ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘X-Men: Hellfire Gala,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

X-Men Hellfire Gala #1 - But Why Tho

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 is published by Marvel Comics and written by Gerry Duggan. Kris Anka, Matteo Lolli, Russell Dauterman, & C.F. Villa handle colors while Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla & Matthew Wilson handle colors. The entire issue is lettered by VC’s Cory Petit. The time has come for the nation of Krakoa to hold its second annual Hellfire Gala, where it announces its new team of X-Men and other important mutant matters. Last year saw the terraforming of Mars into Arakko, but this year, tensions are running high as the secret of mutant resurrection is revealed to the world. And as if that wasn’t bad enough, the anti-mutant organization Orchis and their new ally Moira MacTaggert plan to use the Gala as the foundation of their ultimate plan.

The first Hellfire Gala was a game-changer in many ways for the Krakoan era of X-Books. Not only did events in that storyline lead to the formation of an all-new X-Men team but its fallout led to the launch of three different X-Men titles including The Trial of Magneto and X-Men Red. This one-shot takes a similar approach, as many of Krakoa’s citizens—especially Emma Frost—give Cyclops the cold shoulder since he was the one to reveal the secret of mutant resurrection to the world. But that isn’t the only character dynamic Duggan touches upon. Steve Rogers discusses the value of leadership with Emma, especially when it pertains to Rogue. Firestar points out that she’s been ostracized by other members for choosing not to live on Krakoa. And there’s tension between Spider-Man and Mary Jane Watson—doubly so since MJ plays an unwitting role in Moira’s plan. The developments hit fast and hard, which is the advantage of having this Hellfire Gala contained to a single comic instead of being spread out over various titles.

Duggan is joined by a veritable army of artists, who give the Hellfire Gala all the glitz and glamour its name deserves. Dautermann, who designed the fashion for last year’s Hellfire Gala, returns to cook up even more designs. And keeping in line with last year, he gives everyone a costume that’s befitting of their personality. Cyclops wears a blue and white robe that’s reminiscent of a samurai’s, indicating his dedication to the X-Men. Emma wears a long white gown with golden accents—a regal dress that fits the woman who calls herself the “White Queen.” Spidey has a jet-black costume with red spider-shaped designs, and Doctor Doom sports an ornate metallic mask. Even Gwenpool shows up in a Sailor Moon-inspired costume.

Dautermann is joined by Anka, Villa, and Lolli, who each illustrate a section of the party. Villa is the standout, as he manages to pack his pages full of characters without making it feel overcrowded. And his action sequences are just as impressive, especially when Spidey and Wolverine join forces to save MJ. But the coup de grace comes from Anka’s opening pages. Those pages feature Cyclops and his wife Jean Grey in bed together, holding a telepathic conversation. Petit’s word bubbles convey a range of emotions in a few paragraphs, and the color artists depict both pages in the fiery red of a setting sun and the pale glow of the moon, representing the turning tide for Krakoa.

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 delivers a major shake-up to the Age of Krakoa, with plenty of superheroic haute couture to spare. Already, plot threads have been set that will spread out into Marvel’s other comics, including upcoming issues of Amazing Spider-Man and the upcoming Judgement Day event series. It just goes to show that: whether you’re a mutant, superhero, or a regular human, the Hellfire Gala is the place to be.

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 will be available wherever comics are sold on July 13, 2022.


X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1
4.5

TL;DR

X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 delivers a major shake-up to the Age of Krakoa, with plenty of superheroic haute couture to spare. Already, plot threads have been set that will spread out into Marvel’s other comics, including upcoming issues of Amazing Spider-Man and the upcoming Judgement Day event series. It just goes to show that: whether you’re a mutant, superhero, or a regular human, the Hellfire Gala is the place to be.

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