The Mutant’s Court: Expect The Un-X-pected In ‘Inferno’ #3

by Tony Thornley

Welcome back, X-Fans, as’s resident X-perts, Scott Redmond and I break down the ins and outs of Marvel’s two big X-Men events. We thought last months’ issue was a big deal, but this one is even bigger! It’s time for Inferno #3.

From Jonathan Hickman, RB Silva, Stefano Caselli, Valerio Schiti, Adriano De Benedetto, David Curiel, Joe Sabino, and Tom Mueller, this is the issue where everything starts to come apart. Truths are revealed about Doug Ramsey. Emma Frost has an important meeting. And Xavier and Magneto face their greatest challenge since Krakoa’s founding.

Tony Thornley: Wow, this issue… It was 50 pages but not once did it feel like it. It was packed, it was brisk, and it ruled. This is all the stuff that Hickman spent two years setting up, and I kind of wish we got to see it pay off in the main line. Though, at the same time, I think the only thing I would have changed is extending the Omega Sentinel sequence.

Scott Redmond: ‘Packed, but brisk’ is definitely a good way to describe it. At the same time, yeah it’s hard not to look at this and really think about the fact that this clearly was meant to be drawn out longer. Perhaps something more akin to HOX/POX in scale. Because, as packed and great as it is, there are definitely some areas that aren’t being explored as much as we the audience and likely Hickman himself would have liked. 

Tony: So as we’ve usually been doing, let’s talk art. Now, this is the first issue of the series to have multiple pencillers. They split it by scene, and I think for the most part it lands. I think the only place the art falls short is the Emma/Destiny/Mystique scene. Something about the finishes on that scene just was a bit off. A little over-rendered maybe?

Scott: Oh yeah, those pages, while fine overall, definitely pull you right out. There are some bits where the faces are on that tipping point where they might slide into melty face if one isn’t too careful. Compared to some other artist jam type of attempts, it’s pretty solid in execution. There are pages that are really beautiful to look at, yet at the same time, with the caliber of artists here, there aren’t any pages that truly 100% stand out as something I’m going to be remembering and marveling at later. Not that they are bad, of course, just maybe not hitting fully since I would bet they probably were in a crunch to get a lot of this done. 

Tony: I kind of wonder if it’s because we’re used to seeing Silva ink himself, at least since X-Men Disassembled, and it looks like he has an inker on these pages. Not sure, but it’s not quite as good as the rest.

Plot wise- this issue was A LOT. Let’s go in order of the X-Men stuff, then the Orchis stuff maybe? 

I loved the Doug Ramsey opening. I think if I had to pick only one character the Krakoa era has benefited, it’s Doug. This scene didn’t just fill in some Doug-gaps, but also some general continuity gaps of what was happening concurrent to and after the events of X-Men Disassembled/Age of X-Man. I do think the biggest revelation here though is that, while Krakoa has blind spots, Warlock has indeed infected parts of Krakoa and thus doesn’t have ANY blind spots. 

Who’s known about Moira practically since day one? Douglas Ramsey.

I loved this. What did you think?

Scott: I loved the Doug and Warlock stuff overall. He’s for sure benefited greatly from this era, in ways that he never really has as a character. This was a plotline that I think fits your point above about suffering a bit from not being seen over the main line. Not this revelation itself, but clearly the original plotline of Warlock being “hidden” to everyone else was going to be part of this before it was just unceremoniously dropped. The Doug and Warlock we’ve seen haven’t acted fully like they are this deep into stuff. Then again, that’s how people that were hiding such a secret might act, so it works. Even if it feels slightly out of left field, how great it is makes up for that. 

Any time a character fully speaks about how Xavier cannot be trusted, that is a moment that will win me over. Because, I mean, Kate was right all along, the guy’s a jerk. 

Tony: Definitely, and it seems like becoming a head of state has only made that worse. I’m actually a bit surprised that Emma didn’t hold on to her new knowledge about Moira from last issue. It feels like Destiny and Raven’s visit was the next morning. Though the dialogue doesn’t say that for sure, it’s clear that it was quick. I liked this, because Emma is very much not one to play games. She just needs to make sure her kids (which is basically now every Krakoan under 22) are safe.

Telling Mystique and Destiny absolutely does that. There’s an undercurrent of “I’m sick of these idiots’ bullshit” too, but all of these machinations are for the best. So much of the Krakoa era has been about Charles, Erik and Moira’s hubris, and it will be fantastic to see them all pay for it. 

Scott: Everything here definitely showcases why a government built with a bunch of mostly self-centered, willing to do anything for their own interest individuals who just declared themselves in charge really isn’t a great idea. That’s for sure. 

Emma not wanting to be played a fool anymore is a great thing to see. Her anger at being played once more, as they knew she would do it for the kids, feels so raw and relatable. I honestly would be quite fine with knocking most of the others off the council (Xavier, Magneto, Mystique, Destiny, Exodus) and seeing what Emma could do if she actually got to lead. Sure, she’s done some shifty stuff (hello Empath/Hellions stuff), but as noted, her heart at times is more in the overall stuff than most of the others.

Tony: I think that’s a good point. I suspect, given the opening of the miniseries, that we might see Emma in a more prominent role in the council (doubly so considering Kieron Gillen is going to be writing her in Immortal X-Men) so this all might be setting up when you’re hoping for.

And speaking of the triumvirate of Krakoa, our last scene with our protagonists is a conversation between Xavier and Magneto. I think many readers might read this and say “Hickman only has another 40 pages left, what is he doing wasting time with THIS?” but I feel like this is an important scene. This isn’t just a “heavy is the head” scene. It’s also a scene that introduces doubt in the reader’s mind that life X is going to turn out the way they hope it will. This is not a conversation between two would-be world rulers. This is a conversation between two men who suspect a ticking time bomb is hanging over them, and are trying to see if they’re right.

