The X of Swords crossover is less a series of tales told in multiple avenues and more a single tale weaving through the periodical schedules of multiple series. As such, reviewing Hellions #5 (or Cable #5 or New Mutants #13) is not exactly like a regular comic book review, as you don't get a story in any of these, you get a scene from a larger work, interpreted by a creative team. This issue, however, had the distinction of the dazzling performance of Mr. Sinister.
Everyone in the aligned mutant sphere of existence is worked up about an upcoming fight between champions of Arrako (the splintered other half of sentient island Krakoa) and children of the atom chosen for this by some cockamamie prophecy of some sort. Your pal Mr. Sinister gets an idea, one he hopes will shower him with glory and not actual, you know, work. "What if we let my Hellions do what they do best?" he asks the ruling body of Krakoa, the Quiet Council. "Lie, cheat and steal until Arrako's swords are ours. How would they challenge us then?"
This plan is briefly discussed in the other two books out this week (each kooky in their own ways, but not as engaging as this, so call that a de facto "meh" review, should you be so inclined) as it's the fastest way to victory (and, based on this being "part 06 of 22," almost certainly doomed to fail). Nonetheless, with bombast that would even Doctor Bombay could say is a bit much, Sinister (who is very focused on his cape game) ends up leading this collection of murderers and redemption-seeking weirdos into adventure.
The writing from Zeb Wells provides a number of great gags, with the exasperated Psylocke (Kwannon version) acting as the straight man to Sinister's relentless punchlines and bon mots. The offbeat banter here is like a low impact version of Nextwave, and that is indeed a good thing. Likewise, the depictions from Carmen Carnero, David Curiel and Ariana Maher give the over-the-top nature of Sinisher's machinations great charm.
If this were a story unto itself, it might have done well. Alas, it cuts off in what should have been the start of its second act, paced for laughs and not for even handedness. It'll likely be much more enjoyable in the inevitable omnibus. RATING: HONORABLE MENTION.
By Zeb Wells, Stephen Segovia
X OF SWORDS, PART 6 Desperation. Help from unexpected places. An advance into the unknown.
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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