X OF SWORDS PART 6. Desperation. Help from unexpected places. An advance into the unknown. The Hellions plan on sabotaging this whole event. Or so I've been told.
Right of the bat, I legitimately laughed out loud with Hellions #5.
The jokes and the tone are constantly cunning in the best of ways. From Sinister’s show on the council that is met with everyone’s exasperation, to him repeating “I used to wear a cape” randomly, to Empath being an asshole right from his resurrection… Even the sarcastic yet somehow affecting tone of this pack of weirdos moves into ridiculously hilarious (and somewhat concerning) territory as they go into Otherworld.
Plus, Carnero’s art is all about facial expression, bone structure and certainly a lot of realism contrasted with beautiful scenarios in the background. It’s not as bloody, sordid or action-packed as Segovia’s in the previous issues, but this new mini-arc doesn’t need bloody, it needs these open spaces and realistic depictions that hide some messed up shit behind. And the moments of contrast (like that revelation of Sinister’s clones) are impactful enough. Curiel’s coloring is more about primary colors and openness here, and avoids the metal and garnet-toned style of the last two issues, especially near the end. I’m curious to see how the chemistry of the work of these two artists moves in the next issue as they approach Arakko, as I’m feeling the best of this collaboration is yet to come. Overall, even if it is too comparably joyful of a coloring sometimes, I’m loving the twist.
It all points to a comic that is fun and enjoyable to the extreme, but also in a way that makes you get the characters. Plus, there’s something very clever in the set up of the story: it’s making fun of everything the event stands for, both in the story itself and in the jocose tone in which it presents some themes which are presented as serious in other titles. In some of these moments (like Kitty’s reaction to the tournament), I feel it’s showcasing a flaw of contempt and stoicism in the overall story. Even the cover art teaches that effect of disruption, with Krakoa burning on the background on what otherwise is a standard and full of poses shoot of the group by Stephen Segovia. Still badass.
As the other titles drive characters far away from things very central to them, Hellions is looking to hack the story, and in that I’m interested. Even if I feel like I know the result of this.
Zeb Wells is putting out the most fun and engaging outcasts X-book possible, and with Carmen Carnero and David Curiel’s realistic and precious art approach, it fits as perfectly and strangely as its cast. Plus, it’s subverting the narrative of the event on the nose. And I like how obvious it is at that.
Hellions #5: Fun & Twisting
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9/109/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 7.5/107.5/10
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