The Hellions must go on one final mission as one of their own is on the loose and great tragedy is on the horizon for this motley crew of mutants. Truly this is one of the best standout books of this new X-Men era as it deals deeply with trauma, brokenness, found family, and the eternal struggle to find one’s place and purpose in an ever-changing world.
One of the overarching themes of the X-Men line of books has always been about this idea of found family. Finding that place you fit in, alongside others who have the same background and/or issues/trauma they are dealing with. Out of all the books in this bold new era of the X-Line, it was Hellions that really embraced this idea because its cast was a mostly unexplored or unfamiliar one made up of broken characters with traumas and issues to deal with.
Unfortunately, putting such a group together was not the type of experiment that was likely to end in the best way.
Following the events that broke the group apart in the previous few issues, they are drawn back together because one of their own, Orphan-Maker, is on the warpath and they are the ones best suited to helping bring their comrade back before it’s too late. Spoiler alert: it was always going to be too late.
From day one, Zeb Wells made it very easy to root for these flawed and broken individuals who were unable to fit into paradise, but had a shot at perhaps achieving redemption or a purpose. Despite the fact that we knew the deck was stacked against them with the machinations of Sinister and even the way the Quiet Council treated them, there was hope that they might make it through. Half of these characters had just been one-note villains who showed up time to time over the decades, and yet here they’ve become fully fleshed out characters that the audience wants about.
The last few issues have been gut punches of sorts and that doesn’t change here, as everything continues to come crashing down. Even the moments where the vile members of the mutant hate group The Right get what is coming to them can’t be savored for long as the book rockets us towards the series-ending climax that is now one month away.
Once more Stephen Segovia and Rain Beredo bring every raw moment of grief, anger, terror, and steadfast camaraderie to vivid life. Nothing is held back. The action pages are dynamic and flow smoothly as this Hellions team does what they do best against their hatred-filled foes. Even the quieter character moments are just gorgeous to look at, filled with such detail, and all the emotions are always clear on the character’s faces and body language.
Segovia has a knack for using the best variety of panel styles across the pages, mixing in a good number of close-ups with wider shots which helps pivot the focus as needed. One of the pages has a character using binoculars to check out the attack on The Right’s hideout, and instead of the view being in another panel it’s in two circle-shaped panels within the same panel. That is just brilliant.
Not to mention using white space not only as borders to the panels but a way to make things stand out even more visually.
Beredo’s colors always meet in that great spot where they are both bright but also muted and shadowy, befitting of this book that always straddles that line between light and dark thematically. Some of the panels are sans backgrounds, just focused on characters and actions, and the shifting array of colored background colors used helps make things pop in the best way.
The same goes for all the great letter work that Ariana Maher brings to the issue. Dropping in bolds and other notes of emphasis where needed, along with colored bits to dialogue bubbles to really highlight some big moments of dialogue. As well as the vast array of perfectly placed and varied SFX, no two bits of SFX even coming close to looking the same. They often beautifully hammer home the brutality or power of a moment we’re witnessing.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again always, but I really like how Maher mixes up using sentence case to make conversations look like conversations right alongside the bigger or smaller styles of text to denote yelling or whispering. Touches like this might seem simple or small, but they really help to convey just what it meant to be conveyed tonally with the dialogue even more.
There is only one issue left to go in this stellar series, and there is no telling what the creative team has in store for the readers. Here’s truly hoping that they are still together to tackle another book in what is most assuredly the reshuffle of the line coming in 2022.
Hellions #17 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.