Writer: Zeb Wells
Art: Zé Carlos, Rain Beredo, VC Ariana Maher, Tom Muller, and Stephen Segovia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 8th, 2021
This is exactly how you end a series. Thank you, Zeb Wells! There are no cliffhangers with the characters or nagging questions left open. Readers get a solid conclusion to a series that they’ve been invested in for almost a year and a half. To any outsider reading this review, HELLIONS has been a fan favorite within the X-MEN realm. A comic staple that fans have looked forward to each month surrounded by so many that just didn’t last. And what’s more interesting, most people didn’t think HELLIONS would stick around after the likes of FALLEN ANGLES. But it did!
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Furthermore, Wells has built strong relationships between these characters that he’s literally cultivated organically throughout the development of HELLIONS. So, for him to simply end the series without any exploration or future speculation would belittle what he fostered and created. Well, readers, you have absolutely nothing to worry about there! Zeb Wells lands the HELLIONS plane perfectly leaving the characters in an excellent spot for anyone interested in exploring these future character beats.
Not only did Wells bring HELLIONS to a nice close, but it ended with the grace and dignity this comic deserved. Remember, the strength of HELLIONS began with Sinister. He was snarky, sarcastic, witty, ignorant, and loads of fun. Heck, Sinister threw this comic on his shoulders and ran out ahead almost as if Wells was meant to write the character. Yet, as HELLIONS progressed, so did this dynamic of the team. A family began to blossom and emotions started swirling with these characters. It became more about them and less about Sinister and all his secrets. This is why Wells closes the chapter of HELLIONS with grace and a sense of elegance from this band of misfits and monsters.
What about Kwannon and Greycrow? Is there an actual relationship forming? What about Peter and Nanny? And will Wild Child or Empath ever feel like they belong? Wells doesn’t totally answer these questions but he most certainly points readers in the right direction with lots of calculated passion and emotion. Truthfully, to anyone who has followed along since day one, you’ll find it hard to leave this issue without feeling for these characters. Readers, you’ll feel for Nanny and Peter… a psychotic killer and a lunatic kidnapper. You’ll truly feel for Empath whose loneliness will drive you to care for a murdering, self-centered prick. And lastly, you’ll cheer for Kwannon and Greycrow with a line from him that shows fans just how and why he cares for her. And my goodness did these two deserve a win.
But the real instant that will hit fans hard is the scene involving Nanny and Peter. However, it’s the art team that truly makes this moment crushing… and it’s certainly a team effort. The facial expressions from the Council mixed with the lettering of the song, and the touching design and setup of Peter and Nanny were spot on. Plus, the way the panels were laid out with the lack of words in specific panels followed by differently drawn angles and perspectives of the HELLIONS walking in silence added the extra tension and emotion to this issue. Or how about the sadness all over Empath’s face as this creative team shows him staring off into the comic with that glazed regard. However, Wells and this art team chose wisely for their ending. As sentimental as this story was, it ended with the perfect panel progression involving Kwannon and Greycrow on the beach. It’s the sly panel layouts that made the moments even sweeter.
HELLIONS #18 wraps up another X-MEN series. Yet unlike so many in the past that felt forced or unfinished, Wells provides HELLIONS with a bold and emotional ending that paints the perfect capstone on this dysfunctional band of misfit toys that never was supposed to be. HELLIONS proves what a great writer and creative team can do with ample opportunity and a powerful vision. I never thought I’d like this series as much as I did, let alone find it more appealing than so many of the mainstay X-MEN comics. However, I did and I’m so incredibly happy that I gave it a chance.
Did HELLIONS ever fit into the overall plan of Hickman’s vision? Probably not. But it never needed to. Like the characters, the series beat to its own drum and made me care for characters I should have never cared about. That alone should tell you how amazing this series was with a culminating issue that left the story in a great place. I’d tell you to pick this issue up, but it’s too late… you need the trade by this point. Don’t wait, get it today! Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God bless!