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Jan 6

Inferno #4 annotations

Posted on Thursday, January 6, 2022 by Paul in Annotations

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

INFERNO vol 2 #4
“The Death of Moira X”

by Jonathan Hickman, Valerio Schiti, Stefano Caselli & David Curiel

COVER / PAGE 1. Mystique, changing into Destiny, stands over a gravestone. Nothing very much like this happens in the issue itself – it seems to be teasing that Destiny could die again, or perhaps that they both kill Moira. (It may be worth noting here that issue #3 had a cover of Professor X and Magneto fighting Nimrod, which doesn’t actually happen until this issue. That might suggest a bit of rewriting on the fly.)

PAGE 2. Opening quote from Omega Sentinel. This line comes from page 6, where it’s directed at Orchis. It could of course be read as a self-deprecating meta nod to this being Jonathan Hickman’s final issue, and the Krakoa status quo sailing on without him.

PAGE 3. Recap and credits. There’s so much to cover in this issue that it only gets one page!

PAGES 4-11. Nimrod and Omega Sentinel turn on Orchis, then fight Professor X and Magneto.

We’re picking up from the end of the previous issue, where Professor X and Magneto had been lured into a trap by following a tracker embedded in Moira’s arm, only to find that the arm had been cut off. At this point, Omega Sentinel and Nimrod show their hand. As foreshadowed in many previous issues of Hickman’s run, going back to House of X and Powers of X, this is a three-way conflict between humans, mutants and post-humans. Omega and Nimrod are post-humans – a cyborg and a robot animated by fragments of the personality of a human – so ultimately, their agenda does not align with Orchis.

Quite why they turn on Orchis now, rather than taking advantage of them as allies to defeat the Professor and Magneto, is less than clear. Orchis (including Omega and Nimrod) are vaguely aware of resurrection from the horde of X-Force attacks they’ve experienced, but they still seem to be working on the assumption that they were dealing with clones ro something of that sort, so apparently the post-humans still believe that Xavier and Magneto can be killed here.

Omega claims that they hate the ordinary humans as much as the mutants, which fits with her back story as a time traveller from a future where post-humans were nearly wiped out – as she explains, she draws no real distinction between mutants and humans. Nimrod, on the other hand, only really seemed to get on board with this agenda in the previous issue; he claims here to have “woken up”. In issue #2, Omega told Nimrod that she had been waiting for his personality to evolve to the point where he was ready to be told the truth.

Presumably it’s Magneto who tears Nimrod apart in the last panel of this scene, even though the art only shows Xavier…?

PAGES 12-15. Mystique and Destiny apparently kill Moira.

We’ve been told since Powers of X that Moira’s death would restart the universe along with her next life (though it’s never really been proved that her previous timelines are erased). The tease here is that Mystique is going to knowingly do just that, but as we’ll see, it’s misdirection. Mystique learned about Moira’s powers from Emma last issue.

The small print on what I take to be the story title reads “It is the end” and, oddly, “Krakoa QC”.

PAGES 16-17. Flashback: Emma gives Mystique and Destiny a Nullifier.

This continues the conversation shown in the previous issue.

In House of X #2, Destiny (in Moira’s third life) explained that Moira could die permanently if she was killed as a child, before her mutant powers manifested. This obviously implied that Moira could also die permanently if she was killed while her powers were not active, and that’s precisely the angle that Emma follows here. The device that Mystique and Emma talk about is the Neutralizer that Forge developed back in the 1980s, which was used to remove Storm’s powers in Uncanny X-Men vol 1 #185. Emma gives a similar device to Mystique here. So the plan is simple: remove Moira’s powers and kill her.

PAGES 18-19. Flashback: Mystique puts the plan into action.

This is a montage with the following elements. Mystique isn’t meant to be in mid transformation in these panels – the art is trying to indicate which character is secretly Mystique by adopting the device from old Spider-Man comics. I’m not sure it quite works, since it looks like she’s meant to be transforming.

  • Page 18 panel 1: Mystique changes into Sage to use Krakoa’s computers. This is from page 34 panel 1 of issue #2.
  • Page 18 panel 2: Moira is captured by two Orchis agents, one of whom is a disguised Mystique. This is page 22 panel 2 of issue #3.
  • Page 18 panel 3: Still as an Orchis agent, Mystique brings Moira back to their base. This is from just after page 22 of issue #3.
  • Page 18 panel 4: Having given Moira a gas mask, Mystique turns on the Orchis soldiers and releases gas. This is original.
  • Page 19 panel 1: The Orchis soldiers apparently all kill one another. This is original.
  • Page 19 panel 2: Posing as an Orchis agent, Mystique contacts Nimrod and Omega Sentinel. This is page 35 panel 5 of issue #3 – the “agent” is telling Omega and Nimrod that they’re under attack from mutants, that they’re going to escape through the translocator, and that they need help.
  • Page 19 panel 3: Mystique cuts off Moira’s left arm (with the tracking device in it). This is original, but the resulting scream is what Professor X picked up in page 27 panel 2 of issue #3.
  • Page 19 panel 4: They arrive back in Moira’s No-Place. This is original.

