Excalibur #21 and X-Men #21 (a red issue!) this week.
Excalibur arrives at the Hellfire Gala, but only some of them are in a celebratory mood. A sullen Rictor is shocked by the return of his ex-boyfriend Shatterstar, who wants to reconnect with him, but Rictor isn’t interested.
Captain Britain is surprised by the appearance of MI13 agent Pete Wisdom. He warns her that the anti-mutant Coven Akkaba (whom they’d recently fought) is in attendance. Their leader, Reuben Brosseau, is now serving as a UN ambassador for the UK, which could threaten Krakoa’s diplomatic relationship with them. She interrupts a meeting between Brousseau and Xavier when the former announces that the UK is ending their alliance with Krakoa, and that mutant activity will not be tolerated in Britain. Meanwhile, Nightcralwer greets Captain Avalon and his wife Meggan, who appears to be pregnant with their second child.
Pete follows the Coven back to their base in London, where he unwittingly becomes a sacrifice to summon Morgan le Fay, freeing her from her prison in Jamie Braddock’s castle in Avalon. Elsewhere, Rictor summons his fellow druids to reclaim the Braddock lighthouse from UK territory when Shatterstar finds him, and the two decide to start over again together.
Earlier in the evening, Xavier and Magneto offer Namor a seat on the Quiet Council, which he refuses and taunts them for only having rulership over a mere island. At the Gala, Cyclops and Jean hold a telepathic election to determine Krakoa’s first X-Men team. The final roster is then announced: Rogue, Wolverine (Laura Kinney), Sunfire, Synch, and Polaris. Meanwhile, Mister Sinister publishes a new list of gossipy blind items, most notably referring to an impending “inferno” that threatens to burn Krakoa to the ground.
The Gala comes to a close with fireworks, which Emma Frost allows the attendees to see up-close through a telepathic connection, which she claims will give them a glimpse at the “beginning of a new age.”
NIGHT IN REVIEW
This week’s titles don’t give us much new information, but they do offer some answers and additional context to lingering questions from last week. Perhaps the biggest plot drop here is the revelation that Britain is ending their diplomatic relationship with Krakoa, which was teased last week by the appearance of a representative we now know to be Brosseau, a member of the Coven Akkaba. This has major implications for the state of Krakoa to come, particularly with Betsy’s tenure as Captain Britain that will be seen in forthcoming issues of Excalibur.
We also get a little more insight into what could have caused such a commotion after the Gala with Emma’s telepathic fireworks show. We still don’t know exactly what the revelation here is—which I assume will come in Planet-Sized X-Men, another red issue—but whatever it is, I’m hoping it lives up to all the drama and conflama we’ve already seen the aftermath of. The structure of this event is more interesting than I would have guessed before starting it, but I do wonder if it’s just withholding information for the sake of it.
Other areas of interest to me unrelated to the overarching plot: Rictor and Shatterstar, the saucy Sinister blind items (missed those), and a VERY entertaining cameo appearance that I’m sure will have already been written-about and speculated over to death by overzealous fans by the time this review is out. It’s a very fun Easter egg that I’m absolutely certain will have no bearing on anything regarding the franchise at large–comics or otherwise—but IYKYK.
While I’m not necessarily classifying them as “best” dressed, this is a shoutout to all the displays of male skin at the Gala. Angel and Gambit in particular are really living up to their himbo appeal with open jackets showing off their sexy abs, and we can all celebrate that. And even if Rictor doesn’t seem to like Shatterstar serving wrestler realness, I certainly do. Namor technically counts as doing this too, but everyday is a tits-out opportunity for Namor, so it’s not especially notable. Elsewhere, I do really like Betsy’s fancy Captain Britain drag, Storm’s literal stormcloud of a cape, and Synch’s rainbow jacket. And Emma is obviously a style icon always, but I’m a big fan of her accidentally paying tribute to this year’s Cypriot Eurovision entry.
As for worst dressed, I’m once again giving it to a normie human: Johnny Storm. You really couldn’t have fancied it up, man? Thor is also wearing his usual attire, but he’s already a glamazon in his normal state and you are not. Pete Wisdom is wearing a tuxedo (basic), but at least it has some elaborate tailoring and detailing on it!
Next week, we’ve got the aforementioned Planet-Sized X-Men #1 as well as New Mutants #19.
Hellfire Gala: Week Two
- Writers: Jonathan Hickman (X-Men), Tini Howard (Excalibur)
- Artists: Nick Dragotta, Russell Dauterman, Lucas Werneck, Sara Pichelli (X-Men), Marcus To (Excalibur)
- Color Artists: Frank Martin, Matthew Wilson, Sunny Gho, Nolan Woodard (X-Men), Erick Arciniega (Excalibur)
- Letterers: VC’s Clayton Cowles (X-Men), VC’s Ariana Maher (Excalibur)
- Cover Artists: Leinil Francus Yu, Sunny Gho (X-Men), Mahmur Asrar, Matthew Wilson (Excalibur)
- Editor: Jordan D. White
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment