things are at their roughest for the characters.
In fact, there is a very noticeable throughline regarding character development through these twelve issues. Krakoan society as a whole still deems the characters to be “broken” or “rough” or “undesirables” (outside of council member Sinister and Psylocke who was assigned to lead/watch them), but they are something more than that. These are the characters that not only have gone through arguably the most development and change since the era began, but they are the ones not pretending to be something else. Unlike many other main characters of the line who put on proverbial masks and often are trying to be things that go against who they truly are.
Take Empath for example. Still a loathsome sociopath, but there is something that has inherently changed about him in the presence of his little found family. In fact, in this issue, he even uses his warped mutant powers in a slightly positive (albeit still wrong and ultimately destructive) way.
What this creative team is doing with this book is beyond fantastic. They have cemented it as one of the top books of the entire line, easily.
Hellions #12 is now on sale from Marvel Comics in print and digitally.