PAGE 20. Data page, with a quote from Mystique. The small print reads “Oracle, change from within” – and again, for some reason, “QC” appears twice.

PAGES 21-24. Mystique and Destiny confront Moira.

“I was so angry with Xavier and Magneto for the way they treated me.” Throughout the Hickman run, Mystique has been strung along with promises that Destiny would eventually be resurrected, while Moira was determined that shouldn’t happen.

“You shared who you really were with the White Queen and she – in turn – showed us you.” Last issue.

“We burned you in another life.” House of X #2. Specifically, it was Moira’s third life, where she had discovered a cure for mutants. In that life, Moira concluded that mutation was a disease to be cured. This is why Mystique refers to her as “hat[ing] what you were” – she rightly concludes that Moira’s attitude never really changed, or at least has come full circle. Fundamentally, Moira has tried repeatedly to find a world where the mutants come out on top; it never happens, and they always end up suffering horribly. Much better, then, never to be a mutant in the first place and simply be subsumed into the humans. Of course, the fundamental problem with this argument is that a variant could be made for all manner of groups who face oppression or prejudice, but Moira would argue that she’s seen enough timelines to know that it’s a merciful alternative. Destiny might well respond that she has seen many more timelines and possibilities than Moira has..

PAGES 25-34. Nimrod and Omega Sentinel kill Professor X and Magneto.

Professor X and Magneto are panicked because they assume that Moira’s death is imminent, and will reset the universe. Hence the desperation move of trying to make a deal with Nimrod. Ultimately, the conflict between the top two mutants and the post-humans plays out pretty much as Moira had warned.

Omega argues that humans and mutants are both alike in that they see AIs as simple tools, and try to destroy them if they get too advanced. This returns to Hickman’s theme of self-fulfilling prophecy, because this is indeed exactly what the X-Men have been doing throughout his run, in an attempt to avert the future as seen by Moira. The result is AIs who believe they are fighting for their own survival… and they have every reason to believe that.

Omega’s line, “did you honestly think we were going to sit around forever and just take it”, is a callback to House of X #1,  where Cyclops said the same thing to the Fantastic Four: “My family has spent out entire lives being hunted and hated. The world has told me that I was less when I knew I was more. Did you honestly think that we were going to sit around forever and just take it?”

Nimrod seems to be aware here that Magneto is speaking literally when he says they’ll meet again; if so, he and Omega may simply be sending a message to the mutants here.

PAGES 35-41. Cypher saves Moira’s life.

We established last issue that Cypher and Warlock have been secretly monitoring the No-Place all along. Cypher appears  here with Warlock posing as his cybernetic arm, as he did in the pre-X of Swords Krakoan issues. Cypher also suggests that both Bei and Krakoa are backing him up – his wife Bei makes sense, but it’s not obvious how Krakoa can be aware of what’s happening in the No-Place. Perhaps it’s just watching via Cypher’s bugs.

Essentially, Destiny verifies that unless Mystique is willing to sacrifice her again, the best option is just to let Moira go and consolidate power. The risk in going down this route is that, just like Storm, Moira might one day get her powers back. It’s a fairly obvious option if Marvel ever decide to go down the Crisis route, not that they’ve ever seen particularly attracted by it. And, as Moira realises, there’s ultimately nothing to stop Mystique from trying to hunt her down.

On the flipside, ultimately Mystique chooses her love for Destiny over the urge for revenge on Moira. So that’s nice. Destiny, in contrast, seems to leave the actual choice to Mystique – she sets out the options but expresses no real preference between them, even with her life (and Mystique’s) at stake.

PAGES 42-45. Professor X and Magneto are resurrected.

The first two pages are a repeat of the flash forward that opened issue #1, and also a callback to the opening of House of X #1, as Hickman’s run comes full circle.

In their absence, the Quiet Council have discussed Moira’s revelations and decided that it’s a burden that needs to be kept secret from the Krakoan public; apparently, even Sinister is on board with this, though you have to wonder if that’s just because it offers the possibility of leverage. He does seem to have generally kept Krakoan state secrets to date, to be fair.

Xavier’s Cerebro helmet is recast as a burden.

PAGES 46-50. Epilogue: The Quiet Council take their seats.

The closing image of Hickman’s run is the Council trapped in their role in the Krakoan status quo.

Most of the descriptions of the Council members are straightforward, but…

  • Professor X and Magneto are literally the nation’s founders, but also the leaders of the good and evil mutants going back to the Silver Age.
  • Nightcrawler and Storm are indeed the permanently loyal X-Men.
  • Colossus is billed as “trustworthy” but, as we’ve seen in X-Force, he’s actually being mind controlled on behalf of Mikhail Rasputin. No doubt we’ll get to that next season. For the moment, his description in this series as trustworthy is heavily ironic.
  • Cypher is also ironically billed as “innocent”; that’s his persona, but Mystique and Destiny know better now.
  • Emma Frost is a “broken keeper” of the innocent children in reference to her time as teacher of the Hellions and Generation X, and later of X-Men trainees more generally. The deaths of her pupils in Uncanny X-Men #281 and again in the Genoshan massacre are major influences on her life.
  • The rest are just what they claim to be.

