Jonathan Hickman is not holding anything back with making Inferno the culmination of his run on the X-Men franchise. Things got even more heated as Charles Xavier, Moira MacTaggert, and Magneto decided to try to bring Emma Frost into their inner circle to counter what Mystique and Destiny have done. That led to mix results that could end up backfiring on Xavier, Magneto, and Moira. These political problems within Krakoa could be even greater given that threats like Orchis are ready to make their move to destroy the mutants any chance they get. How will the latest chapter in Hickman’s X-Men saga turn out? Let’s find out with Inferno #3.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: R.B. Silva, Stephano Caselli, and Valerio Schiti
Colorist: Adriano Di Benedetto
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: Sometime in the past Charles Xavier showed Cypher his plans for the future to convince him to get his help with creating the Krakoa he wants. Cypher then spends the following years with Warlock’s help bonding with Krakoa, which included learning to create the geateway flower.
This leads to two months prior to present day events Cypher, Krakoa, and Warlock discussing the secrets that Xavier, Magneto and others think they are keeping but they are well aware of.
Two days ago Cypher, Warlock, and Krakoa spy on Xavier, Magneto, and Moira MacTaggert talking about the danger and eliminating Destiny.
In the present, Mystique and Destiny meet with Emma Frost at The White Palace. During their meeting Emma reveals that Moira is alive and working with Xavier and Magneto. Emma then uses her telepathy to show Mystique and Destiny the various of lives of Moira MacTaggert she was able to discover from scanning Xavier, Moira, and Magneto’s minds during her meeting with them(see Inferno #2).
When asked why she did this Emma says she is not picking sides in the coming fight but wants to make things even for Mystique and Destiny in their conflict with Xavier, Moira, and Magneto.
The next day Moira teleports to her safehouse in Paris. While taking a walk outside Moira is captured by Orchis agents and taken to one of Orchis base.
Over at House of M, Magneto laments to Xavier the weight of knowing about the various timelines and how it continues to be an “us or them” conflict. Magneto then admits that Xavier did convince him he is right about what they are doing. Xavier shows confidence in what they are doing and they are still in control.
As they continue to talk Xavier suddenly hears Moira screaming in his mind and tells Magneto this. Magneto quickly finds Moira being held in Terra Verde, an Orchis Node.
Over in the Orchis Forge, Omega Sentinel reveals to Nimrod that she comes from a future where the mutants are the dominant species and win even when the remaining humans tried to defeat them with machines. Omega Sentinel goes on to say she was the last remaining nonmutant in that future so she downloaded her mind into a machine and sent it through a black hole to travel back in time and uploaded her mind to her present day Karima Shapandar body. With her knowledge she was able to help create Orchis with Dr. Killian Devo.
Orchis agents suddenly send a message to Nimrod to inform them that they are under attack at Terra Verde.
At Terra Verde, Magneto and Xavier break into the facility. They are shocked to find the facility filled with the dead bodies of Orchis agents. Magneto is able to find where Moira is being held.
Elsewhere Mystique tells Moira that Xavier and Magneto will not be able to save her. It is then shown that Mystique cut one of Moira’s arm off.
Back in Terra Verde, Magneto and Xavier are shocked only to find Moira’s chopped off arm. Before they can plan their next move Nimrod and Omega Sentinel teleport into Terra Verde with an army of Orchis agents. End of issue.
The Good: The sides were made clear for this event in the previous two issues of Inferno. So with Inferno #3 this chapter in Hickman’s X-Men saga was all about solidifying the key characters position for his grand finale. And he did that just that with the greatest impact possible in the X-Men saga he has been weaving thus far.
What’s most impressive about Inferno #3 is that it never feels slow. Even when we get an exposition dump of information for the decisions different characters are making it is not done in way to slow things down to asses what has happened thus far. Every line of dialogue that is spoken is an action in itself so you don’t need to get a bunch of fighting to actually take place on screen. Instead, all of the talking that is done in Inferno #3 is all about moving the chess pieces in place to make the ending of Inferno as explosive as possible.
That is something that the very beginning of Inferno #3 establishes with Hickman giving us a quick history lesson of this continuities version of Cypher, Krakoa, and Warlock. Cypher is certainly positioned as the lead of the trio but Hickman makes it clear that the he is working with Krakoa and Warlock in a symbiotic way. That allows the importance of Cypher working with Krakoa and Warlock to basically tap every corner of the mutant’s island an understandable move for the character. Which in their own makes it so Cypher, Krakoa, and Warlock are yet another trio within Krakoa with their own side as what they do with the secrets they know about is anyone’s guess.
Opening up in this way also prepares the reader for the major decision that Emma Frost makes to even up the war that is going on with Charles Xavier, Moira MacTaggert, and Magneto vs Mystique and Destiny. There is absolutely no time wasted in showing how Xavier, Moira, and Magneto’s gamble to try to get Emma on their side did not work out. Instead, what they just ended up doing is possibly creating their worst enemy as Emma is not a person that takes kindly to being manipulated.
