RSS Feed
Sep 1

Hellions #15 annotations

Posted on Wednesday, September 1, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

“Don’t Look Back Part III: Fire and Brimstone”
by Zeb Wells, Rogé Antônio & Rain Beredo

COVER / PAGE 1: Just a straightforward picture of Psylocke with the rest of the cast behind her.

PAGE 2. Our opening quote comes from Tarn. The idea that Amino Fetus cannot be allowed to eat was established when he debuted in issue #6, and the rest of the Locus Vile have always been very keen to stop him doing it. The reasons haven’t been explained until now.

PAGE 3. The Right approach Krakoa.

These are the Right’s ZETA Team, who were introduced in issue #13, and were described by one of their own colleagues as “psychopaths”. They’re meant to be looking for the rogue AI that Nanny picked up from the Right in issue #8. They’re named here as Cobb (apparently the leader), Barker, Martinez and Susan. Susan appears to be a religious zealot, which Cobb (at least) doesn’t share.

PAGE 4. The Right use the AI to hack Nanny’s ship.

The guy in charge here is Dr Murch, also seen in issue #13.

PAGE 5. Recap and credits.

PAGE 6. Mr Sinister and Mr Sinister arrive in New York.

This is the Murderworld facility that the Hellions acquired for Sinister in issue #11. Last issue, the two Sinisters fled through a portal to get here, leaving the Hellions to face Tarn and his Locus Vile. They’ve destroyed the gate to stop the Locus Vile following. Tarn has teleportation facilities of his own, as we saw last issue, but in itself that’s no use to him because he doesn’t know where to go.

“I traveled to Amenth to collect mutant DNA where I was pulled apart at the molecular level.” Issues #5-6. The copy Sinister was – apparently literally – stitched back together by Tarn and regards Tarn as his “master”, even when Tarn isn’t around to hear. Either Tarn is seriously intimidating even to Sinister, or this Sinister has been knocked into line when Tarn re-created him.

PAGES 7-10. The aftermath of the Locus Vile’s battle.

The Sinisters released all these clones last issue to cover their escape. The Locus Vile have finished slaughtering them all, and defeated the Hellions, off panel between issues.

“La vie est cruelle et courte.” “Life is cruel and short.”

Mudgear was, apparently, killed by Nanny and Wild Child last issue, though that wasn’t really clear at the time.

Amino Fetus lost his arm last issue when Orphan-Maker destroyed it with a rocket launcher.

“May I feed on the dead? Praise Tarn, my injuries require it.” This is Hex Butcher, whose power is sustained by eating the people he kills.

“Think I’m done dying for you idiots.” It’s been a running gag that Empath keeps dying on every mission, though in most cases that’s been because he did something outrageous to provoke Greycrow into killing him.

“How about I turn you into that violent psycho…” Havok was sent to the Hellions in the first place after briefly turning psychopathic in issue #1. The suggestion was that some sort of outside influence was involved, but despite occasional hints, that story has remained in the background until now. Nothing has suggested that Empath has anything to do with it – Manuel probably just means that he can use his powers to bring out that side of Havok’s personality.

Empath’s refusal to take on Tarn directly seems quite reasonable, really. He’d be massively outpowered and it looks suicidal. By implication, Empath is making a more fundamental point to Havok: why are you asking me to deal with this guy instead of just obliterating him yourself?

“But that’s not possible. We defeated Arcade…” Other than Sinister and Psylocke, the Hellions were brainwashed in issue #11 to believe that they had achieved an outright win over Arcade. They’ve reacted since as if this was something of a team bonding experience for them.

PAGES 11-17. Sinister explains his plot, while Psylocke explains Murderworld, and Greycrow goes crazy.

“Yikes. Is this where you went to work on him?” They’re passing the seat where Arcade imprisoned Sinister and tried to torture him into submission in issue #10. The blood is still visible; Sinister is pretending that he was the aggressor.

“I’ve seen the future, and it is chimera.” Sinister has been inspired by Tarn to mix the DNA of multiple mutants. This calls back to Powers of X, where one of Moira’s past lives involved an alternate future full of chimera mutants assembled from elements of other mutants.

In Powers of X #6, Moira’s diary extracts claim that Sinister has already created his first chimera by adding mutant DNA to himself. She said that this had happened “decades early.” Sinister probably doesn’t regard that as a proper chimera, since it seems to have resulted simply in a Mr Sinister body that qualified as a mutant.

“I thought… so stupid.” The strong implication in earlier issues was that Greycrow saw himself forming a relationship with Psylocke. Understandably, he feels betrayed here.

Greycrow’s powers have always been decidedly hazy, since he relies entirely on weapons when in combat. Early appearances state that his power is to assemble mechanical components into weapons, or something of that sort, which is why his costume as a Marauder was covered in available components. But again, quite why the ability to put some pieces together qualified as a mutant power was a little vague. The suggestion here seems to be that Greycrow’s power enables him to generate these components from his own body, transforming himself into a cyborg in the process. There’s an apparent echo of Cable in the “big gun” and cyborg angle.

