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Jun 4

Hellions #12 annotations

Posted on Friday, June 4, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

by Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1: The Hellions cause chaos at the Hellfire Gala.

PAGES 2-4. Mr Sinister, Havok and Kwannon prepare to go to the Gala.

We’re not told directly why the rest of the Hellions didn’t get invited, but it’s pretty obvious. This is a diplomatic mission, it’s meant to build bridges with the humans, and you really don’t want Orphan-Maker and Wild Child running around. Ideally you wouldn’t have Mister Sinister either, of course, but he’s on the Quiet Council. Kwannon’s not a villain; she’s on the team as a supervisor. And Havok… well, aside from the fact that there’s a suggestion that he’s been put there for reasons he isn’t aware of, Havok’s a member of the Summers family and his absence would be notable.

Sinister’s outfit isn’t too far from his normal costume, which makes sense given how obsessed this version is with his cape. Havok’s costume has circles echoing his original costume, and bands around the shoulders in the shape of his old mask. Kwannon is in a basically normal (if extremely low-cut) dress, except that the flower pattern is actually floating around it.

Greycrow’s reaction picks up on the romantic subplot that’s been building for a few issues now. It’s understandable that he’s left in charge, given that he’s the only one of the remaining Hellions who could be described as basically stable and responsible.

As best as I can tell, Sinister’s Bible quote isn’t genuine.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits.

PAGE 6. Greycrow decides they should go to the party anyway.

Okay, so he’s not that responsible.

Post-Arakko Nanny remains much less supportive to Orphan-Maker, claiming that he needs to learn how to deal with Wild Child for himself. Curiously, the character who does express some concern about this situation is Empath, normally a complete sadist who wouldn’t care in the slightest. He might just be expressing surprise as Nanny’s attitude here, but generally Empath seems to be a bit more sensible than usual in this issue.

PAGE 7. The Hellfire Gala in progress.

Panel 1 has more of the celebrity cameos we’ve come to know and love.

Panel 2 seems to be a vaguely tense exchange between Kwannon and Captain Britain, though their relationship has largely been smoothed over by this point over in Excalibur.

In panel 3, Havok is trying to press Professor X for a proper explanation about why Madelyne Pryor isn’t being resurrected after her death in issue #4. The official answer is that she’s a clone and they don’t want duplicates running around, but we’ve seen before that this is an unsatisfactory explanation – it doesn’t account for the resurrection of the Stepford Cuckoos, and it would imply that Scout would be written off as a doppelganger if she got killed. There may well be more to Madelyne’s treatment than meets the eye.

PAGE 8. The Hellions arrive.

Professor X doesn’t seem particularly bothered by this, but then it’s not actually his party. Like Nightcrawler, he may have assumed that they were on the guest list.

Nightcrawler mentions that he “think[s] about you guys a lot”, presumably referencing all the quotes from him that appeared at the start of issues earlier in the run.

PAGE 9. Nanny and Mister Sinister.

It’s not like Mister Sinister was making such a good impression on Thor and the Black Panther to start with – if they took what Nanny was saying entirely at face value, they’d probably be doing a lot more than just walking away. That said, Nanny is perfectly right about Sinister. This version of Sinister may well be genuine in regarding himself as a different person from his predecessors, though – this seemed to be a standard feature of Kieran Gillen’s interpretation, which is the main source for the Hellions version of Sinister.

PAGE 10. Psylocke and Kid Omega.

Kid Omega (and the rest of X-Force) are working as security for this event, as seen over in their own issue – so keeping the Hellions out is his job. Presumably Empath used his powers to get past the non X-Force guards at the other end of the portal.

Phoebe is Kid Omega’s girlfriend, as seen over in X-Force. Nurse Ratched is the nurse from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, which is a bit of an odd reference point for Quentin. At any event, she certainly wouldn’t be a good inspiration for a ballgown.

PAGE 11. Wild Child & Aurora.

