Hellfire Gala Week One: Emma Frost Welcomes the World
Spoiler alert! Read through the ramifications of today's 'Marauders,' 'X-Force,' and 'Hellions'!
Want an invite to the Hellfire Gala? Read our complete guide to the mutant event right here!
Ever since the Dawn of X began, it’s been said that “Krakoa is for mutants.” But at the Hellfire Gala, Krakoa is for everyone. Emma Frost and the Hellfire Trading Company are putting Krakoa at the top of 2021’s social events with a blockbuster party on the island nation. Additionally, Emma has fearlessly invited Krakoa’s heroic allies as well as their deadliest foes. Time will tell whether Emma miscalculated by inviting the proverbial wolves in through the front door.
This week, writer Gerry Duggan and artist Matteo Lolli kicked off the festivities in MARAUDERS #21 with an extra-large issue. Emma was even among the welcoming committee alongside Kate Pryde and Sebastian Shaw. The Avengers and the Fantastic Four were the first to arrive, and Franklin Richards was warmly embraced by Kate because of their strong emotional connection that dates back to FANTASTIC FOUR VS. THE X-MEN (1987). More recently, X-MEN/FANTASTIC FOUR (2020) put the two teams at odds when Krakoa’s Quiet Council still believed Franklin to be a mutant. Professor Charles Xavier coldly reminded Franklin that he is simply a human now. But Kate encouraged Franklin and she doesn’t think any less of him.
As for Xavier, Reed Richards choose this occasion to confront the Professor after the events of X-MEN/FANTASTIC FOUR (2020) #4, when Xavier put a block on Reed’s mind to keep him from making another device that can suppress the mutant gene. While we don’t hear the specific words that Reed choose to share with Xavier, Charles wasn’t smiling as Mister Fantastic walked away. That’s one friendship that won’t be fixed anytime soon. Fortunately, the Thing was right at home when he joined Pyro, Iceman, Bishop, and a few more for some recreational gambling outside of the party.
For the first time ever, Krakoa hosted an inventive telepathic concert with Rhapsody providing the music, while Jean Grey and the Stepford Cuckoos allowed the crowd to experience it as if they were the ones playing the music.
However, the United Kingdom's ambassador, Reuben Brousseau, was not impressed by the concert. Note that Brousseau arrived on Krakoa with diplomats from Russia and Madripoor, both of which are countries that are united in opposition to Krakoa. So far, only Sebastian Shaw and his son, Shinobi, seem to recognize that their enemies are using the Hellfire Gala to tear down everything the mutants have built. We’ll see more of what they’re up to in EXCALIBUR #21.
There was a brief GENERATION X (1994) reunion between Emma and her former co-headmaster, Sean Cassidy, AKA Banshee. Emma apparently invited Sean to be a part of the Hellfire Trading Company as well, but she declined to hear his polite refusal. Emma also stepped into a discussion between Doctor Doom and Captain America, where she felt a connection with Cap. But much to Emma’s horror, she telepathically discovered that she reminded Cap of his mother, a woman who was born over 120 years ago.
It’s worth noting that the Shi’ar ambassador arrived with what he claimed was an order from Emma. She privately professed her confusion to her brother, Christian. But if Emma didn’t make the request, then who did? And why?
Finally, we caught a glimpse of the end of the party, after the “fireworks,” so to speak. But rather than a celebratory mood, the human guests seemed downtrodden or alarmed. Why? You’ll have to read PLANET-SIZE X-MEN #1 for that. But there was a chilling moment when the Brazilian ambassador told Emma that "you will galvanize humanity in a way it never was to confront the threat posed by mutantkind.”
Writer Benjamin Percy and artist Joshua Cassara showed another side of the party in X-FORCE #20. Logan, Domino, Beast, Kid Omega, and Sage weren’t there to enjoy the event; X-Force is working security. And as a follow up to the enigmatic order from the Shi’ar, Logan reported that the alien empire had arrived with a large shipment of “logic diamonds.” But that still didn't tell us who ordered them or why.
Meanwhile, Beast had much bigger ambitions for the Hellfire Gala. Remember the nation of Terra Verde from X-FORCE #9-10? Thanks to Beast’s wild miscalculation, that country was overrun by newly created Teleforonic humanoids. Essentially, they’re plant people. Black Tom and Jean Grey brought the Teleforonic menace under control. And now, Beast is using them as biological spies who are infecting other ambassadors and bugging them.
