The Hellfire Gala: Everything I Wanted and More

I love the X-Men—that should come as no surprise to anyone who has been reading this blog for a while. I’ve been very excited to dive in to the recent Hellfire Gala event, but unfortunately, I’ve been having to rely on Marvel Unlimited for my comics fix lately; I just can’t justify the cost of buying issue-to-issue right now (especially when you consider how many books are in the X-line).

However, it was my anniversary over the weekend, and as a little treat to ourselves, my wife and I hit up our favorite comic book shop. I figured they probably wouldn’t have the entire Hellfire Gala in stock still; it was twelve issues altogether and came out a month ago. On a lark, I checked, and to my surprise, the whole thing was there.

Now, as I said, I’m reading comics on Marvel Unlimited at the moment, which has a three-month delay for new content. That means I’m a few issues behind on everything. But the allure was too strong. I couldn’t resist buying every issue of the Gala.

I immediately dove in once we got home, and holy cow—what an event!

The Hellfire Gala is the perfect embodiment of everything that’s great about the current X-line. It’s not a crossover in the traditional sense of the word—every issue stands alone, feeling more like part of its home series than a tie-in. And yet, they’re all connected by the Gala itself, tying into one big unforgettable whole.

In other words, it’s a microcosm of the entire Dawn of X/Reign of X era: every individual book has its own flavor, its own story, but all of them contribute to the larger narrative of mutantkind.

It also helps that every single issue is phenomenal.

Seriously, every single one of these is a slam dunk. Creative teams are firing on all cylinders: character beats are great, the art is beautiful in every single book, the whole nine yards. So many of these issues do incredible work setting up the next arc of their series, too.

There are honestly so many incredible moments that I don’t even know what to focus on. Sage slapping Beast around for how many lines he’s crosse in X-Force; Warlock having a heart-to-heart with Warpath about feeling lonely; Rictor taking his whole damn lighthouse and going home after a group of racist warlocks trash-talk him. It’s all incredible.

The event builds on itself beautifully, too. The big reveal that everyone was waiting for happened in Planet-Sized X-Men, and hoo boy, was it a doozy… but there are so many other incredible story beats after that, too! I don’t want to dip into spoiler territory, but goodness, am I eager to see what happens next in New Mutants and The Trial of Magneto!

While I loved every part of the event, there are two issues I particularly want to highlight: New Mutants and Hellions. These are already two of my favorite books regardless, but they really shown here. New Mutants perfectly blended humor, emotion, and shocking plot developments into one of the most finely-crafted issues of a comic I’ve ever read; there’s not a panel in here that’s not perfect. Hellions, meanwhile, is just downright hilarious from start to finish—from the dark humor of Havok awkwardly chatting up the Quiet Council about Madelyne Pryor to Nanny getting drunk on champagne and trying to gut Mr. Sinister on the dance floor, it’s unbelievably funny throughout.

I can’t remember the last time I read an event I loved this much. I’m beyond excited to see what comes next for the X-Men.

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