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May 8

Hellions #11 annotations

Posted on Saturday, May 8, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

“Funny Games Part III: Kill Screen”
by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1: Psylocke is pinned down by a Mojofied version of herself, while Arcade watches and we see the other Hellions on screens. Kind of an arbitrary choice of a dramatic image for the cover.

PAGES 2-4. Greycrow and Psylocke meet up.

In the previous issue, Psylocke’s illusion involved her living a seemingly idyllic life with her lost daughter, and being tormented by a horrific version of herself wearing the Psylocke costume with Mojo’s eye retractors. (That refers to the 1980s storyline in which the original Psylocke lost her vision and Mojo gave her bionic eyes.) Greycrow, meanwhile, was a soldier angst-ridden about the people he had killed, but being assured by his colleagues that he had been a good person. When Psylocke came under attack, she apparently reached out for help instinctively, with a telepathic call to Greycrow in the next room.

Since they were in different rooms last time, it’s a little unclear what’s (in the real world) happening here. Psylocke’s illusion now has it that she’s been fighting off attacking Psylockes every day for decades; the child is nowhere to be seen. Greycrow finally shows up, though still subject to some sort of illusion. At first glance, the suggestion seems to be that even in his befuddled state, Greycrow has made it out of his room and into Psylocke’s in an attempt to rescue her – consistent with his role as the unexpectedly honourable and heroic member of the team, and also with the relationship that’s obviously being established here. But in the next scene, Mastermind seems to tell us that Psylocke’s telepathic powers have managed to link her illusion together with Greycrow’s (with him presumably still in the next room). We find out later that Mastermind might not be trying all that hard to stop this, to be fair. At any rate, it’s the connection between the two of them that presumably explains why Greycrow is the first to make an appearance.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits. The story title, “Kill Screen”, refers to the level at which old computer games would stop working because the programmers had (wrongly) assumed that nobody would ever get that far. Pacman notoriously stops working at level 256, for example. So here, we’re talking about the point where Arcade’s scheme fails due to its own inherent defects.

PAGE 6. Arcade and Mastermind.

Basically setting up the premise again from last issue. Apparently Mastermind has been at this for a week now, which begs the question of what Arcade’s plan is to keep the Hellions in line when Mastermind inevitably passes out through exhaustion. Arcade is still keen on the clone farm he mentioned last issue, which he wanted Sinister to build for him. We get a clearer explanation later on of what he wanted it for.

PAGE 7. Sinister building a clone farm.

Arcade yanked out Sinister’s teeth in the previous issue. Previous versions of Sinister were shapechangers and would have shrugged this off. Either the current body of Mr Sinister is massively weaker than previous ones, or he’s putting on an act for Arcade’s benefit. Probably mostly the first.

PAGE 8. Back to Arcade and Mastermind.

Mastermind’s powers won’t work on Locke because she’s a robot copy of the original, as hinted at last issue and confirmed later on.

PAGE 9. Data page. A memo from a previously unknown Arcade employee (presumably a very reluctant one). Basically, Arcade has tasked his scientists with building a clone farm, but evidently hasn’t bothered to explain why. Evidently he was expecting adult copies of the sort that litter the Marvel Universe.

PAGES 10-14. The Hellions unite, at least psychically.

Havok is the next to show – the other basically heroic member of the team. In the previous issue, he believed he was having a lovely time with Madelyne Pryor. We saw him a bit later in the issue, with Madelyne as the Goblin Queen and him in his Goblin Prince outfit from Inferno, which is what he’s wearing here. Despite his claims here, he’s clearly disoriented and directionless without Madelyne’s, er, domineering guidance.

According to Psylocke, getting the three of them together is enough “gravity” to bring in the other captive Hellions, the ones who barely even qualify as anti-heroes. They show up with the enemies from their respective scenes in tow – Nanny and Orphan-Maker with the horde of mutant children who turned on Nanny, and Wild Child with the more impressive versions of his character type: Wolverine, Sabretooth and Romulus.

With the entire group, Psylocke is apparently able to return to the real world (and leave the rest of the Hellions to fend for herself until she deals with Mastermind).

