Hellfire Gala Week 3: A New Era Begins with Treachery
Spoiler alert! Read through the ramifications of today's 'Planet-Size X-Men,' 'New Mutants,' and 'X-Corp'!
Warning! This article contains spoilers for today's new issues of PLANET-SIZE X-MEN, NEW MUTANTS, and X-CORP, so read on at your own risk, Flame-Keepers!
The Hellfire Gala was meant to be a moment of triumph for mutants. And, perhaps, it may still be that. But the event has now been marred by two murders, betrayal, party-crashers, and deadly Teleforonic humanoids. Even with the remarkable achievements on display, it’s hard to feel very festive after that.
Writer Gerry Duggan and artist Pepe Larraz kicked off this week’s festivities with PLANET-SIZE X-MEN #1. And that special really lived up to its name. Early in the issue, Magneto posed the question that changed everything: "What if instead of war...we made something else?"
What they made—or, more accurately—remade, was a planet. Now, the world formerly known as Mars has become Planet Arakko. And it was literally terraformed overnight by the combined powers of Krakoa’s most formidable mutants working in coordination with the Arakkii.
Why did this have to happen? At the end of X OF SWORDS, Arakko and its millions of mutants were allowed to return to Earth. Unlike their Krakoan cousins, the Arakkii are conquerors. They were already starting to expand their influence beyond their living island. Given enough time, the Arakkii could have sparked a war between humans and mutants. That would not have been ideal for anyone.
Magneto was the visionary behind this momentous course of action, and his powers were instrumental in making it happen. This also solved more than just the issue of giving the Arakkii their own world. It gave Krakoa new territory where they can create their wonder drugs without human interference.
Abigail Brand will almost certainly be pleased by this turn of events. Thanks to Jamie Braddock, S.W.O.R.D. Station Two is now in orbit of Mars, and Port Prometheus can welcome the universe to Sol’s de facto capital. To celebrate their achievement, Emma Frost and the telepaths of Krakoa allowed their human guests to remotely view Planet Arakko for themselves. Trust us, those are some fireworks that they will never forget.
MARAUDERS #21 has already shown us the stunned, even angry, reactions from the humans in attendance. Selfishly, humanity had its own designs on Mars, generations from the present. In the here-and-now, Planet Arakko is a stark reminder that the mutants could easily conquer Earth if they choose to. A move this bold may also invite retaliation sooner rather than later.
Next, writer Vita Ayala and artist Alex Lins continued the crossover with NEW MUTANTS #19. Gabrielle Kinney, AKA Scout, was absent from the Hellfire Gala...and people noticed. Especially Laura Kinney (AKA Wolverine), Gabby’s older sister who recently returned from the Vault. It’s not like Gabby to miss a party, and this greatly concerned Laura. For weeks, Gabby has been alarmed about the Shadow King’s growing influence over her friends. That’s why the Shadow King felt the need to silence her. In his mind, he’s simply teaching the next generation of mutants how to defend themselves. But that’s just a rationalization. In reality, the Shadow King is evil, and beyond redemption.
It’s less clear if Rahne Sinclair, AKA Wolfsbane, also deserves some blame for this atrocity. She brought Gabby to the Shadow King, but she may not remember that she did it. If Rahne knowingly did that, she may soon face the wrath of both Laura and her half-brother, Daken. Especially if they decide to bring Logan in on it as well. Hopefully Gabby’s death can be undone by the Five once they learn what has happened to her. Yet we suspect that the Shadow King may have covered his tracks...
The rest of the New Mutants had a better time at the party. Warlock was finally able to reconcile with his best friend, Doug Ramsey. Previously, Warlock was so threatened by Doug’s new marriage with Bei the Blood Moon that he was desperate to find someone to fill the Doug-sized hole in his heart. Thanks to a pep talk from Warpath, Warlock finally took the time to speak with both Doug and Bei. Much to Warlock’s delight, even Bei seemed to welcome him. Meanwhile, Magik and Karma gave a human artist his much deserved comeuppance after he harassed them at the party. They certainly seemed happy when putting him in his place.
Writer Tini Howard and artist Alberto Foche wrapped up the evening’s intrigue in X-CORP #2. Monet St. Croix and Warren Worthington III, AKA Angel, made quite a public splash in issue #1 with their demonstration of X-Corp’s flying mobile headquarters. Naturally, human investors want to buy into the company. But their strength and power has also invited corporate espionage from within Krakoa itself.
Neal Shaara, AKA Thunderbird, and Roberto Da Costa, AKA Sunspot, had very positive meetings with Monet and Warren, and both seem to be strong candidates for a position on X-Corp’s board. Yet only one mutant earned a guaranteed seat at the table: Jason Wyngarde, AKA Mastermind. He was a surprising choice, given his history with the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. Jason was also the man who brainwashed Phoenix into becoming his Black Queen in THE DARK PHOENIX SAGA. He’s the very definition of a shady character, and yet his powers of illusion have already come in handy. Perhaps Mastermind’s true calling is public relations.
Do you know who’s not welcome in X-Corps? The Fenris Twins, Andreas and Andrea Von Strucker. The former members of the Upstarts are far from reformed villains. Unlike many of Krakoa’s other residents, the Von Struckers aren’t even pretending to have changed their stripes. And after getting a firm “no” from Monet, they actually had the nerve to attempt to steal X-Corp’s secrets for themselves. The twins also signed a deal with Noblesse Pharmaceuticals and their representative, Sara St. John.
The other major reveal in this issue is that Angel’s darker incarnation, Archangel, is not as contained as he’s led his partner to believe. During the fight with Andreas, Angel seemingly remained calm and collected. Unfortunately, it was just one of Mastermind’s illusions that allowed Warren to hide his transformation. That may be why he welcomed Mastermind into the fold.
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