Hellions #9

Issue Date: 
April 2021
Story Title: 
Funny Games: Level 1

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

Brief Description: 

Sinister meets with Mastermind, who accepts a mysterious offer that Sinister has made him – however it's a trap, as Mastermind poisons Sinister by adding something to his tea that causes Sinister to collapse and cough up blood. Nanny sings a song to Orphan Maker, who has been recuperating in some liquid, but when his armor is placed on his body it causes Orphan Maker pain. Nanny realizes that Orphan Maker's body has grown since his death in Arakko. Orphan Maker grows agitated and yells at Nanny, causing Nanny to tell him that he might not need her after all. Orphan Maker assures Nanny he does need her, but Nanny tells him she will look at his armor later, as he isn't the only one who needs her attention. She visits the Right baby she has hidden away, before closing Orphan Maker behind some doors, deciding he is too big to watch her change now, as she wants to change her egg-suit. Orphan Maker doesn't like this and cries out for Nanny while punching the wall between them. The rest of the Hellions are training in the gym, and while Empath irritates Havok by talking about his darker self, Wild Child won't stop watching Kwannon. Greycrow tries to tell Wild Child that it's time for some food, but Wild Child lashes out at him, and Greycrow realizes Wild Child is frustrated because he hasn't found his “she-wolf”. Shortly, the Hellions meet with Sage, who informs them that Mr Sinister has gone missing. Havok, Greycrow, Empath and Wild Child don't care and laugh, but Kwannon is interested in finding Sinister and asks Sage for more information, before suggesting to her teammates that they calm down and follow her. The Hellions travel through a Krakoan gate to Central Park, where they are met by Mastermind who ushers them into a limousine. But Kwannon realizes something is wrong when they appear to be on a luxury yacht, then a jet plane. The Hellions lash out at Mastermind, but he alters reality around them so they appear to all free fall from the jet down to the ground below – where they all seemingly hit the ground and die. In reality, though, they are all alive but unconscious, and Mastermind turns to someone watching from the shadows. This figure is not overly impressed with Mastermind's work, but is pleased that the Hellions are now ready for the next stage – it's Arcade – who is holding Sinister prisoner!

Full Summary: 

Bar Sinister, where a man wearing a drab brown suit pours Mr Sinister some Do Hong Pao, which he describes as tea of the gods, and worth a hundred times its weight in gold. 'A treasure, Mastermind' Sinister replies, adding that the Hellfire Trading Company must have some dirty, dirty dirt on the PRC to get this out of China. Jason Wyngarde a.k.a. Mastermind explains that it was a gift, a small amount, at least, while Krakoa was kind enough to grow the rest. 'I'm sorry, the smell...is that you or has the tea gone to mold?' Mastermind asks. Sinister turns his head to look at his spectacular cape and reports that the smell is his cape, as it wasn't stored properly. 'A bit musty, but I can't just put it through the wash, can I?' he asks. 'I could put it outside, but then I wouldn't be wearing it. Ergo I can't put it outside' Sinister declares. 'That's plenty of explanation, thank you' Mastermind remarks.

Sinister then tells Mastermind 'Since you called me, I assume you've reconsidered my offer?' 'After a fashion' Mastermind replies, revealing that it is true that Sinister isn't the only one who bristles at the rules of their island paradise, who feels the adornments of this glided age may in fact be shackles. 'But you understand the risks I take. All for the honor of getting into bed with you. It gives a sane man pause' Mastermind responds. Sinister tells Jason to put on his crazy hat, 'It certainly won't clash with that potato sack you wear' Sinister remarks, adding that the way he sees it, Mastermind is out of options. Sitting opposite Sinister now, Mastermind supposes so, and tells Sinsiter that he has a deal. 'A drink then' Sinister replies, before sipping the tea. 'This tastes like $%#&, Jason' Sinister remarks, before he gasps for breath and his eyes go wide.

Sinister screams and drops to the floor, 'You poisoned the tea?' he asks. 'Quite so. Turns out there were a few options still afforded me' Masterminds declares. He stands up as Sinister tries to crawl away. Mastermind tells Sinister to relax, and informs him that he won't be able to crawl away from the effects. 'I'm trying to make it to the bathroom, you daft $#%&! It feels like I swallowed a rattlesnake!' Sinister starts to informs Mastermind that there is a zipper halfway up his back, but then he drops down with a THUD, and stops moving. Masterminds smiles and asks if they should get this show on the road.

Sweet little Peter, died on a far-off shore. And when he came back to Nanny... he wasn't little anymore” the enigmatic Nanny sings to herself from within her lab, looking down into a vat of murky water, where a naked adult-sized man can be seen, his face obscured by the waters. Some substance is poured into the vat, and armor begins to cover up his naked body, then his face – 'NANNY?' He cries as he pushes his way out of the water, though he remains connected to various cables via his armor. 'It hurts, Nanny. It's too tight' Orphan Maker utters he crouches next to Nanny. Nanny informs Peter that he has grown, that his death in Arakko changed him. She tells him that maybe later she can expand the seams of the inner frame and relieve some pressure.

