As the action ramps up ahead of the end of Marvel's X of Swords, things get more complicated than ever and true colors and motivations are revealed. That is especially true in this week's Hellions #6 which sees the Hellions team attempt a secret mission to end-run the contest of champions to secure a win for Krakoa. While the strategy is generally sound, it turns out that there is much more than meets the eye to the mission and reveals a major betrayal within the X-Men's ranks and that betrayal may have some serious consequences going forward.
Spoilers for Hellions #6 below this point.
The groundwork for the major betrayal this week actually started with Hellions #5 in which Sinister suggested to the Quiet Council that they could do something of an end run around things by having the Hellions go into the Arakko to steal the weapons of the Swordbearers. Doing so, he says, will force a forfeit, thus saving Krakoa and Earth. The plan is agreed upon -- and it's also decided that Sinister will be the one to lead the Hellions himself. It's then revealed that Sinister has, well, sinister plans. He has an illegal cloning facility beneath Krakoa and decides to send a clone of himself on the very dangerous mission. Among the reasons for that is something else that's outlined in Hellions #5: if you die in the Otherland, your resurrection doesn't exactly work correctly. You come back corrupted, somehow, and all resurrections have been stopped for the time being. Simply put, if you die in Otherworld, you stay dead.
That brings us to Hellions #6. The team arrives in Arakko and discover that the contest is already underway. They also encounter the Locus Vile, a group of horrific genetically engineered mutants and things go very, very south when Sinister's real plans are revealed. He knew the mission would be pointless. He wasn't there for the swords. What he wanted was the genetic material of Arakko mutants because, well, Sinister has his obsessions. When Sinister uses drones to sample the Locus Vile, they attack the Hellions. In short order Nanny is outright murdered, Havok's hands are cut off, and Orphan Maker is literally torn limb from limb and appears to be about to be eaten by one of the Locus Vile. Sinister gives the samples to Kwannon to flee with, taking Havok, Greycrow, and Empath with her as Wild Child seemingly sacrifices him to make the escape possible. It also appears that Sinister -- or likely his clone -- is destroyed as well.
The survivors managed to make it back to Krakoa but it's not over just yet. As they arrive, Sinister returns, using smoke to hid cameras as he kills each of them before Cerebro can back up their memories and, thus, reveal his betrayal when they are eventually resurrected. After killing them, he then makes himself appear as though he's been through a terrible attack with he the lone survivor.
While Sinister's betrayal is gruesome, for X-Men fans it really isn't that much of a surprise. The character is a known villain, after all. However, it will be interesting to see how things play out and how the death of the Hellions ends up impacting as X of Swords comes down to its conclusion next week.
Hellions #6, as well as X-Force #14 and Cable #6, the other chapters of this week's installments of X of Swords, are on sale now.