The Hellions may be Krakoa’s Suicide Squad, but their actions from one mission may have earned a death sentence for all of Mutankind.
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for HELLIONS #13
The Krakoan Era has seen the X-Men accomplish many things both great and terrible, but unfortunately for Marvel’s Merry Mutants, it seems that one of their dark deeds – committed by the Hellions – won’t be going unpunished. Punishment and rehabilitation are what Mister Sinister’s Hellions program is all about. And since the latest issue of their self-titled series hints that their most sinister mission is going to have some pretty dangerous consequences, it looks like the team has their work cut out for them.
Back in Hellions #8 by Zeb Wells and Stephen Segovia, Krakoa’s very own Suicide Squad was responsible for destroying a sentient strain of artificially intelligent robots known as Smileys just as they were on the verge of mass self-replication. Under the laws of Krakoa’s Quiet Council, it was made clear that no A.I. would be allowed to flourish on mutant watch after everything that Moira MacTaggart saw in her previous lives. Reluctantly, the Hellions committed genocide on the robotic race, leaving behind nothing but a small amount of mutant code and a small robotic baby secreted away by the Nanny under the noses of her teammates.
While it may have seemed like a one-off joke, that story thread has returned in Hellions #13 by Wells and Rogȇ Antȏnio. The anti-mutant group known as the Right – the masters of the Smiley robots – investigate the ruins that their Smileys once called home. As their scientists look over the scene, they discover the code used to wipe out their machines. But that’s not all they discover. As they inspect the remnants of the Smileys, the Right realizes that the machines were beginning to evolve by self-generating new parts and even self-replicating through the creation of a neonate – the A.I. generated mutant baby taken by the mischievous Nanny. Realizing the potential they have on their hands, the Right’s Dr. Murch dispatches their elite ZETA Team after the group responsible for the destruction all around them.
For a group of mutant criminals supposedly seeking rehabilitation, committing genocide is an odd way of showing growth – even if it was mandated by the Quiet Council. And with the Right’s ongoing vendetta, it’s clear this is just the beginning of the Hellions having to face the consequences of their actions against the Smileys. Not only will this anti-mutant hate group want their revenge, but they’ll also want to retrieve what they see as their property: the neonate Smiley.
Meanwhile, Nanny is still shown to be hiding that Smiley, despite the fact that it could potentially be the greatest threat to everything the X-Men have worked for on Krakoa. In more than a few of Moira X’s past lives, artificial intelligence was weaponized against mutantkind. A.I. will forever be a threat to the mutant populace, and with Krakoa having already wiped out the robotic baby’s entire race, there’s no telling how it’ll react once it reaches maturity.
In an attempt to preemptively save the mutant race, the Hellions may have already doomed it. And with the Right already prepared to move up the mutant’s doomsday clock, Krakoa and the X-Men are going to have their hands full when it comes to protecting their new home. Hopefully, they’ll survive the experience.
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