As we saw in X-Force #20, the Hellfire Gala hasn’t been all small talk and cocktails. That action-packed story carries forward in today’s Wolverine #13. Both books are written by Benjamin Percy, and both feature Wolverine, Deadpool, and Beast’s diabolical scheme coming to a head.
This issue opens with security on high alert after discovering a terrorist cell has started to attack the Hellfire Gala. Percy does a good job making this an exciting chapter while not requiring you to read previous issues. It is helpful to know what (the generally awful) Beast did to create this terrorist attack, but we basically get a recap of his horrible act here. What makes this issue stand on its own is how Percy introduces an old man ready to dance with his wife and having him come back later on. It adds a nice arc to a character, however unimportant they may be to the X-Men.
Essentially, the terrorist cell consists of humanoid plant creatures who are very angry about what Beast did to them. They have a good case for why they’re mad, which makes the X-Force’s treatment of them a bit suspect, but most of the team doesn’t know what Beast did at all. Percy is using this attack to show how Beast’s actions have repercussions, but also to close the door on this plot. A full resolution is likely never to come, but we do get some closure on a key data page. Oh, and don’t sleep on the final data page, which gives Deadpool the last line in the book!
While this issue sets up a major development for the Marauders, the most exciting moments involve Beast getting called out. From two specific characters in fact, and it’s a reminder that some see it fit to do rather immoral things to protect Krakoa and mutants.
Art by Scot Eaton with inks by Oren Junior and colors by Matthew Wilson capture the unnerving choice of Beast well through deep shadows in key moments. The plant creatures are cool looking, too, and different enough from Man-Thing to look like their own type of monster. Little details like Krakoan urinals, the dance floor, and Sage’s desk are well rendered. Fans looking for real-world celebrities can find Marvel’s Editor in Chief C.B. Cebulski and a few others too.
It’s fun to see how Percy used this issue to cap off a Hellfire Gala two-parter. Those looking for a Wolverine story might be unpleasantly surprised, especially since Beast is the most intriguing character in the book. The moral ambiguity seems like a cool way to probe Wolverine or reflect on other characters, but alas he’s more of a soldier slashing plant people than anything else.
Wolverine #13 is a satisfying follow-up to X-Force #20 that moves major story threads along while revealing how dark Beast’s ideas about keeping Krakoa safe are. It may not be a Wolverine story, but it’s one of the most exciting Hellfire Gala chapters yet.
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