Comic Vine Review


Wolverine & the X-Men #31 - The Hellfire Saga Part One Review


The Jean Grey has lost some students and it's time to check out the new Hellfire Academy. It's not what you think. Actually, it's probably exactly as crazy as you think it'd be.

The Good

A large focus on this series has been on the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning and the mutant students there. Throughout, there's also been an ongoing struggle against the new (and young) Hellfire Club. Now is the time we see their latest move.

With a new Hellfire Academy, the idea is to groom young mutants into evil mutants. Because of who is behind the idea of the school, it won't necessarily be run in the way we've seen in the past. Based on how the Jean Grey School is run, you can imagine what Jason Aaron might come up with. It's pretty insane, to say the least.

Fans of Quentin Quire should be pleased with this issue. The title could be changed to KID OMEGA AND THE HELLFIRE ACADEMY and it would be perfectly fitting. Seeing how this school is run, what the classes are like, it's a nice change of pace from the series. We rarely get to see the other side of things when it comes to the villains. Aaron allows us to look into the dark mirror image of the Jean Grey School.

Nick Bradshaw's art and Laura Martin's colors really set the tone and feel for the book. Even with the 'students' wearing uniforms, they each stand out on their own. This definitely has a GLADSTONE'S SCHOOL FOR WORLD CONQUERORS except rooted in the X-Men Universe.

The last page was pretty sweet.

The Bad

As fun as seeing each period is, it does go on a little too much. Seeing the different takes on the classrooms and the teaching 'methods' of the 'teachers' is great but it begins to border being absurd. Part of me would love to see an actual series or miniseries in this tone. But the other part feels it could get too over-the-top too quickly.

If the main goal is to entertain us and show us a different type of school, this issue succeeds magnificently. As for being the first part of a new arc (featuring the Hellfire Club again), it's not entirely clear what the overall direction of the story will be aside from Wolverine trying to rescue the former Jean Grey students that have ended up here. It makes sense to have this Hellfire Club as the main nemesis for a comic based on an X-Men school but each time we see them it feels like it's too much.

I got a little distracted trying to figure out what Mystique's motivation is here, teaching at the school, and how that fits into her current plans in the pages of ALL-NEW X-MEN.

The Verdict

If you've ever felt school was a pain, you've never experienced the new Hellfire Academy. We've seen a big focus on the craziness of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, run by Wolverine. In this issue, Jason Aaron shows us Wolverine's school is as safe a walk in the park compared to the Hellfire Academy. Nick Bradshaw's art and Laura Martin's colors are great to see, as usual, and helps to establish the look and feel of the school and the students. The Hellfire Club has been a problem for Wolverine since the beginning. With this arc focused on them, we're only going to be getting more of them. This was a fun look at a darker concept of a mutant school. Jason Aaron continues to make this X-Men title feel different from the others. You can never tell what's coming next and with the cliffhanger at the end, it appears it's only going to get crazier.

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Posted By mickeymayhew

this sort of reminds me of the early Claremont/Davis Excalibur days and if you take it like that then it's okay

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Posted By frozenedge

Anybody else find Madame Mondo hot? No just me? Okay

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Edited By Perfect 10

@somatics: hopefully by the end of this storyarc they will address her issues. the whole reason she joined the hellfire academy is because they promised to help her so when they do we will find out what is going on with her. i just know that she lost control over her powers, they literally just brought it up out of no where in the first issue and this has caused her to become mentally unstable. that's all i know

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Posted By Perfect 10

been waiting for this storyarc to start. its time for my boy to finally become the x-man i know he is destined to be. he cant be a rebel forever and i think by the end of this storyarc the grey school will remain open and they will cut quintin some slack.

the only thing that bothered me was that their uniforms looked kinda nazi inspired. i know they are the bad guys but...really?

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Posted By somatics

I understand that this has always been a book that's played down a little and more silly... but I find they alter too many personalities to fit the silly mold. Mystique was way out of character and seeing that's she in Astonishing X-men (written wonderfully by Majorie Liu) and All New X-men as a mysterious entity that has an alternate motive... this felt out of place and badly written.

Also, what's happening with Husk? Are they never going to address it?

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Posted By UrbanChill

i would love to see a cartoon based off this series

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Posted By lykopis

I am trying to stay interested in this book -- just feel like there's nothing really going on -- I would rather the kids form teams and go off in that direction, ala Generation X. Just doesn't seem to be happening which is too bad because outside of this book, I don't know how else I would get to enjoy characters like Oya (who I have to say, isn't there any change in her way of thinking yet?)

I appreciate the inclusion of Mystique but there does seems to be something off because of her involvement with the All New book.

I am still hanging in there. Maybe another arc or two -- hopefully things improve by then.

