Writer: Jonathan Hickman / Artist: Nick Dragotta, Russell Dauterman, Lucas Werneck, and Sara Pichelli / Marvel Comics
So far, the Hellfire Gala has been a pretty entertaining affair and intriguing in a way the usually befits murder mysteries except, you know, without the murder. Each book gives a different glimpse at the lavish and fashion-forward event without giving readers the full picture. We’re left piecing together how the party ends up with all of its guests in a panicked state. It’s fun, and X-Men #21, in particular, has a bit more fun with the official unveiling of Krokoa’s heroes – the X-Men.
The best part about reading these Hellfire Gala issues is seeing the drama unfold. The Gala is filled with plenty of enemies, allies, and frienemies. Ultimately, the underlying purpose of the party is to give the mutants of Krokoa a chance to navigate the complicated relationships they have with other countries. In between the handshakes and compliments, there is plenty of shade thrown, particularly at Charles Xavier, and I’m loving it.
Aside from the opening pages of this issue, the rest of the book feels like a proper celebration of the X-men. We get a good glimpse at the extravagant selection process and it fits in line with the way mutants are so connected now. I’m loving the new lineup and seeing characters like Sync, Wolverine (my girl Laura), and Polaris join the team makes me excited to see what adventures this new crew might run into. My only issue is that we don’t spend time in X-Men #21 with the new members of the team.
Instead, Marvel seemed to have other plans. The latter half of the book feels like Marvel just showing off its celebrity friends. It’s a bit jarring seeing folks like Eminem, George RR. Martin, and Kevin Fiege in a comic book, drawn very realistically. However, these cameos do serve up a great moment for Scott to lay out his journey and what the X-Men are all about. It’s a great moment that adds to a pretty cool issue, showing the X-men at their best.
8.7 Celebrity Cameos out of 10
Reading X-Men? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.