Comics
Published July 26, 2023

The Most Shocking Moments from 'X-Men: Hellfire Gala 2023'

Bear witness to some of the most shocking moments from this year's Hellfire Gala, where Orchis launched the attack that triggers 'Fall of X.'

The Hellfire Gala is always a night to remember. In addition to acting as an official Krakoan government function and a showcase of Super Hero fashion, the last two Hellfire Galas saw Mars transform into a habitable planet for a lost race of mutants and found the mutants dealing with the fallout of Krakoa’s secret resurrection process becoming public knowledge. 

Amid Krakoa's internal strife and rising anti-mutant sentiment around the world, this year’s Hellfire Gala took a tragic turn when the mutant-hating organization Orchis launched their ultimate attack against mutantkind. As the FALL OF X gets underway, we’re taking a closer look at some of the most shocking moments from X-MEN: HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1 by Gerry Duggan, Adam Kubert, Luciano Vecchio, Matteo Lolli, Russell Dauterman, Javier Pina, R.B. Silva, Joshua Cassara, Kris Anka, Pepe Larraz, Rain Beredo, Ceci De La Cruz, Matthew Wilson, Erick Arciniega, Marte Gracia, and Virtual Calligraphy.

MS. MARVEL'S MUTANT RESURRECTION

Kamala Khan, AKA Ms. Marvel, sacrificed herself while helping Spider-Man protect Mary Jane Watson in AMAZING SPIDER-MAN (2021) #26 by Zeb Wells, John Romita Jr., and Scott Hanna, but shortly before her death, Emma Frost and Krakoa's other leaders realized she was a latent mutant. So, even though her embiggening powers derive from her Inhuman heritage, Kamala's mutant status meant she was a candidate for Krakoa's Resurrection Protocols

Shortly before this year's gala, Frost and Charles Xavier had Ms. Marvel resurrected, and they told the stunned young hero she was a mutant. The White Queen also encouraged Kamala to publicly reveal herself as a mutant to help improve mutantkind's public image. Now that she has survived the Hellfire Gala, Kamala is set to explore her mutant side in MS MARVEL: THE NEW MUTANT by Iman Vellani, Sabir Pirzada, Carlos Gómez, and Adam Gorham.

NIMROD KILLS THE X-MEN

Every year, the Hellfire Gala features the election and debut of a new X-Men team. At this year's gala, Juggernaut, Cannonball, Dazzler, Frenzy, Prodigy, and Jubilee were selected to join a team led by Synch and Talon. But moments after the team was chosen, they were brutally attacked by Nimrod, an ultimate mutant-killing machine responsible for wiping out mutants across multiple alternate timelines. 

At the start of Orchis' attack, Nimrod slaughtered and dismembered most of this X-Men team before reducing Iceman—an immensely powerful Omega-level mutant—to a puddle. While Stark Sentinels wielding Iron Man technology descended on the gala, Nimrod faced off against the unstoppable Juggernaut in a fight that took down Krakoa's Mykines base. As chaos erupted around them, these two powerhouses engaged in a long, drawn-out battle that ended with the super-strong Sentinel pummeling Juggernaut into a bloody pulp.

MUTANT MEDICINE TURNS DEADLY

In its early days as a nation, Krakoa ensured its place in the international community by distributing three life-saving medicines to countries that recognized it. Because these miracle drugs became the backbone of Krakoa's economy, Doctor Stasis—a mutant-hating clone of Mister Sinister—tampered with Krakoa's pharmaceutical factories to hide a kill switch inside the medicine. 

During the Orchis attack, Doctor Stasis revealed this to a horrified Xavier. With the assistance of M.O.D.O.K., Stasis activated the kill switch, which sent several humans at the gala into excruciating pain and made them attack each other. By creating a chemical reaction in the brain's limbic cortex, Stasis created a telepath-resistant way to attack Krakoa's public image and turned one of the nation's greatest strengths into a lethal liability. More importantly, Stasis effectively made every human who had used the contaminated medicine a potential hostage of Orchis.

JEAN GREY'S DEATH

During the Orchis attack, veteran X-Men leader Jean Grey marshaled Krakoa's defenses with her immense telekinetic power. However, Moira MacTaggert—a longtime X-Men ally turned cybernetic villain—snuck up behind Jean and stabbed her through the heart with a knife covered in a magical substance called Blightswill. 

Initially found in the Otherworld dimension, Blightswill is a power-neutralizing liquid with intoxicating side effects. However, Orchis altered samples of it to make its power-dampening effects even more potent and longer lasting. 

