Welcome back, X-Fans, as Comicon’s resident X-perts, Scott Redmond and I, break down the ins and outs of Marvel’s two big X-Men events. Inferno’s second issue hit this week, and just like the first issue, it is packed FULL.
This time around, Jonathan Hickman is joined by Stefano Caselli, David Curiel, and Joe Sabino. After last issue’s shocking revelation that this series wouldn’t be about Mystique bringing Destiny BACK, it was about the fact she’s already back, Krakoa is reeling…
Tony Thornley: Holy cow Scott, what a twisty and turny week! As usual, before we get into that plot meat, I have to say that this issue is the best work Caselli has put on the page in months. It seems like reuniting with Hickman has gotten a spark back that’s been missing a while. I think Curiel puts in strong work, but it’s different than last month, maybe just a shift in how he colors a page based on Caselli’s style?
Scott Redmond: Twisty and turny like a theme park roller coaster that’s for sure. That was definitely some very solid artwork. Like, honestly if I came into this issue with no knowledge of the creators and was asked who the artist was, I would not have guessed Caselli. It truly is like an evolution of an already pretty great style. Yeah the Curiel colors are on another level too. There are some very vivid and visually striking pages here, especially since there are numerous scenes that just let the artwork do most or all of the talking.
Tony: I love that the issue just straight up started with confirmation of what a lot of fans, us included, wondered in the first issue. The Magneto in Octopusheim and the Xavier at Bar Sinister shown in #1 was, indeed, a disguised Mystique. Not only that, but we were looking back at events that had happened weeks, if not months before. Destiny may have even been back before the Hellfire Gala, dealing with her return to life in her unique way, because Destiny was never ordinary.
And Hickman doesn’t spin any wheels because we go from that, to the vote to bring Destiny into the Council, to Magneto and Charles bringing someone into their Inner Circle, to Orchis to the second new Council member. Sheesh. SO MUCH HAPPENED.
Scott: This issue grabbed on tight from the word go and didn’t let go ’til the final page. This very much feels like Hickman has a lot of things that needed to be said and laid out and gotten to before he steps away from writing books (still heavily part of the planning of course), and only four issues to do it. At the same time while it’s a ton of stuff shoved into one of four issues, it flows and none of it feels like it was rushed or wasn’t fully formed in execution.
Tony: Definitely. Now first, to be fair, all four issues are double sized, so it’s packed, not rushed. And secondly, the vast majority of these plot points are ones that Hickman and the X-room had on the roadmap regardless. So it’s great to get them on the page here.
Scott: Seeing Mystique and Destiny reuniting was great and a long time coming. All the wheeling and dealing and scheming and backstabbing going on across the council and even outside (with Moira and those who know about her) was inevitable with the crop of folks that make up this council. It’s real and fits their character. At the same time, and this isn’t a slight against the creators of the line in any way, Mutants being just as petty and running their new government just as broken and petty as humans are in real life feels sad on many levels. It definitely continues to sour my views on a great number of characters here. Yet, it was clear from day one that Hickman at least was planning for this to all fall apart at some point.
I know there are some that want to see that plan and see things fall apart and maybe move beyond Krakoa to some next step, but I honestly hope that after this we see Krakoa get a chance to actually elect a government or form something better to thrive. The compromised Colossus (oh how I wish the books tied into one another more often like this) coming aboard too seems to really point at how this house of cards is surely about to collapse.
Tony: Yeah, for anyone not following X-Force, Mikhail Rasptuin, Colossus’ brother, is currently mind controlling him via a mutant with the ability to have his writings come true. Whether that is taking place prior to the final page reveal or is concurrent, we don’t know quite yet, but it’ll be interesting to see that play out.
I like Colossus a lot, he’s actually one of my favorite X-Men. He is, however, often screwed over by poor writing decisions and editorial mandates. Unfortunately a lot of those have rendered him a broken human being, but I think in his case that makes him interesting, especially in a position of power. Just as long as he doesn’t go back to Kitty again. Also, the incredible Nola Pfau wrote about how Colossus and Destiny’s new positions create an even more interesting council than the original over on ComicsXF. I highly recommend reading their thoughts.
But let’s back up just a touch and look at the two other (non-Council) main plots of the issue. First, Charles, Magneto and Moira bring in a new player to their Inner Circle- Emma Frost. This plotline just chilled me. What the hell is Moira telling these telepaths that we’re not seeing? Also, this issue means we’re now two-for-two of Inferno issues with direct HOXPOX parallels involving Emma Frost in Xavier’s place. What did you think about this unfolding?
Scott: Real fast, I would say that I agree that the council as it stands is far more interesting and I hope most of that makes it through and we get some actual good less backstabby/villains (looking at you too Charles) doing villainy like stuff.
It’s definitely very interesting to see the parallels to HOXPOX coming up in both this book and Trial of Magneto, showing how far we’ve come but also how close and relevant that all still is at this point. It’s very interesting that we’re given a space where outside of Moira and her secrets and Shaw just being a giant jerkwad, we’re in a space where despite all these people doing shifty things we can understand and often relate to their reasons. It truly feels like Emma has come a long way over the last few decades and seeing her potentially becoming even more of a power pillar in the mutant world as she will not be taken as a fool by these people and their secrets has me a bit excited.
Tony: It feels like Marvel has been building to this point with Emma since her X-Men Black one-shot (which was written by Trial of Magneto writer Leah Williams, who has been in the X-room since the beginning, worth noting). It feels like a natural progression of her character over the last thirty (!) years, and this power dynamic putting her alongside Charles and Erik is much deserved. It’s also worth noting that Erik said he was a recent addition to the plan/Inner Circle too… but we know that’s not really the truth, unless the Powers of X scene where they brought him in was set much later than anyone realized.
Scott: That Erik bit got me thinking too, because as vague as that scene is where they brought him into the loop it very much in a way does feel like it could be closer on the timeline to the now than to when Moira let Xavier in on stuff. I imagine they likely debated it for years during the classic and post Giant-Size eras. Either way they surely will never tell since setting things in time related stone isn’t something that they are interested in with these ongoing comics.
Tony: Yeah the many lives of Moira X timeline from House of X #2 seemed to indicate it happened not long after Charles and Moira started the ball rolling on what would become the X-Men. Now, I’m not so sure.
And then we have Orchis. And holy shit, they scare me man. They seem ready for a full-scale assault on Krakoa, and not only that, there seems to be more than meets the eye to the Omega Sentinel…
Scott: Orchis is definitely far more organized than we saw from the glimpses in the past, which is definitely terrifying in many ways. The Omega Sentinel and Nimrod stuff definitely hit a chord, and I assume is another HOXPOX parallel with how we saw the two in one of Moira’s past lives. As you noted these are bigger issues so not rushed, but even with the X-Line said to be following some of Hickman’s original plans down the line I imagine there are some aspects he wanted to at least touch on before leaving and this possibly could be one of those things.
Tony: Yeah, it seems like if nothing else, Inferno will give us the beginning of the Machine War and a change in leadership on Krakoa. Did you catch the little detail that Omega Sentinel started to drop? That it’s time Nimrod knew more about her.
Do you think this is our Karima working for Orchis? You know, the former member of the X-Men and only Prime Sentinel to beat its programming? Or is this Omega Sentinel a refugee from another timeline? Maybe from Life IX?
I guess we’ll see next issue, eh?
Scott: I mean I wouldn’t say no to the return of the POX version of Omega Sentinel and Rasputin and such…Hickman does like him some Xorn.
Tony: For sure. And considering the pace Hickman has taken in the series to date, we’ll get answers quick.