Hellions #10

Issue Date: 
May 2021
Story Title: 
Funny Games: Level II: Hitbox

Zeb Wells (writer), Stephen Segovia (artist), David Curiel (colorist), Virtual Calligraphy's Ariana Maher (letterer), Tom Muller (designer), Stephen Segovia & Rain Beredo (cover artists), Jonathan Hickman (Head of X), Nick Russell (production), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Mark Basso (editor), Jordan D White (senior editor), CB Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Arcade is holding Sinister prisoner, while an employee located at a different location monitors through cameras so that Arcade can be assured what he is seeing is real, and that Mastermind is not creating an illusion. Arcade has manipulated Mastermind into working for him, holding one of his daughters, Martinique, who used to work for Arcade, hostage at another location. Arcade prattles on for some time, before Sinister finally learns that Arcade wants Sinister to create clones of his own to fill Murderworld with. The rest of the Hellions are trapped in various illusions. Kwannon finds herself living a peaceful life with her daughter which is shattered by a seemingly crazed Betsy Braddock. Greycrow is tormented as a soldier who thinks he kills the enemy, which then turn out to be Morlocks who rise from the dead and attack him. Empath scoffs down a lot of food that his mother gives him, while seated around the table are all of Empath's victims. Empath is rude to his mother and them, until the victims finally turn against him. In Wild Child's illusion, he is a powerful alpha, who scares even Wolverine and Sabretooth – until eventually they turn against him and with Romulus they attack him. Nanny finds herself with lots of new mutant orphans to look after, which leaves Orphan Maker feeling neglected, until two other Nannys appear and embrace him. Finally, Havok is reunited with Madelyne Pryor. They kiss, before she makes him his slave. Arcade begins a painful – for Sinister – process where he starts to extract Sinister's teeth, before Miss Locke reports that Mastermind is worried the illusions are starting to break and that he wants Arcade to take a look. But Arcade doesn't seem bothered with the illusions, and Sinister finally agrees to gelp Arcade – who smiles, pleased with himself and wearing several of Sinister's sharp teeth!

Full Summary: 

'I'm looking at him now. Right in his weird albino rabbit eyes. Confirm?' the madman called Arcade grins. 'Confirmed' a voice responds over an intercom. Arcade stands over Mr Sinister, who is strapped to a wheelchair and reaches out to touch him. 'Running my hand through his hair. Just as greasy as it looks. Confirm?' Arcade asks. 'Confirmed' the voice states again. Hands on hips, Arcade declares that Mr Sinister is his prisoner, sitting before him, powers dampened by the murderchair. 'Completely helpless. Confirm?' Arcade asks. 'Confirmed' the voice agrees. 'What are you doing? You sound insane' Sinister declares. 'Well, when in Rome...' Sinister adds, quietly, before calling out 'There's a strange man molesting me with his eyes! Big, toothy grin. Clearly veneers. Confirm?' But Sinister gets no answer, so he snaps 'CONFIRM!?' The voice over the intercom hesitates as they say 'Sh-should I confirm -?' but Arcade glances upwards and yells 'NO, YOU IDIOT!'

'I'm disciplining Mr Sinister' Arcade remarks as he slaps Sinister across the face. 'Confirm?' Arcade asks. 'Confirmed' the voice acknowledges. 'I'm being assaulted by a Chucky doll! Confirm!' Sinister shouts. 'SHUT UP!' Arcade snaps, as he smacks Sinister across the face again. 'Will someone explain to me what is going on?' Sinister roars. Flanked by his assistant Miss Locke and the mutant Mastermind, Arcade reveals that Mastermind has sworn his psychic illusions to his service, and that he has already used them to betray Sinister, so he has taken steps to confirm that Arcade is not using them to betray him. Arcade reveals that thousands of miles away, a loyal employee watches, confirming through redundant audible, neurological and biomechanical signals that what he is seeing is actually happening. 'I'm explaining the reality verification system to Mr Sinister. Confirm?' Arcade calls out. 'Confirmed' the employee in the control booth located elsewhere responds as he watches several monitors in front of him.