PAGE 51. Trailer for Immortal X-Men, which is going to be a Quiet Council book.

 

Bring on the comments

  1. Josie says:

    “Duggan wrote the Planet-Size X-Men special”

    Hickman orchestrated X of Swords. You talk like they were going to do something else with all the Arakko nonsense.

  2. Josie says:

    “Most of it doesn’t hold together unless it’s speculated”

    If it doesn’t hold together, then it doesn’t hold together. No fan fiction is necessary. You don’t have to do all the work that Hickman couldn’t be bothered to exert.

  3. Ben Johnston says:

    It’s interesting to speculate what Hickman’s original plan was, and where it went off the rails. My guess would be that Marvel started considering sticking with the Krakoa setup around X of Swords, and that the line started taking concrete steps toward a post-Hickman world around the Hellfire Gala.

    I agree that the original plan would very likely have shown the future war with post-humans/Children of the Vault that was described in Inferno #3, and that Moira would have turned out to be distributing her “mutant cure” through the Krakoa medicines. There’s some early foreshadowing back in HoX/PoX that something is off with those medicines.

    There is also a lot of early foregrounding in Hickman issues that the resurrection setup and the Crucible are deeply weird and problematic. Obviously at some point the decision was made to soften that stuff.

    I rather suspect there was a Shi’ar story in the works (involving Vulcan?) that we never got round to. The Shi’ar got mentioned quite a bit early on, and Hickman coplotted the early New Mutants issues that were set in space.

    Still, I think we were always going to wind up with a big Xavier/Magneto vs Karima/Nimrod fight — the parallels between the mutants and Orchis were built up right from the start, and early stories go out of their way to emphasize that Orchis are more sympathetic than you’d expect for an anti-mutant group. Maybe they would have ended up teaming up against Moira.

    I’m sure we’ll find out in interviews at some point years down the line. But given the backstage chaos that must have been happening, I’m pretty happy with Inferno overall.

  4. Ben Johnston says:

    I’ve been going back and forth, but I think I will stick around for the spring relaunch.

    Immortal X-Men, X-Men: Red, The X-Cellent, and Legion of X should all be extremely good based on the creative teams. Marauders and the Sabretooth miniseries at least have potential. I’ve been enjoying Duggan’s X-Men well enough.

    X-Force and Wolverine have been rather hit or miss, but there are parts of both books that work. I haven’t liked Vita Ayala’s New Mutants at all, but I did enjoy Children of the Atom, and surely the book has a shot at improving now that the bloody Shadow King story is over.

    That only really leaves Knights of X as the one book I have no real hope for. But I’m prepared to buy it out of completism, at least for a while.

  5. Diana says:

    @Josie

    “If it doesn’t hold together, then it doesn’t hold together. No fan fiction is necessary. You don’t have to do all the work that Hickman couldn’t be bothered to exert.”

    *Thank you.* Hickman isn’t, and shouldn’t be, immune to criticism, *especially* when this is the exact same kind of half-baked nonsense he’s done before.

  6. Diana says:

    @Ben Johnston: Annoyed as I am by Inferno, Destiny of X does have one thing going for it – if this is now the status quo and everyone’s not just holding their breath for the next burst of Hickman nonsense, the X-book writers might have more leeway to actually tell stories and remember who these characters are, have them talk like people and not stilted cult members/mouthpieces.

  7. Josie says:

    Diana, that last point is a very good one. Hickman’s plotting in everything he does is so exhaustingly incremental, you’re waiting for years to find out what he’s building to (if anything). Thankfully that slow drip is gone, or at least unlikely to be replicated by the current crop of writers.

  8. Aro says:

    I think the way Chris V has explained Moira’s plan here makes sense. The idea that stopping mutants will also stop post-humanity seems to square with the themes of Hickman’s run more generally. As a villainous plot, setting up the drugs as a mutant cure, and Krakoa as a trap, with resurrection being the ‘bait’ is fairly simple and elegant. I’m not convinced that it’s on the page, but I believe it could have been the plan.

    What Inferno shows us is that the Life 10 future doesn’t involve a mutant cure or any kind of trap for the mutants, because Krakoa ascends and mutants become dominant. It seems that Moira is ultimately a tragic figure — any grand scheme she has is doomed to fail: when she tries to help mutants, they lose, when she tries to cure them, they win.

    The prophecy angle still doesn’t make sense to me, and I don’t think the comics really sell the idea that Destiny is the only one who can stop Moira.

    There is an interesting idea in having Mystique and Destiny, canonical villains (although presented rather sympathetically in this story) be the “saviors” of Krakoa here. I don’t think it’s on the page, but it suggests that the ascendant Krakoa of the Life 10 future should indeed be seen as another ‘bad’ future.

    I rather like the idea that Krakoa faces the oppositional threats of either:
    a). being a ploy to neuter the mutants by giving them everything they want, but taking away everything they stand for.
    b). becoming a mutant supremacist nation that is aligned with the worldview of the series villains and results in the destruction of humans.

