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Dec 10

Inferno #3 annotations

Posted on Friday, December 10, 2021 by Paul in Annotations

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

INFERNO vol 2 #3
by Jonathan Hickman, R.B. Silva, Stefano Caselli, Valerio Schiti, Adriano di Benedetto & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Professor X and Magneto fight Nimrods. Or rather, just the one Nimrod, in his multiple bodies.

PAGE 2. Data page. Our opening quote comes from Omega Sentinel, and we’ll get to it on page 28. At this stage, the natural assumption is that she’s referring to one of Moira’s past lives, but that’s not the idea, as we’ll find out.

PAGES 3-5. Flashback: Professor X shows Cypher his plans.

We’ve seen this scene before, in Powers of X #4. Specifically, this is a repeat of page 19, which takes place after Cypher has already been introduced to Krakoa. The difference is that this time we get to see what Professor X showed Cypher. It seems to be the official vision of Krakoan society, rather than any of the secrets that the Professor learned from Moira.

PAGES 6-7. Flashback: Cypher and Warlock befriends Krakoa.

Warlock was, until “X of Swords”, quietly pretending to be part of Cypher’s arm. Presumably Professor X doesn’t pick up on that – though other stories have suggested that Professor X can’t read Warlock’s mind, but can detect it (it’s more like a book written in a foreign language).

“[W]hat happens if the island tries to eat me?” Krakoa was trying to consume mutants in its debut in Giant-Size X-Men #1. Cypher gives a weird explanation on page 7 that for the moment Krakoa and Warlock are feeding off each other (which doesn’t sound like it makes sense), but this story broadly confirms the explanation given in X-Men vol 5 #3, that with a large mutant population, Krakoa can feed off them unnoticed.

“Just like that time you died while I was in space having sex with a bird lady.” Cypher died in New Mutants vol 1 #60, at which point Xavier was off in the Shi’ar Empire with Lilandra Neramani.

PAGE 8. Flashback: The two deceased Stepford Cuckoos are revived.

This is the first resurrection, and takes place only a month after Cypher started work (despite his original estimate that he would need months). The two being revived are Sophie and Esme. The shadowy figures holding hands must be the Five.

The art strongly echoes the opening scene of House of X #1, though that’s a different resurrection

PAGE 9. Flashback: Cypher shows habitat and gateway flowers to Professor X and Magneto.

These are two of the three mutant-use flowers introduced in House of X #1, though the habitats don’t get mentioned as much as the gateways.

PAGE 10. Flashback: Cypher gives the human flowers to the Beast.

These are the three flowers for humans, also mentioned in House of X #1. The difference between them hasn’t come up much, but they’re called L (which extends human lifespan by five years, presumably if you keep taking it), I (which is a universal antibiotic) and M (which cures diseases of the mind). For some reason we’re told that they only work on humans, which has always sounded deeply suspect – why would an antibiotic not work on mutants? – and the fact that the Beast was involved in them makes them all the more dubious, considering his depiction in X-Force as an amoral nationalist schemer.

PAGE 11. Flashback: Cypher, Warlock and Krakoa discuss the No-Place flower.

This is the final flower that was mentioned in House of X #1, obviously intended to provide a hidden space within Krakoa. We know that Moira will live in one of these. What we discover here is that Cypher and Warlock are bugging the No-Place and know much, much more about the grand schemes than they let on. (Or is Professor X really unable to see this coming…? Remember, he’s not exactly been loyal to Moira’s plans.)

This flashback expressly takes place before House of X #1. The timescale given – “two months ago” – is probably best thought of as figurative. Trying to make Marvel timelines work in that sort of way is a sure route to madness, not least because of the sliding timeline. But for what it’s worth, two months really isn’t enough time to cover the Krakoan era. If you want nitpicky references, then X-Force #21 has a flashback set “months ago” which shows Kid Omega wearing the costume he got in issue #17, and Hellions says several times that a month passes between issues #11 and #16. But more to the point, XENO’s premise is that it was organised after Krakoa became known to the world, and two months just isn’t credible long enough for Krakoa to start selling drugs and getting rich. So it’s not just that it is too short, it feels too short, which is a bigger problem. There’s a reason why writers generally try to avoid being too specific about this stuff.

PAGE 12. Flashback: Cypher and Warlock watch Moira demanding Destiny’s death.

This is billed as “two days ago”. What Cypher is watching is page 35 of Inferno #1, which was interweaved with scenes of Mystique recovering everything she needed to bring about Destiny’s resurrection. Since those scenes were said to take place four weeks ago (in issue #2), this only works if the Mystique scenes are an unlabelled flashback, but I don’t see any obvious problem with that. Either that, or Cypher is watching a recording, and has perhaps only just got around to seeing this. Intriguingly, the core of Krakoa appears to be heavily techno-organic here, and of course a big part of the point of coming to Krakoa was to avoid machines and conventional technoloogy because of the fear of the rise of Nimrod.

