Welcome back, X-Fans, as Comicon.com’s resident X-perts, Scott Redmond and I, break down the ins and outs of Marvel’s two big X-Men events. It all comes to a stunning end! It’s time for Inferno #4.
From Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli, Valerio Schiti, David Curiel, Joe Sabino, and Tom Mueller, the dominos fall. Orchis stands fully revealed. The truth is revealed about Moira X. Krakoa will never be the same.
Tony Thornley: Damn Scott. It did take me a couple days to start our chat because of some personal stuff, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t need a few days to digest this also. This was as big to the X-Men as HOXPOX was, without a doubt. Though, I do think it was a lot more subtle in how things have changed. What did you think?
Scott Redmond: There was definitely a lot to digest here. I would agree that it was as big as HOXPOX in many ways, while also not quite hitting as hard and taking some very wild swings in a few places that I’m still not certain how I feel about. Subtle is a good word to describe how this went, because it was very contained with just the Quiet Council (Psylocke and Bishop on the teasers only to be in like one scene was somewhat ridiculous I have to say, and almost came off like diversity points) and by the end nothing inherently changed for the wider Krakoan society. Which is not a bad thing.
I fully respect Hickman’s decision to go and honestly I’m one of those that wants to see more in Krakoa rather than seeing it potentially dismantled for more Phalanx or whatever stuff Hickman had on his plate. At the same time, amongst some really awesome moments and pieces (the big fight, and holy crap Doug) it did feel like some parts were a far too fast wrapping up of things. But that’s the nature of the beast at this point, so no points being deducted here on my end.
Tony: Yeah, it was satisfying, but definitely had a few moments that felt rushed. Schiti and Caselli are back on art, with Schiti doing the main story and Caselli doing the epilogue. After this issue, I’m a little surprised that Schiti isn’t on one of the Destiny of X titles. He just continues to do top notch work. This issue swings wildly in tone from violent action and quiet confrontations, and he is able to handle both extremely well. Caselli’s not an artist I associate with character drama, but that’s all his pages are, and he nails those.
Scott: A bit surprised about that too, there must be something in the works for Schiti because I can’t imagine they won’t have some sort of work for him. Solid work all around here, and I’m excited to see what Caselli can bring with X-Men Red. There are quite a number of pages that just stand out so much, I’d frame them and post them up on my walls if I could. That Xavier/Nimrod page in particular hasn’t left my brain since I saw it.
Tony: Let’s get into the meat of the issue. Let’s start with the title of the story. Now, it’s not revealed on the credits page, but about a quarter through the issue. So we get Magneto and Xavier’s entire confrontation with Nimrod and Omega, and the beginning of the confrontation between Moira, Destiny and Mystique before we learn the title of the issue. And it’s sneaky.
The Death of Moira X.
But did you see the hidden message?
Scott: Sneaky and very fitting title indeed, full circle. I think I know what you mean, would that be the “It is the end” down the side of the title page?
Tony: Nope, but good catch. I’m looking at something hidden in the M of Moira’s name is text in dark grey.
The Death of The Mutant Moira X.
That addition will be important later.
Scott: Oh that’s a clever little thing there. Sort of thing that will go unnoticed by many, myself included, even this far into the new era where they are hiding things in plain sight quite often.
Tony: Yeah, and to your point, lots of hidden detail in the margins of those data pages. So dear reader, look at those close when you start re-reading.
Let’s back up a minute then. We have three main plots in this wrap up issue. The first is the confrontation with Orchis. The second is Moira, Mystique and Destiny’s confrontation. The last is the epilogue, and that’s probably the biggest change to the line as a whole.
The Magneto/Xavier/Orchis fight is the most straightforward.
Krakoa’s leaders are grossly outnumbered, but they put on a hell of a fight. What else would you expect from Magneto though? I think the thing that surprised me was how much of a fight Charles had in him. Now in the beginning of the HOXPOX era, Chuck was still in Fantomex’s body (long story), but he’s been resurrected at least twice since then (in X-Force and Way of X). Seeing him actually beat Nimrod before the fight went south was pretty cool.
What did you think of this opening brawl? And how do you think Charles (who is notably not telekinetic) took out Nimrod at first?
Scott: While I liked Inferno, I do feel overall that there was a lot of stuff smushed into these four issues (extra sized issues though) in order to sort of cap off a plotline that was going to likely run for quite some time more. That being said, this issue handled a good portion of the capping off really well, especially with this fight.