Annoyed, Sinister asks 'Question, Arcade. If Mastermind leaves, can we stop talking to each other like semi-trailer pilots? Confirm? Roger? Over and out?' he mocks. Arcade throws his hands into the air and shouts 'I DON'T CARE IF IT ANNOYS YOU, YOU STUPID $#%&!' He paces around the room and mumbles 'Losing my cool here'. 'Confirmed' Miss Locke tells him. 'Thank you, Miss Locke!' Arcade replies, while several monitors light up and depict Sinister's Hellions in various scenarios. Arcade announces that Mastermind will stay, as he is the one providing the psychic gloss to this low-tech Murderworld. 'My pet mutant creates worlds in their minds... taunting with dreams before murdering with nightmares. Sure beats watching them bounce around a giant pinball machine' Arcade declares, as Kwannon can be seen leaping into action, a strange robot standing nearby. John Greycrow can be seen sitting in a jeep, a robot standing in from of him. Empath sits at a table, licking his lips as an empty plate is placed on the table. Wild Child lashes out at one of the strange robots, and the fifth monitor depicts Orphan Maker standing with his arms folded, looking unimpressed, while Nanny leaps into the air, seeming very happy.

'...or that's what I tell myself, at least' Arcade mumbles, while Sinister tells Mastermind that this was not the deal they had. 'You betrayed me!' he exclaims. 'I'm sure I only double-crossed you first, Essex' Mastermind points out. 'Not that I had a choice' he adds, looking at Arcade, who puts a hand on Mastermind's shoulder and remarks 'He didn't at that. Did you know his daughter used to be in my employ? Ended badly. No reference letter, let's just say' Arcade remarks. A monitor lights up depicting Martinique trapped in a murderchair, while several blades spin around her. Arcade warns that if reality verification fails, his faraway friend will pull a lever and little Mastermind Martinique will go “squish squish splat splat”.

Arcade turns to Sinister and remarks 'I caught the daughter to leverage the father to catch you, Mr silly. And for what? For the only thing you have to offer, you walking disease. I want clones of my own. To fill Murderworld with horrors and delights. And I will have them. Or you will burn in my madness' Sinister does not respond, and Arcade simply turns from him and adjusts his bowtie. 'I've made myself clear. Confirm?' he asks. 'Confimed' the employee states.

Room 3: Psylocke: Compassion.
'Mama!' a young voice calls out in Japanese. 'I'm hungry!' she adds. The woman called Kwannon stands in the shallows of the ocean. 'Then we eat, sweetness' Kwannon responds to her daughter, who runs out into the eater. 'May we have pudding after?' the girl asks as she follows her mother up a path lined by trees and into their home. 'Wash your hands first' Kwannon instructs her daughter. 'Then pudding?' the girl asks as she washes her hands. 'Of course. Only sweet things for you' Kwannon responds as she starts to chop some fish. 'Only peace' she adds, unaware that watching nearby in the forest around the house is Betsy Braddock, her eyes pulled back and held open by a painful device, she grins almost manically.

Room 2: John Greycrow: Absolution.
'... came out of nowhere!' John Greycrow calls out, wide-eyed as he looks ahead. 'I – I'm sorry' he utters. 'Sorry? You did it, John!' another soldier remarks as he rushes over to John. 'You saved our assess!' another soldier remarks. 'Yeah, man. You killed them all!' the first soldier exclaims as John looks out over the bodies of several people he has killed. 'You did a good thing here. You're a good man' one of the soldiers remarks. 'It was a good thing?' Greycrow asks. 'It was a good thing' he smiles.

Room 6: Manuel de la Rocha: Satisfaction.
A young Manuel de la Rocha sits at the head of a long table, shoving food into his mouth. 'Manny? Please eat some vegetables' his mother calls out as she brings a bowl of green vegetables to the table, where others are seated around the table, none of them eating. 'Remember what the dentist said' his mother adds. 'Yeah! He said “You had too much candy so you get the drill” And I said “I don't like your $#%& face” and made him put the drill in his eyes!' Manuel calls out. 'DID YOU FORGET THAT, MOM?' Manny asks, looking up at his horrified mother. 'Please, Manny. Not in front of our guests... all the people you've ever hurt. Manny. Come to remind you of all the pain you've caused' his mother utters. All of the people at the table turn and look at Manny, who smiles.' Awesome' he utters.

Room 5: Wild Child: Aggression.

A snow-covered wilderness, where Sabretooth snarls 'Happy birthday, meat' as he faces down against Wolverine. 'Was thinking you forgot' Wolverine responds, before he sniffs the air. 'Oh no...' Wolverine utters, and suddenly, Kyle Gibney a.k.a. Wild Child leaps at Sabretooth, slashing him across his throat. 'Oh, HELL NO! It's Wild Child! The big dog!' Wolverine calls out. Sabretooth clutches his wound, before shouting 'RUN!' and he and Wolverine race away from the growling Wild Child.