PAGE 13. Recap and credits.

PAGES 14-15. Mystique and Destiny meet the Cuckoos.

“Who are these delightful creatures?” Destiny died long before the Cuckoos debuted (or did anything likely to register on her visions of the future).

“A naturally occurring mutant circuit.” Mystique casts the Stepford Cuckoos (or just “Cuckoos”, apparently) as the first example of Krakoa’s great vision of mutant synergy – five individuals acting as one. One of the Cuckoos responds quite firmly that they are a single person in five bodies, and have tried individuality and rejected it. In fact, during the Krakoan era we’ve seen two of the Cuckoos form individual relationships – Esme with Cable in his own book and Phoebe with Quentin Quire in X-Force. Cable has gone back to the future, and Phoebe was pressured into breaking up with Quentin in X-Force #24. With hindsight, perhaps that was due to the Cuckoos closing ranks in response to Esme getting hurt by Cable.

Different writers have wavered back and forth as to how much individuality the Cuckoos have; Hickman’s line seems pretty clearly to be that they are five individuals but at times they deny their individuality and disappear into a collective identity.

“Why does one of you wear black?” The Cuckoos have generally stuck to wearing four white uniforms and one black one throughout the Krakoan era; this is the first time anyone has asked them why. The explanation given seems to be simply that it makes them less eerie.

“Changed forever … in Otherworld…” Destiny seems to be predicting that one of the Cuckoos will die in Otherworld and, as shown in “X of Swords”, be resurrected in a completely new incarnation of themselves, rather than being restored to their previous selves.

PAGES 16-20. Mystique and Destiny meet Emma.

The other “eventful” feature of Emma’s last 24 hours is presumably something to do with the box that Mystique gave her issue, to buy her vote for Destiny’s seat on the Quiet Council.

Emma promptly tells Mystique and Destiny what she learned from Professor X last issue. She then shows Mystique and Destiny how they killed Moira in her second life. This apparently makes Destiny aware of Moira for the first time – in which case, Destiny was lying in issue #2 when she claimed that in all Moira’s future lives, she (Destiny) would already be there and aware of her.

Emma states explicitly the logical implication of Moira’s power: every time she dies, the entire timeline is obliterated. Emma also suggests that this can in some way be stopped. Way back in House of X, we were told that Moira could die permanently if she was killed in childhood, before her mutant powers emerged. Presumably, the same would apply if she were to have her powers removed now, in adulthood.

It’s not obvious that Emma is necessarily right in interpreting Moira’s powers this way. After all, time travel exists, and we know the Marvel Universe does have a far future. Another way of looking at it may be that every time Moira dies, a DC-style Crisis takes place, and a fresh continuity begins – but each continuity still plays out all the way to the end of time. After all, in a world with time travel, how could it not? Karima’s story later in this issue also expressly assumes that time carries on to the end of the universe – though we’ve seen in Powers of X that it’s at least possible for Moira to live that long. At any rate, despite all this, Xavier also assumes later on that if Moira had died, they simply wouldn’t be there any more.

Page 20 seems to be intended to echo the conversations between Professor X and Moira in House of X #2.

PAGES 21-22. Moira is captured by Orchis.

This is the same Orchis cell that Mystique apparently covered up the reports of, last issue. Essentially, Mystique and Destiny have located Moira and sold her out to Orchis.

PAGES 23-27. Professor X and Magneto talk.

The fact that Xavier picks up Moira’s thoughts here seems to confirm that it’s definitely her in the previous scene.

Xavier and Magneto seem to be discussing whether this is an endless cycle, possibly due to Moira’s powers inevitably resetting everything. They’re also more than a little concerned that if the mutants do win this time round, they’ll simply become the villains themselves.

Apparently, Emma wasn’t shown an accurate version of Moira’s memories last issue, and she was told that the mutants always win. So far as Moira is concerned, the truth is the opposite.

PAGES 28-30. Omega Sentinel and Nimrod.

Nimrod challenges Omega Sentinel on where she came from. This scene (and those that follow) finally explain what Karima is doing with Orchis. She has been sent back in time from an alternate future where the mutants were dominant – presumably, the one where Magneto and Professor X did indeed win, and the mutants may have failed to behave as mercifully as Xavier hopes (though she’s vague about details). Karima has been sent back in time, possessing the body of her younger self, to change this. This is, of course, the plot of “Days of Future Past”, with the mutant and Sentinel roles reversed, and Karima taking the role of Kitty Pryde. It continues the theme of Orchis being a parallel version of the X-Men.

PAGES 31-35. Omega Sentinel’s future.