PAGE 18. Data page on the life cycle of Amino Fetus. Fairly self-explanatory.

PAGE 19. Tarn disposes of Amino Fetus.

This is… a bit underwhelming, isn’t it? He’s built up as a universe-threatening problem and the solution is just to teleport off and dump him in a black hole? Are we coming back to this?

Note that the Locus Vile have pretty much been wiped out in this story – only Mother Rapture is left. If he doesn’t go in for resurrection, he’s going to have quite the time covering this up back on Arakko.

Fornax. Fornax UCD3 is a galaxy about sixty million light years away. As the dialogue suggests, it’s home to a massive black hole. So is the Milky Way, to be honest, but Tarn is thoughtfully dumping Animo Fetus somewhere as far away as possible. That’s nice of him.

Consistent with his motivations, Tarn is not interested in random destruction. Presumably he was amused by the idea of creating Amino Fetus in the first place and reckless enough not to be too worried by the risk of it going wrong – but he did at least have a firm plan in mind for how to get rid of him if need be. (It’s also conceivable that he was a bit more relaxed about obliterating Amenth, but probably not.)

PAGES 20-22. The Hellions learn about Psylocke’s daughter.

Sinister has created a combined Sinister / Tarn chimera, which he describes as having “the power of god”. That’s probably an overstatement, since Tarn certainly isn’t that powerful.

Psylocke’s daughter survived as an AI in Fallen Angels and Sinister has been using her as a threat to keep Psylocke in line throughout this series. Greycrow seems somewhat relieved that Psylocke has a passable reason for what she’s done. He liked her.

PAGES 23-24. Havok destroys everything.

Greycrow, always the nicest of this bunch of Hellions, was willing to stand down in deference to Psylocke’s wishes. Apparently so was Havok, who remains basically a hero in his own mind. Curiously, it’s Empath who steps in to destroy the Sinister/Tarn chimera – which actually does seem like quite a good idea, all things considered. The only reason that Empath gives for this is “Emma says hello”, obviously referring to Emma Frost – has he been some sort of sleeper agent for Emma all along, looking out for Sinister’s secret plans?

PAGE 25. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: IT ALL FALLS APART.




Bring on the comments

  1. Diana says:

    Curious about something – I had the impression these annotations were for tracking the details of the Krakoan storyline towards its supposed conclusion (since that’s the sort of thing people do for Hickman stories).

    Seeing as how all that seems to be up in the air now and these dots may not be connected in the end, will these be continuing past Inferno?

  2. Chris V says:

    I’m sure there is no follow-up to most of this coming anymore.
    In this issue we see:
    A black hole…hints of singularity.
    A chimera created by Sinister.
    Both red flags.
    However, there is no chance of this having anything to do with Hickman’s plotting.

    It seems to me like these books are winding down some of the hints given throughout the Krakoa-era to Hickman’s plan.
    The payoff to all the ominous foreshadowing about Sinister creating Chimeras is quickly done away with in a random story of an ancillary title.
    The foreboding about something being wrong with the resurrection process is being handwaved away in Way of X.

  3. Si says:

    I’m sure I read an X-Men comic back in the day with Greycrow/Scalphunter, that showed that he could create guns for any purpose, like Forge but more specific. I seem to recall him facing some invulnerable hero, but being able to assemble a weapon that could still take them down.

    Though I do kind of like characters with super powers that are completely irrelevant to their natural badassery, and the powers are almost never used. Like Shatterstar or Kylun. They’re fun.

  4. Michael says:

    The ending raises a lot of questions. It was Emma that told Alex to stay with the Hellions in issue 7. Was this her plan all along? To use Alex’s evil personality against Sinister? All along we’ve been wondering why the Five couldn’t fix Alex’s evil personality like they fixed Domino’s problems. Maybe the answer is simply that Emma asked them not to.
    Emma really crossed a lot of lines if that was her scheme. I wonder if she created Alex’s evil personality or just took advantage of a situation that presented itself. Either way, she took advantage of Alex’s instability, and used him in a scheme that apparently killed a child. She showed that she hasn’t changed from when she tricked Firestar into thinking Firestar killed her horse. I wonder how Scott will react to this.
    I also wonder if this has anything to do with the Quiet Council’s refusal to resurrect Maddie. We’ve all been assuming that they didn’t want her resurrected because they were afraid of resurrecting her as a villain. What if it’s the opposite? What if they could have resurrected her as the woman she was before S’ym tricked her? That woman would have tried to fix Alex immediately.
    I’m sure that awakening Alex’s evil personality won’t have any negative consequences for Emma or Empath. it’s like Evil Is Not A Toy or anything.

