wolverine-and-the-x-men-34The Hellfire Saga continues where it left off in ‘Wolverine And The X-Men’ #33 and as much as I enjoyed the character build up in the last issue, the action in this one completely trumped it. I almost want to retroactively lower last week’s grading to a 4. Not because it was bad but because this issue was better (though not a perfect one for the 5 status.)

Still both have been a great read and with only one issue left I’m hoping they can end on the high note that the last issue and this one have been playing.

So how does this open in a way that blows past how much I enjoyed the last issue? Well for starters, we open with Wolverine’s X-Men attacking The Hellfire Academy. Standard stuff? Well maybe, but not when they lead the attack on the back of Krakoa while Iceman pilots a giant version of himself shaped like Voltron! (I’m a little unclear if this happens before or after the current arc in ‘Astonishing X-Men’. If after his power level makes sense but his cheerful personality doesn’t.)

The entire issue is just a giant beat down in one way or another. Ice, Voltron and Krakoa spend the majority of the issue fighting off The Hellfire Club’s own home grown versions of Krakoa. Paige is still choking Toad throughout this entire issue. (That means last issue, this issue, and quite possibly next issue Toad is being choked to death. How much air can he possibly have in him?!) Doop uses home videos to interrupt Lady Mojo’s work (which I think was mainly to use Doop as entertainment as there wasn’t much else here.) Finally Quire and Idie are able to survive through the issue even though there are a few close calls with the other students of the Academy.

At this time the best part of the issue happens. Broo, still in ravage Brood state, takes a bite out of Kade’s shoulder. Not only that, but the rest of The Hellfire Club looks on almost uninterested! Sadly he is interrupted by the Philistine who tries to take him into space as he’s leaving the Hellfire Club behind.

The issue ends with Kade Killgore, having been beaten up in the last issue, still trying to convince The Hellfire Club (and quite possibly himself) that his plan is working as intended and that he has all of the X-Men right where he wants them. The issue appears to end with 2 of his fellow club-mates having weapons drawn on him.

I think it would be a classic moment if the next book ends with Kade actually getting away with a plan we’re unaware of instead of them just escaping (possibly through the Siege Perilous) to torment the X-Men another day. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I’d love to see this annoying group of kids finally get what is coming to them. However, they were introduced with such promise (killing their parents for power) and even though their plans have come to fruition since then, none of them have matched that level of menace to make them worthwhile.

atoms_4.5

WOLVERINE AND THE X-MENT #34
Writer: Jason Aaron
Artist: Nick Bradshaw