It was good to see the heavyweights that these individuals are going at it and just leaving nothing on the table. I didn’t see Omega and Nimrod’s big reveal moment coming, but it makes so much sense and fits what we’ve always seen in regard to the human/mutant/machine split in the comics. The machines eventually turn on everyone, so it was fitting to see it here since they knew that the mutants were the actual “threat” to handle.
With Xavier, it was such a cool moment that I mostly shrugged off the use of his powers in such a way. I actually thought about the resurrections you mentioned and in my head made up the head canon that he had the Five tinker with a few things upon coming back to give himself a bit of a boost, perhaps delving into the TK realms. While my head is chock full of continuity & Marvel facts, I’m totally down for some changes that make for cool moments.
Tony: Yeah, I agree. Maybe it was something like a back-up emergency thing? Or could it be because Nimrod is technically a cyborg, what Charles did was fry his human side. Either way it was very cool. I really enjoyed that this big fight wasn’t just there for there to be a punching quota. It advanced the story, at least from the Orchis side, and put the larger story in a much more difficult position for the eventual Machine/Mutant War.
But wow, the Mystique/Destiny/Moira confrontation. I don’t think I’ve seen an extended talking heads scene that was quite that intense for a very long time. While Moira taunts them about her powerset, and brags that they can’t shoot her without resetting the universe, Mystique immediately and spectacularly proves her wrong. She shoots Moira in the head point blank, and the art fades to white- which is where we get that stunning title reveal, and almost immediately a twist.
The gun Raven shot Moira with isn’t a projectile weapon.
It’s a familiar gun, given to them by Emma Frost.
It’s Forge’s greatest regret, the depowering blaster.
Scott, in hindsight I feel like we should have seen it coming, but I was stunned by this twist. What did you think?
Scott: I’m not going to pull one of those “I saw this coming all along” things cause that is a lie and insufferable when done. This was definitely a twist I didn’t specifically see coming, though I had a feeling that the depowering of Moira would happen at some point. The way it was done, by who and in what book definitely surprised me some. Mainly the reason I figured it would happen at some point funny enough is for the exact reason that it was done here, preventing that potential 11th life situation. While that was perhaps fun to speculate about over the last two years, there was no way Marvel was ever going to allow that proverbial trigger to be pulled.
Overall I really liked this talking head scene, outside of the sudden reveal that Moira is back in her life three mindset of creating a cure so that mutants never become mutants and therefore can beat the whole “machines and mutants are destined to collide” situation. On the one hand it fits her mindset of having lived centuries through her various lives and trying every single way yet seeing the same sort of outcome. On the other hand, it kind of felt out of left field after what we’ve seen in the sparing scenes she’s been in the past two years.
Perhaps if the storyline had more time, or if that tesed Moira X book had still fit into plans and materialized, we might have gotten a better look at her feelings.
Also while creating it was a beyond horrific thing to do, Forge’s ultimate sin sure has a very bad habit of popping back up (also a nice touch that its the second time Mystique has used it in a situation where Moira was involved). Guy should have done a better job disposing of his sinful things!
Tony: No joke!
A lot of fans speculated the only way Moira’s story could end was in being depowered. Hell, some thought she has been since M Day, but how could she know unless she was killed, and Moira has never been suicidal. But ensuring it through Forge’s gun makes so much sense.
While I agree it was out of left field a bit that Moira’s ultimate plan was to cure the mutant gene again, I do think the foreshadowing was there. There were the constant foreboding statements that mutantkind was destined to lose. The scene from the first issue of Moira at the ruined lab pointed towards something from that life. The irony is that the life of Moira X is now exemplified by the fact that she’s lost all hope, so she’s going to go scorched Earth. However, if we look at the reveal of Omega Sentinel’s timeline, Moira’s wrong.
Krakoa works. Mutantkind is going to win, unless Omega Sentinel and Nimrod are able to stop them. Moira’s plan, which to her was just a diversion for her true motives, is actually wildly successful. If the story had more time to develop, I think this reveal would have landed perfectly. It’s just like its sister storyline with Omega Sentinel- a victim of Hickman leaving the line a bit earlier than expected.
However it’s still there, ready to be revisited, whether by Hickman at a later point if he returns to the line, or by one of the other X-writers. Oh, but maybe not because Mystique and Destiny are now going to kill the depowered Moira…
Enter Doug Ramsey.