Her evening things so that Mystique and Destiny can equally makes choices based on how they process the multiple lives of Moira is totally in line for Emma. Because at the end of the day what she learned from Xavier, Moira, and Magneto just showed her how dangerous it is for them to control things the way they have. It doesn’t help her overall mission to protect mutants the way she sees it should be done. This all drives home how Emma Frost is someone that will always be on her side. Whether that means she ends up aligning with certain characters or not does not matter. Emma is looking out for her best interest in mind.
Which all works well to make her into the catalyst for Mystique and Destiny to go full antagonist mode for Inferno. Mystique and Destiny are two people you do not want to piss off and if you didn’t know that from the previous two issues than Inferno #3 drives that point in. The visuals of Moira getting captured by Orchis agents and then Xavier and Magneto finding dead Orchis agents in Terra Verde just exemplified how dangerous they are. It’s a great bit of visual storytelling that Hickman shows great trust in his art team of R.B. Silva, Stephano Caselli, and Valerio Schiti to enhance the overall developments that are made with Mystique and Destiny’s choices.
Making this moment with Mystique and Destiny going all in on their plot greater was the scene at House of M between Magneto and Xavier. Its been said for a while now how much of a cult leader Xavier has continued to sound since House of X with this Krakoa direction. Here we see how after all that has happened recently with the Hellfire Gala, Trial of Magneto, and Inferno that Magneto understands the impact Xavier has on him. Its not just that they are influencing each other in this Krakoa direction anymore. Hickman makes it clear that it is Xavier who is the most influential in this relationship because of how he has become a cult leader after what he learned about Moira’s previous lives.
This all leading to Magneto bringing up how even with what they’ve built in Krakoa its still a “us vs them” position they are in with mutants and humans such a key moment. This is something that only Cyclops and Jean Grey briefly touched on with their idea of bringing back the X-Men as superheroes. Magneto confronting Xavier about this in his own made the way Xavier acts as still being in control something you can see how much of a tunnel vision he has with his current mind set.
This philosophical argument is put on hold because of Moira’s predicament. But given what is said Hickman built something with this scene and Emma Frost’s choice earlier that could lay the foundation for how the leadership structure works on Krakoa post-Inferno. Which goes back to no matter what the X-Men Universe is still a growing and living world that will continue to go on after Inferno. What direction it grows to be is a mystery that keeps interest in what happens in Inferno high.
With all that said, the developments with Xavier, Moira, Magneto, Emma, Mystique, and Destiny were not unexpected. This is all in line with what we’ve come to know these characters to act, especially during the Krakoa era for the X-Men. What was unexpected was the twist that everything that has been built with the Orchis organization is a reverse Days of Future Past development for the villains side.
Placing Omega Sentinel in the role of Days of Future Past Kitty Pryde with a future where mutants ended up not being wiped out and becoming the dominant species was a plot twist Hickman made completely work. The reason it worked was how Hickman laid out Omega Sentinels backstory during the reveal to Nimrod. Hickman played well into how we did have that unknown timeline from the Many Lives of Moira to show us that the future we didn’t know was actually the one where mutants won.
Making this Days of Future Past-like reveal stronger was establishing how that was the path this current direction of the X-Men was on if Inferno did not happen. All of that changed because Omega Sentinel was able to place her conscious into a version of herself in the current Marvel Universe timeline to break that timeline to happen. This places an even greater importance to the foundation of Orchis as its true purpose was to disrupt things so what was an inevitable future for Krakoa is no longer.
Layering Omega Sentinel’s reveal with Mystique and Destiny unknowingly using this fact to manipulate Xavier and Magneto fall for their plan was an excellent way to end Inferno #3. Now we are in a spot were there is genuine concern for the lives of Xavier and Magneto as they face off against Nimrod, Omega Sentinel, and Orchis alone. Meanwhile we have no idea what Mystique and Destiny have planned to stop the whole resurrection process of Moira’s power. It all leads to interest being as high as possible for the conclusion of Hickman’s grand X-Men plot.
For their part R.B. Silva, Stephano Caselli, and Valerio Schiti work as well as you can hope from an art-by-committee. Their respective styles are exactly the same but Silva, Caselli, and Schiti make enough adjustments so the momentum of the story in Inferno #3 is never interrupted. The impact of character decisions and reveals is never lost. Which speaks to the strength of each artist to effectively bring the big character moments that happen throughout Inferno #3 to life.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Inferno #3 continued the wild ride that has been Jonathan Hickman’s run on the X-Men franchise. The decisions made by Charles Xavier, Magneto, Emma Frost, Mystique, Destiny, and Moira MacTaggert all led to severe consequences. And when you add in the Days of Future Past-like revelation made in this issue the interest going into the final issue of Inferno could not be higher. I cannot wait to see how Hickman and company wrap up this massive X-Men event.
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