Room 1: Nanny & Orphan Maker: Protection.
'They're all here...COME TO NANNY! Your naughty parents can't hurt you now! I love you! I LOVE YOU ALL!' Nanny calls out as she runs into a crowd of mutant children, who flock around her. 'What about me? Don't you love me?' Orphan Maker asks as the children run past him. 'Don't look at her, Peter! You've got us now!' another Nanny calls out, tugging at one of Orphan Maker's legs. 'A big boy like you needs two Nannys!' another Nanny tugging  at his other leg utters. 'Now… who's hungry?' she asks.

Room 4: Havok: Passion.
'Madelyne?' Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok asks as he walks into a hangar and sees Madelyne wearing a green jumpsuit, tinkering with the engine of a plane. 'Alex? You look upset. Oh, you forgot to bring me a beer, didn't you? It's okay' Madelyne remarks. 'I'm not gonna cut off your head' she jokes. 'Maddy... you're back' Havok utters. 'Never went anywhere' Madelyne smiles as she puts one hand on Alex's chest and the other behind his head. 'Never will' she adds as they kiss.

Sinister watches the screens depicting these illusions play out, as the monitor showing Havok reveals that he is making out with a robot. 'We're not – we're not going to watch this poor bastard snog a robot, are we?' Sinister asks. 'What's the matter? Is it hard to watch me break their brains?' Arcade asks. 'No. but I'd like my chair turned around if this continues to get weird. And from the look on your face, it continues to get weird' Sinister mutters.

'Oh, is it touching time?' Miss Locke asks as she puts a hand on Arcade's shoulder. 'NOT NOW!' Arcade snaps, swatting her away. 'I... I'm correcting Miss Locke. Gently correcting' Arcade states. 'Miss Locke is a -' the employee begins to say over the intercom. 'I know!' Arcade declares. 'I know... just please confirm, please' Arcade asks. 'Confirmed' the employee states, while Miss Locke looks on, confused.

'All right. Enough of this psychosexual horror show. I accept your deal. I will build your clone farm' Sinister announces. 'That's fantastic to know, thank you. But it'd be more fun if we had to work for it, so let's pretend you have a will of steel' Arcade suggests, before telling Miss Locke that it is time to go fishing for Chiclets. 'What?' Sinister asks, as Miss Locke adjusts the murderchair, which unfolds backwards into an operating table. Sinister, still strapped to it and unable to move, screams, as a device clamps around his head and holds his mouth wide open. Arcade holds two strange tools and states that he is using tools that he is very unfamiliar with to extract teeth from Mr Sinister's skull. 'Confirm?' he asks. 'Wait, no. Not confirmed. Not confirmed!' Sinister calls out urgently. 'Confirmed' the employee states over the intercom. Arcade suggests that Sinister relax into the pain – or not. Sinister screams again as Arcade puts the tools into Sinister's mouth. 'Scream all you want. No one is coming. Your Hellions can't hear you' Arcade tells Sinister. 'They're lost in the oplate of dreams...'

Room 3: Psylocke: Compassion.
'I'm done, mama!' Kwannon's daughter calls out, pushing her empty bowl across the table. 'Good job, sweetness' Kwannon tells her daughter, as she places the pudding down on the table, telling her daughter that it felt so good to make it. 'Gimme gimme!' her daughter exclaims. 'In a moment, sweetness' Kwannon responds, holding the pudding up, she tells her daughter that she wants her to know how much this time meant to her, as there is nothing she would rather do than stay with her. 'But first, I must ask you... what is your name?' 'I'm your sweetness, mama!' the girl responds, grinning and reaching for the pudding. 'Your name...' Kwannon asks. The girl hangs her head, and admits that she doesn't know. 'Where am I?' Kwannon asks. 'I – I don't know' the girl tells her, when suddenly, lightning flashes outside and rain pours from the sky, as the wide-eyed Betsy Braddock climbs to the window, 'You're where you belong, lesser one!' she utters, before crashing through the window, leaping at Kwannon, 'Nowhere!' she exclaims. 'Stop!' Kwannon pleads as she is pushed to the ground, telepathically screaming 'JOHN!'

Room 2: John Greycrow: Absolution.
'Guh -' John Greycrow utters as Kwannon's voice strikes his mind. 'John, you okay, man?' one of the other soldiers asks. John drops to his knees and asks 'Where am I?' One of the soldiers reminds him that he is with his platoon, and tells him that he just slaughtered all of his enemies. 'My enemies... I didn't even know them' John utters as he looks up to the bodies – only this time, they're not soldiers – they are the Morlocks. Among them, the bodies of Erg, Tommy, Plague and Cybelle. 'WHERE AM I?' Greycrow shouts angrily.