'Not later, dummy! Now! It hurts!' Orphan Maker shouts, raising his hand. 'My, my, my. You're not my sweet little boy anymore, are you?' Nanny replies, turning and walking away. 'Maybe you don't need your Nanny after all' Nanny suggests, but Orphan Maker drops to his knees and asks Nanny to wait, apologizing for being bad. 'I do need you, Nanny! It hurts!' Orphan Maker calls out, but Nanny, who goes over to a crate nearby, assures Orphan Maker that she will look at it later. A green robot-like hand reaches out of the crate, and squeaks. 'You're not the only one who needs my attention now' Nanny tells Orphan Maker. Her original egg-shaped armor can be seen in a stasis chamber behind her as she turns to Orphan Maker and instructs him to run along and give her some privacy. 'You're way too big to watch me change anymore' Nanny tells him. 'NANNY!' Orphan Maker screams as a door slides closed between them. '$#%^!' Orphan Maker shouts as he slams a hand against the wall. 'Heard that' Nanny calls out from the other room.

In Purgatory, the gymnasium, the other members of the Hellions are working out. Alex Summers a.k.a. Havok is lifting some weights, while John Greycrow is shooting at a target. Kwannon a.k.a. Psylocke holds a  sword up, towards a fighting prop. Kyle Gibney a.k.a. Wild Child stands near another fighting prop, but looks over at Kwannon, while Manuel de la Rocha a.k.a. Emapth sits on some weight equipment and looks over at Havok. 'That looks hard, Havok... let me spot you' Empath calls out as he walks over to Havok and puts his hands on the weights bar. 'HEY!' Havok calls out, while he thrusts the heavy weights up above him. 'Whoa!' Empath remarks, stepping backwards. 'Dammit, Empath!' Havok exclaims. 'I was trying to help you' Empath claims. 'By pushing on the bar?' Havok asks. 'Oh, not help you lift. I'm not a peasant. But I can always nudge your brain and let the fun you out' Empath replies. '%^&# you, Empath' Havok mutters as he gets up and starts to walk away. 'Is it his weird voice? Come on, you know what Nightcrawler says about shame!' Empath calls out as he follows Havok.

'Chow time, Wild Child' Greycrow calls out as he puts a hand on Wild Child's shoulder. 'You hear me?' Greycrow asks when he gets no response, as Wild Child is still busy looking at Kwannon. Wild Child responds by growling and lashing out at Greycrow, attempting to swipe him with his claws. '$#%^!' Greycrow exclaims as he steps backwards, then grabs Wild Child by his throat, and makes a fist with his free hand. 'Down' Greycrow declares. 'No. You, down!' Wild Child retorts as he extends a hand and wraps it around Greycrow's neck. Greycrow is slightly surprised, and responds by asking Wild Child if he still hasn't found that she-wolf. They let go of each other, and Kyle remarks that his pack flounders, and the females ignore him, as they think he is weak. 'Or they don't want to get bit. You gotta relax, brother' Greycrow suggests, rubbing Kyle's head. Kwannon then approaches her teammates and tells them all to suit up, as there has been an incident.

Soon, at the Pointe: 'One of your own is missing' Sage tells the Hellions as she taps away at her computer monitors, keeping watch over all of Krakoa. She brings up footage from the New York gate at 3:30 in the morning, the same time security fauna alerted her to an unscheduled departure, and the same time she saw with her own eyes one of the Hellions being assaulted by agents of XENO. 'Wait, I don't see any of that' Havok remarks. 'Neither do I. Something got into my streams. Erased the footage like it was never there' Sage explains, reporting that they have lost all evidence of Mr Sinister's abduction. Empath, Greycrow and Havok go wide-eyed, while Wild Child raises an eyebrow. 'You're talking about Sinister?' Greycrow asks. 'What can we do?' Havok enquires. 'Grab some lunch?' Greycrow suggests. 'Dude, don't. If you start, I'm gonna – heh... ha ha...' Havok replies as he bursts into laughter. Greycrow and Empath do, too, while Wild Child looks amused.

“One of your own” Havok quotes Sage as the men continue to laugh. 'She... she said it like we were gonna start crying!' Empath exclaims with delight. Kwannon glances back at her teammates, while Sage shouts 'This isn't funny!' Kwannon puts a hand on Sage's shoulder and tells her that she looks tired, before asking her if she is all right. 'My system broke down. I don't know what happened. Something wrong with my code...' Sage replies, before stating that this is her fault, but that Professor X is adamant they bring Sinister back. She tells Kwannon to be careful, as she doesn't think this is adding up. 'It rarely does, lately' Kwannon resplies, before assuring Sage that they will bring Sinister back and make him do the math. 'If you're all finished' Kwannon tells her teammates as she walks past them and out of the Pointe.