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Posted By Dman1366

I loved this issue. #getatme

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Posted By lorex

Maybe its just me but I just cannot take this new version of the Hellfire Club seriously. Asside from their money and power, I just do not find them threatening and I find myself waiting for Shaw, Selene or even Pierce to show up kill thise kids and take control of things. I could maybe accept ther being 1 genious child being the mastermind behind all the trouble at the school but I cant help think it would be better if the Hellfire club remained more in the shadows and was less out in the open.

As for the staff at this new school I cant help wonder if they just threw together a staff of X-Men villians just for the heck of it. I cannot believe Mystique would lower herself to teaching anyone. This seems like such a giant difference for her from her established normal behavior. The Mystique in All-New X-Men or even in recient issue of Astonishing X-Men seems much more in line with the established Raven that we all know.

As for the other staff that we have seen so far well Dr Xanto Starblood, Dog Logan, Master Pandemonium, Madam Mondo, Wendigo, The Philistine are all either insignificant characters or Aarons own creations so I don't really care one way or another what happens to them. Like Mystique I have a hard time wondering what could have posibally convinced Sauron to become a teacher, it just seems so out of character for him. Also what the hell is going on with Husk. Seems like some recient X-Men writers are just using misbehaving powers as an execuse to do whatever they want with a character. Honestly I found her relationship with Toad less wierd than her leaving the X-Men to work for the enemy.

Also they might be off screen but for a school that is suppost to be in competition with the Jean Grey School there seems to be far too few students. I know the students that came over from the X-Men are the focus of the story but it seems to me that there should be more unique students. The only new student created here that seems at all interesting is Infestation, she seems taylor made to become a future Horseman of Pestilence for Apcocalypse. Snott and Tin Man seem to be throw away characters.The only character that seems to get any character development is Quinten. Broo is still an unthinking beast, and Oya is still stuck in her I am a monster train of thought.

This title seems to have gone off into crazy land. I hope Aaron can make something out of it but I doubt it.

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Posted By Jonny_Anonymous

What the hell have they done to the Hellfire Club?

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Edited By Lokheit

I felt like they though I was a 4 year old when reading this... really, this issue was all about: hurr durr durr!! we're da schoolzz of crazy villianzz for crazy villianzz stuff!! hurr durr!! aren't we evilzzzz!!!

Exactly what are they teaching? Really, Mystique's "quiz" was like... really? Raven Darkholme is doing this stupid nonsense quiz? Raven friggin Darkholme?!?

Why make an school like that at all? Business? Really? Who is going to learn something for Kade to do business there when it's all about pompous braindead villians wroten like pure evil guys without more motivation than being evil and "hurr durr"?

I used to like Jason Aaron a huge lot, he wrote some comics that I had in very high standards. When he wrote Schism I was like "ok, I know he can do muuuuuch better than this nosense, probably this was him doing Marvel's instruction at separating the teams, let's give him some rope...", but really, with each new issue of this book written for 4 year old kids (and the way he hates Scott as during AvX every single issue with Aaron as a writter was a try to villianize him, really read the issues and crossovers wrotten by him and compare them with the others... Aaron apparently has some grudge against poor Cyclops) I lost more and more respect for him.

And I have a friend that loves Toad, he hasn't read this issue yet but I now he will be really mad at the nonsensical mistreat he's suffering... the guy knows science! a lot indeed! so all those examples of ridiculous things he could teach (given by Mortimer himself which is poor and uninformed writing) to end up making him clean the school yet again were BS when he would be a better teacher than most idiots in this issue. He got a lot of development in the past and here Aaron is just making a joke of it. And I also don't like how Aaron is dealing with Husk "crazyness" she felt like the most "hurr durr flat character" of them all when that thing had a lot of potential for some cool writting.

The only thing I'm liking a bit is Kid Omega, I'll give that, but I'm waiting for Kyle and Yost to put all those stupid students in WatXM book in a buss and make it explode so we can have the interesting characters from their run making a return to the spotlight.

Even Bendis ANXM book that isn't so focused in the school does a better job as a school book than this.

/rant off

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Posted By Crimsonlord53

Really wish wolverine would get over his no killing kid's high ground and do what he dose best with this new hell fire club.

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Posted By victorcheenoanleu

Was excited to read this, read it & then BLEH! I would have given it a 2 if even that.

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Posted By FoxxFireArt

I'm not really addressing the review. I just noticed something about this cover. Something about the anatomy on Mystique seems off. Look at how her shoulders are aligned to one direction, but her hips are facing 90 degrees in a different way. It looks as if her upper and lower half are walking in different directions.

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Edited By Xwraith

As weird (and self-important) as it sounds, I think I might be one of the reasons Sauron is in this issue.

(I wrote a letter last year that got published in issue 4 where I said I wanted to see him again.)