Wild Child and Aurora were a couple in the later stages of the original Alpha Flight run, during the period when he was going by “Wildheart”. This was a phase when Wild Child seemed to have been cured of his lack of control and had become rather handsome; it was a rather unhealthy relationship based on his superficial appeal to Aurora, with Wild Child being afraid of how she would react when he started reverting to normal. As she says, she wasn’t in the best of mental health at the time.

PAGE 12. Data page. Self-explanatory.

The line “If you see something, think something” references the US anti-terrorism slogan “If you see something, say something”, originally coined by the New York transport authorities in 2001.

PAGE 13. Havok, Polaris & Magneto.

Havok is still trying to ask about Madelyne; this time he gets deflected by Magneto bringing up his old relationship with Polaris.

Greycrow actually gets to have a relatively civil drink with Kwannon. Kwannon’s understanding with Betsy came in the last few issues of Excalibur; the “vivid dream” was last issue.

PAGE 14. Sinister & Exodus.

Sinister is offering his services to Franklin Richards to fix the problems with his powers that have been ongoing for ages now. Once again, it doesn’t look like he needed Nanny to cause him trouble in winning over the superheroes; often in Hellions Sinister can be read  as deliberately winding people up, but here he seems genuinely deluded about how he comes across to other people.

PAGE 15. Lots of stuff happening at once.

Apparently Nanny drinks by pouring things through a hole in the top of her armour. That seems… messy.

Greycrow’s advice to Wild Child is well intentioned but misses the point that Aurora is already in a relationship and wouldn’t be interested in getting back together with Kyle anyway. In fairness, Greycrow may not know either of those things. Kwannon clearly sees him as being a good friend to Wild Child.

Empath is indulging Orphan-Maker’s desire to get drunk by making him feel drunk. By Empath’s standards this is positively benign. What’s got into him?

PAGE 16. Orphan-Maker causes trouble.

Havok is trying to persuade Polaris that something’s up with the decision not to revive Madelyne. Specifically, he seems to be having doubts about the Quiet Council, and quite right too.

Nightcrawler’s ramble to Nanny is basically the thrust of his philosophy in Way of X – Krakoa needs cultural anchor points and the laws are as good as any.

PAGES 17-18. Wild Child gets into a fight with Daken.

Daken and Aurora are a couple over in X-Factor, which Wild Child evidently didn’t know about until now. Daken, who is fairly sensible at the moment, refuses to have anything to do with Wild Child’s macho ravings and simply allows the other Hellions to get Wild Child under control.

PAGES 19-20. The Hellions get kicked out.

Empath made Catseye and Roulette fight each other in issue #1. It’s odd that he hasn’t seen them since then, since you’d think the other members of the original Hellions were the closest things he has to friends. If he isn’t even spending time with them, he really doesn’t have any social contacts to speak of.

Havok chooses to ignore the fight and remain at the party. Kwannon, who was an invited guest, is teleported away because she was part of the melée – but she doesn’t attempt to go back.

PAGE 21. Another psi-transcript data page.

PAGE 22. The fireworks.

I’m not entirely clear where this scene is meant to be happening – it looks like Krakoa, but why would anyone expect to be able to see the fireworks there?

Evidently Nanny’s broken glass did some damage to Sinister. The Sinister who appears at the end is the clone who was sent on the mission to Arakko with them during “X of Swords”, and who was apparently killed by the Locus Vile in issue #6. They segmented him on panel, hence the scars visible here.

PAGE 23. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: RETURN OF THE CLONE. Hmm.



Bring on the comments

  1. GN says:

    I think the Sinister at the end is meant to be the Sinister clone that went on the mission to Arakko. The costumes match and he has scars where he was cut up by Tarn in issue 6. Now that Arakko is on Earth, he either escaped to Krakoa or was sent over by Tarn.

    The Krakoan Sinister is wearing a Gala costume and is presumably still at Mykines watching the ‘fireworks’.

  2. Allan M says:

    His face is obscured by a word balloon, but Kate and Colossus are having a drink together on page 13, which I believe is the first time they’ve spoken in the Krakoan era (she avoids doing so in X-Force #1).

