Last year’s Hellfire Gala delivered memorable moments. The X-Men’s godlike plans for Mars were revealed. There was a murder. It was a coming out of sorts further onto the world, and galactic, stage for the mutant nation. For all of the grand ideas of last year’s event, X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 lacks pretty much all of that. It’s a rather choppy issue whose whole at times makes little sense.
Written by Gerry Duggan, X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 revolves around the revelation of mutant resurrection to the world. It is now a known thing setting up questions, both in how will every react, and does it create a security issue. The answer to the first is, not in any realistic way and the latter is, of course. The event will be held and it’s just Avengers, X-Men, and some celebrities that attend. And that’s what’s rather odd. With such an announcement you’d either have world leaders there to protest or protesting and not going. None of that is addressed. The Avengers attend and kind of shrug their shoulders about it all instead flirting with Emma Frost. Even when it’s revealed that Mr. Fantastic had his mind wiped over something, no one seems pissed about it. It’s like everyone took pills to relax before. For a revelation that’s built up as world shattering, the end result during the Hellfire Gala is a reaction that lacks emotion. Even Doctor Doom, who would make a speech or plot around it, makes a joke about returning David Bowie. For something that’s set to such a high pedestal, no one beyond the X-Men are treating it as such.
Then there’s the Spider-Man tie-in. Moira as infiltrated the event through Mary Jane Watson and while there’s a confrontation it doesn’t result in much after it feels like. Wolverine heads to Spider-Man’s comic for an issue but you’d think there’d be some more action regarding this. Was anyone else compromised? No one is going to check? Shut the place down? Your enemy showed up and then gets away and there’s… talk. It’s all rather odd.
Finally, the election of the new X-Men team doesn’t feel like an election. Three members remain on the team, Emma suggests one, and then others feel like they’re volunteered. Where’s the election? Wouldn’t it had been better to have some suspense and have the mutants of Krakoa vote as some are nominated and show an actual “vote”? It’s rather odd in the execution.
But, many will be buying the comic for the fashion. Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli, and CF Villa all provide the art. Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla, and Matthew Wilson handle the color. Cory Petit is on lettering. The designs are always interesting to see. Some are beautiful dresses but this year’s fashion doesn’t feel as inspired by last year’s. Maybe a theme for next year would be better? Overall though, it looks good and I can’t knock the visuals too much. But, it also doesn’t quite have the memorable moments like last year.
X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 is not the sum of its parts. It is not a better whole than each individual piece. That’s partially because each individual piece is in itself rather odd. X-Men: Hellfire Gala #1 feels like a zero issue in some ways. It sets up A.X.E.: Judgement Day for the X-Men and like Eve of Judgement being from the Eternal’s point of view, this delivers the X-Men’s side. It’s an issue that had potential but it never quite lives up to the importance it claims it has.
Story: Gerry Duggan Art: Kris Anka, Russell Dauterman, Matteo Lolli, CF Villa
Color: Rain Beredo, Frank Martin, Matt Milla, Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Cory Petit Design: Tom Muller, Jay Bowen
Story: 7.0 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.0 Recommendation: Read
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review
Purchase: Zeus Comics – TFAW – comiXology/Kindle