Inferno # 1 Review: Marvel Kicks Off Another Era-Defining X-Men Book
Two years ago, at Jonathan Hickman’s House of X # 1, a few words transformed Marvel’s X-Men comics: “While you were sleeping the world changed.” In the Dawn of X, the X-Men cemented their island, Krakoa, as a national mutant paradise. In the follow-up event X of swords, they found their lost brothers, and the recent Hellfire Gala established Mars as the planet Arrakko, placing the X-Men on a galactic stage.
As the X-Men strengthened their position in the universe and gathered their power, however, secrets and tensions bubbled up just below Krakoa’s surface (and sometimes literally). Now Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, Destiny, Emma Frost and long-hidden Moira X enter a conflict that threatens to doom the entire nation in the new book Hell, which debuted on September 29.
Who makes Inferno?
Jonathan Hickman returns and is joined by the pencils of Valerio Schiti, the colors of David Curiel, the letters of Joe Sabino and, as on all Krakoan X-Comics, the design work of Tom Muller. Hickman started this era with the two titanic series that were one, House of X and Powers of X. Schiti recently launched SWORD with Al Ewing, and his flair for drama is as striking in the political machinations here as it is in the space opera in that title. It’s a team that lives up to the incredible pedigree of HoXPoX.
What is Inferno about?
House of X and Powers of X established that Moira MacTaggart, a longtime ally of the X-Men, was secretly a mutant with the power of reincarnation. During her previous nine lifetimes, Moira had discovered that mutants were still doomed to extinction, as the creation of artificial intelligence has always led post-humans to accelerate their evolution much faster than the natural evolution of Mutantkind, eventually becoming one with Dominions, a divine machine. beings freed from the limits of space and time. The creation of the Krakoa nation and all that it entailed – the unification of all mutants, the exploration of mutant technology, and the creation of the resurrection of mutants – apparently served his plan to finally find a way to overcome this inevitability.
In one of her previous lives, Moira had also made herself an enemy of Destiny, Mystique’s currently deceased wife. While they claimed that Krakoa is for all mutants, Professor X and Magneto hypocritically used their power to ensure that any deceased mutants they believe to be a danger to the nation or to themselves remain dead. . They have denied Mystique’s requests to be reunited with his wife, a move that may cost them dearly.
As Hell begins, a number of threads began to converge. The first great posthuman intelligence, Nimrod, has not only come online, but has repeatedly defeated the X-Men. Several seats in the Silent Council that governs Krakoa were left empty, resulting in a power vacuum. Several ethical lines were crossed by those who remained in power, creating new tensions between factions within the country. Moira herself appears to have developed plans that go beyond what she allowed Xavier and Magneto to know. Finally, Mystique received posthumous instructions from Destiny to burn the place down. Mutantkind has never been stronger, and yet Mutantkind feels poised to explode as political plans distract from the looming great threat; no one can be trusted when trust is most vital for survival.
Why is Inferno happening now?
Hell is the conclusion of Hickman’s chapter on the history of the X-Men. Rather than continue with his original plan, which he describes as putting an end to the entire current status quo, he chose to write one final event. Hell should both allow other creators to continue to explore this rich space while providing a satisfying thematic conclusion to the first act of HoXPoX.
Are there any required readings?
Intended to conclude the events that began with HoXPoX, both series are pretty vital read. Besides, X-Men # 6 and X Men # 20 establish two of the main inciting incidents of the crossing. Beyond these 18 issues, the current series of Hellions, X-Force, and Marauders are not required, but are more likely to enrich the experience. While Hell # 1 doesn’t focus much on the characters, the show’s marketing indicates that the characters in those shows – Colossus, Emma Frost, Psylocke, and Bishop – will all play major roles. Additionally, each series features secrets, sins, ploys, and hypocrisies that will likely become relevant to Hellof conflict as it progresses.
Is Inferno good?
Hell # 1 skillfully juggles its many plots and characters while returning and developing the bold concepts that ushered in this period. Schiti creates a political debate at the conclusion of the show which is as vivid, as powerful as the massacre that begins the show. While Hickman’s recent work has suffered from a lack of momentum, Hell, from the first page, promises an acceleration. Everyone working on this comic does their best job, and the resulting problem is a piece with the best of the X-Men comics. Even Hordeculture, a collection of geriatric villains that your reviewer once found unbearable, is a pleasure to read.
Hell promises to be a return to HoXPoX in all but one way: Hell is not alone. The ideas, stories, and character arcs here aren’t just Hickman’s. He does not write as an author concluding his story in isolation, but as one of many contributors to a great work. Hell would be a different story without the many Dawn of X and Reign of X titles, (more particularly the singular Hellions), and Hell would read very differently if it was the only title in the line released, or the only title that felt so bold. This is certainly not the case: The Apocalypse Onslaught, SWORD, and Magneto’s trial each has recently taken a step in its own exciting direction.
Hell has the chance to surpass HoXPoX because it functions as a celebration of what makes superhero comics particularly compelling as a genre: stories that are developed in a shared universe crafted by many voices. There are great soloists in all mediums, but it is only in this medium and in this genre that one can find such a striking refrain.
A panel that jumped
Hell begins with an incredibly striking image that takes place, it seems, in the near future, as Emma Frost resuscitates Magneto and Professor X. She stands above them wearing what has become the symbol of Xavier, which gives him both a position of power in this society and the thing that hides his face: the Cerebro mask. It is an inversion of the image that defines HoXPoX, and it promises exciting turns in the next issues.
Hell # 1 is available wherever you buy comics and digital sellers.