The Children of the Vault were set up as a major threat in Hickman’s X-Men, precisely because they were posthumans capable of transcending mutant evolution. The five characters seen in page 31 panel 1 are, left to right, Aguja, Perro, Serafina, Fuego and Sangre.

According to Karima, they wind up getting beaten. She says they “fall to Krakoa”, but the art actually shows them being defeated by Apocalypse, Genesis and the original Horsemen of Apocalypse, none of whom are actually Krakoan right now. So either they come back to help deal with the Children of the Vault, or Karima’s account is unreliable. She specifically says later on that she was sent back in time by a “trickster Titan” which has the power to interfere with minds, which might well suggest she isn’t to be trusted.

Karima then gives an account of Nimrod being created in the future, and sent back in time to “fight mutantdom in its infancy”. This seems to allude to the original Nimrod coming back in time in pursuit of Rachel Summers in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #191, but he was from the Days of Future Past timeline, and this appears to be a different Nimrod.

Dominions – cosmic machine collective consciousnesses – were mentioned at length in Powers of X as the end point of posthumanity. Karima portrays them as the great hope of machine life, being extinguished by mutants using the Phoenix power. The “Phoenix blade” which Karima mentions is apparently meant to be the Rook’shir blade from Ed Brubaker’s Uncanny X-Men run, as wielded by Korvus, which is namechecked directly on the upcoming data pages. The art shows something more like a spear, though.

Karima also claims that she removed Killian Devo’s eyes and gave him the artificial ones that he has now – he now has false memories of having been to her future, which is what motivates him to join Orchis. There’s a strong suggestion that Devo isn’t really all that bad; he’s been manipulated. Karima downloading her memories of an alternate future into Devo seems to parallel Moira doing something similar with Xavier in House of X #2.

PAGES 36-38. Data pages – a timeline showing the “original” Moira Life 10 timeline, where Karima originated, and then the divergent timeline which has been created by Karima travelling back in time.

Most of this is just spelling out things that are already in the narrative. The first few entries in the timeline relate to Karima’s transformation into an Omega Sentinel, and feature the same steps that were listed on a data page in House of X #3. It’s worth noting, though, that the original page lists an eighth stage – “Omega – total machine state” – which is missing from Karima’s list. She has reached stage 7, “Adaptation – total integration of host and machine.” However, the Omega symbol with the numbers around it, on page 36, also comes from that data page, and it does feature a number 8 here.

PAGES 39-45. Professor X and Magneto are lured into a trap.

Apparently, Moira’s arm was cut off in order to create a suitably strong psychic signal that lures Professor X and Magneto into the trap. Since they can’t reveal her involvement, they’re forced to go it alone, and are therefore vulnerable to Nimrod. But hey, it’s still two omega mutants – we’ll see how they do next issue!

PAGE 46. Trailers. The Krakoan reads NEXT: MYSTIQUE.

Bring on the comments

  1. Fonts says:

    Moira’s contingency could perhaps be to depower herself at the point of success, whatever that would be for her. We know that she’s capable.

    Chekhov’s 11th life is too much to let slide so easily though…

  2. Dave says:

    “This doesn’t appear to be the case, Omega says that ‘soon’ the Children of the Vault will emerge, meaning it hasn’t happened in 10[B] yet. It follows that the reason she knows when soon will be is because that’s when it happened in 10[A].”

    Nimrod’s creation hasn’t happened at the same time as in 10A, though that is because of Omega herself.
    Looking again, it does seem like the timeline graphic could well be misleading, with the positioning on the power line having little to do with the higher line. Why it would be presented like this I don’t know, as it would be just as easy (easiER, even) to have everything on the lower line shifted earlier.

  3. Chris V says:

    Isn’t the point, though, that Omega Sentinel led to the creation of Nimrod sooner in this timeline than the alternate?
    Nimrod wasn’t created until after the war with the Children of the Vault, when humanity decided to betray mutantkind in the original timeline.
    So, I assumed this occurred in the future in relation to the current period of timeline B.

  4. Jon R says:

    My guess is that the things about the flawed Nimrod were Hickman retconning the background of the 80s Nimrod to fit his own story. When you’re writing a story about both Nimrod and the assumption that there is one absolute future outside of Moira’s reboots, it makes sense to want to massage things a little so that there’s not an obvious conflict.

    Of course that then messes with Rachel in a way that doesn’t work at all, but I don’t think we’re meant to think about that. It’s not a retcon that’s meant to do more than paper over a little bit and move on, rather than something that’s meant to really change anything.

    It matches all the other places (especially around Moira) where we’re meant to just accept the difference and not think about it. On the one hand it’s sloppy on continuity. On the other hand, I don’t really want to read a miniseries trying to reconcile all of it.

