The end of Jonathan Hickman’s era on the X-Men is finally here with Inferno #4. There have been many incredible things that have happened during Hickman’s time on the X-Men franchise. Given everything he has done with the franchise there is no doubt he has saved the best for last. This final issue of Inferno has certainly been set up to change the game for everything that Hickman has built which makes it even more exciting to dig right into this comic book. Let’s not waste anymore time and get right into Inferno #4.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artists: Valerio Schiti and Stefano Caselli
Colorist: David Curiel
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In Terra Verde, before fighting Magneto and Charles Xavier the Omega Sentinel and Nimrod wipe out Orchis forces. Omega Sentinel and Nimrod then quickly overwhelm Magneto and Xavier with their advance technology.
Xavier, still determined to find Moira MacTaggert, taps into his full power and uses telekinesis to take Nimrod apart while Magneto is able to fight back against Omega Sentinel. Nimrod puts himself back together and threatens to crush Xavier’s skull if Magneto doesn’t stop his attack on Omega Sentinel. Magneto turns to attack Nimrod but both he and Xavier are quickly defeated.
Omega Sentinel reveals that she and Nimrod do not see a difference between humans and mutants as the era were machines rule is now. Omega Sentinel and Nimrod then kill Magneto and Xavier.
In Krakoa, Mystique shoots Moira MacTaggert at point blank range. When the shot is fired it is revealed that gun that Mystique used is a special weapon Forge created that is not meant to kill but instead turns a mutant human.
Moira rants that she was trying to save everyone. Destiny forces Moira’s hand and gets her to admit that she really wanted to “cure” mutants. Moira then reveals that the cure she created in one of her past lives was not to take the mutant gene away but rather ensure children never become mutants in the first place.
As Mystique gets ready to kill Moira for good Cypher, Warlock, Bei the Blood Moon, and Krakoa appear. Cypher reminds Mystique of Krakoa’s rule that they do not kill humans which is what Moira now is. Destiny warns Mystique that there are three possible futures in front of them.
One where Mystique kills Moira and is then exiled which leads to Destiny dying in six months. The second is Mystique and Destiny trying to kill Cypher but that leads to Mystique being killed and Destiny staying on the Quiet Council though unlikely Mystique ever gets resurrected. The last is one where Moira is allowed to leave Krakoa with an unknown future as Moira has multiple paths that can be walked depending on her choices after leaving Krakoa.
Hearing all this Mystique lets Moira go free. Warlock provides Moira with an arm replacement and Krakoa opens a one-time use portal for Moira to use. Moira leaves with Mystique telling her to enjoy her humanity while she can.
One week later Emma Frost resurrects Magneto and Xavier. Emma waste no time in revealing that she used the one week period to reveal everything to the Quiet Council and they all came to an agreement to also shoulder Xavier and Magneto’s secret and lies. Emma gives Xavier back the Cerebro helmet while calling him the leader of mutants that is most guilty of them all.
Later the Quiet Council now made up of Charles Xavier Magneto, Destiny, Mister Sinister, Exodus, Mystique, Kate Pryde, Emma Frost, Sebastian Shaw, Nightcrawler, Colossus, Storm, and Cypher gather for their latest meeting. End of story.
The Good: If you want an example of how you both end a big event and a creative run with the ultimate high that also leaves room for future creative teams to explore the future of a franchise Inferno #4 is the greatest example. By the time you get to the end you do feel as though Jonathan Hickman did what he wanted to accomplish with the X-Men even if not all his ideas were able to be during this creative run. But the beauty of Inferno #4 is that the story is far from over and future creators, including Hickman if he ever returns to the X-Men, can continue to tell more stories.
That all speaks to how Inferno #4 had everything you want from the final issue of a big event. You get the big action sequence with Charles Xavier and Magneto vs Omega Sentinel and Nimrod then there is the character intrigue with the back and forth between Mystique, Destiny, and Moira MacTaggert. What’s great about all of these and other scenes is how layered everything going on is. That includes the things that are building towards an unknown future that has your mind racing as the reader of what happens next.
