This third volume of Hellions under Zeb Wells finishes an inconsistent series, always strong on ideas, but not always able to focus on them through the character dramatics, and with art that’s good, but often short on background and detail.

Vol. 2 ended ambiguously, and there’s no explanation here, which is irritating, and a footnote explaining that events ran through all X-Men titles for a month is no comfort. Anyone reading the opening chapters without having read the remainder of the series isn’t going to have a clue what’s going on, as they deal with enmities made during X of Swords. The consequences of what Mr Sinister did during that now come home to roost. His narcissism and arrogance is the best conveyed of a cast portrayed as unhinged in various fashions, which they are. “Let’s get you into that incinerator so we can both forget this ever happened”!

The demons suffered by the cast and their aggressively fractured relationships explode in the final chapters, but they’re prompted by the revelation of what happened to them in Otherworld. While the Tarn are dull foes, what they induce is conceptually strong, and Wells plays the drama smartly, leading readers to a crisis point that many won’t see coming. That occurs halfway through, and the remaining three chapters are the fallout. These are supplied by first choice artist Stephen Segovia, who draws attractive people over the simplest of backgrounds. Rogê Antônio on the opening chapters (sample art) supplies slightly more detail, but his cast aren’t as attractive. Zé Carlos drawing most of the final episode is the best of both worlds.

It’s the conclusion that’s the finest chapter, where ideas and execution gel in the tragedy of political expedience. The concepts have clarity and the ethical questions are well aired. If only the remainder of the series had matched it.