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Sep 30

Inferno #1 annotations

Posted on Thursday, September 30, 2021 by Paul in Annotations, x-axis

As always, this post contains spoilers, and page numbers go by the digital edition.

INFERNO vol 2 #1
by Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti & David Curiel

INFERNO. “Inferno” was the name of the big X-books crossover of 1989, in which demons invaded Manhattan. On the face of it, this series has nothing to do with it. But we’ll see. Inferno vol 1, if you’re wondering, was one of the miniseries from the Secret Wars event of a few years back.

COVER / PAGE 1. Moira stands over the fallen members of the Quiet Council.

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Omega Sentinel. It’s from page 12 panels 4-5.

PAGES 3-4. Emma resurrects Charles.

Obviously a flash forward. This scene is a direct callback to the opening two pages of House of X #1, in which Professor X resurrected the X-Men after their first suicide mission against Orchis. The layouts are basically the same. This time it’s Emma resurrecting Professor X and another guy who isn’t easy to recognise – presumably Magneto?

The line “To me, my X-Men” was used by Xavier in the original (and was the only line of dialogue in the scene). Emma’s line here is new. Xavier is cast in the role that Cyclops had originally. Xavier has been killed and resurrected before in the Krakoa era, but this is very clearly presenting a role reversal.

PAGES 5-7. Data pages about Orchis.

Page 5 is largely a straight summary for anyone coming to this new. We have indeed seen Orchis actively recruiting allies, mainly via Henry Peter Gyrich, in other titles.

Page 7 is a list of failed attacks on the Orchis Forge space station, representing an increasingly desperate effort by the mutants to destroy Nimrod before Orchis can attack mutants. Since many of them are listed as “result unknown”, this is apparently from the Krakoan point of view. Mainly, the approach is to keep chucking X-Force in there and hoping for the best – and then resurrecting them every time. They’ve tried some other things too, including something involving a “Mystique gateway” (the exact details being unclear, since those entries are still ascribed to X-Force).

At the bottom are three attacks by allies, two of which are unredacted. The Technet are alien bounty hunters initially introduced in the 1980s Captain Britain run, who also appeared regularly in the original run of Excalibur. A flashback to their attack can be seen in page 11 panel 4. The Brood are the longstanding Alien knock-offs, who have been under the control of Broo since X-Men vol 5 #8. Their attack appears in flashback in page 11 panel 5.

PAGES 8-10. X-Force attack… again.

They get slaughtered, partly because Nimrod is very tough, but also for the reasons explained in the next scene. Nimrod’s “duplicate body” trick was previously seen in X-Men vol 5 #20; there’s just one of him, in two bodies.

PAGES 11-12. Orchis discuss the plot.

The man is Killian Devo, the director of Orchis. I’m fairly sure this is the first time he’s mentioned having any sort of temporal perception issue.

The woman is Alia Gregor, the creator of Nimrod. As we saw in X-Men vol 5 #20, Nimrod was intended to be a host body for the consciousness of Gregor’s husband (who was killed during the first mutant attack on the Forge in House of X). Nimrod is an obvious parallel to Krakoan resurrection. Mystique’s attempt to stop Nimrod from being created backfired and resulted in the personality being lost, hence Gregor’s objection to the description of Nimrod as her husband.

As Alia points out, the repeated attacks by X-Force are a desperate strategy, because each time, Orchis learns more about how to beat them – but the mutants seem to learn nothing. In House of X, when the mutants first attacked the Forge, we established that it was too far away for Xavier to remain in contact with them and maintain backups. So, when they die and are resurrected, they come back with no memories of the attack. It must be obvious to Xavier that trying the same thing again and again is unlikely to work, so the implication is that he’s desperate.

Note some wider implications of this. It’s not clear whether X-Force even know that they’ve been sent on all these missions. They may have been (deliberately?) restored to a point in time before of that happened. More alarmingly, the data pages earlier expressly said that the mutants don’t know what the outcome of the earlier X-Force missions was. (“Result unknown.”) If we’re to take that literally, does that mean Xavier has been resurrecting X-Force without actually being certain that they’re dead? (In House of X #4, Jean Grey was able to relay a message that the X-Men had been killed. It’s not clear from the incursion we see on pp8-10 that anyone’s doing the same here.)

As it happens, the previous X-Forces are indeed dead, so crisis averted. But still.

The cyborg on page 12 is Karima Shapandar aka Omega Sentinel. She’s a former X-Man whose reasons for aligning with Orchis haven’t yet been explained. Interestingly, she makes the point that “someone remembers – it’s why they keep coming.” Whatever Karima has in mind, the line is clearly intended to bring to mind Moira MacTaggert, whose memories of her previous lives are the driving force behind current Krakoan policy, and the desperation to defeat Nimrod.