    These are of course the things that fans have been worried about since the start of the series. I think if we saw that the X-Men and the other heroes struggle directly to negotiate these perils the line would be in better shape.

  9. Aro says:

    Look, it’s not a good sign when speculating on behind-the-scenes drama is more interesting than what’s in the books themselves, but I do find the ‘what if’s of this kind of shared storytelling fascinating.

    As far as dropped plot points —

    It’s interesting that Hickman’s “Giant-Sized” plot initially involved setting up a figure who could unite humans and mutants, since that seems like an obvious role that hasn’t really been filled in the current story. There’s a lot of dramatic potential for exploring the dynamic between a human/mutants alliance and the mutant separatists, but it hasn’t gotten a lot of play.

    There’s a lot of space given to changes in the Krakoan leadership that don’t really affect the story in a meaningful way. Why did they spend those pages promoting Bishop and Kwannon to Captains and using one of three cliffhangers on the reveal of Colossus on the QC, when none of those characters did anything in the rest of the series? Was that just Hickman lining up the ducks as requested by editorial? That’s easily ten pages that is nothing but rearranging deck chairs.

  10. JD says:

    @Ben Johnston
    I rather suspect there was a Shi’ar story in the works

    Hickman outright states in the X-Plain interview that he was initially planning on doing an Imperial Guard book (starring Sam & Bobby, of course), but of course now this won’t happen.

  11. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    He also says he wanted a Generation X book, and later that ‘each generation of mutant kids should have their own book’. Hard to say what was actually a plan and what just a fancy.

    Another interesting tidbit is that the planned-but-canned Moira book was what brought Al Ewing to the x-office to begin with. Which, given how I enjoy Ewing’s work and how underused Moira was – and how that, in my view, in turn neutered Inferno – is maybe the one Hickman plan I’m sorry didn’t come into fruition.

  12. Luis Dantas says:

    Such a mixed experience.

    Hickman keeps being ambitious on high concepts, but somewhat difficult to follow on the page. I guess I don’t know how much creative freedom he had either, but I am uncertain of how much of a difference that made anyway.

    Characterization is puzzling in #4. Has Colossus even spoken a line in the entire series? Generally speaking Hickman tends to have the plot shape character actions instead of the other way around.

    I should probably just accept that while the Quiet Council is a center feature of Krakoa’s setup, the realities of a storytelling universe shared by several different writers mean that few stories will have all members on panel contributing to the plot in ways that make sense to their current characterization. Instead they will mostly take turns and listen quietly to those who are relevant to the plot of the book that is being read at any given moment. There is potential there for Immortal X-Men to use; we saw a glimpse of it in IIRC #2, when Destiny and Colossus were voted in.

    Meanwhile, between this series and “X-Men Green” Cypher has been rather daring these days. Being so flippant towards someone such as Mystique, who has experience with shadows work and once killed her own son, ought to come back to bite him at some point. That, too, is hopefully a plot to be developed after the reshuffle, perhaps in Immortal X-Men.

    Apparently (according to Wikipedia) the reshuffle is described by Marvel itself as a transition from the collective situation that they call “Reign of X” to the new status quo, dubbed “Destiny of X”. X of Swords similarly caused the transition from the “Dawn of X” setup to this current “Reign of X”. A bit of overkill if you ask me. Those labels don’t have very clear meanings or uses.

    Then again, it is hardly surprising that Marvel likes having convenient quasi-event labels to use in the short term. Events sell, and the X-books are facing a lot of pressure and internal competition from other books and the MCU. Those names can be useful in interviews and the like.

    I hope Marvel follows up on Cypher’s newfound agency and daring. They agree with him and are logical enough developments, but they also should have consequences.

    Speaking of cyphers, that is what Moira has become to me. I have no idea of what her goals are anymore, or even who she trusts, if anyone. Doug nonchalant way of helping her in their final scene together is well written, but still feels like a Chekov’s Gun to me. There are several different ways in which it can matter in the future, and some come naturally from this characterization of Doug as a nascent master schemer, which I guess I like.

  13. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Speaking of nascent master schemers, I’m overjoyed that Sunspot will appear in X-Men Red. I loved how Ewing handled him in his Avengers books.

  14. Miyamoris says:

    Honestly I’ve been reading the Moira stuff as her being rather unstable, but none of this translates well on page. It’s not like Hickman can’t make good character moments (the Doug stuff hits cause it’s clearly meant to take you back to the way Erik and Charles failed the original New Mutants) but he definitely is one of those “characters as vehicles for ideas” kind of writer that struggles with the more personal level.

    Other than the Doug stuff, I also gid how the machine stuff plays with the idea of an marginalized group oppressing another marginalized group – I always felt there was a catch to this supposedly inevitability of a mutant-machine war and there it is. But quite frankly, it’s also another idea that feels like it’s only played here at a surface-level.

    So I like this mini for what it is, but it does feel like it had to be tweaked to work more as a transition to a new era rather than a massive shift gearing to the end of the Krakoa story.

