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Oct 30

Inferno #2 annotations

Posted on Saturday, October 30, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

INFERNO vol 2 #2
by Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Emma Frost, in diamond form, holding the helmets of both Magneto and Professor X.

PAGE 2. Once again, the opening quote comes from Omega Sentinel. She’ll actually say it on page 25, but more generally, it refers here to some of Mystique’s impostures being exposed.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits. The individual issues of Inferno don’t have separate titles.

PAGES 4-6. Flashback: Mystique retrieves a Cerebro back-up from Island M.

This is a repeat of a scene from pages 32-33 of issue #1, with the added revelation that it was Mystique, not Magneto. The art is new, but the three panels of Magneto reaching for the helmet directly copy the layout of the original, presumably to make sure we recognise it as the same scene. It’s not entirely obvious why Mystique actually needs to pose as Magneto, since nobody seems to be around, but to be fair, she didn’t necessarily know the place would be empty. Nor is it immediately obvious how she got past whatever security systems Magneto has – surely he doesn’t just keep this important object in an unlocked room? Again, maybe posing as him helps with that.

(Note: As Douglas points out in the comments, Prestige uses her “chronoskimming” power in X-Men: Trial of Magneto #2 to see Magneto apparently removing his Cerebro helmet from its cradle. That might be intended as the same scene, though it seems to be – incorrectly – set in his Krakoan home the House of M, rather than Island M.)

PAGE 7 to PAGE 8 PANEL 1. Flashback: “Professor X” retrieves Destiny’s DNA from Mr Sinister.

This is a repeat of a scene from page 34 of the previous issue, with the added information that Professor X is actually Mystique. We also get to hear the dialogue this time round, which not-very-subtly implies that Sinister knows perfectly well that he’s dealing with Mystique – as do his comments on page 16. In the original scene, Sinister could be seen smirking.

PAGE 8 PANEL 2 to PAGE 11. Mystique and the Five resurrect Destiny.

Destiny is resurrected in the prime of life, which makes sense. That’s consistent with what happened with Synch and Wolverine (Laura).

Mystique isn’t a telepath, so she can’t use Cerebro to restore Destiny’s mind. Instead he asks Hope to do it for her. Hope claims that she’s never done this before, and seems happy about the result. In fact, we’ve seen Hope do this before in New Mutants #21, when she resurrected Scout. But that was something she did in secret, and in defiance of the rules against resurrecting clones. So one possibility is that Hope is lying to “Professor X”. The other is that these scenes (and the first 35 pages of issue #1) take place before New Mutants #21, which would mean before the Hellfire Gala. That could work too, since as far as I can see, the only scenes in Inferno #1 that clearly come after the Gala are from pages 37 onwards, after the sequence where Mystique recovers Destiny’s DNA.

Note that Mystique gives Hope the Cerebro back-up that she stole from Magneto. That at least ties up the loose end of Mystique having it, but it might be significant down the line that Hope has one of her own.

Mystique claims that this is the age Destiny was when they first met. According to X-Treme X-Men vol 1 #1, they met in the 19th century when Irene (Destiny) hired Raven (Mystique) to help her investigate the prophecies that she’d written down in her Diaries, and which Irene herself didn’t understand. That story doesn’t give a precise age, though it does say that Irene was aged 13 and 14 when she wrote the diaries. But since Irene was in a position to hire Raven, we can probably assume that she’s meant to be roughly 20 when they meet.

PAGE 12. Destiny’s recovery montage.

Destiny takes Mystique to task and asks what she’s become in her (Destiny’s) absence. Although we saw Destiny torture Moira at the end of her third life in House of X #2, that’s a divergent Destiny. “Our” Destiny hasn’t really done anything worse than try to assassinate Robert Kelly, and even that was an attempt to avert the “Days of Future Past” timeline, which was arguably a “would you kill Hitler if you had the chance” scenario. By the time Destiny died, she and Mystique had become members of Freedom Force and were more or less reputable. Some of Mystique’s later stories – such as the “Dream’s End” arc where she’s threatening to release an anti-human virus – are way beyond anything she did with Destiny. Their torture of Moira in her second life was pretty bad… but that’s not something that this Destiny did.

PAGES 13-14. The start of the vote on Destiny.

We’ve now caught up to where issue #1 left off. An obvious question is why Xavier and Magneto haven’t moved sooner to address the vacant seats on the Council, which have apparently left them open to this sort of ambush for a while.

