Hellfire Gala Week One Starts Off A Delightful, Different X-Men Event (SPOILERS)
Dawn of X ended with X of Swords chapter twenty-two: Destruction. The lengthy event broke a lot of event rules, from its length to issues about a dinner party. X of Swords must have sparked a drive in the X-team over at Marvel, as we’re now in the second event of the Krakoa era and the first event in the Reign of X era: The Hellfire Gala. From an epic, dimension-spanning, even Tolkien-esque story to a, well, a much more elaborate dinner party, this is definitely an experimental event. Hellfire Gala week one kicks off a twelve-issue event. Not twelve chapters, though. Every X-Men series (except for Legacy) will explore various moments loosely progressing throughout the big night. The entire event will end in just a month, but what we know from week one? It’s going to be a night to remember.
Hellfire Gala Week One: Marauders #21 Begins the White Queen Event
How many times do we have to say it? Only Power Girl can pull off the “boob window” look. (Image: Marauders #21, Marvel Comics)
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Matteo Lolli
Colorist: Edgar Delgado
How do you start a major comic book event that’s the Met Gala for mutants, politicians, superheroes, and celebrities? With the Queen. Emma Frost, the head of the Hellfire Club. By her side are her two mostly-trusted co-leaders. Kate Pryde, the Red Queen, was just a teenager when she first met Emma and the Hellfire Club – who tried to kill her. And Sebastian Shaw, the Black King, recently tried to kill Kate. Kate and Emma repaid him by beating him within an inch of his life, taking his eye, and leaving him paralyzed. It’s the X-Men; at least one of their leaders needs to be in a badass wheelchair. However, just as our three Hellfire leaders are important, Hellfire Gala week one also introduces the evening guests – and some are quite surprising.
How Many of Marvel’s Finest Will Stay After Hellfire Gala Week One?
Doctor, at best, you fit right in. (Image: Marauders #21, Marvel Comics)
In a way, this is a full Marvel event in that they are all there. The Avengers walk through a Krakoan gate for the first time, Doctor Strange arrives via his own portal, and Iron Man lands in from the sky. But then we have some unexpected guests too. For instance, even though we knew he’d be there because of solicitations, Doctor Doom arrives much like Doctor Strange – a private portal. Yet the guests that are most surprising in Hellfire Gala week one? The Fantastic Four
The Hostilities Between the Fantastic Four and the X-Men Have Never Been This Bad
Okay, not every FF member is hostile. (Image: Marauders #21, Marvel Comics)
After the mini-series, X-Men/Fantastic Four: 4X, The two teams fought over Franklin Richards, a mutant with the power to create realities. Or so we thought. During the mini-series, Reed Richards turns off his mutant gene code so that Franklin can’t go through a Krakoan gate. This obviously angers Professor X, so they react. Ben Grimm and Sue Storm say some really horrible, racist things to the X-Men. The X-Men try to kidnap their son. And then Doom fought with all of them. Good times, sure, but it left a very sour relationship between Reed and Xavier since Xavier not only removed the knowledge of the gene-blocking technology, he made it so that Reed could never replicate it again.
Furthermore, in Fantastic Four #25, Franklin uses up the rest of his power, and when he does, they discover that he was never a mutant to begin with. He wanted to be one, so his powers changed his DNA. When he reverted to human, Xavier telepathically told him he was no longer welcome to Krakoa. So their presence in the Hellfire Gala week one is definitely surprising. But Franklin and Valeria wanted to attend, so the entire family went. Although Reed did want to “say one thing” to Xavier::
Wow. Did Reed curse out Xavier? (Image: Marauders #21, Marvel Comics)
If there’s one member of the Fantastic Four who really doesn’t hold any grudges, it’s Ben Grimm. He’s having the best time and even starts rolling dice and gambling with the Krakoans and an AIM member who became an ally in Giant-Size X-Men: Fantomex.
It’s All Talk, No Action for the First Issue of Hellfire Gala Week One – And it’s Perfect
How dare she besmirch the name of Mrs. Rogers! That woman was a saint! (Image: Marauders #21, Marvel Comics)
Most big comic book events start with something fantastically violent. How else would they start? The superhero genre, above anything else, is action-oriented. However, Marauders #21 breaks that rule in Hellfire Gala week one. Not one mutant or guest throws a single punch. No one attacks someone else. And there’s no big showdown between two adversaries. But that doesn’t mean it isn’t exciting. In fact, the lack of action works wonderfully. Duggan and Lolli expertly use writing and art to convey the tension between characters having fairly standard conversations for a political event like the Hellfire Gala.