So, when Moira stabbed Jean Grey with the dagger, the Blightswill severely weakened her Omega-level powers as she bled out. In her final moments, Jean struggled to telepathically communicate with a nearby Firestar and her two great loves, Cyclops and Wolverine, as her powers faded. By the end of the gala, Jean Grey was reduced to a smoldering skeleton.

PROFESSOR X SURRENDERS

Even before the Orchis attack, Professor X started the Hellfire Gala in an unusually vulnerable position. Having lost Magneto and Apocalypse, Xavier was ready to disband the Quiet Council that governed the island. Then, after he saw Jean Grey and several other former students slaughtered and learned how Orchis corrupted Krakoan medicine, Xavier surrendered to Orchis. 

Just as Krakoa's mutants rallied to attack the villains, Xavier took over their minds and froze them in place. Doctor Stasis then ordered Xavier to make every mutant on Earth walk into a Krakoan portal that would lead them off-world. After Stasis threatened to kill humans for every mutant Orchis found on Earth, a despondent Xavier obeyed and forced most of the world's mutants to walk into the portals. Thanks to years of defensive training, only a handful of veteran X-Men were able to resist Xavier's telepathic push.

FIRESTAR: DOUBLE AGENT

Despite her status as a mutant, Firestar spent most of her Super Hero career fighting alongside the New Warriors and the Avengers. But after Firestar's recent stint with the X-Men, a dying Jean Grey reached out to her telepathically and asked her to pose as a double agent working inside of Orchis. As she lay dying, Jean reached into Stasis' mind and made him think he had recruited the ex-Avenger to be a mole for Orchis shortly before she joined the X-Men at the last Hellfire Gala. 

With many Krakoans already dubious of Firestar due to her association with the Avengers, her role as a fake traitor plays off mutantkind's collective skepticism about her and positions her to learn everything she can about Orchis. But with Jean Grey dead, Firestar is embedded deep with Krakoa's most dangerous foes without an ally, and no one else knows where her true allegiance lies.

KRAKOA'S GATES BREAK

When the nation of Krakoa came together, mutantkind created a network of portals around the world and across the universe. With protections that prevent non-mutants from using them, these gates have played a vital role in helping the X-Men and the rest of Marvel's mutants safely navigate the Krakoan era. 

However, Orchis took control of Krakoa's global portal network at the Hellfire Gala and used them to get its troops to the island. As Stasis revealed, Orchis took over the gates with help from Hordeculture, a group of scientists who figured out how to hack Krakoan biotechnology. So, when Xavier surrendered, Orchis redirected all of the portals to another location. After Xavier sent most mutants through the gates, Orchis prevented mutants from using them again. 

Notably, this didn't work on one prominent mutant. Although the technology-disrupting effects of Kate Pryde's power kept her from using the portals throughout the Krakoan era, Orchis' method of controlling them allowed her to fall through one of the gates, which left her on a rooftop surrounded by Orchis forces.

THE X-MEN GO UNDERGROUND

Thanks to their training against telepathic attacks, several members of the X-Men resisted Xavier's psychic order to walk into a portal. After successfully repelling the attack, Emma Frost had the last mutants at the Hellfire Gala join hands with Lourdes Chantel, who teleported them to the basement of an old Hellfire Club building. 

While Cyclops sustained injuries protecting the X-Men's Treehouse base in Manhattan and Wolverine and Rogue fought Orchis elsewhere, the rest of the surviving X-Men crammed into this small room. With Stark Sentinels all over the world and anti-mutant hysteria near an all-time high, Orchis effectively forced the X-Men underground. Now, without the geopolitical power of Krakoa behind them, the X-Men can only turn to allies like the Avengers and Wilson Fisk for help.

XAVIER'S MUTANT MASSACRE

When Xavier sent the world's mutants through the Krakoan gates, he thought he was sending them to Arakko, the long-lost mutant civilization's new home on Mars. But after Rogue rescued Xavier from Orchis' leaders, he determined that the mutants who went through the portals were simply gone. To his horror, Xavier realized that most of the world's mutants were dead. 

Once he got to the barren shores of Krakoa, Xavier began to grasp his role in their deaths. Since roughly a quarter million mutants lived on Krakoa alone, this attack turned an unwitting Xavier into one of the deadliest mutant killers in history. Now with the blood of countless mutants on his hands, the devastated Xavier asked Rogue to avenge Krakoa, while standing in the ruins of his dreams and the nation he helped build.

Witness the shocking events of this year's Hellfire Gala for yourself in HELLFIRE GALA (2023) #1, on sale now!

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