PAGES 15-20. Psylocke defeats Mastermind and Arcade, and Sinister explains the plot.

Locke is confirmed as a robot when Psylocke cuts her in half.

Mastermind reveals that this was all just an exercise to enable Sinister to build his clone farm in Arcade’s facility, and then get rid of Arcade, all without the Krakoan authorities becoming aware. Arcade’s plan was genuine; Sinister was trying to turn it to his own advantage. And the torture of the Hellions… well, from Arcade’s point of view that was just for his own amusement, and for Sinister, it served to make sure the Hellions would believe the whole thing was a genuine rescue mission. Psylocke grudgingly mindwipes the other Hellions to reinforce the story, since Sinister is still holding her daughter as leverage – of course, precisely the same mechanism that Arcade uses to keep control of his staff.

Mastermind’s daughter isn’t in on the plan, from the look of it, but seems perfectly happy to kill the random human who was holding her captive. Presumably that’s just regular revenge on her part.

Arcade more or less tells us what the point of the clone farm was (while rambling to himself): he’s killed people who loved him, and he’s going to bring them back and… kill them again, because he’s completely mad. Arcade’s accidental killing of Locke comes from Wolverine / Gambit: Victims.

Precisely what Sinister plans to do with the clone farm is unclear, but he does tell us that he’ll have “quite the surprise for everyone” in a month.

PAGES 21-22. The Hellions head home.

I’m not sure how Mastermind would know what Greycrow was thinking; he’s an illusionist more than a mind reader. Maybe it’s something to do with the technology.

PAGE 23. Data page. A quote from Psylocke, who is obviously going to turn on Sinister in a big way at some stage.

PAGE 24. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: HELLFIRE GALA.



Bring on the comments

  1. Daly says:

    I think the cover is implying that the offender is Betsy Braddock in her british body, wearing the Jim Lee Psylocke uniform- tormenting Kwannon. I believe the writers are also trying to turn Psylockes hair black, and have Betsys hair purple- for distinction.

  2. Rob says:

    Wonder if Lady Mastermind killing a human is going to be a relevant plot point given Krakoan law.

  3. Joseph S. says:


    Given Sinister’s manipulation here was designed to hide the clone farm from Krakoa, and Psylocke wiped the Hellions’s memories, it seems very unlikely that anyone on Krakoa would be aware that Lady Mastermind (they really need new code names…) murdered a human.

  4. SanityOrMadness says:

    Lady Mastermind is Martinique’s sister, Regan. Martinique herself was previously just “Mastermind”.

    Rob> Wonder if Lady Mastermind [sic] killing a human is going to be a relevant plot point given Krakoan law.

    Well, Selene’s apparently got away scot-free with everything she did over in Captain America, despite her presence in that book ending with her being turned over to Krakoa, so… *shrugs*

  5. YLu says:

    Where’s the idea that Psylocke mindwiped everyone coming from? She doesn’t need to. None of the other Hellions ever found out about Sinister’s plan.

  6. Rybread says:

    @YLu Yeah I was a little confused by that as well. I went back and reread it, and nobody mentions a mind wipe (and as you point out, they wouldn’t need one). Sinister and Mastermind tell Psylocke to lie and claim she used her telepathy to confirm that the team really rescued Sinister and it wasn’t an illusion. Not really the same as a mind wipe

    What I’m confused about is at what point Mastermind turned on Arcade and sided with Sinister. Because it sounds like he WAS working with Arcade at first and I’m not sure why. Surely if he brought up the fact that his mutant daughter was being held hostage by Arcade, the Quiet Council would do something about that. And if not, the worst case scenario is that she gets resurrected on Krakoa. Why risk becoming an enemy to Krakoa and getting thrown in the pit? Maybe I missed something.

  7. MasterMahan says:

    The best explanation I can come with is that Mastermind went straight to Sinister with an offer of “Hey, this jackass is trying to mess with us, how’d you like to pay me to help get him back?” and Essex is fudging the timeline to make himself sound smarter.

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