Hellions continues to be a perfect mixture of the classic character developing soap opera style of old and the more modern approach to the entire X-Line. Really solid and engaging artwork kicks off the start of a story arc that promises to bring some big changes for the series as a whole. One of the best books of the new X-Men era, hands down.
If forgotten or left to fester, the sins of the past can quickly become the evils of the present. This is the lesson on multiple fronts that the members of the Hellions are about to learn. Painfully.
Since it began, Hellions has been one of the most character-driven and character-developing series of the X-Men line, truly living as an ensemble piece where everyone gets their storylines and moments. Also over that time, the team has undergone various missions, not surviving all of them, and leaving some unfinished threads dangling behind each time. Zeb Wells, Rogê Antônio, Rain Beredo, and Ariana Maher weave those threads together in a very interesting opening salvo for the latest story arc.
Often, when a book rotates in a new art team in place of the regular team, there are often some stark differences between the art styles. Not so much here. Antônio and Bredo have very similar art and coloring styles to Stephen Segovia and David Curiel, with just a bit of a harder edge to the former’s work. That might not be the best way to describe the difference, but it is what comes to mind and it’s not meant in a bad way in any fashion.
That rougher edge still captures the character’s looks, emotions, and action very well. The colors are from a more muted palette compared to the last issue, but it works since this is a darker issue compared to the ridiculous fun nature of the Gala. The duo is very solid and mesh well together. They should definitely continue to work on this book when needed as well as get some other work of their own.
Just like the prior art team, and many across a variety of Marvel books, Antônio and Bredo are quite creative in the use of panels and space. More comics being playful with white space and how they use their panels is such a welcome thing. It just adds a different flavor, especially to books that are meant to stand apart from others with such a diverse cast of characters.
Maher continues to do what she does best with her lettering, taking serious or hilarious moments and elevating them with some inspired lettering SFX choices. A particular scene between Greycrow and Orphan Maker works fantastically as it stands, but the effects Maher employs just adds a whole new depth as it gives you the sound aspect of the scene to imagine while reading. All this while also delivering on all levels with the dialogue that packs the issue. Each character feels unique already from their looks and by the style of how they talk, but Maher also finds ways to make even those using similar fonts for their dialogue feel unique.
Many of the X-Men books have picked up on plotlines from X of Swords or other recent stories, but for some reason, it just feels far more natural with the threads that are being explored here. Wells manages to set up the various threats quite well, including small reminders of what occurred in the previous stories, while also continuing the soap opera/character development arcs of this motley crew.
It still bears repeating every time that Wells and the variety of artists involved have made some of these borderline obscure or almost forgotten characters not only some popular ones with fans, but have elevated them in so many ways. Despite not having the standard heroic type of characters, this is one of the titles that most calls back to the beloved character-focused stories of X-Men past.
Hellions #13 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.