    I concur with GN that the Sinister at the end is the one who was seemingly killed by Tarn. Scars match and it fits the next-issue title and future solicits.

    With Cable and X-Factor cancelled, I know in my heart that this series cannot be long for this world, but man, I got to see Nanny get drunk and try to gut Mr. Sinister with a broken bottle. I’m going to miss this one.

  3. Mike says:

    I would argue that this was tied with X-Factor as the best X-book, so I would be really bummed to see it go.

  4. Bengt says:

    There was a Nurse Ratched tv series recently on Netflix or something so it’s not that far fetched that a young person would reference her.

  5. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    What a fun issue!

    At least in America, One Flew Over etc etc is a pretty big cultural touchstone and as mentioned has been revived in our terrible tv and movie industry recently with a tv show.

    I’m glad to see an acknowledgement that Wild Child is actually a person with a history and relationships instead of an animal.

    That is definitely the Sinister from Arakko, the scars are in the exact place he was cut to ribbons and it looks like he’s wearing that cape he had.

    Okay, I kind of like Nanny and Orphanmaker now. Strange times.

    You know, it’s really weird that Kwannon is in charge. Why would any X-Men trust her? She was an assassin they had nothing to do with before being possessed for years which gives her a pretty good reason to hate them all.

  6. wwk5d says:

    A fun issue, even though you’d assume the uninvited Hellions would’ve gotten kicked out much sooner. I guess X-Force was busy? Then again, there wouldn’t be much of an issue if they didn’t crash the party…

    “I’m not entirely clear where this scene is meant to be happening – it looks like Krakoa, but why would anyone expect to be able to see the fireworks there?”

    I’m assuming Emma and the other telepaths must have set up some sort of telepathic broadcast to all the mutants who didn’t or couldn’t attend the Gala. Hence Kwannon’s “Clever, Emma” comment.

    “With Cable and X-Factor cancelled, I know in my heart that this series cannot be long for this world”

    I really hope this title does stay around too.

  7. neutrino says:

    From the excerpt that I saw, it looked like Psylocke was telepathically showing them the fireworks that Emma was seeing.

  8. Bob B says:

    One of the best comics I’ve read in a long time. Not only genuinely laugh out loud funny, but psychologically nuanced and lots of nice character moments.

    PS Thanks for your wonderful work as always Paul.

  9. Paul says:

    That is, of course, the Sinister who was killed in issue #6 (the scars make sense when you look at how he died). I’ve fixed the entry.

  10. Leirus says:

    I like that Empath is changing. Last issue he was nearly killed by all the people he ever harmed, and now he realizes plenty of people hates him. Maybe he is at least getting clever about how much others are going to tolerate before gutting him. Even more now that death is not permanent.

  11. Evilgus says:

    Also hoping this book isn’t cancelled. Like others, I’m enjoying it immensely. Similarly to X-Factor, it’s focused on character, respects history, but builds and plays with the new status quo.

    The work on developing Kwannon from a cipher to an independent character has been excellent (though I’m still bummed that it means Betsy will eventually be relegated to the periphery. I half expect them to remerge ‘willingly’ at some later point).

  12. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    This issue was fantastic. Nanny attempting to shiv Sinister is such a good scene. The idea is ridiculous in itself, but the art elevates it – she has such fantastic energy here.

    I hope Havok’s subplot leads somewhere in the end. While he’s amusing as the butt of the joke here, I expect some payoff sooner or later.

    I wonder if Sinister’s off the books cloning facility is how Madelyne will come back in the end. The pieces are there, but Havok doesn’t know about it and Essex has no reason to do this as a favor… for now.

  13. Chris V says:

    Oh, it’s going to happen….Inferno!
    Where Sinister brings back those who Krakoa has refused.
    I expect that Mystique will go to Sinister, leading to the resurrection of Destiny.
    He’ll probably resurrect Madelyne also.

    He seems to have his own motives for wanting Pryor back, based on some of the clues he gave in his Sinister’s secrets column.

