From the House of Ideas: X-Men #21 keeps the Hellfire Gala going

It was only a few weeks ago that I was writing about the outstanding X-Men #20 from Jonathan Hickman, which found Mystique trying to take down Orchis in space. It was an outstanding book, and usually I like to have a few issues before I revisit the same series in this column. However, there are times for exceptions, and while X-Men #21 might not be as intense, it’s the second issue in a row that really sets in motion for the mutant books.

In this issue, Cyclops and Marvel Girl announce the new group of X-Men, psychically voted on by mutants everywhere. The new team consists of:

Cyclops
Marvel Girl
Polaris
Wolverine (Laura Kinney)
Rogue
Sunfire
Synch

This is an interesting line-up for me, and it’s certainly not an obvious one. In the fan voting that took place earlier this year to choose the final member of the X-Men, I voted for Polaris, so I’m pleased to see that she made the list. I’m not familiar with Synch; if I’ve read about him, it hasn’t stuck with me, so it will definitely be intriguing to see how the character is developed. I’m on board with Cyclops and Marvel Girl running the team, of course. You’ve got to have some originals on the team.

Along with announcing the team, X-Men #21 has some sweet cameos throughout; there’s a wonderful full page image that includes Meredith Salenger and Patton Oswalt, and there’s also an excellent cameo by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige. This is a nice tip of the hat for all of us eagerly anticipating the arrival of mutants in the MCU.

I’ve absolutely loved the Hellfire Gala that’s run throughout the X-books this summer. While there’s lots of story that’s happening throughout the various issues, including beats that will certainly impact all the titles, this crossover didn’t like yet another summer event. Instead, it feels celebratory; like we the readers are invited to a real party. We may not be the guests of honour, but we aren’t wallflowers either. Kudos to the entire writing and art teams who are working on these books; at a time when the world is finally starting to feel like its becoming a bit of a happier place, the Hellfire Gala is giving all of us a reason to party.

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