The penultimate issue of Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men run arrives in this week’s Inferno #3, and the heat just keeps rising for our (not-so) merry mutants.
In the not-so-distant past, Xavier reveals his grand design for Krakoa to Cypher and entrusts him to start communicating with the island to begin their work. Doug and Warlock admit to one another that they don’t trust Xavier, but they continue on their mission. They agree to form a symbiotic relationship between Warlock and Krakoa wherein they will consume organic matter from one another (as well as mutant cadavers provided by Beast) to keep them linked for Cypher’s benefit.
After a few months, Krakoa starts blooming flowers that serve two purposes: creating homes for mutants on the island and forming gateway portals that mutants can use for fast travel. Increasingly disillusioned with his work, Cypher learns about “tumors” grown by Krakoa; they create habitats called No-Places that allow for complete secrecy. Because Warlock serves as the island’s nervous system, however, Cypher has complete access to whatever happens in No-Places. This is bad news for Xavier and Magneto, who’ve been keeping Moira MacTaggart in one since the formation of their mutant nation and unknowingly had salacious conversations about who is and isn’t “allowed” on Krakoa (read: Mystique and Destiny).
Mystique and Destiny meet with Emma Frost, who reveals to them that Moira MacTaggart is not only alive but also a mutant as well. She then shows them a glimpse of the timeline wherein they killed Moira to restart the timeline from her birth onwards, allowing them to learn about her unique power. Destiny decides Xavier and Magneto need to be stopped to ensure the timeline doesn’t restart again. Emma makes it clear, however, that she will take no sides in the conflict.
Back in Paris, Moira is finally abducted by Orchis, who have been monitoring her for some time but waited to make their move. Just as Magneto expresses doubts about the Krakoa project to Xavier, the latter is physically alerted to Moira’s precarious situation.
At the Orchis Forge, Omega-Sentinel reveals to Nimrod that she is actually not the Karima Shapandar of the present, but a version of herself from a far future (Moira’s tenth life/the current timeline) wherein mutants prevail over humans and the Children of the Vault. She explains that Nimrod was sent from this future timeline to exterminate mutants in their past before they’re capable of total domination. Higher and more sophisticated machines called Titans were then created to compensate for the failings of Nimrod, but even they were incapable of ending mutants themselves.
One rogue Titan, however, took mercy on a surviving Omega-Sentinel and downloaded her consciousness through a black hole onto the Karima Shapandar of the past, allowing her to create Orchis with the knowledge she has of the future to counterstrike mutants on a much earlier timeline. With said knowledge, she recalibrates the brain of Dr. Killian Devo to think he was also from her future as a means of motivating him to serve her mission. It’s then that they’re interrupted by a distress call from the Terra Verde node, claiming they’ve been detected by mutants and require backup.
Xavier and Magneto rush to the Terra Verde to find Moira, discovering a plethora of dead bodies there. They soon find Moira beaten by Mystique and Destiny when a third party arrives through a portal: Nimrod and Omega-Sentinel with an army of Orchis soldiers.
For an issue so heavy on exposition, Inferno #3 has a lot happening within it. There isn’t as much plot movement here as there has been in previous issues, but I’d hardly say this issue is uneventful. The major takeaways:
- Cypher has plenty of tea to spill
- Mystique and Destiny learn that Moira is alive and a mutant with a tremendous power
- Emma claims to be not be taking any sides, but she’s obviously up to something
- Omega-Sentinel is actually an emboldened version of herself from the far future wherein mutants win, prompting her to create Orchis in her past/our present
All of those things really impact the ongoing story of Inferno and make for some interesting wrinkles–not just in this series but also in the broader Krakoa era of X-Men. The revelations about Omega-Sentinel and Moira obviously shake the status quo, but even something as comparatively tiny as Cypher knowing all of Xavier’s dirt could really be a detriment to Krakoa’s well-being. With his access to the No-Place, Cypher could definitely become a sort of audience-POV character moving forward, essentially boasting narrative omniscience to a degree. Exactly how much does he know about Xavier’s plans with Magneto? Hmmm. And that final page reveal with Orchis? Not great! Uh oh!
Well, I actually have some concrete information about the near future of X-Men comics. After previously teasing the “Destiny of X” last week, today Marvel officially unveiled an upcoming slate of titles that includes staples like X-Men, Wolverine, New Mutants, Marauders, and X-Force, but also some new ones like Immortal X-Men, Knights of X, Legion of X, and X-Men Red. Hmm. I got some ideas. Knights of X might be a relaunch of Excalibur, which is conspicuously missing from the lineup, while Legion of X is likely the follow-up to Way of X. I’ve seen speculation that the unexpected revival of X-Men Red could be a replacement for the also-missing SWORD (Arakko = Mars = Red, duh), but I’m stumped about what Immortal X-Men could be. Perhaps something relating to the incoming X Lives/Deaths of Wolverine? All will be revealed soon enough.
Next up: the final issue of Inferno. What will burn to the ground and who will be left to clean up the mess? Until then!
- Writer: Jonathan Hickman
- Artists: R.B. Silva, Stefano Caselli, and Valerio Schiti (pencilers), Adriano di Benedetto (inker)
- Color Artist: David Curiel
- Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
- Cover Artists: Jerome Opeña, Frank Martin
- Editor: Jordan D. White
- Publisher: Marvel Entertainment