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Review: X-Men: Second Coming Revelations: Hellbound #3

Strong characters in the underworld.

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The underworld mission of this "X Task Force" comes to a head as Cannonball and Anole take on Death while Pixie gets an offer to finally get revenge on Magik.

The Good

Regardless of anything, this issue gets high marks for subverting a team book cliche that's been always been a big pet peeve of mine. And that's the "member gets possessed and fights the rest of the team" story. I never bought it that heroes would keep the kiddy gloves on when another member was actively trying to kill them (mind controlled or not.) Thus, it was so satisfying to see Pixie, Magik and Cannonball pull no punches when they were fighting Death/ Gambit, and I absolutely relished Cannonball's trash talking about taking Rogue out on a date after he put Remy in his place. I also liked the uneasy truce achieved between Magik and Pixie, with Illyana admitting she's a bad person and stating her admiration for Pixie without actually apologizing. You suprisingly gain a lot deeper respect for a seemingly-simple character like Pixie.

The Bad

Maybe it's just a matter of the volume of this mini catching up, but I have to say that the art was less consistent for this issue. There were a number of spots where the angularity that had been so appealing in previous issues made faces and figures look a little awkward or under-rendered. I also felt more aware of there being perhaps too many characters because the lay-outs seemed a little more cluttered. 

The Verdict - 4/5

I don't really know how this factors into the larger Second Coming Revelations storyline. It doesn't really stand on its own and it kind of makes you wonder what this all added up to. Still, as an extended "middle act" or a "side story" I'd still recommend it, just based on the breadth and depth of the characterizations. There might be more characters in this story than it can handle by the end, but you can still tell every one apart because they've got an unique and identifable voice.    And they go through some strong development through this nightmare in the underworld.