Hellions #1 was possibly the best written comic book of the year. It introduced a different kind of anti-hero team and gave them an important mission to go on. In Hellions #3, out today, we get to see them in the thick of a trap and how they react. Some understandably go manic while others take the lead, but when Madelyne Pryor has her boot on your neck, is there really anything you can do to free yourself?
This issue shows how truly evil Pryor is, but also how her emotions can yo-yo and turn on a dime. She wants revenge, but she’s also unhinged to the point where her own actions can mean life or death for those in her clutches. In her clutches is Havok for much of this issue, and he tries to reason with her. This is the main thread of the book that keeps it all together. We wait to see if she’ll get her way and be seen for once, or continue to commit horrors on the Hellions.
While the weirdness is building, Psylocke must attempt to tame Wild Child who has forgotten he is no Alpha. The key to this subplot is a data page that reveals who the real leader of the Hellions are and how Mr. Sinister’s dynamic with the team could be thwarted. It also delves into Psylocke’s new nature with Captain Britain removed from her soul, further postulating that this character is truly unknowable. This issue acts as a way to show how even when the mission is completely off the rails and possibly lost Psylocke can pull it all back together.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team is getting tortured and Nanny is the shining light of humor for the book. It’s also a bit sad as she watches Orphan-Maker get tortured since she loves him so much. The character adds a nice bizarre layer to the already strange mix of characters in this book.
This issue is a quick one, taking up only a few minutes in real-time and feeling more like a 10-minute segment in a 60 minute TV show. Madelyne Pryor steals the show, but she also has the meatier scenes, leaving most of the other characters handling things off-page and not getting much done in their own right. It’s a decompressed story for sure, and it left me wanting more story and plot progression.
Pryor is also a problematic character who seems to be a smattering of extreme emotions and unhinged ideas more than anything else. The shortened window of time spent in the book hurts her development, though, so it’s hard to pin down what she’s about. That said, she plays the part of crazy villain, leaving her a bit hollow.
The art by Stephen Segovia with colors by David Curiel is good, maximizing every blow and bloody kiss for full effect. The colors really lift the imagery off the page in ways that add dynamic range and interest. In a scene with Wild Child fighting Psylocke for instance, we see Psylocke break Wild Child’s leg in near silhouette, but the yellow and orange light at their feet increases the drama of the moment. Overlaid with this at the bottom of the page is Psylocke grabbing Wild Child by the throat, speeding up the movement between the kick and her final attack. There isn’t a lot of detail in backgrounds, but the color and art do enough to make the action that much more brutal and interesting.
This is a good issue, but it has its issues. Pryor is underwritten, but so is the book in general thanks to a decompressed story spanning only a few minutes. It’s an exciting fight comic though, and one with some bizarre and weird elements that can’t be missed. If you like your entertainment weird, you’ll like Hellions.