New York City, the Central Park gate opens and Kwannon steps through, followed by Havok, Nanny, Greycrow, Wild Child, Empath and Orphan Maker. 'Yo, Diapers. What's up? You and Nanny on the outs?' Empath asks noting that his teammates are not walking next to each other like usual. 'She's not my Nanny' Orphan Maker responds. 'Not anymore. She's got a new -' Orphan Maker begins, before Nanny interrupts him: 'That's enough, Peter' she tells him. 'Who's Peter? I go by Pete, now' Orphan Maker declares. 'Oh yeah. That's much cooler' Empath mocks.

'This is our New York contact?' Havok asks. 'I hate these Hellfire guys' he tells Kwannon, who instructs him to be quiet. 'Welcome to New York, Hellions!' Mastermind exclaims, extending his hands. 'Mastermind. I hope you're well' someone replies. 'Well, but worried sick' Mastermind answers, before telling the Hellions that he has come prepared for their arrival. Soon, inside a limo, 'This is weird' someone remarks. 'Peter, pit that down!' Nanny scolds Orphan Maker as he picks up a can of beer from the bar within the limo. 'It's PETE. AND YOU'RE NOT MY MOM!' Orphan Maker responds. 'Can't say we're used to this' Greycrow utters. 'No? Krakoa doesn't shuttle you from place to place in a limousine?' Mastermind asks. 'What's it usually? Horde-drawn carriage?' he jokes. Kwannon tells him to be polite, and informs him that they are here at the pleasure of Professor X.

'Are you? Or is that an absurd fiction I put into Sage's head? The intelligent are the easiest to manipulate, you see. Most have stopped interrogating their thoughts' Mastermind smiles, suggesting that surely the telepathic warrior Kwannon would not be fooled. 'Or are my powers so great that even you have no idea what is real?' he asks. 'Where...where are we?' Kwannon enquires as she glances out the window, and sees that they are moving across a habor on a luxury yacht. 'The hell -' Havok begins, while Greycrow exclaims that they are on a boat. 'Are you? When did I take your minds?' Mastermind grins. 'Was Sage real? Arakko? The orphanage?' Mastermind asks, as the team now appear to be traveling aboard an aircraft. 'Enough!' Kwannon shouts as she raises her psi-blade to Mastermind, who calmly remarks 'No. Not even close. I control your perception. And so I control your reality. And so I control you' as he appears to use his powers to make Kwannon think she is a statue.

Wild Child looks shocked at this, and listens as Mastermind tells the Hellions that now is the time their mind will beg to leave, preferring oblivion to his fingers in their brains. 'But there is no escape. I am your god. Perhaps you are on Krakoa, teetering over a cliff. Perhaps Krakoa doesn't exist. Perhaps you don't exist. Or perhaps you're strapped to a plank in my basement, kept alive only so long as my pleasure -' he begins, before Greycrow exclaims '#&^% this' as he raises a gun. 'For real' Havok agrees, readying his plasma energy – but suddenly, Greycrow's gun appears to melt, and the plasma energy glowing around Havok turn into birds. 'Yes. #&^% this' Mastermind agrees, while pointing to his head.

A moment later, Kwannon, Havok, Nanny, Orphan Maker, Emapth, Wild Child and Greycrow appear to fall through air, as lightning crackles around them and rain pours down. Kwannon goes wide-eyed as they plummet towards the concrete ground below. Kwannon and Greycrow attempt to reach for each other. Havok lands with a splat, followed by Greycrow, blood pooling around them. Kwannon then hits the ground, too.

'That's that, then' Mastermind utters as he gets to his feet, the motionless bodies of the Hellions scattered around him – no blood though. 'Brains shocked unconscious, but all alive' Mastermind reports. 'That's harder than it looks, by the way!' Mastermind calls out, extending his arms as he looks up from the dark room where the Hellions lay. 'Well, that's good, because it looked utterly boring. But I suppose boring is good' a figure calls out from an upper level. Someone wearing a white costume and holding a cane steps out of the shadows, 'I wouldn't want it to pull focus...from the grand Arcade!' the criminal called Arcade grins, while his assistant, Miss Locke stands nearby, and behind them, in a stasis tank, a furious Sinister is chained up.

Characters Involved: 

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

Right baby

Miss Locke


Story Notes: 

Jason Wyngarde, the original Mastermind, died of the Legacy Virus in Uncanny X-Men Annual 1993. He was seen alive on Krakoa Empyre: X-Men #2 and #4.

This issue includes a supplemental statement from Sage, noting the importance for the Hellions to retrieve Sinister, to assist with their rehabilitation.

The title refers to the eponymous film by Michael Haneke about two psychopaths having “fun” with an innocent family.

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