Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Rain Beredo, VC Ariana Maher, Tom Muller, and Stephen Segovia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: October 6th, 2021
Where to begin? Let’s see… Sinister sent a clone of himself to lead the HELLIONS to Amenth during the X OF SWORDS event under false pretenses. The truth… Sinister wanted DNA from Tarn the Uncaring whose powers can manipulate people on a genetic level. Sinister’s goal was to clone himself mixed with Tarn DNA and his abilities. Alas, Nathaniel’s plan was foiled when his clone returned from the dead with Tarn and his crew to steal back the DNA and kill the HELLIONS. Nevertheless, after all of Sinister’s Secrets became revealed, Empath decided to push Havok over the edge to destroy Sinister’s clone farm once and for all. Yet, inside that newly destroyed facility was the only backup of Kwannon’s daughter that remained. And now, it appears to be destroyed forever. Let’s dive into HELLIONS #16 by Zeb Wells to shed some light on the aftermath, as well as what’s to come for this HELLIONS team.
So, a usual issue of HELLIONS showcases Wells and his sly, witty humor propelling zesty zingers and quips at the characters. Sprinkle in a heaping pile of insanity, action, and an atmosphere that sometimes makes your skin crawl, and you have a rather dynamic HELLIONS issue. Yet, that’s not what readers get this week. However, that’s actually a spectacular thing. You see, Wells delivers an extremely uncharacteristic display this week which will open fans’ eyes to the range of his writing chops as well as Stephen Segovia’s artistic talents.
Fans will experience many feelings throughout this issue of HELLIONS. And frankly, for anyone whose been invested in the series, it’s almost like a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Segovia is simply lights out this week. The vivid fear portrayed in Empath’s eyes as Greycrow threatens him once again abounds off the page. Or, as this week’s HELLIONS concludes, readers discover the true inner workings and depression of Empath thanks to the combination of Wells storytelling with Segovia’s artistic license. Furthermore, the radiant emotion emanating out of Havok after the unleashing nature of his powers was just gut-wrenching. Fans, there was so much pain dispersed throughout the pages of this week’s HELLIONS, that words can’t do it justice. It’s an issue you have to physically read for yourself to get the full experience.
However, with the good does come a bit of bad. HELLIONS #16 ends with the focus on Nanny and it just wasn’t as exciting or passionate as the rest of the issue. Ultimately, the ending of the issue fell a bit flat compared to the rest of the comic. Plus, the Nanny elements of the team were never really the strongest components. And now, it appears as though the series is heading down that avenue for at least an issue or two coming up. That said, Nanny has always added a unique wrinkle to the team that has made her a strong side character. Still, the lead for an issue or two may be too much.
This reviewer would have loved to see more involving the growing relationship between Kwannon and Greycrow. Or, could this creative team have dived a bit deeper into the Havok-Pryor angle? And, what happens with Sinister? Are we just brushing over everything that he’s down? Does he get a Hall Pass on all of this? My point: Wells and Segovia could have ventured down a few more plot paths that were just left open… for now anyway. Granted, I’m pretty confident these will be visited soon. Yet, with Jonathan Hickman leaving and the X-MEN heading in new directions, will we see all these intriguingly clever plot twists uncovered? I really hope so! HELLIONS is a huge bright spot for the X-MEN comic landscape every month. And, if allowed to explore their story, I foresee amazing things from Wells and Segovia as well as the future of this comic.
The emotional components with the characters in this issue of HELLIONS #16 were outstanding. Kwannon’s devastation and loss were literally written all over her face. Empaths’ fear and loneliness were front and center even when he attempted to hide his true feelings. Moreover, Havok’s crippling anxiety and terror about his abilities as well as Greycrow’s passion for Kwannon simply make this issue one of the best in recent months. I highly recommend picking this issue up and using HELLIONS #16 as the perfect jumping-on point for the series moving forward. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!