  15. Miyamoris says:

    “I’m overjoyed that Sunspot will appear in X-Men Red. I loved how Ewing handled him in his Avengers books.”

    If X-Men Red end up not being good I’m taking another long break from comics lol. SWORD was always super good and the cast and concept for this already looks stellar.

  16. Thom H. says:

    @Taibak @Chris V: I’m not sure Marvel Studios needs the comics to match the movie universe. Dr. Strange’s status quo has just been radically altered, and his new movie is coming out in May, for example. But maybe they’re planning a big event to coincide with that movie premiere. And maybe they’ll do something similar with the Krakoan X-Men. I could be wrong, but it doesn’t seem like how the comics/movies relationship usually works.

    —–

    On one level, I love the idea that Moira was covertly using the Krakoan drugs to cure new mutations. That totally jibes with the menacing tone of HoXPoX and Moira’s use of the word “cancer” in Inferno. Cancer is just a way to describe a type of cellular mutation you don’t want. I wish that connection had been explored more in Al Ewing’s Moira X or somewhere. Maybe it still will be?

    On another level, I’m sick of the stakes being defined by mutants either existing or not existing. Is there not another storyline that can be told with the hundreds of named mutants that we know? Something character based instead of world shattering? Maybe X-Men: Red will offer something along those lines. The art on that book should be lovely, too.

  17. Michael says:

    Looking back, it does seem like Hickman planned for there to be some problems with the resurrections. In Empyre, Wanda ask Strange why her spell to resurrect the Genoshans went wrong and Strange says that it wasn’t anything in particular she did but that any attempt to resurrect large numbers of people who have been long dead will inevitably have negative consequences. He doesn’t say “It would have worked if you’d combined Hope’s powers with Proteus’s and Elxir’s”. If Moira knew that there would be problems from one of her previous lives, then her scheme would make a lot more sense. But it looks like the editors forced Hickman to drop this.

  18. Chris V says:

    Moira never used resurrections in another life.
    It required Proteus for the resurrection process, and she specifically bred Proteus only during this lifetime.

  19. Dave says:

    Was the bit about Orchis directing sun rays through a portal or whatever just setup, showing they will still be featuring in a big way? Otherwise, what was it for?

  20. Chris V says:

    Aro- “The idea that stopping mutants will also stop post-humanity seems to square with the themes of Hickman’s run more generally.”

    The closest we get to this on the page is in Powers of X #6, when the Librarian confronts Moira as to his doubts about Ascension.
    The Librarian says to Moira: “Do I let you die in the hope that in your next life you can prevent us becoming a small part of the universal machine? How would you prevent it? How would you stop our surrendering to the machines?”
    Moira has no answer, and Wolverine takes the opportunity to kill the Librarian.
    There’s a definite sign that Moira’s mission becomes more than she is telling anyone.
    Unfortunately, Hickman doesn’t really follow up on it and the revelation in Inferno #4 leaves more questions than answers.

    It’s a shame that the Moira ongoing series was dropped.
    Without it, Hickman’s run doesn’t exactly hold together.

  21. Michael says:

    @Chris V- But she could have seen something SIMILAR fail in one of her lives, and guessed that the resurrection protocols would fail also.

  22. Karl_H says:

    Not sure that preventing new mutants from being born would do a lot to make Krakoa seem less threatening, given that it’s home to millions of functionally immortal super-powered types, and supported by millions more on Mars.

  23. Chris V says:

    I think the biggest problem is that Hickman doesn’t write in terms of character motivation.
    He writes about “big ideas” where individuals fulfill a role in the larger picture.

    His theme is that humans and mutants are in a fight for the future.
    Basically, everyone is being driven by genetic determinism.
    Mutants believe they are the future because they are the “next stage in human evolution”. Eventually, more and more mutants will be born, leading to human extinction.
    Humans are driven by survival. They realize they are a dying race without a future as long as mutants are genetically inevitable.
    In order to survive, they must attempt to compete with mutants. They use technology to compete with mutants.
    As we saw in Life Six, they turn to genetic engineering to breed mutants out of the genetic pool, leading to post-humanity being the future.
    Moira’s goal has been to create a future for mutants where they can be immortal, but she sees this is impossible. Inevitably, humanity will use technology to create its own future where they are functionally immortal (post-humanity).
    In the end, though, it is always the Machines which win and the true face of the future is technological.

    So, by taking away this genetically determinist model of the future, where mutant ascendancy is genetically inevitable, it opens up a door for humanity to have a future and not feel this inborn drive to compete with mutants for dominance.
    On the other side of the equation, Moira fulfills her promise to Destiny because mutants now have a future and a form of immortality on Krakoa.
    They are no longer genetically inevitable as the future, but they have a part of the future.

    Moira hopes this is enough to prevent the inevitable rise of the Machines.

    What Moira didn’t plan on was for Destiny to be resurrected and stop her plans.
    Ironically, without Moira guiding Krakoa, the agenda Moira set up to ensure that the future would belong to humanity has led to insuring that the future will belong solely to mutants.
    This has caused the inevitable backlash of Omega Sentinel travelling back in time in order to found Orchis as a way to ensure that the Machines are not cheated of their destined future…exactly what Moira was trying to prevent.

