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Wolverine & the X-Men #16 - The Fires of Hell A-Glowing Review

3

Find out what happens when kids take over the Hellfire Club.

The Good

First let me start off by saying that there are plenty of good things about this issue. There's a ton of great interaction between Kade Kilgore, Scott Summers and Emma Frost. I loved the moments where Scott is in mid discussion and is in a state of absolute disbelief. I thought it was great. There is a lot of great dialogue and humor in this issue as well, even beyond what we saw in that scene. It opens up introducing the reader to Kade Kilgor, who is the young eleven year-old CEO of Kilgore Arms and the current leader of the Hellfire Club's inner circle.

Writer Jason Aaron breaks the character down bit by bit, giving the reader an analysis of who he is as well as where he's come from; but we don't get a reason that explains his actions. At least not really. The best we get is that he was bored and needed more stimuli.

The structure of the issue is good, we get a lot of information about how Kilgore went about preparing himself for his role as leader of the Hellfire Club. You get a sense of how ambitious the young boy really is and that he is motivated by his hunger for power.

The Bad

I think a lot of thought went into Kade Kilgore's backstory, but I simply did not enjoy it. I think my big problem is taking an eleven year-old child seriously as a villain in a book like WOLVERINE AND THE X-MEN. I can understand there being a school for "gifted youngsters" who have super-powers. It's not that that's easier to relate to, it's just that it's easier to get your head around the idea that these kids are still in school and are learning; their still struggling with coming into their own as adolescents. Still going through that weird "awkward stage" of their lives. That I can understand. But I am supposed to believe that an 8-year old boy decided to become evil, had a vendetta against superheroes and figured he could be the next leader of the Hellfire Club? That's not really a story I can wrap my head around. I understand the novelty behind this idea that it would be cool to have kids fighting other kids, but this just seems too much. It's silly to call a superhero book "far-fetched," but that's exactly how this feels. For whatever reason the whole concept is just too unbelievable, and therefore I find I simply cannot enjoy it. Not to mention the fact that this kid (who is supposed to be extremely intelligent) hangs around with a bunch of kids who are kind of dumb (and equally annoying), I just don't understand the appeal.

The Verdict

I normally love this series and I admit there was a lot that I enjoyed about this issue. There was some great dialogue and beautiful art by Chris Bachalo. However, I can't say that I enjoyed the concept. I really didn't like that we spent an entire issue on a villain character (current leader of the Hellfire Club) that is just, well, not that interesting. I can't relate with this idea that an 11-year old is walking around outsmarting adults and getting masked world leaders to eat right out of his hand. It's just not an entertaining idea in my opinion and not something I can really wrap my head around. As far as the structure and organization of this book I felt that Aaron was on point. I think he did a fantastic job constructing the issue, I just really didn't enjoy this story.

22 Comments
Posted by theTimeStreamer

god i hate these little brats. they are not interesting or threatening. they can play up their 'rotten to the core, little psychos' thing all they want. the sooner they kill them off the better. bring shaw back. at least he was tall enough to go on any ride.

Posted by MadeinBangladesh

Wanted to pick this up cuz of the end of AvsX tie ins but this this comic gonna come out every weeks?

Posted by CircularLogic

I think this is the last casualty of the AvX slump this series has been locked in. They couldn't just start a new story arc, because that might spoil the conclusion, so they're killing time with the Hellfire club.

But I agree, I don't like how it's a bunch of kids running things now. They can be entertaining, and that issue where Sabertooth was training Kade really proved them to be serious threats, but the fact is they're just way too young. I think if Kade was around 17 or so, however, that I would be able to swallow this tale much easier.

Posted by kingjoeg

@MadeinBangladesh: there is still one more AvX tie-in after the next issue sadly

Edited by CircularLogic

Oh, also. Cyclops can kill Prof. X but not a bunch of genocidal murderers? Okay then.

Posted by liquid3601

Another book full of monochrome pages of cluttered Bachalo art. At least his "talent" is being spent on awful side stories like this. Can't wait til he's off this book. I also can't wait until AvX is over and this book gets back to the school and the students where it has been the most fun.

Posted by liquid3601

@CircularLogic: Way to toss unmarked spoilers in the comments for different books. What the hell is the matter with you?

Posted by CircularLogic

@liquid3601: Clicked the button, didn't check to see if it applied. Edited it, sorry for the mistake, chill out a bit.

Posted by JoseDRiveraTCR7

I hated this issue. I can't take these Hellfire kids seriously. If I had known this issue would be mostly about them, I would have not purchased it.

Edited by Super_SoldierXII

I too just can't abide by portraying 12 year olds as murdering, bloodthirsty psychopaths. Despite the fact it doesn't make sense (ya, ya this is comics ... but there are limits), am I the only one who doesn't find it morally or socially kosher?

"Hey, let's take a group of pre adolescent kids, have them murder, mutilate and torture in one of our premier superhero books" ...

I mean, really Marvel??

EDIT: consequently, I too agree with other posters that had they been 16 or 17ish the idea might have bordered on cool ... setting up age appropriate antagonists for the school. But they didn't have to be prepubescent teens.

Posted by Fuchsia_Nightingale

I;m sorry. I don't like Chris Bachalo lol

Posted by pspin

I agree with this, the story was alright but I didn't care about the characters thus the story and it fell very flat.

Posted by liquid3601

The murderous tweens idea, while absurd and over-the-top, doesn't really fit with the lighthearted tone this book usually has too. It would be one thing if they were just mischievous and conniving but for them to actually be killing just feels wrong.

Posted by sparty-dbq

The new Hellfire Club MIGHT have been tolerable if not for that ridiculous, overblown, Hannibal Lecter wannabe bimbo.

Posted by wetzelthepretzel

I don't not understand how kids can beat some of the strongest mutants in the whole marvel universe.I don't care how much money they have there fling kids it just can not be done.

Posted by SoA

really dont like bachalo's art never did, and the kids as villains i just dont care for ,ill wait till the arc is done before reading again

Posted by NXH

@Fuchsia_Nightingale said:

I;m sorry. I don't like Chris Bachalo lol

I'm sorry. I don't like Nick Bradshaw lol

Posted by livlig

I'd like the Hellfire Club more if they were maraudering toddlers. Seriously, enough with this and bring on the AvX-free Wolverine and the X-Men. Also, let's can the HC altogether in the next arc - or just ignore the hell out of 'em.

Edited by schmoozies

Can I just have Shaw and Emma back running the show, and get rid of the Tween wave brigade and the horrible concept that they represent

Posted by Zoch81

I thought this was okay issue I just can't take this hellfire club kids seriously but I enjoy this book so look forward to next issue.

Posted by PrinceIMC

I hate these Hellfire kids too. They offer money to a room full of prisoners and everything absolutely works out.for them. There would be someone skeptical or psycho enough to shank them. I can't wait for them to be done and gone and surprised they've stuck around this long.

Posted by Kurolegacy

You know, I'd seriously love to know who actually cared enough about the Hellfire Brats to ask for an origin story on one of them.