PAGE 13. Recap and credits. The small print in the bottom left reads “AUTUMN, WINTER, SPRING, SUMMER”, referring to the four divisions of Krakoa’s Quiet Council ruling body. The top right reads “THE BOOKS OF DESTINY”, referring the books of prophecy written by Destiny that were a major plot point in X-Treme X-Men back in the day. Moira was seen reading some of them in X-Men vol 5 #20.

PAGES 14-20. Moira’s third life.

This is an expansion of a scene from House of X #2, in which Moira celebrates her creation of a cure for the mutant gene, only to be instantly attacked, lectured and slaughtered by Mystique and Destiny. This scene is the root of Moira’s fear of Destiny, who specifically warns that she is older than Moira, and will become instantly aware of the changes that Moira seeks to bring about in her next life.

More specifically…

Page 14 is a new scene, but panel 2 is based on House of X #2 page 10, panel 4. In the original, she was holding up the cure, rather than a glass of champagne. Other than that, the layout is the same. In this version, her fellow scientists – Singh, Hatwell, Moorr and Gil – get names, and our attention is specifically drawn to the fact that it was a collaborative effort of five people. There’s an obvious allusion here to the Five, the mutants who combine their powers to achieve resurrection on Krakoa. The references to Moira’s dream also position her as a quasi-Xavier figure.

Pages 15-18 and 20 are a re-drawn version of House of X #2 pages 11-15- not a reprint, but re-drawn with the exact same layouts. There are a couple of minor dialogue changes:

  • Moira’s line “You killed all my friends, everyone” has been cut
  • Mystique originally said “Now listen closely” before “Destiny has a word for you.”
  • Moira originally said “But I’m not trying to force it on anyone, I’m only trying to cure people who want it.”
  • Perhaps the most significant (but also potentially a mistake): Destiny’s line “Do you have any idea how much they hate us” has changed to “Do you have any idea how much they hate you?” However, she always went on to talk about of string of things that the humans would do to “you”.
  • Destiny’s line “My powers will have manifested full of the knowledge of what we have done” is changed to the rather clearer “My powers will have manifested before you are reborn, equipped with the knowledge of today.”
  • Destiny originally said that if Moira tried to kill her then “I will see my end coming and prevent it.” She now says “I will see you coming.”
  • Destiny originally had a “…” hesitation before the line “I see ten lives.”
  • Moira’s line “How is – how is that possible?” has been changed to “How can – how can I die?” That’s probably just because it’s clearer.
  • Moira originally said “I don’t want to die like this”, not “I don’t want to die.”
  • Destiny’s original reply to that line was “Dying like this is what a life poorly lived gets you.” That’s been replaced by “Who does?”

Page 19 is a new scene, fitting in just before Moira’s murder. In it, Destiny suggests that even if Moira changes her ways in future lives, she will always have in the back of her mind the idea that getting rid of mutants entirely was the right call. Obviously, we’re coming back to that.

PAGE 21. Moira looks for her fellow scientists.

The art isn’t terribly clear about this, but she’s meant to be visiting the former Muir Isle Research Centre (which gets confirmed in a later scene). She retrieves a notebook from the ruins which has her notes on the mutant cure, and the names of the four scientists she worked with before. (Doesn’t she have a photographic memory for this stuff…?)

The scientists are given full names here, but they all seem to be new characters.

PAGES 22-25. Orchis consult Hordeculture.

Terra Verde is a South American micronation which has appeared prominently in X-Force; it seems to be serving here just as a generic location for a hidden base.

The two hyper-intelligent ape scientists are a callback to X-Men vol 5 #1, where the X-Men attacked an Orchis base that had a whole bunch of apes with doctorates.

Hordeculture are evil botanists who debuted in X-Men vol 5 #3. Though normally played as comedy characters because they’re all old women, there’s nothing about the concept that inherently prevents them from being played straight. The two we see here are Augusta Bromes and Edith Scutch. Their ability to hack Krakoan gates was established in their first appearance, and they’ve apparently sold some of that technology to Orchis.

PAGE 26. Tommy reports back to Sage.

Sage is the communications hub for X-Force. Tommy is a very minor character – a walk-on Morlock who was the first to die in the Mutant Massacre back in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #210. We’ve seen her resurrected on Krakoa before, in Hellions #1.

PAGES 27-31. Professor X and Magneto consult with Moira.

“Moira’s No-Place.” Her hidden home beneath Krakoa, seen back in Powers of X #6 and occasionally since. The books on her desk are volumes of Destiny’s diaries – note that Xavier is flicking through one of them when she arrives.

“You’re the most important person in the world.” Presumably because, if Moira dies, the timeline gets reset. It’s not immediately clear what the long-term plan is to deal with that, though suspended animation or somehow depowering her would seem to be options.

“Nimrod might be an inevitability.” Xavier is basically right in what he says here: everything the X-Men have done in their attempts to destroy Nimrod have simply wound up being essential steps in his creation. Nimrod exists because they botched their interference with Alia Gregor’s attempt to resurrect her husband. And he only died in the first place defending the Forge against the X-Men’s attack.