Leading off with the Charles Xavier and Magneto vs Omega Sentinel and Nimrod fight was an excellent tone setter. Right away Omega Sentinel and Nimrod establish that they are not truly on the side of Orchis, Krakoa, or any other race. They, in a total Terminator move, fully reveal that they are part of the machine revolution. Omega Sentinel driving that point in after Xavier and Magneto are defeated by talking about how she and Nimrod see humans and mutants as one and the same was an excellent villain move to elevate both characters. Not only do we get the fight that shows their full power but now that there intent is revealed there is nothing holding Omega Sentinel and Nimrod from accomplishing their goals.
The fight itself was well choreographed Valerio Schiti to enhance everything that Hickman wrote for all four characters to say. You can see how Omega Sentinel and Nimrod show no mercy in how they attack the Orchis agents and when they dominate Xavier and Magneto throughout the fight. This leads also seeing Magneto and Xavier pushing their own powers beyond the limit. It was all a spectacle that made great use of both sides of this fight both from a power and character perspective.
This made the intrigue with the continuation of Mystique, Destiny, and Moira MacTaggert even higher. Because while we had everything going on in Terra Verde you felt that the real game changing stuff was going on in Krakoa. There was an air that whatever happened between Mystique, Destiny, and Moira X was going to change the future of the franchise. That was affirmed with how Destiny had Moira fully admit that she never really was trying to help mutants. Instead she was still driven by finding a cure for mutants. That inner desire coming out in the way it did further elevated the importance of Mystique turning Moira human.
The intensity of this scene made the sudden appearance of Cypher, Warlock, Bei the Blood Moon, and Krakoa even better. Hickman kept us in the dark in what role Cypher’s crew would ultimately serve in his X-Men narrative. Because we have seen Hickman slowly give Cypher more power through his relationship with Warlock, Bei the Blood Moon, and Krakoa. Now we see where all that led to was setting the stage for this unknown future we have after Moira was turned into a human by Mystique. Cypher’s flex in this was done in a way that you did feel like it was a payoff to the entire story Hickman was crafting with Mystique and Moira X’s respective arcs.
Best of all was how we really are set up with unknown futures for all sides in this new era for the X-Men. Hickman does a wonderful job breaking everything he built and rebuilding on the wreckage a brand new foundation with tons of potential for future creative teams to build upon. Its not an easy feat to accomplish for a big creative run but it is something Hickman has really mastered as there is even more opportunities to explore the X-Men franchise in new, exciting ways.
The real star of Inferno #4 was unquestionably Emma Frost. Hickman did such a good job mixing in Emma Frost’s character as highly influential into everything that happened in Inferno #4. The standout moment that fully establish Emma’s role in the X-Men franchise was when she talked about how Xavier uses his telepathic powers to see the strengths in others while her telepath powers show her the weaknesses and flaws within a person. It is such a perfect summary of Emma’s character that further elevates her character to be on the elite level of characters in Marvel’s staple, which she was already a part of.
Driving home how Emma was such the standout character in Inferno was the move to wait one week to bring Xavier and Magneto back to life. This time period allowed Emma the time to wash away the influence Xavier and Magneto had on the Quiet Council and ensure a new beginning for all the leaders. Throwing the dig that Xavier may still be the king he can no longer avoid being the most guilty in all the secrets and manipulations was a strong way to end things. This establishes how now everyone on the Quiet Council sits on the same level moving forward and that they will all likely be watching each other’s moves much more closely.
And like Schiti with all his artwork for the fight and interrogation scenes, Stefano Caselli stepped up big to make this final sequence with the Quiet Council hold the gravitas it needed to have. From the way Emma looked wearing the Cerebro helmet to the spotlight of the roles each member of the Quiet Council serve it all drove home the new foundation Inferno #4 created for the X-Men franchise.
The Bad: Nothing.
Overall: Inferno #4 is an excellent end to Jonathan Hickman’s legendary run on the X-Men. There was so much done here that Hickman leaves you even more excited for the X-Men franchise’s future than when Inferno started. And that is really all you can ask for from the end of a creative run as Hickman leaves plenty of room for future X-Men writers, artists, and editors to explore a future with unlimited potential.
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