This absolutely made my day. Doug Ramsey finally proving why he’s one of the greats. He’s an information broker, and he’s smarter than almost everyone else because his language powers can help him put the pieces of everything he knows together. What does he do- he steps in at just the right moment and puts a stop to this murder (of a now-human, thus breaking the first law of Krakoa) and uses his knowledge to put himself in a position of power that absolutely no one saw coming.
Doug Ramsey is a badass and I love it.
Scott: There is a lot that this series has done, some of it fantastic and some of it okay and some of it great but rushed feeling, but the further evolution of Doug Ramsey was absolutely at the top of the list of beyond fantastic things done here. Honestly the reveals about him previously in the series feel like the most fleshed out call back to HOXPOX. Clearly from other books there were plans that Hickman had for him that didn’t work out (the whole Warlock was a secret, etc) but the landing was 100% perfectly stuck here even if it wasn’t the planned way to do it.
Doug being actually the most powerful around while everyone always assumes he’s the weakest is some great story and character work. Hopefully this is mined deeper and deeper, guessing we’ll see more of this in likely Immortal X-Men since Doug is basically an adjunct Quiet Council member with his relationship to Krakoa.
Circling back to your point about Moira, that’s a very good way to look at it. Moment might have been out of left field but Moira’s been in ‘war’ brain for so long it makes sense that she can’t see past the “inevitable” that actually isn’t guaranteed this time around. It is a shame that the character that once was the best human ally to mutants (outside of some shifty stuff she did in the past then too) became the oldest mutant that led to paradise only to reveal that she was self-loathing and wanted to pull a No More Mutants of her own.
I am curious if anyone will ever pick up on what happens to her next, or if like noted with HIckman gone she’ll just be left out there in case he does return or left there just cause no one wants to touch such an ending for the time being.
Tony: Yeah, I have a feeling we’ll know immediately. Either she’ll be picked up right away, or we’ll have to wait to see this resurface. I don’t think Doug letting her step through a gate (with a transmode virus prosthetic!) is going to necessarily come back to bite anyone in the ass. But I do think that this isn’t the last we’ll see of her, and I can’t wait to find out what that means.
Which brings us to the end of the issue- Charles and Erik’s resurrection. This is the thing I’ve heard the most fan uproar about. Some folks seem to think this scene is just Hickman putting the toys back in the box before he leaves, but this scene is huge.
While Emma didn’t tell everyone about Charles and Erik’s lies, she told the most important people- the Quiet Council. And now Krakoa’s government knows everything.
While it’s a subtle shift in status quo, it is a big damn deal. Shaw and Sinister are still not trustworthy. Mystique and Destiny have their own motives. Colossus is a puppet for his brother. This is a bad thing in some ways and a great thing in others, but in terms of storytelling potential, it’s nothing but a net positive for the line.
What did you think of our conclusion?
Scott: So bizarre that some think this is putting toys back in the box, when it’s very much the complete opposite of that. In fact Hickman added to the toy collection if we want to keep going with that train of thought. Charles and Erik not acting like they are the gods of mutant kind that must take on all secrets and sins and manipulate things from behind the scenes crashing down upon their heads, and now the council being siblings in arms and keeper of the sins/secrets is a great conclusion. Especially since I’m sure that made the idea of a council book even juicer to Kieron Gillen.
For the reasons you stated this is a group of characters that we should despise in so many ways (and some of the characters many of us do) yet putting them in the same room is compelling. Despite the fact that they reflect far too many of the things we see in reality from our own governing bodies. I still hope to one day see the council torn down and the people of Krakoa actually getting to create a government (rather than Erik and Charles picking folks to run things), but in the meantime this is gonna be a darkly fun ride to experience.
Tony: Absolutely. Reading this, I can’t help but think this isn’t a conclusion. This is Hickman setting some things up for others to play with, while he does a couple other projects, then maybe comes back around to conclude his story. Considering Gillen has said he has about two years of plots for Immortal X-Men and others have implied similar, I’m guessing that we’ll see two to three years of stories from here, and then we’ll see Hickman return for a concluding chapter of sorts, at least to Moira X’s story. But if he doesn’t, I feel pretty damn satisfied with what we got.
I can’t help but be excited for what’s up next though, both in X Lives & X Deaths of Wolverine (just as a note, that’s Ten Lives and Echs Deaths), and the Destiny of X stories beyond that. Which we’ll start to see take shape, I think, starting next week?
And for readers who have enjoyed our coverage, we’re unfortunately not going to continue it into X Lives & Deaths instead splitting those twin series between Scott and I, but we will be connecting a few times in the near future to talk about it. So stay tuned… for the future!