“Have you ever tried embracing the machines?” The very fact that Xavier is asking this shows that he doesn’t have faith that he’s getting the full picture from Moira.

The answer to his question is no. Moira’s previous lives were:

  • 1: Ordinary human.
  • 2: Prodigy who dies in a plane crash before meeting anyone else important.
  • 3: Develops the mutant cure and gets killed by Mystique and Destiny.
  • 4: More or less normal X-Men history, ending in a Sentinel apocalypse.
  • 5: Mutant separatism, wiped out by Sentinels.
  • 6: The far future timeline from Powers of X, where posthumanity ascends to the Phalanx.
  • 7: Moira tries to extinguish the Trask bloodline, but the Sentinels emerge anyway.
  • 8: Moira sides with Magneto.
  • 9: Moira sides with Apocalypse.
  • 10: The mainstream Marvel Universe.

Moira has indeed never tried embracing the machines; her approach in all previous lives has assumed (reasonably enough) that they’re an existential threat.

“Nimrod and Destiny.” Nimrod is a threat to mutants. It’s less clear that Destiny is a threat to anyone but Moira. Moira has resisted bringing back any precognitives on Krakoa, but is that just an excuse to keep Destiny out…?

“It was in your tea.” Xavier is claiming to have tagged Moira during a scene from Powers of X #6. In the original scene, Xavier was making reassuring noises to Moira as she recited her usual concerns. With hindsight, the clear implication is that Charles and Magneto have never trusted Moira (at least not blindly). That begs the question of why they’ve been so consistent in stringing Mystique along, though – and indeed we still don’t know why they and Moira wanted Mystique on the Quiet Council in the first place. Moira’s suspicion that she is being ignored may well be right.

At any rate, Moira’s preoccupation is to get rid of Destiny at all costs, and to get rid of Mystique into the bargain. Maybe she never wanted Mystique on the Quiet Council and it was Xavier and Magneto who insisted.

“There are two seats open.” There have been two vacancies on the Quiet Council ever since Apocalypse and Jean Grey both quit in the “X of Swords” crossover.

PAGES 32-35. Magneto and Professor X implement Moira’s plan.

Or do they? At any rate, Magneto is returning to Island M to pick up the back-up Cradle kept there, while Xavier is retrieving from Bar Sinister the DNA sample that would provide the basis for cloning Destiny a new body. (Or, again, is he?) Broadly speaking, Moira knows she can’t control the Five directly, so she’s aiming to make it impossible for them to resurrect Destiny even if they wanted to. Sinister seems amused by the whole thing – has he given Mystique the necessary sample already?

The Krakoan on the little canister seems to say SN3 and has no obvious significance.

PAGE 36. A data page on Black Tom Cassidy. It’s a medical report by regular doctor Cecilia Reyes. Broadly, this is just brniging readers up to speed on Black Tom’s status quo in X-Force.

PAGES 37-39. Hello flowers, hello trees.

Cypher serves as the translator for Krakoa; his wife Bei was introduced in “X of Swords” and hasn’t really done much since. It was an arranged marriage imposed on them by Saturnyne, but they seem to have bonded. Warlock – Cypher’s traditional partner character – is not unreasonable in calling her scary, though his feelings of being supplanted by her have already been addressed over in New Mutants.

Nothing happens in this scene other than reminding us that Cypher and Warlock exist. Warlock may be a significant character here is Xavier and Magneto are now thinking in terms of befriending the machines.

PAGES 40-44. Bishop becomes the new Captain Commander.

The Commanders are the main defence leaders of Krakoa, with Cyclops the chief. Since he’s now going to be off Krakoa with the X-Men, Bishop (from Marauders) is stepping up. Psylocke (from Hellions) is replacing Gorgon, who was killed in “X of Swords” and rebooted as a blank-slate ingenue. He’s obviously no longer capable of fulfilling the role.

All of this initiation ceremony is completely made up from scratch, which has been a feature of the whole Krakoan era – social rituals that, in fact, must have been made up on the back of an envelope last week, but which aspire to give the whole thing a look of stability and permanence. Interestingly, the final page of the scene lampshades this. And then all four defence Commanders leave the island simultaneously to go drinking in Madripoor. That seems… poor planning.

PAGES 45-50. Look who’s back.

Xavier and Magneto start out apparently trying to fulfil Moira’s plan to ease Mystique off the Council. But, somehow, Mystique has managed to get Destiny resurrected. Note that Sinister seems to be giggling, just as he did in the earlier scene where Xavier visited him to get the DNA sample. Mind you, he’s Mr Sinister. He does that a lot.

The voice over is an edited version of a speech from Destiny to Mystique in a flashback in X-Men vol 5 #6. Importantly, note that Destiny’s instructions were for Mystique to destroy Krakoa if she couldn’t be brought back. But she has. So what now?

PAGE 51. You’re shocked, I know, but the Krakoan reads NEXT: DESTINY.

