Last week the X of Swords tournament finally kicked off, feating a host of battles and long-awaited action. Hellions #6 doesn’t exactly continue that thread, though it does bring its own brand of fun to the table.
Hellions thus far has shown that Zeb Wells excels at dialogue, portraying the wonderfully dysfunctional relationship between this lovable band of misfits. Through Hellions, Wells has managed to make lesser-known characters fan favorites, completely captivating in their own right. As an X of Swords tale, Hellions #6 feels out of place and unnecessary. As a tale within the Hellions saga thus far, it’s a complete delight.
Last issue, the Hellions embarked on a mission to Otherworld in order to steal the swords before Arakko could claim them. Now, the tournament is mostly over, so it makes their quest mostly useless –something the story itself points out. One can’t help but read Hellions #6 and think there should have been an issue in between the start of their quest and before the tournament started, giving their journey more use in the grand scheme of things.
None of the cast is involved in the X of Swords tournament, though Hellions #6 provides high stakes of its own. Mister Sinister, who thus far has been a wild card, has the true nature of his allegiances come into play. Since House of X and Powers of X kicked off, a betrayal by Mister Sinister (and a rogue Sinister clone) has been looming on the horizon. Hellions #5 unearthed a Sinister clone and issue #6 showcased his inevitable betrayal –or at least one of his inevitable betrayals.
Sinister reveals the true nature of the quest, which wasn’t to help Krakoa but rather to help himself to Arakko’s mutant DNA pool. After unleashing his sample-collecting drones on the Arakkii mutants, the Hellions are attacked. X of Swords thus far has been a rather safe event, introducing conveniences to keep most of the X-Men alive. It’s almost interesting then, that Hellions #6, which is barely tied to the tournament, takes the most risks.
Several members of the team are gravely injured, with some meeting their end in Otherworld. The wonderfully dysfunctional team turns on each other yet again as well, particularly with Greycrow coming to his senses and leaving Empath for dead. The end has the biggest twist of all as one Mister Sinister arises and kills his own team on Krakoan soil, reporting their deaths to the Quiet Council.
While enjoyable, Hellions #6 is conflicting because it’s not necessary in the X of Swords landscape, which it is a part of. X of Swords thus far has been slow, containing mostly filler issues and negating to include any of the battles the event was built on until last week. Considering we are now on part 18 of the 22-part event, it doesn’t feel pertinent to tell this story right now.
Hellions #6 raises several intriguing questions, including which Mister Sinister was the clone and which was the real one all along. Knowing how permanent death is in Otherworld, it’ll be interesting moving forward to see how the team responds to their losses –especially since the remaining Hellions’ own deaths mean they won’t have memories of their murder upon resurrection. Watching Sinister’s plan unfold will also be a treat, especially since his betrayal seems imminent.
As usual, Carmen Carnero’s pencils are among the best in the current X-Men line, providing wonderfully expressive work that’s a perfect fit for this team of misfits. Zeb Wells’ dialogue is punchy — certainly among his best work.
In short, Hellions #6 isn’t a great entry in X of Swords event, but it’s a great standalone issue in a fun series thus far.
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