    Realistic psychological motivation plays little part in Hickman’s stories.

  24. Thom H. says:

    @Karl_H: Agreed. The last time all the mutants lived on an island together and thought they were the last of their kind, they got pretty aggressive and scary.

    I have a feeling Moira meant for Krakoa to be a way of protecting existing mutants. And maybe sort of a consolation prize for having lost the battle for dominance? But I can only imagine what a prison it would ultimately feel like.

  25. Evilgus says:

    Goodness, I should have commented as soon as the review was posted! Though it’s great when everyone is interested in the the outcomes.

    I enjoyed this overall, though find it a terrible shame that Hickman got derailed (by his own success?). Wonderful art, some great moments. I don’t know how it merited the Inferno moniker though – it was its own story.

    What didn’t fit at all was the Moira villain reveal. An exposition dump? Why did she go to the lengths of building Krakoa? Hopefully we get some ramifications of this, or other characters being more thoughtful as to what Moira achieved. The reveal definitely would have been more effective had we seen more of her since HOXPOX.

    @Diana
    Nice reassuring point that this may mean a focus on characterisation over high concepts.

  26. Douglas says:

    Loved this a lot, especially the use of Forge’s de-mutantizing gun, which was nicely set up in X-Men #20!

    Hickman noted that the X-writers have figured out the basic shape of what’s going on for the next three years’ worth of comics–I don’t think any of the people working on this stuff are particularly bitter about the changing of the guard. (If we’re going to read Cyclops as the closest thing to a Hickman-POV character the story has–and given his roles at the beginning of X-Men #1 and the end of #21, that’s not unreasonable–then Scott resigning from the commander gig in Inferno, not at all in anger but as an acknowledgement that he’s got other things to do, is a parallel to Hickman leaving the writing team.)

    The reason Krakoa knows what’s happening in the No-Place is that Doug told him in issue #1 (the scene where he wakes up and goes to chat with Warlock and then Krakoa takes place the morning after Moira’s conversation with Charles & Erik, though we don’t know until #3 that Doug was listening in).

  27. Chris V says:

    Thom-Yes, but this time they had immortality on their side, even though they would be the last of their kind.

    Hickman tried to make that point about Krakoa throughout his run.
    The fact that they were now virtually immortal made them grow complacent.
    Wolverine kept pointing it out.
    Many of us jumped on it as evidence that Krakoa, the island-being, was a trap. Hickman was actually making a point about the danger of immortality as the trap.
    Most mutants wanted to spend all their time partying and didn’t care about anything else other than hedonistic pleasure.
    The fact that the mutants didn’t care about the babies and dumped them in the trash was another warning sign about the dangers of immortality. The mutants didn’t care about their biological future because they no longer feared death.
    Immortality was slowly pacifying the mutants.

    —————————————-

    Also, yes, I’m pretty sure the ending of Inferno was something Hickman wrote in his first draft before he had to make changes to his plan.
    He didn’t know how else to end the noon and just kept the line.
    It doesn’t make sense with the story we read.

    I think the original end of Act One involved Destiny discovering about Moira.
    When she revealed her plan to “cure” mutants, it was going to be revealed that she was using the Krakoan drugs as her cure.
    Krakoa would have to stop producing the drugs.
    The human world would end their recognition of Krakoa and close the Krakoan gateways, isolating mutants on their island.
    The closing lines would then make more sense. “We built our walls. Trapped inside. Forever.”
    That would be the end of Act One.
    Then, Hickman’s next chapter would begin in the near-future, after Krakoa has been isolated for a number of years.
    That was when the Children of the Vault would emerge and humanity would eventually turn to Krakoa for aid, setting up the other events we saw glimpses in the third issue’s alternate future.

  28. Allan M says:

    I tend to agree that Moira’s plan likely was to use the mutant drugs to “cure” the mutant gene. She talks about how her cure is a “scalpel”, not a blunt instrument, and that you remove the mutant traits from children before they’re realize what they’ve lost. The drugs are the only thing the Krakoa-era mutants are doing with any impact on children that I can think of.

    And who’s to object? Xavier and Magneto are executing her vision and presumably wouldn’t know what the drugs’ long-term purpose is. The X-Men are loyal to Xavier, and the drugs help people in immediately beneficial ways. The villains are gaining power, money and influence through their sale. Precogs would see Moira’s scheme, so she makes it law to keep them dead (on top of her personal fear/hatred of Destiny).

    Where I think she badly misread the situation, which we may see in coming months/years, is that Krakoa itself has a say in all this, as demonstrated in this issue (and X-Men Green). And using the drugs to “cure” mutantkind is outright suicide for Krakoa, which needs mutant energy to survive. Krakoa knows more than it reveals (as seen in this issue) and will unilterally veto the Council when desired (see Green). Hickman’s left Moira’s cure vague (intentionally so, I assume) in case other writers had ideas, but if it is indeed the drugs, I think it’s notable that Duggan, now the main title’s writer, also wrote X-Men Green. If we’re on the right track, we have a reveal of what Moira’s intended plan for the drugs was, and then the further reveal of what Krakoa (and Doug?) have actually been doing with them.