Bring on the comments

  1. Si says:

    I’ve wondered in the past if the story about Moira’s various lives is a case of an unreliable narrator. It does go out of its way more than once to show that it’s Moira telling the story. Now this scene, which is almost but not quite the same, is that a clue?

    Probably not, it would be a big gamble basing so much of the world-building on a lie. But maybe?

  2. Dave says:

    “Unless she didn’t decide to until after Destiny died.”

    this shouldn’t really matter. Destiny has predicted the island and other things that came some time after her death. She’s also predicted Moore’s number of lives, technically THOUSANDS of years in advance.

    I’d put Destiny’s death, in Marvel time, 7 or 8 years ago. But, on the one hand, Marvel often likes to extend the time since some significant story event, and on the other hand wants to keep character ages down. So they could say anything from 6 to 10.

  3. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    I mean to be fair none of this makes a damn bit of sense, not even superhero sense.

    I’m interested to see if anything gets cleared up before Hickman dips.

    How is Moira still on life ten? That’s not how time works.

  4. Uncanny X-Ben says:

    Josie- It’s a cover, it’s not literal.

    Mystique is NC’s mother, though it’s true they’ve done absolutely nothing with the relationship in the Krakoan Era.

    They do not really seem to want the characters to actually interact on vampire island.

    But it’s still a nice cover.

  5. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Hickman is really hit or miss with me, with much more misses than hits. Take this issue for example – basically everything except the final pages left me cold.

    Even when he’s doing the bit I often complain he doesn’t do at all, it doesn’t work for me. I often complain that he doesn’t write the characters as people, and here we get the made up on the spot captain traditions with the characters being jovial towards each other… so I should be happy… but this Cyclops just reads off to me. I get happy Cyclops, I like happy Cyclops, however seldom that happens, but this guy is just… slightly off.

    I care very little about Orchis – though the tragedy of dr Alia Gregor and her husband was a nice touch, and it is kinda interesting to see the bad guys having to actually work to work something out (or, as the case may be here, to outsource the work…).

    But I don’t care about the character assassination of Moira and her X lives. Not one bit. I thought I did, back in HOXPOX times, because I’m only human and the mystery box tugged at my idle thoughts. But two years and close to zero answers later, I just don’t care anymore. I don’t mind Hickman never finishing his Great Plan. As long as some combination of Al Ewing, Si Spurrier and/or Leah Williams are writing some mutants, I’ll probably be happy.

  6. Thom H. says:

    @Luis: Honestly, I don’t think we have time for that to be Not Destiny. We’ve only got 3 more Hickman issues and a lot more ground to cover.

    Also, that doesn’t seem like Hickman’s style. If he wants a thing done, then he usually just does it. I could eat my words, but I strongly believe we’re seeing the real resurrected Destiny here.

    @Mathias X, @David: Thanks for the Muir Island history. And the connection to the Legacy Virus cure. Interesting.

    @Josie: I agree that most of what’s followed HoXPoX has been filler. I think we had to wait to make the return of Destiny seem like a big deal, though. I have to admit I got pretty excited at the end of this issue, mainly because we’ve been anticipating this moment for two years.

  7. Drew says:

    It really feels like the better justification for refusing to bring back Destiny would be that she’s either a f*cking terrible prognosticator, or unbelievably callous to the point of sociopathy. If I were the X-Men, I think my response would be, “Oh, the precog who filled thirteen diaries with future events, but utterly failed to warn anyone about Genosha? Or M-Day? Or that attack that killed all the background New X-Men characters? Yeah, pass. Hard pass.”

  8. Josie says:

    @Uncanny X-Ben “Josie- It’s a cover, it’s not literal”

    It literally sucks, though.

  9. Chris V says:

    Si-I’m pretty sure we are meant to read Moira’s past lives as through the lens of an unreliable narrator.
    How much she was lying though is the question.
    She was giving certain information to Xavier in order to manipulate him in to seeing the world the way she wants.
    She wrote in her diaries that she has purposely omitted certain information from her past lives.
    There is still the question as to why we only saw the last section of Moira’s sixth life.

    Nimrod’s comment in life six is still highly intriguing, “We must never allow them (the mutants) to have dominion again.”

  10. Chris V says:

    Ceran-I’m not sure how making Moira the “most important person who ever lived” is character assassination.
    It took a character who was dead and barely made a mark in the X-narrative before that point and made her the protagonist (although perhaps not the hero) of X-history.
    I mean, outside of Warren Ellis’ Excalibur run, can you honestly say you ever really cared about Moira before this point?

    Also, most of the parts of Moira’s history that you remember are still retained.
    Moira created a golem of herself to take her place for those years.
    Basically, the person that Moira could have been if she wasn’t a mutant and didn’t have this grand plan based on nine previous lives are embodied in the golem.
    That was the Moira you remember. The golem killed by Mystique.

