X-Men: Inferno by Jonathan Hickman Event Review (SPOILERS)
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X-Men: Inferno By Jonathan Hickman Is An Epic Yet Mostly Inconsequential Story (Spoilers!)

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BY January 5, 2022

The age of Krakoa is going by too quickly. Or, at least, it feels that way. House of X and Powers of X started in the summer of 2019. However, while the Hickman era will continue, Jonathan Hickman is leaving the X-Men. Kind of. Instead of the “Head of X,” he’s taking more of a “Consiglieri of X” role, advising the stories from a distance. He was ready to move Krakoa into his “second act,” but readers and other creative teams were having too much fun in the current stage. So, to conclude some of his ongoing plot points, Hickman gave us X-Men: Inferno. Yet, while we got some shocking revelations, little seemed to change for the mutant society.

Spoilers to follow!

Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men: Inferno has Nothing to do with the Late ’80s Event X-Men: Inferno

X-Men Inferno by Jonathan Hickman, House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

The original X-Men: Inferno was a massive story. It took two omnibuses to fully tell it. Living up to its name, Inferno focused on a demonic assault against New York City and the X-Men. Here, Illyana Rasputin became the Darkchylde, Madelyne Pryor turned into the Goblin Queen, and Hobgoblin transformed into a demon. We are still seeing the ramifications of this event, mainly in Magik and Madelyne Pryor, and how others see them. Havok, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Colossus, and more lost a loved one, family member, or friend. Even if they are alive again, the versions they knew are gone forever.

Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men: Inferno has 100% fewer demons. It also does not have a fire. The title doesn’t make much sense. For some reason, Marvel has been recycling titles of classic events even if the story has nothing to do with the original. Inferno is a poor title for Jonathan Hickman’s last X-Men story (for now). They could have even used other classic titles, with alterations. The Moira Covenant. Moira X’s Song. Fall of the Mutant. Moira Quest. There were even better titles to copy entirely. Operation Zero Tolerance and X-Tinction Agenda made a lot more sense.

The problem is that we were promised an inferno. Destiny’s last warning to Mystique didn’t mince words:

“There will be an island. Not the first, but the last. This place will seem to be hope to our kind. When those days come, remember these words: “Bring me back.” And if you cannot – if they will not – then burn that place to the ground.”

Literally or figuratively, there’s no inferno. But there are character-defining moments. And some changes will have crucial consequences on Krakoa…one day.

By the End of X-Men: Inferno, a Different Member of the Quiet Council is Even More Dangerous – but Not Who You’d Expect

X-Men Inferno by Jonathan Hickman, House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

There are significant developments before this, but we’ll get to them soon. For now, let’s talk about the most dangerous mutant on Krakoa. Not Magneto or Xavier. Nor Mystique or Destiny. And not Mister Sinister or Sebastian Shaw. Nope. The most dangerous mutant on the Quiet Council, and in their nation, is Colossus. Wait…what? Colossus? One of the most endearing, quiet, loving characters in X-Men history? Yep. Him.

Back in X-Force #24, one of the most devastating comics in years, we learned that Colossus was under a mutant named Chronicler’s control. But Chronicler is at the mercy of Mikhail Rasputin, Colossus’s older and insanely evil older brother. Through Chronicler, Mikhail used Colossus to reveal the secrets of Krakoa. When Colossus’s partner, Kayla, discovers this, Mikhail forces Colossus to kill her. Only moments later, Xavier knocks on the door. At the time, it looked like Xavier would confront Colossus about his actions. But in X-Men: Inferno #2, Hickman reveals the real reason he went to Piotr. Xavier invites Colossus into the Quiet Council, unaware that he’s giving Mikhail complete access to all Krakoa’s secrets.