'I've dislodged the main nerve from the third posterior molar. Confirm' Arcade calls out as he continues to tinker with Sinister's mouth. 'Confirm' his employee states over the intercom. Miss Locke informs Arcade that there is something wrong in two of the bays. As Sinister utters 'Ah ah ah ah' while Arcade continues to shove the tools into his mouth, Arcade looks at Miss Locke and asks her what she means by that. Miss Locke reports that there are anomalies, and that Mastermind fears the illusions are breaking. 'He says they're spitting out the carrot. Maybe you should take a look?' Miss Locke suggests. 'Shyaa! Gaah tach a luch! Tach a luch!' Sinister mumbles, blood dribbling out of his mouth as he encourages Arcade to take a look. Arcade frowns at Miss Locke and instructs her to tell Mastermind that he can use the stick and kill the Hellions with their nightmares. 'Now go away' he mutters. 'I'm having fun' he adds as he turns back to Sinister's mouth, and Sinister screams.

Room 6: Manuel de la Rocha: Retaliation.
'That's enough, you greedy little pig!' Empath's mother shouts. 'Hey!' Empath protests, while his mother snatches his plate away from him and tells him that playtime is over. 'Your victims didn't watch you eat for your pleasure. They were only whetting their appetites, you evil little monster' his mother informs him. 'Time to wake up, $#%&head' one of the victims adds as they all begin to stand up. 'I don't know what this is, but go ahead and piss off. This Christmas Carol $#%& doesn't scare me' Empath declares. 'Your precious “gift” doesn't work here. But these do!' one of the victims calls out they begin to surround Empath, carrying machetes, axes and other weapons. 'Ah, $#%&!' Empath exclaims.

Room 5: Wild Child: Submission.
Wild Child finds himself attacked by Wolverine, Sabretooth and now Romulus, too, all of them lashing out at him with their claws and spraying his blood everywhere.

Room 4: Havok: Humiliation.
Havok's costume has been reduced to scraps as he kneels before Madelyne Pryor, a thick chain around his neck. Madelyne holds the end of it and smiles.

Room 3: Psylocke: Rejection.
Kwannon runs through the bamboo forest, while the crazed, smiling Betsy Braddock rushes after her.

Room 2: John Greycrow: Retribution.
Greycrow's eyes roll back in his head as two of the Morlocks, Tommy and Cybelle, bite into his neck, drawing blood.

Room 1: Nanny & Orphan Maker: Separation.
The dozens of mutant children begin to swarm over Nanny and Orphan Maker, keeping them apart and overwhelming them.

Arcade, covered in Sinister's blood, looks up at the monitors and smiles. 'You see now why I couldn't just let you accept my offer. I had to make you look desperate to ear your release. Enthusiastic to provide your help. Do you understand?' Arcade calls out, glancing back at Sinister, who is still strapped to the table, blood stains across his face and several teeth missing from his mouth. 'Yessh' Sinister mumbles. 'Try again' Arcade tells him. 'Confirmed. CONFIRMED!' Sinister snaps. 'Very good! Now that we're partners... let's play!' Arcade grins, opening his blood-soaked mouth to reveal he has transplanted Sinister's teeth into his own mouth....!

Characters Involved: 

Havok, Kwannon/Psylocke II, Mr Sinister, Empath, Greycrow, Nanny, Orphan Maker, Wild Child (all Hellions)

Mastermind III/Martinique Wyngarde

Miss Coriander
Control room officer

(in illusions)
Kwannon's unnamed daughter
Betsy Braddock

Cybelle, Erg, Plague, Tommy

Empath's mother
Unnamed people


Nanny duplicates
Madelyne Pryor

Story Notes: 

The cover to this issue pays homage to Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #146.

Although she is clearly identified as Martinique on page two, she actually looks more like her sister Lady Mastermind a.k.a. Regan Wyngarde.

Sinister jokes that he is being assaulted by a Chucky doll, a reference to the killer doy Chucky, from the series of horror films that began in in 1988 with “Child's Play”.

Martinique formerly worked for Arcade in Wolverine/Gambit: Victims #2-4.

This issue includes page 1 of a 13-page memo from Arcade to all Murderworld employees, setting out a list of reminders.

Erg being shown in Greycrow's illusion is somewhat odd considering Erg was never killed during the Morlock Massacre.

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