  11. Chris V says:

    Thom-I agree. That is really Destiny.
    We’ve waited two years for this reveal. We don’t have time to wait anymore to get to a point that has been foreshadowed that long ago, especially in a four issue series.

    I would be highly disappointed if this was a fake-out. I don’t expect that from Hickman’s writing either.
    I would feel like I was reading a Gerry Duggan comic.

  12. Luis Olavo de Moura Dantas says:

    I’m still less than convinced that this is Moira’s tenth life. Sixth would make more sense IMO.

    Despite a few very significant counter-examples (the Diaries and her apparent ability to see Moira’s future across over a half dozen lifetimes encompassing thousands of years) Destiny seems to usually have little ability to look far into the future and to doubt what little she sees. There are of course strong meta reasons why that is so.

    Then again, I never took Destiny’s talk with Moira at face value. I just don’t think that it adds up. It is possible that Destiny led Moira to a misunderstanding of the nature and limitations of her own powers – and for that matters, of Destiny’s own powers as well. It is even possible that their respective powers interact in some way that Destiny plain prefers Moira to never learn. Or instead, perhaps interaction with precognitives is detrimental to Moira’s ability to “rewind reincarnate” because both abilities consume environmental chronal energy or somesuch. Maybe Xavier knows that and for that reason does not believe Moira’s abilities as much as she would expect, even.

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    @Chris V
    The stories are still there, but now they don’t make sense. Either literally (every afterlife / Moira’s ghost appearance) or emotionally – I don’t see Hickman’s Moira as capable of giving a shit about Rahne or being bothered in the slightest by Xavier Deadly Genesising her students.

    And yes, you’re right, the fact that I like Moira comes down mostly to Ellis’s Excalibur. But here’s the thing – I don’t care, and honestly usually I’m not even able to fully follow Hickman’s Great Men narratives (like the Doom/Strange stuff in his Avengers run – no idea who did what when or why). As such the ‘Everybody Goes to the Pub’ issue of Excalibur matters to me more than… probably anything by Hickman… since it made me feel stuff.

    Hickman leaves me cold.

  14. Chris V says:

    Luis-Hickman and Marvel have both made the point that this is definitely Moira’s tenth life and there isn’t a bait and switch going to happen.

    The sixth life wouldn’t work because we would know where the Marvel Universe was going, set in stone.
    Eventually post-humanity will rise. Only Logan and Moira will survive. The Phalanx will come. Moira will reset the timeline.
    Then, the Marvel Universe will go through lives seven, eight, and nine (with Nimrod destined to rule and a war with Apocalypse against humanity) before there is a new Marvel Universe without a deterministic future.

  15. Josh says:

    The fact that Charles and Erik have been ignoring Moira for some time feels very unsatisfying to me. I can believe that C&E are hubristic enough to ignore her (although that choice is a bit insane) but I think that sort of development needs to be dramatized at some point on the page before this moment because there really is no indication that this sort of schism was occurring the pages of HOX/POX where we are meant to believe they are working together to try something new (“breaking all the rules”).

    Additionally, this notion that Moira has a sliver of doubt in her mind certainly is part of canon based on the life where she tries to eradicate the mutant gene but it transforms her a bit from a person of superhuman resolve, going through countless lives in pursuit of mutant survival (in one life, she is explicitly described as “radicalized” to the cause) to someone on the fence. The fact that Destiny is her nemesis because of that feels odd. Isn’t it enough that pre-cogs are left off the island because of a combination of an irrational hatred plus a desire for control? To be fair, that flies in the face of the previous development that she is being ignored.

    I can roll with any of these ideas if they felt sufficiently dramatized, but they don’t. And look, I know there are countless instances of canon inconsistencies in this story, but in terms of character drama Hickman has been keeping the curtains up around Moira, Charles, and Erik for a long time and with one issue I felt as though the story I was reading because something else. It no longer feels like the work of three giants in mutantdom working together. Instead, no, we’re being told it’s another tale of them not working together. We’ve seen that.

  16. Chris V says:

    Yes, but Moira’s belief has been that “mutants always lose”. She has a defeatist attitude.
    Xavier and Magneto assured her that this time will be different.

    However, Xavier and Magneto failed at every turn.
    They couldn’t stop the creation of Nimrod.
    They played games with Mystique, always dangling the promise of Destiny just out of reach. Moira finally called Xavier and Magneto on their bizarre behaviour.
    Why assign Mystique a seat on the Quiet Council? Why keep the record of Destiny’s mind and her DNA sample?

    Plus, we already know that Xavier and Magneto were willing to go against Moira as they chose.
    She didn’t want Sinister on Krakoa. Xavier and Magneuo decided to make an alliance with Sinister and allow him to control the DNA samples.

    It actively feels like Xavier and Magneto are purposely attempting to sabotage Moira’s goals.

  17. Thom H. says:

    Moira/Charles/Eric have never been perfectly aligned as far as I can tell. Moira has had to convince Charles multiple times that Krakoa was the correct end goal. Eric had a major break with the two of them when he found out Moira meddled with his mind. Moira has been doling out information on a need-to-know basis, which has to chafe.

