Northstar says Hurkk!

X-Men: Hellbound #3
Sep 2010

This issue concludes a three-issue miniseries spin-off from the Second Coming story line. 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.

Illyana Rasputin (Magik) had been transported to Limbo by unknown means in X-Men: Second Coming #1 – a tactical move by Bastion’s forces to take out a teleporter. This miniseries is the self-contained story of how a small X-Men squad led by Cannonball rescues her. Northstar had been selected as part of the team in the first issue and, in the second issue, was transformed into Dark Northstar by a demonic Gambit, who had also transformed Dazzler after a confusing scattering and partial reunion of some team members.

Dark Northstar, Dark Gambit and Dark Dazzler find Cannonball and Anole in Limbo’s lava fields with the intention of attacking them. During the trash talk set-up for the battle, Gambit mentions that Anole’s limbs grow back when severed. Northstar then offers to help:

This disgusting little creature struck me once. I go first. I think I’ll take the arms.

This is of course a reference to the events of X-Men: Divided We Stand #1 (2008), when Anole popped Northstar in the mouth after he made an unsuccessful attempt to reach out to an extremely disaffected former student. That was actually in response to the events of X-Men #190 (2007) when a then-controlled Northstar sucker-elbowed Anole in the head, so technically Dark Northstar’s sense of retribution is misplaced. Either selective amnesia is a side effect of demonic possession or writer Chris Yost decided to put yet another chip on Jean-Paul’s shoulder.

I am about to say Hurkk! I haven't said it yet, but I will say it very soon.

We never get a chance to find out though, because Cannonball and Anole fly off. This brings Dark Northstar, Dark Dazzler and Dark Gambit into a final showdown with N’astirh, Pixie and Magik, only to have Cannonball swoosh down and blast everyone. Northstar is temporarily knocked over by this initial blast and is then completely taken out by Cannonball – a somewhat surprising outcome to a one-on-one battle between the two, except one has to remember that Northstar wasn’t exactly himself at the time.

Note Dark Northstar’s slightly modified costume has a starburst pattern positioned mid-thigh, lower down on his leg from the hip than the usual placement.

Northstar spends the rest of the issue unconscious, only to recover after Dark Gambit is turned back into Cajun Gambit again. Upon waking, Northstar realizes he had been knocked out, but still refuses to give full credit to Cannonball for getting them through the mission alive – another nice touch by Chris Yost to continue the same attitude we first saw in issue #1 when Northstar was arrogantly questioning Sam’s leadership skills.

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5 Responses to “Northstar says Hurkk!”

  1. Suzene Says:

    Glad to see that you’re on top of these again!

    “…so technically Dark Northstar’s sense of retribution is misplaced.”

    Not necessarily. When Jean-Paul hit Victor, he was mind-controlled to the extent that he was trying to murder X-Men, something he wasn’t able to repress even against Iceman, whom he’d been very fond of, and Rogue, who was one of Jean-Paul’s few actual friends. But for his student, he was able to make a herculean effort to suppress his new programming and only incapacitate the boy. Victor, on the other hand, deliberately struck Jean-Paul in a fit of overblown emo. So while Jean-Paul might give Victor the benefit of the doubt for not being in possession of all the facts at the time, he’d likely have some not entirely unreasonable subconscious resentment that Dark Northstar would want payback for.

    All in all, I can’t say I cared much for this story. I hate to call a three-issue mini “bloated”, but it’s a bad sign when half of the cast literally serves no purpose and, really, the ground covered in Hellbound could have been done with half the cast in a 64-page one-shot.

    • rplass Says:

      Thanks, yes I’m still not 100% from the crash but I have enough in place to get going again.

      You are spot on with your detailed analysis of the elbow interchanges between Jean-Paul and Victor. I had the impression that Jean-Paul just had just taken the shot and it was “even-steven” after that – for instance, he didn’t get up, or go after him, or even say anything at the time, as if he were taking his paybacks like a man (so to speak). My reaction to the quoted text from this issue was “Hey, you started it!” but the way you put it, I can see how there would be unfinished business.

      I did like this series – four issues for the collection featuring Northstar including the 2nd print variant, one with Northstar on the cover, and fairly good characterization for Jean-Paul (with the exception of him getting hit twice by clearly slower opponents), so from Alpha Flight Collector’s standpoint, it was solid.

      • Suzene Says:

        Ugh, that story. There was a good idea at the heart of it all, but it made NO sense if you pay attention to the details. Northstar taking an elbow from Victor was ridiculous, and the idea that Jean-Paul — a teenage runaway himself — would compound Cyclops’ idiocy of turning a bunch of traumatized kids out into the world without even the number of a good therapist really just turned me off to the idea of Skottie Young as a writer. Guy turns out interesting art most of the time, but I much prefer a story that makes proper use of the characters involved instead of treating them as interchangeable warm bodies in service of an idea.

  2. Ahab Says:

    I am glad you are up and running again. I have missed the humorous recaps.

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