Scott: Agreed. To not do this scene would actually be more of a disservice than whatever may or may not have had to be cut from the final issue in order to make this story fit into four bigger issues. We’ve seen time and time again that while Xavier is very much still one that wants to engage in the tactics of old “for the greater good”, Magneto seems more and more like it’s weighing on him in a way that he can’t actually enjoy the fruits of the thing he’s spent so much of his life trying to achieve. One man sees the ticking time bomb you mentioned and dreads it being closer, and the other seemingly tries to act like there is still time to defuse it. Knowing what we seem to know now about the cast of the aforementioned Immortal X-Men, it appears that Magneto’s distaste of what is going down might be sending him on another path after all this. 

Tony: And then they hear Moira’s psychic distress call… And these two absolute idiots just act. They don’t get back-up. They don’t tell anyone where they’re going. They just jump.

If Magneto and Xavier storming the Orchis compound alone doesn’t sum up the extent of their hubris, I don’t know what can.

Scott: With them not getting backup to go deal with this, my mind went right to how annoyed I am with any sort of procedural show where the main characters do the same thing. Big time hubris right there. After what we saw at the beginning of this mini-series scene wise, we might very well know how this particular battle goes for these two men.

Tony: Let’s jump back a bit. There’s two Orchis plotlines. First one is simple- the cell that’s been monitoring Moira’s Paris gate activity springs into action and kidnaps her. Again, hubris. About time.

The second, though, is where we learn the truth about the Omega Sentinel and… This issue absolutely demolished me when Hickman reveals that truth. I said last month that I suspected Omega Sentinel was from another timeline. I absolutely meant Moira’s sixth life, the Omega Sentinel we followed in Powers of X. I never suspected that she was from an alternate future of the Moira X timeline, and I’m absolutely here for this. This is the great sci-fi bullshit everyone wanted with Hickman X-Men, and this is exactly why I hope the coy maybes we’ve gotten about him coming back to finish things up turns into a firm yes.

We get ANOTHER set of timelines, and we get another great chart to go with it. Omega Sentinel has seen the future, and it’s GOOD. The interesting thing here for me is that the victory is dependent on two things needed to reprogram the Phalanx. The first is the Phoenix blade, which I believe was last seen around the War of Kings. The second is the child of the sun. Now that could be several different X-Men- Sunfire, Sunspot, any of the three Summers brothers… But looking at that page of the X-Men defeating the Technarch Dominion, we see Sunspot’s energy signature, a silhouette who could only be Deathbird, and three men. 

It seems to me that Bobby DaCosta is essential to whatever that plan might be, alongside his current girlfriend Deathbird. I have guesses on the other two. Did you have any guesses?

Scott:This is the sort of stuff that makes me giddy when it comes to Hickman. This is his element. It’s no secret that I found his main X-Men book and the Giant-Size X-Men stories to be very hit and miss after what we got in HOX/POX. The big giant off the wall sci-fi type of stuff is where he shines more in my opinion. The man can do character, despite what some may say, but it doesn’t always hit because it’s clear its not usually what he is focused on with story telling and that is 100% fine in moments like this. 

It’s great that, while this is an unexpected move in one way (as you stated most theories about here were taking different routes), he still found a way to make it all flow and even still connect it to things we saw in the past. That despite us never hearing about the Krakoan age and such in past comics (since it wasn’t an idea till now of course) there was still a reference in here to allow for the previous Nimrod that was known to this world. The man is masterful at being able to weave past continuity into the retcons/stories he’s weaving without taking anything away from either side. 

As for guesses about the identity of the other folks in that image, hard to say with those nondescript sort of silhouettes. Knowing Hickman though, the reveals will make us gasp but then quickly follow with a “Oh no, yeah, that makes perfect sense.”

Tony: From the looks of it, I’d say Deathbird, Sunspot, Manifold and Vulcan, but that’s exactly Hickman’s thing- either I nailed it, but there’s way more going on under the surface than we thought, or I’m completely wrong, and it’s way better.

Now Omega Sentinel has revealed her hand. And Charles and Erik are absolutely in over their head. Meanwhile, Moira isn’t in Orchis’s clutches… She’s in MYSTIQUE’S!

Scott: Pretty sure Moira would have been far better off remaining held by Orchis, and that’s saying something. I’m not certain where this will all go beyond Inferno, and with Immortal X-Men on the way, because while many have righteous reasons for some things, three fourths of the Quiet Council has burned all bridges with one another and with so many other aspects. 

Also, real quick, the other Orchis reveal bears a bit of mention. That would be the one where Dr. Killian Devo is just nothing more than a puppet basically that Omega Sentinel used to build Orchis to achieve her mission. On the one hand there is part of me tickled by the idea that this big villain is just revealed to be some dude manipulated to think he’s a big player on the board. Then there is the other part of me that feels like the reveal falls a bit flat because of the aforementioned fact that a lot of this wasn’t as well played out across the line as it could or probably should have been. 

Tony: That’s a good point, and I think that might be a good example of what I said earlier- the Omega Sentinel reveal could have used at least a full issue, if not a short arc. It’s fine as is, but I think some of the moments in that journey could have been fleshed out more.

And I have to point out one last thing- Mystique rather cruelly took off Moira’s entire arm. The arm with the tracker. She left it with Orchis to draw Charles and Erik there.

Mystique just gave Orchis an entire limb of a mutant with the power to reset the timeline. You know, Orchis, the guys who have co-opted the U-Men? That’s Chekov’s disembodied limb if I’ve ever seen one…

Tune back in as Scott and I have one more issue each of Trial of Magneto and Inferno. Clearly there’s a lot that’s about to happen before Destiny of X hits.

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