  5. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Was that supposed to know Greycrow was a cyborg all this time.

    I just thought he had a funny metal half costume.

  6. CitizenBane says:

    Did Tarn actually create Amino Fetus in the first place? The life-cycle page seems to suggest Amino Fetus periodically seeks out a master to monitor its life cycle, and that this master is now Tarn, but it may have been someone else in the past. Intentionally creating a demon-baby-thing that eats time seems like a staggeringly stupid idea, even if it was just to sate Tarn’s curiosity. Especially when Tarn and the Vile are forced to monitor Amino Fetus around the clock to make sure he isn’t eating anything.

  7. Richard Howe says:

    My question is: Was Alex’s “episode” in issue 1 actually him being mind controlled or otherwise affected by a psychic? And, if so, does that mean Emma or Empath or whomever is ultimately the real violator of Krakoa’s laws?

  8. The Other Michael says:

    You gotta love a character whose powers are so vaguely defined that we’re still debating them after 30+ years. I think he was meant to be a Forge-type intuitive technopath with weapons… but I think later on he had longevity and/or healing tacked on, although we could always assume those were improvements made by Sinister’s cloning process?

    This whole “cyborg” aspect is entirely new, and a little hard to explain.

  9. Ben Johnston says:

    @Richard Howe — Issue #1 suggested that Havok might still have traces of his alternate personality from Axis. Which I didn’t read, but I gather was a standard “good guys become evil” setup. The details were left vague, though.

    Based on this issue, it seems like Emma took advantage of the situation to plant him on the team with Empath as insurance against a double-cross from Sinister. Which is the sort of ethically iffy but pragmatic approach she often uses.

    Another good issue, but body horror isn’t really my thing, so I was somewhat underwhelmed by Tarn. The pacing is also a little odd in places, with Greycrow having a big hero moment only for the Hellions to wind up being outflanked by Sinister again.

    How did the Hellions teleport to the Murderworld lab at the end? I feel like I missed something there.

  10. Jeff says:

    I’m not near the issue now but I think the ‘team’ used Tarn’s portal to get there

  11. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Emma definitely put Empathy on the team to watch Sinister, but I don’t think there’s any indication she or Empath had anything to do with Havok’s goofy evil side.

    Empath just used a handy weapon, cause he’s a prick.

    Does anyone else not care about Kwannon’s dead kid at all?

  12. Jack says:

    It may just be because of the longevity of the character and her role as a kind of teacher figure, but I find it interesting that Empath seems to be an Emma plant in the Hellions, if you look at where some other people are.

    She has her fingers all through Krakoa.
    Hellfire Trading and the Marauders.
    M on X-Corp is perhaps a stretch as they weren’t all that close, but she is an old pupil and someone with psi-powers. Mastermind is also in that organisation now, another old colleague and manipulator.
    The Cuckoos seem to crop up as general assistants for official business.
    And then there’s Cyclops.

    Charles and Erik should watch out they’re not being outmmanouvered in their own kingdom.

  13. Col_Fury says:

    re: Uncanny X-Ben
    Not I, good sir.

  14. MasterMahan says:

    Hard to care about a plot point left over from Fallen Angels.

  15. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Ben Johnston
    Axis was a dumb mess, but somehow Havok became the worst affected of all the characters who had their ‘morality axis’ inverted.

    Cullen Bunn made some pretty decent use of good Sabretooth being afraid of reverting back to his usual self in his Uncanny X-Men.

    Tom Taylor’s prick Iron Man (well, prickier) was fun and then, if I recall correctly, the concept was dropped between series without any explanation, probably for the best.

    But nobody was writing Havok on a monthly basis at that point, so he stayed ‘evil’ at the end of Axis, then appeared basically normal, just tired of fighting all the time in Inhumans vs X-Men (of all places), but then he reverted to being inverted in Bunn’s X-Men Blue, at the end of which Emma (who was going through her stupid ‘I’m evil again’ phase at the time) finally performed mind surgery to rid him of Axis forever.

    If I recall correctly Wells mentioned that last part in Hellions #1 – that it was Emma who fixed him and that she didn’t quite succeed. I can’t check it at this moment, but if I do recall correctly, and Wells specifically pointed to that, then maybe, just maybe, Emma left a backdoor in Havok’s mind to potentially use him in the future?

    Just throwing that on the ‘Emma has fingers everywhere’ pile.

    On a only very slightly related note, this reminds me how after Age of X Emma specifically told Pixie that a young woman needs a fury inside her to release every now and then – since Pixie was left with the ability to switch to her Age of X physical form, as well as her AoX personality. Both of which nobody mentioned ever again anywhere.
    Love when that happens.

    Following that tangent, also from Carey’s run, there was a space station left in Earth’s orbit with a billion alien inhabitants on board. And nobody spoke of them ever again.