This is especially true at the end, when we jump to a little after midnight and something happened. That something? We don’t know yet, but it makes Captain America nervous enough to confront Cyclops respectfully. Now, there’s no fighting at the Gala itself, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t violence elsewhere. And to deal with that, we have X-Force.
Hellfire Gala Week One: X-Force #20: Beast Has Completely Given Up His Moral Compass
How to sound as least trustworthy as possible. (Image: X-Force #20, Marvel Comics)
Writer: Benjamin Percy
Artist: Joshua Cassara
Colorist: Guru eFX
While most mutant superheroes get to have fun during Hellfire Gala week one, the X-Force has to work. And man, Percy throws a lot of work their way. From guests not wanting to follow protocol, hostile espionage, and the worst possible person showing up, we don’t lack action here. We also get to see Nightcrawler drunk. That has nothing to do with the plot. It’s just great. Now, who’s causing trouble from the moment they land? You probably already know.
Hellfire Gala Week One Starts a Rivalry Between Quinten Quire…and Iron Man?
Tony, he’s less than half your age. This doesn’t make you look good. (Image: X-Force #20, Marvel Comics)
When Tony Stark lands on the welcoming platform, Quinten Quire, also known as Kid Omega, is there to greet him. However, he’s immediately suspicious of Tony since he refuses to wear the Krakoan flower that tracks their guests and opens parts of the Gala for them. On top of that, Tony refuses to take off his psi-blockers. Even Reed, who has every reason to block psychics, didn’t go that far.
But mostly? Tony’s just a dick to Quinten, and Quinten returns the favor. This might just be an awkward moment during the event, but it would be interesting to see this new rivalry develop further. Out of the many confrontations during Hellfire Gala week one, this is one of the most interesting. It really seems like Stark was going out of his way to condescend to a kid who is maybe nineteen. Or, it’s just Tony trying to inflate his ego before talking to “more important” people.
Seriously, What in Mephisto’s Name is Beast Doing in Hellfire Gala Week One?
Umm…. (Image: X-Force #20, Marvel Comics)
While most mutants have found a measure of peace on Krakoa, and some even striving to be better people, Beast is decidedly going in the opposite direction. In previous issues of X-Force, he’s taken down rival nations, had people tortured, and even treated Colossus and Omega Red so horrendously, you felt bad for Peter and Omega Red. Omega Red! Somehow, he now has a better moral compass than former pacifist Hank McCoy.
That nation he destroyed? Terra Verde. He, supposedly on accident, let loose a plant virus that infected the entire nation. We learn in this issue that, after Black Tom Cassidy and Jean Grey expelled the evil plant infestation, Beast gained some control over the nation. And now, since the plant virus is still within them, just suppressed, he’s using them to plant – literally – organic listening devices on ambassadors from around the world. And how did he figure out how to turn a floral plant into a technological plant? He stole the research from Hordeculture, the group of four elderly eco-terrorist Golden Girls.
But not only has Beast become more sociopathic, but he’s also become more narcissistic. He thinks his idea is flawless. However, Emma soon catches on to his plans and tells Sage to make the Terra Verde ambassadors leave. She also promises that only Beast will face the Quiet Council. But Sage finds that she can’t direct the ambassadors. Someone hacked into their plant software and took over…and one of them turns into a green plant creature. Now it’s a party. But there’s one special party crasher.
The Most Obnoxious Person Shows Up: Conan O’Brien
(Image: Marauders #21, Marvel Comics)
Just kidding. That’s not even from X-Force.
The Most Dangerously Obnoxious Crashes the Gala…You Know Who
Whoever designed Wolverine’s pants? Good job. (Image: X-Force #20, Marvel Comics)
Oh Deadpool, always on the verge of causing an international incident. Still, though, he has one of the best entrances of the Hellfire Gala so far. He and Wolverine battle it out in one of their best fights ever drawn. I mean, come on, he arrives in a ruby ducky swim ring. And to top it off, Domino ends the fight by jumping off a cliff and landing directly on Deadpool – and blasts him in the face with a Krakoan weapon just to be sure he’s down and out for a while.
But now, X-Force has multiple crises to deal with, one of their own making. We have the Terra Verde ambassadors mutating into plant creatures. They make the Cotati in Empyre look like little kids fighting over a playground instead of an angry civilization fighting for universal dominance. And though he’s incapacitated – growing his face back – he’ll be up and causing problems before the night is over. After all, we still have Wolverine #13 coming towards the end of the event.
We’re not even through with Hellfire Gala week one, and yet the chaos just below the surface of the most important night for Krakoan diplomacy is already almost out of control. So, that makes it the perfect time for the Hellions to show up, right?