  5. Dave says:

    Chris V: Yes, the one thing that’s completely clear, as Omega says it in dialogue, is that this is Nimrod born early. Which does show that the timeline diagram is wonky, as when you compare the two lines Nimrod constructed on the 10A line is well left of the current [prime/greater] version of 10B.
    (It makes it so that if present day Nimrod somehow managed to reality-hop to 10A then the diagram would show him travelling BACK to meet his future self).

  6. Jordan Lurie says:

    “ Apparently, Moira’s arm was cut off in order to create a suitably strong psychic signal that lures Professor X and Magneto into the trap.”

    I read it as, her arm contains the tracking device Xavier and Magneto implanted within her.

  7. Daibhid C says:

    @Chris V: Okay, gotcha. That would make sense.

  8. SO we still don’t know what Krakoa’s actual speech is?

  9. neutrino says:

    From the wiki.

    The possibility exists that the Nimrod that became Bastion and the Nimrod that battled the New X-Men were two different Nimrods. However, the similarities between the two are uncanny, leading most to believe that they are the same entity. Whether or not this is true, remains to be confirmed.

    I was hoping for an explanation of why Destiny called Moira “Doctor MacTaggert” in what appeared to be a flashback to her third life, and why Moira had a notebook with the mutant cure in Inferno #1. It looks like my theory about it actually taking place in her tenth life is wrong.

  10. Chris V says:

    Someone on this web-site figured out that the notebook with the “mutant cure” was actually one of Destiny’s diaries.
    Since Destiny was alive before Moira was born, Destiny was able to foresee elements of the future from each of Moira’s lives and recorded them in her diaries.
    Remember, when Moira dies she resets the timeline only back to the moment of her birth. Moira’s mutant power can no effect anything on Earth-616 which happened before she was born, and Destiny is the older than Moira.

    That’s how Destiny was able to foresee that Moira was going to attempt to create a mutant cure.
    She wrote it in her diary before Moira was born, and when Moira dies in life three and was reborn, Destiny’s diaries were unaffected.
    Then, we saw that Moira had found Destiny’s diaries at the end of Hickman’s run on X-Men.
    So, that notebook Moira had in Inferno #1 was one of Destiny’s diaries and it did take place during life ten.

  11. Omar Karindu says:

    Since Destiny was alive before Moira was born, Destiny was able to foresee elements of the future from each of Moira’s lives and recorded them in her diaries.
    Remember, when Moira dies she resets the timeline only back to the moment of her birth. Moira’s mutant power can no effect anything on Earth-616 which happened before she was born, and Destiny is the older than Moira.

    But from Moira’s perspective, each new life is an iterated timeline, not a completely fresh one. Her decisions in, say, Life 7 are shaped by her experiences in Lives 1 through 6.

    So wouldn’t Destiny foresee different things, or at least additional things, about Moira with each reboot? Or at least, her precognition might home in on the futures most likely to happen with “this” Moira life/timeline iteration. (For that matter, one would think Moira would screw up Destiny’s foresight the same way thew projected consciousness of DOFP!Kate Pryde did back in Destiny’s very first appearances.)

    It seems like there’s a more general plot mechanics complication in introducing both a single iterated timeline and keeping the mechanics of alternate futures that can reach backwards and affect the present.

    If time reboots before the divergence points because Moira has dies, how are the alternate futures possible in the first place?

    More generally, how does a “myriad ways”-style multiverse with Moiras in it work, exactly? why didn’t all those old What If? storylines where everyone on Earth dies end with time rebooting to Moira’s birth? Was Moira just hiding somewhere else in all those timelines?

  12. neutrino says:

    It’s not one Destiny’s Diaries. They’ve always been portrayed as thick hardbound volumes such as in Inferno #1, not as notebook. They were literally oracular, and not even Destiny understood them. It’s not straightforward like the project name and the chemical formula. It also lists her as “Moira MacTaggert”. That wasn’t her name when she created the cure in her third life, and Destiny couldn’t have seen her anyway.

  13. Chris V says:

    Destiny must have seen Moira and her future lives through her visions.
    How else did she know Moira was a mutant?
    How could she tell her what her powers were?
    How could she tell her about her ten, possibly eleven lives?

  14. neutrino says:

    She says it in House of X #2:
    “It’s interesting. I can’t see her at all…”
    “I can see the world bending around her — the eddies of change rippling out — but she is just… an absence. A hole where there shouldn’t be one.”

    She probably assumed Moira was a fellow mutant. She also said, “My powers will have manifested full of the knowledge of what we have done.” which didn’t happen. She might have been bluffing.

  15. Icon_UK says:

    The “Krakoa feeding of Warlock if Warlock feeds off Krakoa first” notion makes sense if you think of it in terms of Krakoa giving Warlock some land to build a windfarm which Krakoa can have the energy from.

    So it loses a little bit of it’s original mass, but gains a new renewable energy supply.

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