    A lot of that was not adequately dramatized, I agree, but it did show up in various data pages and diary entries as far back as HoXPoX.

    The biggest challenge to Moira getting what she wants is that she can’t make any moves directly without exposing her existence and risking the end of her 10th life. She probably should have just disguised herself so she could roam around Krakoa giving orders, a la Sensor Girl in the Legion of Super-heroes. But maybe that’s too Silver/Bronze Age for a modern story.

  18. Mark Coale says:

    If people are this worked up over Inferno, I can only imagine the multiverse where Paul wrote about Spider-Man instead of the X-Men and this thread was about ASM 74. 🙂

  19. Chris V says:

    It was like Marvel going out of their way to slap the reader in the face by charging them $9.99 for that comic.
    I would be highly offended if I were an Amazing Spider Man fan.

  20. UVS says:

    There seems to be several huge plot mistakes: why can’t Moira be resurrected? Or cloned?

    This being her last life seems dull. Which other mutant has an expiration date? Does Cyclops have only ten eye blasts? Wolverine only eleven healings?

    The lack of future telling mutants only works against mutants and it’s another big plot failure. There are humans precogs and psychics and humanity has an advantage.

    The Destiny Diaries Extreme Xmen line clearly shows that precog mutants can foresee their deaths and escape them or leave messages and alternatives.

    Can’t Synch emulate Destiny’s visions? Or Rogue? Doesn’t Legion have a precog personality?

    Mr. Sinister’s chimeras could blend a hint of precog power or he could just clone Destiny. The five don’t have the cloning monopoly.

    And what about time travellers (Kang, Cable), mutants that wander through dimensions like Blink or Magik?. Too many holes.

    Kudos to Hickman, amazing stories, this one required five more minutes of thought, though I would love to be proven wrong.

    Great column

  21. David says:


    “The fact that Charles and Erik have been ignoring Moira for some time feels very unsatisfying to me. I can believe that C&E are hubristic enough to ignore her (although that choice is a bit insane) but I think that sort of development needs to be dramatized at some point on the page before this moment because there really is no indication that this sort of schism was occurring the pages of HOX/POX where we are meant to believe they are working together to try something new (‘breaking all the rules’).”

    It has been dramatized on the page. HoXPoX ends with them telling Moira to step aside. She’s made them the perfect tools for this time, now she needs to back off. It’s the final scene of PoX #6. What’s more, we now know they were bugging her during that scene.


    “There seems to be several huge plot mistakes: why can’t Moira be resurrected? Or cloned?”

    Because Moira’s death instantly resets the universe to her birth, so nothing can happen after.

    “This being her last life seems dull. Which other mutant has an expiration date? Does Cyclops have only ten eye blasts? Wolverine only eleven healings?”

    I think you’re misunderstanding Destiny’s message to Moira. She never said Moira’s power stops working after 10 lives. She told Moira that it’s possible for her to permanently die, and then told her she would have 10 (or maybe 11) lives total. It seems most likely that Destiny was saying that Moira’s final life will end with her dying without her powers active.

    “The Destiny Diaries Extreme Xmen line clearly shows that precog mutants can foresee their deaths and escape them or leave messages and alternatives.”

    Destiny did see her death, but letting Legion kill her was the only way to save Mystique. It was in UXM #255.

    “Can’t Synch emulate Destiny’s visions? Or Rogue? Doesn’t Legion have a precog personality?”

    Synch and Rogue can’t borrow powers from mutants who are dead. Legion’s active as of Way of X #1, but his other personalities don’t currently seem to be active.

  22. Chris V says:

    UVS-Moira cannot be resurrected because the minute she dies, it restarts the timeline.
    No time to resurrect her.
    She could be cloned…but why? What would be the implications of that? Krakoa isn’t interested in the concept of cloning.

  23. Si says:

    There’s at least one guy on Krakoa who’s dead keen on clones. It would be hilarious if Mr Sinister figured it all out, and he had real-world* save points. Any time a plan went wrong, he could pop off a Moira and try again. Time would rewind to the point where the clone came out of the vat, and it could tell him what happened.

    *you know what I mean

  24. Chris V says:

    If the real Moira was still alive though, would a clone Moira dying be able to restart time?

  25. Josie says:

    @UVS “This being her last life seems dull”

    It’s an arbitrarily defined endpoint to the HOXPOX saga, and coincidentally one that does away with the Mary Sueified resurrected Moira. That’s not particularly problematic for me, because at least it provides structure, which longwinded Hickman sagas tend to need badly.

  26. Josh says:

    It has been dramatized on the page. HoXPoX ends with them telling Moira to step aside. She’s made them the perfect tools for this time, now she needs to back off. It’s the final scene of PoX #6. What’s more, we now know they were bugging her during that scene.