And oh boy, does this get worse. While Xavier and Magneto are…uh…indisposed, Emma, Mystique, and Destiny decide to reveal all their secrets to the Council. Moira’s ten lives and her plans, why she didn’t want precogs resurrected, and how Moira, Magneto, and Xavier controlled everything in secret. Now, since Colossus knows everything, so does Mikhail – who wants to destroy Krakoa. Somehow, with a precog and two psychics on the Quiet Council, no one knows what’s happening to Colossus. This will likely end in flames. Or, if you will, an inferno.

Jonathan Hickman Finally Reveals How Omega Sentinel Turned Evil

House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

For most of her comic book existence, Karima Shapandar was a hero and a member of the X-Men. However, several entities have possessed her over the years. Yet, each time, she eventually overcomes them and rejoins the X-Men. But at the beginning of House of X, she’s evil again. So, who is possessing Karima this time? That’s where things get Hickman-level weird. It’s Karima.

Only Jonathan Hickman could make a member of the X-Men possess themselves, and the way it’s explained in Inferno makes sense. In the far future, Omega Sentinel is the last sentient machine. She’s watched the mutants kill all the other ones, and the humans died off long ago. But before she dies, a phalanx titan sends her consciousness back to Karima right as Krakoa forms. So, the future Karima now possesses a past Karima – and this one is terrified of a mutant future.

This answers several questions, such as how Nimrod came back earlier and how Orchis formed. But it’s not the last revelation.

The Most Powerful Mutant in Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men: Inferno is Seen as One of the Weakest in the Franchise

House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

Doug Ramsey – Cypher – seems like a harmless character. His mutant power is innocent enough to understand and talk in any language. He’s a sweet kid too. So, when Xavier leaves him alone on Krakoa to figure out how to converse with the island, the egotistical leader assumes Cypher will just do as he’s told. Professor X? He wasn’t right.

Cypher doesn’t trust Xavier. Really, he’s one of the least trustworthy people in the Marvel Universe, or any comics. So, working with Krakoa and his friend Warlock, he does everything Xavier wants him to do…and then some. For a while now, Moira hid in the “No-Place,” a chamber in the island that not even Krakoa has access to. And since it’s sweet little Cypher, Moira, Magneto, and Xavier take it at face value. What they don’t know is that Warlock and Krakoa integrated, and they have complete access to the No-Place, able to view it as a security camera. Cypher knew about Moira the entire time – and he’s watching when Moira tells Charles and Eric that she wants Destiny gone, forever—purged from Cerebro. Cypher decides to do something about that.

But what Jonathan Hickman really reveals in X-Men: Inferno, concerning Cypher, is that this “innocent child” is the real invisible hand. Moira thought it was her. Charles and Xavier thought it was the three of them. Instead, it’s the harmless kid and his friends. Warlock, Krakoa, and now Bei the Blood Moon (Doug’s wife). The Council behind the Council. Forget Magneto, or Cyclops, or Thanos. Cypher was right.

Xavier and Magneto Finally Get What’s Coming to Them

House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

Between Magneto and Xavier, there’s enough ego to power a planet. Wait, they already did that to Mars. Power another planet. When Moira goes missing, they go after Orchis. But, because they are the only ones who know and care, they bring no backup. This extraction was a job for X-Force and the Hellions. Combined. But the two mutant leaders think they can save her on their own. When they find her beacon, they should have realized they were outmatched. The beacon was in Moira’s arm…and that’s all they find. Immediately after, Orchis soldiers surround them, with Omega Sentinel and Nimrod. Just those two would be a hard enough battle.

Even the two machines know that. So they kill all the humans just to prove how useless they are. The fight between these four is brutal and brilliant. It’s never clear who has the upper hand. But, in the end, Nimrod destroys Xavier’s Cerebro cradle, making it impossible for him to upload his recent memories. The machines then kill the two leaders, knowing they can be resurrected.

The real kick in the copper nuts? Orchis never had Moira to begin with. Mystique and Destiny did.