  29. Devin says:

    We’re on a blog that does annotations — dismissing speculation because it’s not directly on the page seems ironic.

    It was disappointing that Kwannon and Bishop got a promotional graphic and then did so little in the actual series. The War College bits were interesting to me, especially the part where most mutants /didn’t/ want to learn how to fight. Given the Quarry and the Crucible and the Wild Hunt and the general influence the X-Men as a team have had on mutant culture, I would’ve thought fighting would be part of their national identity.

    It’s that focus on plot vs character again, I suppose. Of course the comics are going to focus on the characters who aren’t partying 24/7, but it also doesn’t feel like /everyone else/ is partying 24/7.

  30. Tim XP says:

    None of this is actually on the page, so it’s possible I’m just reading too much into it, but my take was that the inconsistency in Moira’s motivations could be explained by the timeline split in life 10.

    Originally, this might have been Moira’s last-ditch effort to see if mutants really could pull it off this time, and that led to the resurrection protocols and the “good” life 10 future where the immortal Krakoan nation took down the machine overlords. But as Destiny warned, Moira always harbored doubts, so when Omega was sent back to create Orchis and it looked like Nimrod was fated to rise again, Moira finally abandoned all hope and decided a cure was the only way forward.

    We’re given very little insight into Moira’s thought process, so I may be getting that all wrong, but it seems to create fewer plot holes than if she’d been planning to eliminate mutants all along. It also gives an ironic twist to Destiny’s prophecy that Moira could get an eleventh life if she made the right choice. The right choice was what led to Omega’s future, and Omega traveling back split the timeline and created an eleventh Moira whose plans fell apart.

  31. Chris V says:

    Allan M-I figured out the Krakoan drugs were Moira’s cure due to the drugs being labeled LIM.
    LIM is a protein implicated in the development of cancer.
    There was speculation online that Moira intended to kill off humanity by giving them the drugs, but I never believed that.
    Instead, I connected it with her original line, “Mutants are a cancer in need of a cure.”
    How clever of Moira to name her “cure” for what she saw as a cancer with the letters LIM.

    Her revelations in this issue just proved my guess, as she said about the cure effecting children.

  32. Chris V says:

    Tim XP-I think that is probably Hickman’s intent with Moira now, since all the disturbing elements of Krakoa were basically purged after Hickman announced he was leaving.
    Now, Krakoa is just a society with some flaws which is working towards becoming a mutant utopia.
    That wasn’t Hickman’s original intent though.

    The only question then becomes:
    Why did Moira not want Destiny resurrected in the original timeline?
    Moira was afraid of Destiny discovering her plot to betray mutantkind.
    If she didn’t harbour those feelings until after Omega Sentinel changed the timeline, why would she care if Destiny was resurrected?
    I’m pretty sure that Moira made her “no precogs” rule before Xavier founded Krakoa.
    Would that also mean that Destiny was never resurrected in the alternate timeline?
    Mystique wouldn’t have accepted that occurring.

  33. Dave says:

    Looking through this issue again, after Destiny says “You want to cure us”, Mystique talks about the neutraliser, then there are precisely TWO panels where Moira says about her cure (and those panels start with her talking about the neutraliser). A panel and a half in which the central character’s main idea is vaguely addressed, among 8 issues worth of almost irrelevant council shuffling and repeated pages. It’s INCREDIBLY unsatisfactory.
    I wonder if Hickman now regrets spending issues of X-Men on things like Summoner, Hordeculture, Broo and the King egg…

  34. Josie says:

    “It’s INCREDIBLY unsatisfactory.
    I wonder if Hickman now regrets spending issues of X-Men on things like Summoner, Hordeculture, Broo and the King egg…”

    Right? I don’t know how anyone can look at Inferno and be like, oh yeah, this was a good ending to the past two and a half years.

  35. Ben Johnston says:

    Douglas — Great point about Cyclops speaking as a Hickman stand-in during that scene in Inferno #1. I think you’re right on the money with that reading.

  36. Suzene says:

    Honestly, I’m willing to forgive Hickman a lot just for having the imagination to make Doug a formidable, integral, *enjoyable* character while still keeping him in-character, something that a lot of writers haven’t had the imagination to manage.

  37. YLu says:

    “What I find weird about Marvel sticking with this take on X-Men is . . . we know that Hickman originally pitched this as an Eternals book…”

    No, we don’t know that. That’s just speculation some people ran with, until eventually they forgot it was only speculation.

    What we *do* know, because Hickman’s mentioned it a couple times, is that half of the HOX/POX setup was stuff he’d been pitching for years as a way to fix the X-line.

  38. Krzysiek Ceran says:

    Well, going back to the interview, what he sees as his big contribution is changing the humans vs mutants into the three-way humans vs mutants vs machines.