    You’re 100% right. I forgot about that. I still feel as though their sideline-ing from Moira (which is stupid by any definition) feels randomly tacked on at the end of the series, like a character development that must occur by the start of the series proper. But that’s less problematic and just a matter of taste, especially considering we don’t yet know what Moira’s ultimate role is going to be.

  27. Adam says:

    The fun explosion of engagement here concerning everyone’s theories about this new book really shows what we’re at risk of losing with Hickman leaving the X-titles. I’ve really enjoyed all this theorizing.

  28. Mark Coale says:

    Youre probably in the minority here, as it certainly feels like most of the people that post seem to be strongly anti Hickman and have been since HOXPOX.

    But, im not a loyal X-fanatic and generally pro-Hickman’s past work, so my pov may be skewed.

  29. Chris V says:

    I think reception has been pretty positive on this site for Hickman’s direction.
    I don’t see a lot of readers who outright hate the Hickman era.
    I’d hope most of them would have just dropped off reading the book early, realizing it wasn’t for them.

    I have been waiting expectantly for “Inferno”. It was one of the few comic series I have actually been looking for to in a while (alongside Ewing’s Immortal Hulk on a monthly basis and Jeff Lemire’s Mazebook, Good Asian is also a top-quality must-read and I still get excited for any Hellboy Universe comics even though they tend to let me down anymore).

    Considering that most of the other books seem to be focusing on Arakkoans now (and I have zero interest in that concept*) I am thankful for “Inferno”.

    *Hellions, Wolverine (although I never read that title), and even a poor story in an Al Ewing comic with this month’s SWORD (and that is a true rarity).

  30. Mathias X says:

    I anticipate a painful internal reckoning at the X-office when editorial finds out that many people were only buying ancillary titles to see how they tied into Hickman’s overall narrative; unless they can satisfactorily sell the idea that there’s still a greater narrative unfolding even without Hickman, engagement is going to be much lower. I see people on forums almost gleefully listing the titles they’re planning on dropping, while a lot of Youtubers have been hinting they’re also going to be dialing back their X-reviews in favor of other series.

    I haven’t been this engaged with the X-Books week to week in my entire life, and I’m sad to see it closing down. Hopefully someone in the editorial office does understand that it wasn’t just the island Krakoa that was selling the books.

  31. Luis Dantas says:

    Myself, I enjoyed this one to a level rarely seen since POX #6.

    I find Hickman’s setup unconvincing and insufficiently developed, to be sure. But this issue felt like an attempt at meeting some of my questions head on, and that is exciting even if I do not expect to be fully satisfied in the end.

  32. Dave says:

    “I anticipate a painful internal reckoning at the X-office when editorial finds out that many people were only buying ancillary titles to see how they tied into Hickman’s overall narrative”

    I’d have thought people would have got wise to that ages ago. Titles like Marauders and X-Force have clearly just been using the Krakoan set-up to do their own thing. Wolverine and Cable were completely typical Wolverine and Cable solo books. Apart from bringing the Arakko mutants in, X of Swords was an unrelated magic event. What parts of any of the line have seemed like they were part of the big picture?

  33. Thom H. says:

    Yeah, it’s been pretty obvious that most of the X-books have only been (very) loosely tied to Hickman’s big story. Playing around in the new status quo as opposed to grappling with it directly.

    Also, what books are these readers gleefully listing? The whole line is being retooled after the start of the year. Aside from the Sabretooth and Wolverine series, have any of the new books even been announced yet?

  34. Chris V says:

    Not to mention that sales have already declined on most of the books.
    Outside of X-Men and Wolverine; which let’s face it, are going to be among Marvel’s top-sellers based on name value…the sales on the rest of the X-line aren’t that strong where I’d see Marvel thinking that the Krakoa-era was a goldmine.

    It seems like a lot of people have dropped the “first wave” titles compared to the sales after Powers of X #6 (New Mutants’ sales have outright plummeted), and readers weren’t as interested in picking up the “second wave” titles, in the first place.
    Most likely because readers figured out that there wasn’t going to be an important plot reveal in an issue of X-Factor.

  35. JCG says:

    Presumably Marvel has a better idea of how well a book sells (or not) compared to the readers who have to rely on incomplete data.

    If the books are not making enough dough to warrant continuing with whatever they are doing after Inferno ends they would surely do something else instead.

    Just as long as we can assume they are not totally devoid of sense.

  36. Chris V says:

    I would have to assume a large part of their plan is restarting all the books from issue #1 again.
    That’s Marvel’s fallback plan. It works great for about three months before readers settle on which titles they want to read on a monthly basis, then sales on most of the books dip again.
    Then, they come up with a crossover to increase sales for a few months.

  37. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Well, they’ve just announced Marauders vol #2 yesterday, didn’t they? Technically I think they only announced an Annual, but Steve Orlando said he’s writing the annual and taking over the new volume.