Professor X and Magneto naturally vote against; Storm follows their lead. Nightcrawler hesitates before voting for, which he says is to please his mother. But note that he also rejects a very clear steer from Professor X about how he should vote. It’s not mentioned here, but in Way of X #1, Legion pointed out to Nightcrawler that there were no precogs on Krakoa, and outright suggested that it was a “bit suspicious”. So it’s entirely possible that Nightcrawler’s real reason for voting for Destiny is that Xavier’s reaction to her confirms his suspicions that something very, very dodgy has been going on involving the resurrection of precogs.

PAGE 15. Flashback: Mystique speaks to Exodus.

Exodus’s back story involves him being a Crusader, hence his reference to having been “called a zealot” for “centuries”. Reasonably enough, he accepts Mystique’s argument that precogs are prophets and prophets fit very nicely into his worldview.

PAGE 16. Flashback: Mystique speaks to Mr Sinister.

Straightforward. Sinister will vote for it just to irritate people.

PAGES 17-18. Mystique, Kate and Shaw vote.

Kate naturally follows Xavier’s lead (which really reinforces how striking it is that Kurt doesn’t). Shaw – following a flashback where he seems to be sparring with Forearm – has no strong feelings and votes for it simply to annoy Emma. Once again, he’s being screwed over, since Emma promptly votes for it too.

PAGES 19-21. Flashback: Mystique buys Emma’s vote.

The box that Mystique gives to Emma is the same one that Emma was trying to get her hands on in X-Men #21 (the Hellfire Gala issue), when she was speaking to two people from “the nameless city of your hidden society” and asking for “the contents of the Kara Kutuça”. The box, apparently, is the Kara Kutuça, but Emma only cares about what’s inside. Mystique can be seen listening in to this conversation in X-Men #21 page 18 panel 2, though it was fairly subtly done and looked initially like she was just another mingling party guest. The box guards in the sub-flashback are wearing the same kind of clothes as the Gala guests. We still don’t know what the box contains or why Emma wants it.

Emma mentions an X-Corp transaction coming up urgently, which is odd, since she’s not in the cast of X-Corp. Maybe it involves Hellfire Trading too.

PAGE 22. Destiny wins the vote.

And Mystique finally gets what she’s earned.

PAGES 23-25. The Orchis Forge, Nimrod and Omega Sentinel.

“The Terra Verde Node.” Terra Verde is a location from X-Force, but more to the point, it was the place where the Orchis base from last issue happened to be located. Continuing the parallels with Krakoa, Orchis now has gates of its own. While Killian Devo is obviously positioned in the story as an evil scientist, he comes across as reasonably pleasant to work for by villain standards.

Meanwhile, Omega Sentinel suggests that Nimrod has now evolved to the point where they can have an important conversation, which we will no doubt come back to. This is where she says the line from the opening quote.

PAGES 26-29. Moira learns that Destiny’s back.

Magneto flatly refuses a direction to kill Destiny (which, in any event, would invite awkward questions about resurrection). Again, you have to wonder quite how far Magneto and Xavier are actually on board with everything Moira’s planning – and how far they suspect that Moira’s motivations are tied up with a personal fear / hatred of Destiny.

PAGES 30-31. Data pages. A transcription (from the island itself) of a conversation between Mystique and Destiny. The implication here seems to be that the island itself is recording every conversation on the island, or at least the ones that it finds interesting. Which is… uncomfortable.

Mystique raises here another awkward question, which is why Xavier and Magneto wanted her on the Council in the first place. Officially, she was meant to be stopping Nimrod from coming into existence. But she now thinks that she was just being kept occupied to stop her from Remember, they specifically enlisted Mystique in House of X by offering to resurrect Destiny, despite Moira’s objections to that offer being made. They apparently had some sort of reason why it was important to get Mystique on board, which remains unspecified. Mystique’s theory seems to be that it was simply busy work to justify not resurrecting Destiny… but if so, why make a deal with Mystique at all? Why not just insist that Destiny’s waiting her turn in the queue?

PAGE 32. Another data page. This is Professor X overriding a threat report about the Orchis site in Paris, presumably the same one that X-Force were alerted about in the previous issue. (But not necessarily the same report, given the passage of time.) The suggestion seems to be that Professor X is telling X-Force to leave that particular cell alone. Maybe this ties in somewhere with Omega Sentinel’s reasons for being with Orchis.

(Note: Or, as the comments below suggest, more likely, the idea is that Mystique replaces Sage and makes the edit herself, in Professor X’s name.)

PAGES 33-34. Sage decides to go and look anyway.

The layout of this room – which we also saw last issue – seems intended as another reminder that the island itself is always watching.

PAGES 35-37. Sage sneaks into the Paris Orchis base.

