Over the last few years Marvel’s Hellfire Gala has been the annual event where a new team of X-Men is chosen and lots of drama ensues. In tv terms, it’s almost like the beginning of a new season. However, the 2023 edition of the big event is decidedly different, as it actual serves as a closer to the mutants times on Krakoa. But it goes even further, and not really in a good way.
Consider this spoiler territory now.
Yes, big things happen in this years Hellfire Gala, as the terrorist organization Orchis delivers a final and fatal blow to many of the X-Men. Most notably, Jean Grey dies.
As a longtime X-Men fan, this ongoing trope of killing Jean off every few years is just freaking exhausting, and in my humble opinion, pretty poor storytelling. Mainly because we know she’ll come, again, and look, she wasn’t event back and alive that long in the first place. Any death is supposed to be significant in storytelling, but in this case of Jean’s in Hellfire Gala, it just feels like a “been there, done that” that really means nothing.
Significant things happen in Hellfire Gala, yes, with the mutants losing their island home, and in what is supposed to be shocker, the majority of them are supposedly killed off-page. This information dump comes from a bereft Charles Xavier towards the end of the book. So, the majority of mutants are killed.
This Hellfire Gala issue is the equivalent of a summer blockbuster, with lots of action and deaths, but it’s delivered in a way that hammers the reader over the head with very little time to breathe. There’s so much telling going on that nothing sticks, and that includes the surprising resurection of Ms. Marvel, who died a month or so ago in an issue of Amazing Spider-Man and is shocked to discover she’s a mutant. Everything in this book is rushed, and that’s even with its 70+ pages.
Sadly, for me at least, this latest iteration of the X-Men that began with Jonathan Hickman’s bold House of X storylines has ended in a really disappointing, repetitive manner that feels more in service of making an event book rather than telling a strong story.
THE FALL OF X BEGINS HERE! The Hellfire Gala is always the biggest event of the season…but this year’s will change everything for Krakoa. What is meant to be mutantkind’s biggest night becomes their biggest nightmare as the Fall of X begins! All your favorite X-Men are going to be left reeling after this one—shocking revelations, stunning betrayals, horrifying tragedy, impossible deaths…and of course the most glamorous looks of the year, all in one CANNOT-MISS package!