    He might just be interested in doing it, because he wants to upend Krakoa.
    Remember, Sinister betrayed Krakoa in life nine so that he could join the Man/Machine Supremacy.
    Plus, we know that Sinister has his own agenda on Krakoa. He’s known that Xavier tried to mind-wipe him for years now. The Sinister that Xavier mind-wiped was secretly replaced by another Sinister who knows that Xavier and Magneto were the ones who wanted him to collect the mutant DNA database.

    Although, he could resurrect Destiny specifically in return for Mystique supporting Sinister’s positions on the Quiet Council.

  14. Mathias X says:

    Just to echo — “what’s gotten into Empath” may not really be anything drastic, and he might well have taken his torture at the hands of Mastermind to heart, or learned a lesson from Greycrow murdering him. In a weird way, he might actually be starting to rehabilitate on the ostensibly rehabilitative team.

    Fully expect that to be challenged and crash on him.

  15. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Empathy has been written as a bold faced psychopath in this book.

    He could learn some restraint just to preserve himself, but him learning some sort of moral lesson would be preposterous.

    He’s Purple Man Jr.

  16. alsoMike says:

    I laughed hysterically at the Nanny cutting Sinister scene. I’ve always loved Nanny and this take is very much a scene stealer. Ofc Mr Sinister should be able to shrug off anything she tries but it’s hilarious.

    Isn’t the last time Nightcrawler and Greycrow interacted on panel before Krakoa that Manifest Destiny anthology where Kurt tracked John down to the diner he worked and mocked him by calling him soulless cus he’d been cloned so many times? That certainly has a different flavor in the Era of Krakoa ressurections. Hell, Kurt even ran around descended from Heaven explicitly without a soul for a while before Krakoa. Although I must confess I missed how that soul business ended.

  17. Chris V says:

    I believe they just quietly ignored the “Kurt lost his soul” idea.
    I guess he’d be happy about Krakoa, as it means he got his soul back.
    He’s troubled by what this means for his former-Catholic faith, yet it’s true that he was never going to be allowed in Heaven due to his sacrifice.

    The interesting aspect was during House of X, when Kurt and Logan were preparing to die in order to destroy the Mother Mold, they were discussing those types of issues.
    Both Nightcrawler and Logan acted as if they had never died before. Logan died and went to Hell. Nightcrawler died, went to Heaven, sacrificed his soul to stop Azazel, and got resurrected with the knowledge that he would probably never see Heaven again.
    I seem to remember a scene where Kurt shared that he spent his time in Heaven reuniting with Xavier. Xavier must have forgotten to mention that his soul was really being stored by Cerebro.

    So, those stories were jettisoned from continuity, maybe?

  18. The Other Michael says:

    That wasn’t Xavier in Heaven, it was a Space Phantom. Ditto when Logan fought Lazear (or whatever) for his soul.

    It’s Space Phantoms.

    In fact, all of Krakoa is Space Phantoms.

  19. David says:

    Oh man. I hadn’t even considered this book could be ending- it’s so good, I can’t really bear the thought. Surely they’d have announced it by now.

  20. Chris V says:

    I assume it will last until Inferno, since it seems to be setting up some of the plots that would most likely be pertinent to Inferno (Havok wanting Madelyne resurrected, Sinister).
    It might come to an end around that point. It would depend on sales.

  21. Loz says:

    Oh that was glorious. I didn’t think I needed drunk old lady Nanny going for Mr Sinister with a broken bottle while ‘exuberant’ Orphan-Maker launches himself at Wild Child shouting “Bananas!” but frankly this has made all of the Hickman era worth it in just a few panels. I presume that the remaining part of this crossover is about Magneto trying to get revenge on whoever told him that suit was a good look for him? And with that hat? Dear god no…


  22. Thom H. says:

    @Loz: Thank you! For someone who usually goes out of his way to project power and relevance, Magneto sure has chosen the wrong outfit here. He looks like an elderly magician.

  23. neutrino says:

    @Loz: Maybe his tailor is the murder victim.

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