This is a rather confusing scene. What seems to be happening is: The Krakoan gate leads to the building that Sage comes out of in page 35 panel 1. Sage then uses an image inducer to disguise herself as the guy with the beard, pickpockets an Orchis scientist’s ID, disguises herself as the scientist, and sneaks itno the base to learn about Orchis’s weird plan – which seems to involve opening a portal to the sun, or something of that sort. Then we see Sage coming out of the building again. The confusing bit is the final panel on page 37, which seems to show Mystique – in full costume – either coming into or going out of door back to Krakoa. I don’t really get what that panel has to do with the rest of the scene.

(Note: As pointed out in the comments, the idea is almost certainly that Mystique replaced Sage in the previous scene when she went off for lunch, so it’s her throughout this sequence.)

The Orchis ape scientists all have different colours on their lab coats – maybe intended as an echo of the colour coding of S.W.O.R.D.?

PAGES 38-43. Professor X, Magneto and Moira reveal the truth to Emma.

This scene is a callback to a similar scene from Powers of X #5, where Professor X and Magneto recruited Emma into the Krakoan plan. The statue is the same (it’s The Winged Victory of Samothrace), and the psychic removal of the general public at the start of the scene is also repeated. The panels on page 40, showing Emma reading Moira’s mind and reacting, are a callback to the equivalent scene with Xavier in Powers of X #1 and #6.

On page 41, the panels in the background (clockwise from the bottom left) are:

  • A schoolgirl Moira meets Xavier. This is from Moira’s fifth life – specifically, page 18 panel 2 of House of X #2. It’s the world where she meets Xavier early and they form a short-lived mutant city.
  • Moira in her research lab. Pretty generic – this could happen in several of her lives – but it seems to be specifically based on page 16 panel 1 of House of X #2, which is her fourth life.
  • Moira with a gun. This is life seven, where she tries to wipe out the Trask family in the hope that it will prevent the emergence of Sentinels. Specifically, it’s from page 19 of House of X #2.
  • Moira by the side of Apocalypse. This is life nine. Her Apocalypse-like costume can be seen on page 23 of House of X #2.
  • Moira and Charles kissing. This seems to be based on page 16 panel 5 of House of X #2, and again, it’s her fourth life.
  • Moira looking defiant in a chair. This is her about to be killed by Destiny and Mystique in her third life.
  • Moira fighting alongside Apocalypse. This is from page 24 panel 2 of House of X #2, and again, it’s her ninth life.
  • Moira on fire. This is her being killed by Destiny and Mystique, again at the end of her third life.

Emma is very keen for Xavier to stay away from her afterwards. Xavier and Magneto interpret this as her feeling betrayed by having Moira’s secret kept from her, but it’s possible it’s also to do with some of the things she sees in Moira’s memories. Still, she does see something that leads her to agree that a precog represents a threat, and presumably that’s something more than just Moira’s personal fear.

Emma says she’ll remain involved “for the children” (though note she only promises to “give the matter the proper consideration”). This is the same reason she gave for joining the Krakoan project in Powers of X #5, and indeed it was the title of that issue’s story.

PAGES 44-46. Colossus joins the Quiet Council.

In an apparent attempt to get someone completely trustworthy on the Council, Xavier and Magneto get Colossus on board. The problem here is that, over in X-Force, Colossus is being manipulated by the Chronicler on behalf of Mikhail Rasputin. Professor X showed up at the end of X-Force #24 (the most recent issue) to speak to Colossus – I assumed at the time he was responding to the events of that issue, but maybe he was coming to speak to Colossus about this. If so, this is a disastrous misstep, because Colossus is effectively an unknowing spy.

Note that Destiny has taken Apocalypse’s seat, and is sitting next to Xavier and Magneto. Mystique didn’t actually specify which seat she was nominating Destiny for.

Colossus seems to have been selected to join Storm and Nightcrawler as a representative of traditional X-Men-ness. He’d be a slightly dubious choice even at the best of times, because he’s a sturdy, time-served loyalist, not a thinker or debater. Of course, that’s precisely what Xavier and Magneto are looking for right now.

The vote is seven-four. Professor X and Magneto are obviously in favour of their own motion. Nightcrawler, Storm and Kate all naturally vote for their long-term team-mate. So does Emma, probably for the same reason. She’s been an X-Man long enough. Exodus also votes yes. He and Colossus were teammates in the Acolytes for a while, but also, Exodus is basically honest, and he’s a sensible proposal.

