Hellions has been a unique series since its debut, delving into the dark and dystopian angle of Krakoa like no other title. The cast is tortured and continues to be held under the thumb of power systems they can’t escape –their reality often seems a lot grimmer than the “paradise” of their peers. Hellions #10 uses that angle to a more extreme extent, crafting a wonderfully dark and haunting story that’s packed with character moments.
The opening pages are interesting for one reason only — a nod towards Regan Wyngarde, who readers haven’t seen in quite some time. But once the title gets into the nitty-gritty, focusing on the dream worlds the Hellions are trapped in, the magic of the issue really takes off.
Having each character trapped in their “ideal” dream world is both incredibly dark and also a great opportunity for character work on Wells’ part. Wells showcases John’s desire to be a good man, showing him as an army man being praised by his superior who repeats that he’s done good work. Kwannon lives out her life as a mother, Manuel terrorizes his family, and so on. In these pages, Wells and Segovia show off their deep knowledge for the characters, including tidbits like Madelyne Pryor working on a plane in her dream sequence with Alex — a throwback to the character’s pilot past. Details like these are incredibly small, but they do a lot to help the story feel whole and real. It tells us that Alex wants to see Madelyne at her happiest, her most untortured moments — living as a pilot in Alaska without Sinister’s interference, Scott’s infidelity, or her untimely deaths. There’s something tragic about knowing neither of them will ever have this.
There’s something a little haunting about the sequence in which Kwannon breaks them all out of their fantasies, asking her child what her name is discover her own child doesn’t know. It’s sad almost, this hint that Kwannon had known from the very start that her “dream” reality was too good to be true. Once she breaks out, the others do too — and the way Wells works with John’s desire to be a better man vs his guilt over murdering the Morlocks is truly great stuff. What Wells has done with John Greycrow’s character over the span of Hellions cannot be overstated — it’s truly amazing work, crafting a troubled but lovable character who wants to be better than his past.
It’s interesting, in this book full of outcasts who want to be better, that Manuel is the lone outlier. For anyone who knows his character, his sadistic nature being amped up and played for what it is here isn’t a surprise, but it works in Hellions’ favor. Instead of repeating the same trope and humanizing Manuel, Wells plays with the idea that some people truly are just bad to the bone, and no “paradise” will change that. He’s an interesting foil to the rest of his cast in this title, and this issue proves why.
Hellions #10 takes a deep dive into some dark territory but the comic is all the better for it, crafting deeply personal scenes that allow for a real look inside these characters’ heads. Wells and Segovia have never been better and Hellions continues to be worthy of its praise.
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