The sins of Sinister’s recent past plague the Hellions as the character depth and moments surrounding every character that appears on a page continue to make this one of the most solid and engaging books around. As things get darker and more brutal for the team the artwork matches this tone in the best ways possible.
There are a great number of things that make a story work and make it memorable. Far too many to list. One of the major things though that can really make a story work, especially in the realm of comics and the X-Line in particular, is character development/moments.
Storyline wise Hellions #14 is a great comic that focuses most of the story on one location and the battle between the Hellions and Locus Vile. It moves the plotline forward and fills in some of the gaps about what Tarn the Uncaring and his group had been up to lately.
What takes it to the next level though is the absolute care and time that Zeb Wells takes to fully develop and embrace every single character that appears. From the regular cast to the antagonists to the characters that barely appear they all feel real and have weight. A ton of these characters were mostly empty rarely used concepts before this book launched, and yet here we stand where people care deeply for Nanny or Orphan Maker or Greycrow.
The action and the consequences of Sinister’s actions coming back to bite them all are truly engaging, but the character moments that sell all of this make it great. The often ‘soap opera’ like moments between these characters are one reason why so many of us fell in love with the X-Men comics so long ago. These characters have issues, thus why they are under Sinister’s watch, but their chemistry and their head-butting moments are truly one of the best parts of this book.
Building the team up in such a way just makes it even juicier when an arc like this comes around that begins the process of tearing them apart.
The X-Line has been going for quite a long time and the various teams and characters have taken on a ton of antagonists. Some are more memorable or interesting than others. The Locus Vile as a group, characters, and concept has sprung right to the top of the memorable and interesting mountain. Everything from their manner of speech, their look, personalities, and their goals/motives are just really interesting. Hopefully, we see more of them in the future beyond this arc.
Rogê Antônio and Rain Beredo continue to do a wonderful job filling in for the normal art team. There are a lot of artistic similarities in their work to Stephen Segovia and David Curiel, which really helps. Totally jarringly different art styles on a book can often change the mood or throw a reader off some, which is not the fault of the artists at all as they do the work that comes to them. Complimentary art styles just make things smoother all around.
As noted with the last issue there is a ‘rougher’ edge to Antônio’s artwork in a good way, that actually works quite well with this rougher story arc. It adds to the really big and brutal fights that happen here, and with the cloud that is looming over this team as everything from the past few arcs and Sinister’s machinations begin to crumble around them.
Beredo’s colors are a bit brighter this issue compared to the last and fit the fact that this issue takes place almost entirely in the very bright and pink realms of Sinister’s inner sanctum. At the same time, it retains some of the slight muting of the palette from the last issue that fits this darker (though a lot of the stories have been dark in tone) type of arc.
Still maintain that this duo is great together and should definitely continue to be the team that comes onto the title when the regular art team takes a break.
Ariana Maher is just a superstar when it comes to lettering, nailing it on so many of Marvel’s books right now. The use of sentence case is a great one and makes the bolds and all capital type yelling moments stand out far more. It fits as a lot of the issue is the two groups and the Sinisters having conversations that at times become a bit more heated and erupt into violence.
Then as usual the SFX are on point, especially ones like how Wildchild just has perfectly placed growls as his only auditory offering in a few panels. The attention that Maher puts into making sure each bit of SFX looks different and fitting for what action it is tied to as well as the attention put on really expanding the types and styles and looks of dialogue bubbles is beyond great. It just makes things feel real and visually interesting.
Hellions #14 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.