Mystique and Destiny both vote no, with Mystique rolling her eyes – does Destiny know what’s up with Colossus? If she does, she doesn’t explain it. Mr Sinister votes no because “I don’t like the way this one looks”, the joke being that Sinister’s original design from the late 80s was rather similar to Colossus. Shaw votes no – maybe because Emma’s voted first and he’s being contrarian.

PAGE 47. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: NIMROD.

Bring on the comments

  1. ASV says:

    Gotta say that those data pages where Mystique and Destiny are just talking to each other strike me as exceptionally lazy. Like they just wanted to print the script without bothering to draw anything.

    This has been my feeling throughout about the “data” pages, few of which contain any of what is implied by the term. But this case is especially egregious – two pages, and half of each is given over to white space!

  2. Rybread says:

    If you want to be generous, the data page might be better suited than art to conveying the idea that the island is apparently always listening to (and recording) the residents. But yeah, breaking it into two separate pages and dedicating half of each page to blank white space is inexcusable.

  3. Skippy says:

    I wouldn’t say “inexcusable”. If it hadn’t been a data page it probably would have just been an ad. But Hickman has mentioned elsewhere that he had to cut some material for space, so it is surprising the data pages aren’t denser, or used to convey the perspectives of characters not otherwise represented (thinking primarily of Rogue).

    Lot of negativity in these comments! I think Inferno is a good book, I only bother to nitpick things I like to begin with. The redacted memo is a good data page, in my view.

  4. Chris V says:

    Cut some material? Maybe he should have put some of that material in the first two issues.
    That was my problem with this issue.
    We have had two extra-sized comics and it feels like there has been enough plot to fill up one regular sized comic.

    I enjoyed the first issue. I thought there was some filler, but gave it the benefit of the doubt, due to it being a “first” issue.
    There was enough happening in the issue to make me want to see where it was going.
    Then, the second issue felt like a lot more wheel spinning. Which should definitely not be the case in a four-part series that is supposed to pay off two years worth of stories.

    Compare this with House/Powers, which were such dense comics that it felt like Hickman was putting enough material in six comics that the typical contemporary comic writer would spend three years trying to unveil.

  5. Dave says:

    I was thankful that the bit about Krakoa listening hadn’t been stretched into 4 regular drawn pages.

  6. Aro says:

    I don’t think this issue was wheel-spinning as much as it was moving the chess pieces around the board.

    The bulk of the narrative momentum was flashback stuff with Mystique impersonating Xavier and Magneto, and all the votes with the Quiet Council.

    My problem with the QC votes is that they seemed somewhat arbitrary… Jean and Apocalypse left the council in the X of Swords aftermath, which seems like ages ago (a year in publishing time), and the Council has made several decisions while the seats were vacant. This all makes the political situation on Krakoa significantly different, which could hypothetically be a big deal if the books were to continue with this status quo.

    Part of the problem is that the developments read a bit like plotting, rather than story. None of the characters seemed to care about filling the vacant seats at all until this moment. Why not? Narratively, it would have been interesting to see some failed votes to add council members leading up to this issue.

    There’s also the narrative problem that Destiny has not done anything since being resurrected besides act as Mystique’s chess piece. The text bit about Irene being shocked about how Raven has changed was an interesting crumb of character development, though.

  7. Rybread says:

    @Skippy Oh, I’m not trying to be overly negative. Overall, I’ve quite enjoyed the first two issues of Inferno even if I think they’ve been a bit slowly paced. But I did roll my eyes when the Mystique/Destiny chat was split onto two pages when it could have fit on one with room to spare. Why not give a different data page at least? As you mentioned in your own comment, maybe one that gives the perspective of an otherwise unrepresented character?

  8. Josie says:

    I’m not “trying” to be negative. I didn’t like the comic. If Destiny coming back to life is the one thing Moira (and by extension Xavier and Magneto) were worried about and trying to prevent, and then Destiny comes back, the story probably should be about their reaction to that and proposed solutions, rather than endless politics in a council that doesn’t accomplish anything on an island nation whose residents don’t do anything.

  9. Skippy says:

    People obviously have the right to dislike the book and express that, I didn’t mean to imply otherwise. I was just commenting on my own nitpicky comments.

  10. Thom H. says:

    I’m late to the party, but did anyone else notice that Omega Sentinel was wearing her regular/Karima face this issue? Hasn’t she been red up to this point, both in the present and the future?

    I’d also like to say that I think Colossus looks very handsome in his beard. It’s a subtle bit of character work for someone who doesn’t get much in that department anymore. He’s an elder statesmen of the mutant superhero faction, and I’m glad he looks the part.

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