Up until this point I really haven't found the Hellfire Club characters very interesting, but I think it was nice to finally get a little bit of backstory on one of its characters. Although I don't see this particular character as any more threatening of an adversary to the young X-Men, I do think it was good to see Aaron provide a little bit of backstory to show us some of the character's motivations.
The whole circus story fell a little bit flat to me but I think the way this issue ended gave this arc a solid conclusion. It introduced some new characters, fleshed out a bit more of the story, and introduced us to some old characters that long-time X-Men fans will recognize.
One of the biggest things to come out of this issue is a a hint at the beginning stages of a change to Idie's character. I think that was definitely one thing that took me by surprise, and as a fan, really got me interested in seeing how Aaron plans to develop her character.
Once again, Nick Bradshaw really delivers some lovely pencils. This issue is one of the more detailed of the bunch and I love the fact that he spends just as much time illustrating these characters and bringing them to life as he does illustrating the backgrounds in this issue.
Sadly, I think the focus of this title will continue to be on the young Hellfire Club and their adventures and I am just not a big fan of these characters. In my opinion, I don't perceive them as a real threat -- at least not thus far. One of my biggest problems with this issue is the fact that there were some things that are still unclear. Why were these characters at the circus to begin with? What was the purpose for all of this? I understand that it is very possible that we will get answers to these questions in later issues, but at this point it is somewhat unclear to me as to the reason why we had these last few issues.
Overall, this was one of the better issues in this series lately, but it still doesn't feel like it did when this series first started. When Storm first joined this series I was really excited to see where Jason Aaron planned on taking her character, and I still am. However, there are still aspects of this series that I find rather uninteresting. I still don't like this new Hellfire Club, even though their appearance in this issue was better than most. I also don't find the new addition of Shark-Girl to be that interesting, but I am hoping she will grow on me. I am glad, however, that Aaron concluded this circus story because it was beginning to feel a bit drawn out. Overall, comparing this issue to the early issues in this series, it was average, but the issue does have its redeeming qualities. Aaron does develop one of his characters further, and also introduces a familiar face towards the end that will likely make things more interesting. Bradshaw's art is, once again, really fantastic and a joy to see.