    Which… Well, I don’t find compelling. As an idea for a story it’s alright, but in his view it’s what the X-Men are supposed to be about going forward.

  39. Loz says:

    Josie I don’t know how anyone can look at Inferno and be like, oh yeah, this was a good ending to the past two and a half years.

    It’s not. It’s a sequel to HoXPoX. If you read that and then don’t read anything put out in between you can jump to ‘Inferno’ and not feel like you’ve missed any information, other than possibly ‘who is that standing next to Doug?’. Orchis, Nimrod and Omega Sentinel were all introduced in ‘HoXPoX’, Mystique wanting Destiny was there, the Quiet Council… In the end Marvel have made a large amount of money out of pretending that a load of creators work was vitally important and connected to 16 issues.

  40. Josie says:

    “No, we don’t know that.”

    We do know that, actually.

  41. Luis Dantas says:

    To be fair, a shake-up in the X-Men status quo was not a bad idea, and Hickman’s run’s legacy may well prove to be as impactful as Claremont’s and Morrison’s.

    In large part because some of its elements can’t really be undone.

  42. Skippy says:

    Tim XP – I really like that idea about the timeline split creating the ‘eleventh life’. Nice one.

    As I see it, I don’t think where the X-books currently are really is mutants versus humans versus machines, so much as mutants against various other kinds of post-humans, including machines. I don’t think baseline humans get a look in; they (or their kids) need to become something else to compete. Which, thinking about it, was also the thrust of Morrison’s run.

    The AI faction certainly has increased prominence after Inferno, and I hope to see more from them soon. But the Children of the Vault are still in the background, and I don’t think they would consider themselves the heirs of baseline humans either. Really, if any post-human faction can claim to be the heirs of humanity, it’s mutants.

  43. Scott says:

    I don’t have the issue in front of me but can’t Forge’s gun only be used once? If so, Moira is currently human but theoretically she could die and be resurrected and her mutant gene would be activated no?

  44. YLu says:

    @Josie

    Pretty sure you’re misremembering. The Eternals thing has always just been fan speculation.

  45. Chris V says:

    Scott, that is correct.
    IF Krakoa has a sample of her DNA. Sinister never knew she was a mutant, so he wouldn’t have gathered her DNA.

    Although maybe Xavier and Magneto will take the initiative and decide to wipe her record from Cerebro also, to make sure no one is tempted to bring Moira back, as happened with Destiny.
    The lesson with Destiny was that they would have ended up dooming themselves if they followed Moira’s advice and prevented Destiny from ever being resurrected.
    So…who knows?

    Skippy-I’m not sure we will see the Children of the Vault plotline followed up without Hickman.
    I have doubts. I think they’ll end up being dropped now.
    They consider humans abs mutants their enemies.
    In the alternate timeline, we know that humanity and mutants formed an alliance to defeat the Children of the Vault.
    Of course, that was temporary, since humanity still saw mutants as their successors.

  46. Chris V says:

    It does make you wonder if Doug’s role here was meant to be as heroic as it seems.
    With what’s on the page, Doug seems like a hero.
    However, I wonder about Hickman’s original plan.
    The “trickster” Titan is still a gaping plot hole.

    The idea that it is what Krakoa merged with Warlock evolved in to makes a lot of sense.
    However, the “trickster” Titan is the one who sent Omega Sentinel back in time to change the timeline.

    While the original Life Ten future can be seen as dystopian in the same way as Morrison’s final story-arc, Omega Sentinel founding Orchis to help the Machines win again doesn’t seem beneficial either.
    So, it makes you wonder why Doug’s role was originally.

    He says he didn’t trust Xavier and Magneto.
    He let Moira escape, even though nothing was revealed about her cure (although if the original intent was that it was the Krakoan drugs, that’s not as ominous, as Moira’s plan would be defeated).
    It seems he might have his own agenda as opposed to Krakoa.

    Once again, that doesn’t make him likeable.
    I like how Hickman has made me turn away in displeasure from every side in this world he’s established.
    There is no one I sympathize with or like.
    If this were a novel, I might commend that. In an ongoing serial which was meant to be about loveable underdog mutants fighting for acceptance…it’s a bit disheartening.

  47. Karl_H says:

    I don’t recall — how did Moira avoid being detected as a mutant by Cerebro, Sentinels, etc. for so long? Xavier could have covered for her with Cerebro, but he was hardly the only person who used it.

  48. Dave says:

    “It’s not. It’s a sequel to HoXPoX”.
    And its biggest failing is that it barely advanced that story at all. Put a shorter version of Inferno (the repeated pages and callbacks being removed) at the end of HoXPoX and NOTHING is affected. You just get Moira being missing for the last few months instead of not being shown, which to the reader is exactly the same.

  49. Chris V says:

    Karl-Hickman pointed out that Moira would not show up as a mutant.
    So, with that, I’m not sure that Moira’s mind was even recorded on Cerebro. I’m guessing not, so Moira could never be resurrected.

  50. Josie says:

    “Pretty sure you’re misremembering”

    Check out Hickman’s own tweets in the year before HoxPox came out.

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