Hellfire Gala Week One: Hellions #12: The Misfit Mutants Bring the Ruckus
Wild Child just really likes Sia. (Image: Hellions #12, Marvel Comics)
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Stephen Segovia
Color Artist: David Curiel
The Hellfire Gala is a night for the best representatives, or at least most important, and simply the most fabulous. From the Hellions, Psylocke is the best representative, Havok – a Summers Brother – is important. And Mister Sinister? Well, he’s just fabulous. But what about the rest of the team? All the other teams are fully present, even Eye-Boy from X-Factor. Also, it’s not like they don’t have murderers at the Gala – Mystique, Exodus, Daken, Pyro, Sebastian Shaw, Mister Sinister (of course), and others have very violent pasts. So why not Greycrow? Sure, he can be ruthless, but his time on the Hellions has softened him a bit. Or, his feelings for Psylocke have (I’m totally on board with team PsyCrow or Greylocke, whichever sounds better). Empath might have worked too. But along with Wild Child, Orphan-Maker, and Nanny, they weren’t invited. Hellfire Gala week one is about to get crazy.
Shame On You, When You Step Through, to the Mutant Extravaganza, the Hellfire Zoo
It doesn’t take long for the “fashion don’ts” -as Sinister calls them – to show up to the event anyhow. In the other Hellfire Gala week one titles, X-Force contained any shenanigans outside of the party. But these four mutants do what even Deadpool could not: they crash the party. And man, do they really crash the party. It doesn’t take them long to start fighting with guests and with each other. There’s also one moment that is so absurd and hilarious that you have to stop reading for a moment just to laugh. So, how did the Hellions get so riled up?
Because they’re the Hellions, Graycrow just wants to sit at the bar and drink with Psylocke, who seems to be enjoying his company. Empath somehow volunteered himself to watch over Orphan-Maker, making sure he doesn’t try any champagne. Wild Child actually wants to mix and mingle a bit. And Nanny wants to drink and dance. Now, how do things go terribly wrong? Let’s break down the most insane moments of Hellfire Gala week one:
1. The Scorned Lover
Wild Child has complete control over his berserker behavior. Then he sees X-Factor’s Aurora, a former romantic partner of his. However, at first, he’s courteous and polite. He even asks her to dance. But Aurora reacts in the worst way possible:
Damn. That’s cold. (Image: Hellions #12, Marvel Comics)
To make matters worse, he sees the love of his life go up to Daken, her new romantic partner, and passionately kiss him. This sends Whildchild into a rage, but he still holds back…until Greycrow tells him to fight for her, “Roar!” But when Wild Child goes to confront Daken, Greycrow tackles him to the ground.
Empath Is the Worst Babysitter Ever
Empath had one job – make sure Orphan-Maker didn’t try to consume alcohol. But then he gets a bright idea. He’ll make Orphan-Maker feel like he drank even though he didn’t. Now, this might have been okay if he stayed with the overgrown murderous child, but when two women he once used his powers on confront him, he gets a little distracted. And a little kicked twice in the face. It’s just enough time for Orphan-Maker to join Greycrow and Wild Child’s fight:
Orphan-Maker just really likes… bananas. (Image: Hellions #12, Marvel Comics)
This then escalates to…
Nanny Makes Her Move on Sinister – and Not the Romantic Kind
(Image: Hellions #12, Marvel Comics)
That explains it enough on its own, right? There’s no need for further commentary. It’s one of the most perfect moments in comic book history, let alone Hellfire Gala week one. But for a little more reference, here Nanny was just a few moments earlier:
I want to go drinking with Nightcrawler! (Image: Hellions #12, Marvel Comics)
Eventually, Magneto and Magik expel them from the Gala, and the team, minus Sinister, leave the party. But while they watch the telepathic fireworks together, Sinister shows up – but not the Sinister attending the Gala. It’s the clone from X of Sword. In Hellions #6: X of Swords Chapter Eighteen, Tarn the Uncaring sliced him up into pieces.
Hellfire Gala Week One Leaves Us With No Idea What’s Coming Next
(Image: X-Force #20, Marvel Comics)
Even with the best events, we generally know how they’ll end, just not how they’ll get there. Other times, we get to that ending, but in ways we never saw coming. For instance, we knew that at the end of. In secret Invasion, the heroes and villains of Earth would defeat the Skrulls. But did anyone expect Norman Osborne to kill the queen and take over SHIELD? Nope.
We know that there will eventually be a murder, which launches the mini-series The Trial of Magneto, but we don’t know what the resolution of the Gala will bring. And that is fantastic.
Do you have any theories on the ending? Tell us below!
(Featured Image: X-Force #20, Marvel Comics)
Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.