Northstar finally goes to Hell!

X-Men: Hellbound #1
Jul 2010

This offshoot issue from the Second Coming story line begins a three part miniseries dealing with the X-Men’s attempt to rescue Illyana Rasputin, who was teleported away by unknown means in X-Men : Second Coming #1. It is one of several “Revelations” issues that accompany the main Second Coming series but are not numbered chapters. Northstar appears significantly as a regular member of the X-Men, having joined up in Uncanny X-Men #508.

Cyclops assigns Cannonball to put together a team to rescue Magik, who has once again been taken away from the X-Men and sent to Limbo. The team consists of some characters who haven’t been getting too much exposure: Pixie, Anole, Dazzler, Gambit, Trance, and Northstar. Cannonball recruits each with varying degrees of resistance, and Northstar’s little recruitment scene is really on spot. Like many of the other recruitment scenes in this issue, you can tell Chris Yost did his homework and wrote Northstar as the “arrogant hero.” Northstar agrees to go, but not without first rudely interrupting Cannonball’s “I need a speedster” request with:

“A leader would just tell me I was going, Guthrie. Stop asking.”

Ha, perfect! Just what you’d expect Jean-Paul to say. This is really one of the few times since Northstar recently joined up that a writer has nailed the character, and it should be noted. Jean-Paul also mentions a somewhat vague reference to losing teammates, which likely refers to the recent deaths of Diamond Lil and Marrina (possibly Wild Child?) since moving to Utopia, but could refer to any number of lost teammates in the recent or distant past.

For those of you keeping track, in the panel where he’s getting dressed, Northstar’s pants seem to have a starburst pattern on both the left and right sides. In later panels, he’s drawn correctly with just a right-side starburst.

The team teleports into Limbo on top of a 2pg splash panel that shows Harvey Tolibao’s best and worst. Best would be the hellish depiction of Limbo and its countless snarly mindless creatures; worst would be Northstar’s rounded ear. This is really a big error on his part, one made before by several other artists, but still just awful.

Northstar had been chosen for his speed, and Cannonball sends him off to reconnoiter the landscape. Reminiscent of a similar scene in Wolverine: First Class #5 where Aurora speeds around and shortly reports back, Northstar leaves with a Fwwt!! and returns seconds later with his report. This is exactly what Northstar is supposed to be doing on an X-Men mission: flying around very, very fast, and I’m glad he’s finally being used this way. He can do much more than just reconnaissance of course, but at least we’re not getting some blurry fight scene where you can’t even see what he’s doing, or another standing around scene, or a bizarre scene where he’s buckled into a seat on an airplane. The team is shortly overwhelmed by a nasty horde of Limbo-baddies as Northstar appears in a few more panels fending of a mass of tentacles and fangs from all directions.

Note: Despite his accurate portrayal of Northstar in this issue, Christ Yost is still in the official Alpha Flight Collector dog house for unceremoniously killing off Diamond Lil in X-Force #23.

Note: There is a 2nd printing variant for this issue with interior art by Harvey Tolibao, featuring Northstar, shown in excerpt already in the panel above.

X-Men: Hellbound #1 – 2nd printing variant
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7 Responses to “Northstar finally goes to Hell!”

  1. Leshia Says:

    Re: Lil

    To be fair, he’s also the one who (quite ceremoniously considering he kills off characters all the time without bothering to bring it up again) wrote Boxes which, while cold comfort considering the circumstances, was (IMO) a great, tragic little story that wouldn’t have been nearly as heartbreaking if she hadn’t died. One of my favourite Madison/Lil stories ever, and the first story to use her in any meaningful way in almost 20 years!

    Loving this mini. I’m liking Second Coming in general, but the up-and-down quality of all the different writers and artists make me pretty sure that’s it’s going to be the outside tie-ins (Hellbound, Blind Science, X-Factor) that I remember the most fondly.

    • Suzene Says:

      You’re kinder than I. What I came away with from that story was less about what a great character Lil was and why we should feel bad that she dies, and more why we should feel bad for Madison because Lil died. As I’ve said, it’s smacks of a ‘fridging.

      • Leshia Says:

        I’d say that’s more because Madison’s the character we need to care more about right now, since he’s the one actually appearing in things and it was a hell of a lot more than any other character he’s killed has gotten. I’m still not over Wallflower being shot in the freaking head, that was just gross.

  2. Suzene Says:

    Very nice review. Yost is still on my list of writers who badly need to learn the difference between emotional resonance in storytelling and cheap shock value, but he’s doing pretty good on this one so far. Another point in Yost’s favor so far as characterization goes is how Northstar continues to be unimpressed with Sam’s leadership throughout the book. Can’t really fault the resident speedster on that because if you’re heading into — or, in Sam’s case, back into — Limbo and you’re not giving your team the worst-case scenario, you’re probably not all that invested in your whole crew coming back alive.

  3. Zoomy Says:

    Nice Northstar scene, very in-character, but it’s always worrying when Chris Yost gets to write a story like this – he just loves to kill minor characters…

    • Suzene Says:

      Indeed. Though, the way things are looking, I’m starting to get most concerned for Dazzler and Trance.

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