To hear Beast explain it, this was all in the best interest of everyone... But Beast’s god complex is getting out of control, and he suggested using the Teleforonics’ bio tech to bug every embassy in the world, even Avengers Mountain.
On the shores of Krakoa, Logan discovered his former X-Force teammate, Deadpool, trying to crash the party. Predictably, Deadpool claimed that he’s a mutant, as he always does. But he really just came for a good time. And for Deadpool, a good time also includes temporarily maiming Logan. In turn, Domino’s Krakoan bio-gauntlet took off most of Deadpool’s face...what was left of it, anyway. He’ll be fine.
While Beast arrogantly pursued his own agenda, Emma picked up on his plans and confronted Sage. She also correctly pointed out that if the truth about what happened in Terra Verde came out, then it would doom Krakoa. Sage was suitably chastened, and she obeyed Emma’s request to send the ambassadors away. Unfortunately, it was already too late. Someone hacked into the bio-tech, and the Terra Verde ambassador transformed into a Teleforonic being...who is no longer under their control. But we’ll have to wait until WOLVERINE #13 for the resolution of this cliffhanger.
To close out the first week of the Hellfire Gala, writer Zeb Wells and artist Stephen Segovia caught up with Krakoa’s misfits in HELLIONS #12. Unsurprisingly, Greycrow, Orphan-Maker, Nanny, Empath, and Wild Child were not on the guest list. On the other hand, Sinister was delighted to be an invited guest, if only to show off his latest fashions. Havok and Psylocke also made the grade. And Greycrow was so impressed by Psylocke’s dress that he couldn’t hide his romantic interest in her.
Psylocke trusts Greycrow enough that she placed the responsibility for the team on his shoulders in her absence. But it only took three hours for Greycrow to get frustrated, and he decided to crash the party alongside his teammates.
While Havok has recently bonded with his fellow Hellions, he snubbed Greycrow and the rest when they arrived unannounced. Psylocke was more generous, and she claimed the team as her plus-one when Kid Omega tried to kick them out. The only other mutant who welcomed the Hellions with open arms was Nightcrawler, but that might've just been because he seemed to have downed one-too-many bottles of suds.
Prior to this, Sinister was openly hobnobbing with the Avengers, and chatting up Black Panther and Thor. Unfortunately for Sinister, Nanny took the opportunity to out Sinister for his many crimes, which sent the Son of Odin and the King of Wakanda in search of an excuse to be somewhere else. Meanwhile, Havok tried to use his remaining clout to lobby in favor of Madelyne Pryor's resurrection. Magneto used that request to embarrass Havok when he reunited with his other ex-girlfriend, Polaris.
Speaking of exes, Wild Child also had an awkward reunion with Aurora, the woman he used to love. It’s also clear that he still has very strong feelings for her. However, Aurora rejected Wild Child’s invitation to dance and maintained her emotional distance from him. Greycrow was actually very generous to Wild Child when he saw how much pain he was in. He advised Wild Child to demonstrate to Aurora that he has emotional maturity. Psylocke was suitably impressed by Greycrow’s gesture.
Sadly, Greycrow and Wild Child misread the situation. Aurora had already moved on to Daken, Wolverine’s son. Greycrow was forced to intervene to prevent Wild Child from attacking Daken. Simultaneously, a very..."well oiled"...Nanny tried to kill Sinister, while Empath faced his former Hellions teammates, Catseye and Roulette. Back in HELLIONS #1, Empath used his emotional powers to force Catseye and Roulette into trying to kill each other. Now, they've paid him back.
That was the final straw for the Hellions at the Hellfire Gala, as Magneto convinced Magik to teleport the team away. Only Havok got to stay at the party, largely by turning his back on his team. In the aftermath, the Hellions were still able to see the telepathic fireworks that Emma promised. And again, you’ll have to wait for PLANET-SIZE X-MEN #1 to see what they saw.
In the meantime, the Hellions have a new problem. Remember the Sinister clone who was killed in Otherworld during X OF SWORDS? Guess who isn’t actually dead and just returned to the island? Now there are two Sinisters on Krakoa, and that’s always bad news.
Read these mighty mags—and the rest of the Hellfire Gala—at your local comic shop!
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