I know that I am supposed to be the comics editor and there hasn’t been nearly enough comics reviews and I want to remedy that. This new segment “Last Time In” will be a recap and review of a single book’s story arc. For instance, today we will be looking at Jason Aaron’s “Wolverine and the X-Men”. I warn you now, there will be spoilers, but my hope is that you will go back and read these story arcs for yourselves. Without further ado, let’s get into “Wolverine and the X-Men: Hellfire Saga”, or at least the story so far.
Wolverine and the X-Men: Hellfire Saga (Parts 1 through 3)
We are now 3 issues in to this 5 part story arc. Kade Kilgore, the Black King of the Hellfire Club, has opened his own school called the Hellfire Academy. The Hellfire Academy is a direct counter to the Jean Grey School, teaching young mutants to be supervillians. The school itself is run by a colorful array of teachers including Dr. Starblood, Dog Logan, Sauron, Wendigo, Madame Mondo, Master Pandemonium, The Philistine, Husk, a disgruntled Toad, and the Headmaster/Mistress combo of Mystique and Sabertooth. The students of this new school include former Jean Grey School students, Idie, Glob Herman, Broo and Quentin Quire, as well as a few new students like Snot, Mudball, Tin Man, and Infestation. At this school the students go through the day’s periods like Subjugation through Science, Xenobiology, and Hell Lit to name a few. Meanwhile Wolverine and his band of merry mutant teachers are searching the globe in search of a lead to point them to the Hellfire Academy. However, he is upset that he could not protect the students he lost and now feels that the Jean Grey School needs to shut down in order to protect the students. During a late night period with Wendigo, where he pitted the students against each other, Mudbug vs Broo, Infestation vs Tin Man, Glob vs Oya (Idie) and Snot vs Kid Omega, Snot gets sent to the Principal’s office after his lost to Quire. Eventually, after causing 3 days of trouble, Quire gets sent to the Principal’s office were he meets Principal Kilgore. Kade tries to bring Quire over to the “dark side” but to no avail. Kilgore then explains why he built the school because supervillians are good for buisness. Then Kilgore sends Quire to detention in the Siege Perilous and has the new buffed out Snot to do so.
At Kilgore Corporate, Kitty and Iceman continue their search for their students by interrogating the guards and blowing up the building, but no students. Other teams like Doop and Warbird, Storm and Rachel Grey and Beast and Angel come up empty as well. While the teachers are in the field the students of the Jean Grey school meet their new Headmaster, Lockheed, who orders the students to do their Math homework or burn. Wolverine comes home after another failure to drink his whiskey when he has an idea on how to track Hellfire members. On Hellfire Island, Mr. Quire is getting pummeled by Master Pandemonium since the Siege Perilous rejected him. He is confronted yet again by the Philistine who taunts him some more. Meanwhile, with the Bamfs smelling the whiskey, Wolverine is hot on the trail of the Hellfire Club. Sabertooth gets a promotion as the Minister of Education for the club. Quire continues to take punishment this time from Sauron but Toad, scorned by Husk, makes the save. Wolverine finds Lord Deathstrike as he has just finished taking the Hellfire Club’s supply order from the Philistine. As this is going on, Kilgore is showing off the new Hellions to the rest of the Hellfire Club via teleconference.
Wolverine and the Bamfs have begun to engage Lord Deathstrike over the streets of Tokyo. Kid Omega and Toad are busy fighting off Madame Mondo and Sauron in the Hellfire Dungeon. (This is particularly cool because Toad has been such a C-List character, so to have him take down Sauron is cool.) Meanwhile the Hellions are on display killing Hellfire minions to prove their worth. Idie who has lost all her innocence has now embraced herself and kills a minion as well. As Toad frees Kid Omega from the dungeon, Hellfire guards come in, but they are saved by Dog Logan who made even with Quire from a couple of issues earlier. Kilgore invites Idie to his villa where he offers her the position of Black Queen of the Hellfire Club. She accepts but on the condition that he let Broo go. Of course, he agrees stating the fact that he already shot him once. They watch as Kid Omega and Toad come face to face with Husk and the new Hellions. The duo hold their own for a while as Quire drops some mental grenades and Toad tries to reach Husk. She seems to be suffering from some kind of mind control and can’t fight it. Toad says he won’t fight her, but she tells him she doesn’t care and continues her assault. Back in Tokyo, Wolverine calls Rachel Grey via telepathy for interrogation, but she says they have a lead of their own . Krakoa tells her that he was grown in an ocean by Dr. Frankenstein and he can show them where. Back at Hellfire Idie attacks Kade as she reveals her plan. He tries to fight back, but is overpowered. Broo and Quentin are fighting when they hear the commotion from Kilgore’s villa. Quentin orders Broo to go save her and tell her goodbye. Idie is about to make the killing blow on Kilgore as Husk is about to do the same to Toad. As Toad professes his love for Husk and Quentin is about to bite it, Idie spares Kade to save Quentin as Krakoa and the other X-Men grab Wolverine and prepare to invade the school.
Jason Aaron is killing this book with fire. The art is great and is full of vigor. Wolverine and the X-Men is by far my favorite X-book, and it’s not just because of Wolverine. If anything, he is a secondary character in this book to all of his students and fellow faculty. I love the confrontation between Sabertooth and Dog Logan. It was brief, but hilarious. Kid Omega has to be one of my favorite characters. He is the dashing rouge who is learning to become the hero. Kilgore and the new Hellfire Club are nothing less than sociopaths with huge bank accounts and that makes them infinitely more ruthless than the old Hellfire Club. Over all, a solid read and great for individual issues or a trade paperback.
OXIDIZATION LEVEL: 5/5
All Photos courtesy of Marvel Entertainment