The Hellfire Saga kicked off with a comic that made me angrier than I’ve ever been about a comic before. Nothing about the Hellfire Academy made any sense, none of the professors felt like they belonged, none of the kids seemed right in the head and none of the humour worked. Jason Aaron can be a very entertaining writer, but he’s not exactly known for his subtlety. This kind of storyline needs subtlety. This issue is better than the last one, if only because less time is spent at the Hellfire Academy.
I’m not going to waste time talking about the Hellfire Academy segments as I’ve already ranted on them in my review of issue 31. They’re just as bad here – it’s little more than an unfunny parody of the earlier WATXM issues. Instead, let’s talk about the X-Men looking for the Hellfire Academy, and these scenes have problems of their own. The one exception I’ll make is the short scene that explains where Philistine came from. His origin is … ok, but what is it doing in an already crowded storyline?
The comic opens with Kitty Pryde and Iceman attacking the Kilgore headquarters (the company that the 10-year-old black king of the hellfire club owns). At first, this scene is kind of amusing with how Iceman is holding back the hellfire goons. It quickly goes south as Iceman basically destroys the building. These superheroes are openly welcoming lawsuits, ignoring the likely criminal charges they’ll face for destroying a building or the bad publicity they surely don’t want their mutant school receiving. That’s not to mention all the debris that will fall onto the streets – nice job playing the heroes.
There’s another scene where Rachel Grey is reading the minds of everyone on the planet, trying to find any evidence of the hellfire club. It’s nice that Rachel is getting a powerful feat here, but wouldn’t it be much faster if she were using cerebro? She isn’t by the way. There’s also a page where some of the Jean Grey kids are scared by Lockheed, even though several of the kids in that panel would definitely know who Lockheed is. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Pixie has worked with Lockheed in the past, and I’m fairly sure Hellion has been shown in the same scene as Kitty Pryde’s dragon friend.
Wolverine using the bamphs to track down the academy sort of works, but is it ever explained how the bamphs are able to track anything down? Also, the random hillbilly with a shotgun is pointless and unfunny.
The only consistently good thing in this comic is the art. It’s colourful, full of detail and it’s fun to look at. Every character within is easily recognizable, even out of uniform. The art alone is nowhere nearly good enough to sell this piece of trash though, and some may not like its cartoony feel. This comic is full of disrespect to established characters, poorly written satire with a total lack of subtlety and a bunch of unfunny jokes. There was a time when I really liked Wolverine and the X-Men, but it appears that time has passed. The next few issues will have to be amazing if Aaron wants me to stick with it.