  16. Joseph S. says:

    Well, I’m looking forward to Inferno. All the titles have begun moving towards their end games, presumably converging in Inferno with some overlap, not unlike the original. They all are about the reemergence of villains from the Krakoa is for all mutants concept. This book of course has Sinister. Way of X has Onslaught (tho it’s clear it’s not precisely the same entity from the 90s). Mystique’s plot has been building in Hickman’s X-Men. The White Queen has been scheming in many books, not just against Sinister but apparently Charles and Erik as well. And then Magneto has his own things going on in Trial. So seems like Inferno will be about these internal dynamics, but won’t tear down Krakoa entirely. I do suspect we’ll get to Hickman’s second act eventually, and i for one welcome more time with this x-office. After the ages of extinction stories, I’ll take more time with X-Men stacking wins and exploring internal politics.

  17. MasterMahan says:

    “That’s probably an overstatement, since Tarn certainly isn’t that powerful.”

    In theory, Tarn is an Omega, since we’ve been told the Great Ring is an Omega-only club. On the other hand, Isca and the guy with the power of Ocean Blood don’t seem to qualify, so who knows. So far he has the same generic psy powers Sinister used to have.

  18. Nu-D. says:

    I just want to say I’m deeply disappointed to see Kwa-locke back in a bathing suit. She looked stylish in the more practical costumes of a few years ago, and I wouldn’t be embarrassed for my mother to see me reading a book with her on the cover.

  19. Bengt says:

    What are Sinister’s powers supposed to be? There are a fuckton of powers listed on the fandom wiki but his clones are useless cannon fodder, and even the “prime” Sinister doesn’t seem to be able to put up any kind of fight to Tarn.

  20. CitizenBane says:

    Sinister has rather nebulous shapeshifting + TP/TK powers, but he’s been written as a scheming clown without much combat ability for some time now.

  21. Chris V says:

    The version of Sinister who is on the Quiet Council apparently has the mutant DNA of Thunderbird. So, that would imply that one would have Thunderbird’s mutant powers.

  22. GN says:

    MasterMahan> In theory, Tarn is an Omega, since we’ve been told the Great Ring is an Omega-only club. On the other hand, Isca and the guy with the power of Ocean Blood don’t seem to qualify, so who knows. So far he has the same generic psy powers Sinister used to have.

    Tarn is definitely an Omega mutant, as is everyone who sits on the Great Ring. So far we’ve seen Tarn use telekinesis, telepathy and magic, and he’s said to have sculpted the genes of his followers. My theory is that his mutant power is Biokinesis, the manipulation of life on a cellular level. This explains his own abilities (he spliced the genes for telekinesis and telepathy into himself) and how he creates his Chimeras (he fuses them with his powers). The magic probably comes from his daemon heritage.

    Isca and Sobunar are also Omega mutants. I wonder why you think they don’t qualify. Isca is an Omega Tychokinetic (basically Domino’s probability manipulation powers except taken to an extreme at which Isca physically cannot lose). Sobunar is probably an Omega Biosphere Manipulator where his own body has turned into an ocean with its own marine biological system.

  23. Allan M says:

    I don’t care about Kwannon’s kid – it’s not like she has a personality or anything – but I do appreciate that a) Hellions is proving to be a nice, tight series where everything that gets set up gets paid off, and b) protecting her makes sense to Greycrow as a fair reason to betray him. Kwannon/Greycrow is the relationship I’ve become invested in, insane as that is.

  24. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Yeah agreed it’s cute.

  25. Mike Loughlin says:

    Kwannon’s kid has been a useful tool for Sinister to keep her in line. I don’t know if Wells or anyone else has any plans for the kid. I figured the plot would resolve as:
    – Kwannon sacrifices the kid to stop Sinister;
    – Kwannon would realize she’s never getting the kid back, betrays Sinister and maybe Nanny ends up preserving the kid, who will inhabit the Right baby droid thing; or
    – Sinister is true to his word after Kwannon openly betrays the team, and she gets her kid back at the cost of her metaphoric soul.

    It’s not this series fault, but I am tired of super-powers being vague. I don’t need an OHOTMU-style breakdown, but can someone just ONCE tell us what Greycrow & Nanny can do IN STORY? See also: almost every minor X-character introduced in the last 20 yrs. Don’t assume I read Generation Hope or Young X-Men or that one miniseries from 2013 because I sure didn’t.

  26. neutrino says:

    Would Kwannon’s kid have been backed up by Cerebro when she was about to be reborn as a chimera?

  27. Michael says:

    @neutrino- The issue is that Kwannon’s kid didn’t have mutant powers- her mind was stolen by an AI and any powers her body displayed were the AI’s powers. And no, she wasn’t to be reborn as a chimera- her consciousness was trapped in the chimera-making lab, so she wouldn’t be backed up then either.

Leave a Reply