After an admittedly lackluster Hellfire Gala tie-in issue, Hellions gets back on track with another stellar entry in the mutant-oddball series. Hellions #13 is fun, dramatic, and brings relevance to a plot from X of Swords. This is definitely Zeb Wells back in his element.
One of the biggest disappointments of the post-X of Swords books is that aside from Apocalypse’s presence being missed, it’s hard to discern why that event really mattered in the grand scheme of things. Arakko’s introduction should have been more of a splash than it made — we got thousands of new mutant characters with lore left to explore and no writer has really delved into that. Hickman spent one issue of X-Men exploring the Great Ring of Arakko and Ewing toyed with an Arakkii mutant in S.W.O.R.D., but after that, the entire population was just shipped off to Mars.
Hellions #13 resurrects the X of Swords plot with Mister Sinister in Amenth, bringing relevance back to a story from that period. The stuff with the two Sinisters is really entertaining and it leaves the reader waiting to find out when the Hellions finally learn that Mister Sinister killed them as well. The Amenth characters that show up in this issue promise some once-in-a-lifetime X-Men stories that couldn’t exist anywhere outside of this era. It’s nice to see Hellions taking advantage of this new lore to tell a story like this.
Hellions also shines in smaller ways, like Mastermind and Sinister’s interactions, referring to Wyngarde’s work on X-Corp or X-Factor’s data page. Stuff like this helps make the X-books feel less enclosed, which really is a plus side for titles right now. One of the things that makes this era so promising is the idea that mutants are all living together in harmony, meaning we should be seeing more interactions between titles like this. Having characters from different titles cross over with each other is what books should be doing, eliminating this isolated feeling between titles and relying on character relationships.
Speaking of character relationships, as another one of the issue’s highlights, John shows off his sensitive side again by helping out Orphanmaker. Their scenes are sometimes humorous, but it’s hard to ignore the underlying fact that John simply does care for his teammate, making the scene oddly sweet in that way Hellions so often manages to do. The increasing tension between Kwannon and Greycrow leaves the reader wanting more in a good way, needing to see just where these two go.
The issue ends on an exciting note, with Sinister’s cloning being exposed to the Hellions and the mutants of Amenth squaring off for a rematch with the mutant outcast team.
Hellions is one of the best titles on the X-shelf right now, creating oddly entertaining character dynamics and plots that feel important. Roge Antonio is a welcome addition on this title, making every page look as good as Wells’ writing reads.
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