  38. Jerry Ray says:

    I enjoyed this book quite a lot. It actually feels like there’s a direction and some momentum, which has been sorely lacking from the monthly X-books post HoX/PoX. Whatever other issues Hickman’s writing has, the event-type books he’s written for the X-Men do seem to be Important in a way that the day-to-day books just aren’t. It makes me sad that they’ve more or less abandoned the grand plan in favor of just swimming around in circles in a different pool than usual.

    I do question the logic of going into this big event while there’s another event (Trial of Magneto) still underway. That seems like bad planning. Maybe the timeline will make sense once it’s all been published, but it makes for a bit of a mess while we’re in the middle of it.

    I have to say that I find the discussion relating to Moira’s previous lives and post-humanity and how it all relates to be completely tedious, and I really hope a satisfactory ending to this story doesn’t depend on caring about or understanding all that stuff.

  39. Dave says:

    What was the momentum in this issue that’s not about the big overall Moira story?
    Momentum was badly lacking for me. Only the last couple of pages really got anything moving.

  40. neutrino says:

    As mentioned, the “Mystique gateway” is the one Mystique planted on the station. In X-Men #20, Omega Sentinel says they’ve moved it to a hard vacuum like the data page says.

    The point of Terra Verde housing a node seems to be that after what X-Factor did to them, they’re allied with Orchis, going along with the theme that the mutants are making things worse.

    The word Krakoa says on p.39 after Doug declares he loves Bei so much is “Gibberish”.

    The biggest difference in Moira and Destiny’s conversation is that on p.19, she calls Moira “Doctor MacTaggert”, a name she only had in her tenth life. It looks like she did return to her original idea, repeating it to see whether anything would change. She probably faked her death with a Shiar golem like before.

  41. Thom H. says:

    Now that’s interesting. It would explain the burnt out building and singed notebook Moira’s holding in the present, too. But not the captions that accompany the scene:

    “Then. Moira’s third life.” as the building burns.

    “Now. Moira’s tenth life.” as we see the ruins and damaged notebook.

    Unless the flashback is to earlier in life ten, the break to life three happens at the page break, and the “third life” caption is only for that one panel? It’s possible, but isn’t the most elegant explanation.

    Huh. I like the idea of Hickman tricking us with a repeated scene, which is usually one of his most boring tics as a writer. I hope that’s the case.

  42. Chris V says:

    I don’t think she faked her death with a Shi’ar golem twice, as Destiny would know Moira was still alive, plus Moira showed up alive again.
    I am guessing that Moira escaped, and that is going to be used as the reason why Mystique was trying to kill Moira during Claremont’s second run.
    I assume that Destiny told Mystique that Moira must die before Destiny was murdered.

  43. neutrino says:

    @Thom H
    It’s kind of inelegant already, with the caption appearing in what appears to be the last panel without Moira or Destiny. Hickman has done deception before, notably PoX #2 where it looks like the Librarian is a mutant talking about two Homo Sapiens in the preserve.

    From a comment on Youtube: “Looks like she’s revisiting when it was burnt down by Pyro during the Dream’s End crossover right before Morrison/Casey took over the X-line.” Comparing the Then and Now panels, it looks like events in one life can be echoed in another.

    @Chris V:
    Since Destiny doesn’t say dying in Inferno, they might have just intended on scaring her. Destiny and Mystique would know she wasn’t dead since the universe hadn’t reset. If Destiny didn’t get any visions of another cure, they’d probably leave her alone. Destiny’s instructions to Mystique seem to only be about burning Krakoa to the ground. Mystique would want to get a deal with Moira to keep Destiny alive in her next life before killing her.

  44. Thom H. says:

    Oh yes, I’m sure Hickman’s trying to trick us. And I hope that’s the case. I’m just trying to suss out how the trick works. Like you said, Moira only had the MacTaggert surname in life ten, but I can’t quite get past the clunkiness of the captions. We’ll know soon enough, I guess.

    I doubt Moira escaped being engulfed in flame, but stranger things have happened in comics so I’m willing to wait and see.

  45. Chris V says:

    Thom-The way I read it was that scene was skipping back and forth between a flashback to Life Three and then back to Life Ten between panels, making the scene more confusing.

    The discussion between Moira and Destiny doesn’t make sense if it’s solely in Life Ten, as Moira is already aware of some of that information from Destiny in Life Three, so it’d be strange to repeat it again in this life as if she wasn’t already aware.
    Like Moira asks, “How can I die?”
    She already asked that in Life Three and knew Destiny’s answer, so why repeat that in this life?

    So, I get the feeling that Moira burning was a flashback to Life Three, while this time Moira either escaped or was allowed a second chance by Destiny and Mystique.
    Then again, maybe Hickman just messed up by using the wrong name for Moira.

  46. neutrino says:

    I was thinking she might have been trying what Destiny suggested, approaching it as a scientist. She’d run the same scenario in her tenth and possibly final life, keeping her responses the same, to see if Destiny would act and speak the same.

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