By the End of X-Men: Inferno, Jonathan Hickman Doesn’t Just Flip the Script – He Burns It Up

House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

When all of this started, it looked like Mystique and Destiny were the villains, putting Krakoa in jeopardy just to have their revenge. After all, didn’t Moira build Krakoa? Wasn’t it her nine prior lives that helped her, Charles, and Erik build something new? Doesn’t she want the best for all mutants? But, unfortunately, it turns out she hasn’t learned a thing.

In Moira’s second life, she found a cure for mutants, and because of that, Destiny had Pyro burn Moira to death, with the warning that she must do right by mutantkind. So, her third through ninth lives, she did just that. By her tenth life, this timeline, it looks like she perfected a mutant future. But that’s not what she wanted. She thinks that there are no futures where the mutants win. However, since Omega Sentinel only sees futures where the mutants win, we know that’s not true.

So, what does Moira X want? Exactly what Moira II wanted. She wants to cure mutants. She didn’t learn a damn thing. And Destiny intends to make good on her promise. They’ve even found a way to do that without jeopardizing Krakoa. The problem is Moira’s mutant power. So, using a weapon Forge once developed in a moment of darkness, they take away her mutant power. They make Moira human, and now they can kill her. But we need to revisit the real power here. Cypher.

The Real Hero of X-Men: Inferno is Cypher. He was Always the Real Hero.

House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Original Image: Marvel Comics)

Being a master of languages has advantages besides ordering a burger royale in France. As his powers developed, Cypher began to realize that everything was language. Machines, fighting, emotions, nature – everything. Basically, his reading and writing skills are at grade 2304032 or higher. Those who read a lot know what to look for in a story to determine what happens next. On the flip side, good writers see the patterns emerging in their stories and use them to determine the best endings. Cypher is so good at doing this that Destiny can’t see any futures until he makes a decision. His intelligence is too much for the most powerful clairvoyant in comics.

And, so, he outsmarts everyone. He sees a need for Moira to live and points out to Mystique and Destiny that since they made Moira human, she falls under the “kill no man” law. If they kill her, Mystique gets thrown in the hole, and Destiny will die – not to be resurrected again. If they kill Cypher, Mystique dies and will probably not be revived. The only option is to let them both live. In this future, “the boy wins. We let Moira escape. We remain on the Council and consolidate power. As does he.”

Jonathan Hickman sold X-Men: Inferno as an event revolving around Mystique, Destiny, Xavier, Magneto, and Moira. But it was never that. Instead, this is the story of how Cypher takes control of Krakoa. That’s just badassery right there.

 Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men: Inferno has One Letdown

House of X, Powers of X, Reign of X, Destiny of X, Dawn of X, Moira X, Quiet Council, Doug Ramsey, Cypher, Mystique, Magneto, Professor X, Colossus, Emma Frost, Krakoa, Marvel Comics (Image: Marvel Comics)

As awesome as Doug winning and letting Moira escape (Warlock even gave her a new arm), all this did was keep the status quo with minor changes for now. Of course, Colossus will be a major problem down the line, and we don’t know how Destiny’s inclusion on the Council will shape things. At the same time, Mystique, Destiny, Emma Frost (she gave them Forge’s weapon), and Cypher have gained power while Professor X and Magneto lost some. But the shocking revelations about Moira don’t change the storytelling too much.

That was kind of the goal, though. The other creative teams wanted more time in the first phase of Krakoa, so Hickman wrote X-Men: Inferno to answer his big mysteries yet in a way that the first stage can continue. At some point, though, the X-office will want to move to act two, and we’ll probably see Jonathan Hickman’s return. Until then, the other writers and artists have a point. This might be the most exciting era of X-Men ever, so let’s keep playing in this sandbox for now.

What did you think about Jonathan Hickman’s X-Men: Inferno? A good exit from his run, or something that should have waited for later?

And are you on team Doug now? Everyone should be on team Doug.

Featured Image: Marvel Comics

COMICSMarvel

Roman Colombo finished his MFA in 2010 and now teaches writing and graphic novel literature at various Philadelphia colleges. His first novel, Trading Saints for Sinners, was published in 2014. He's currently working on his next novel and hoping to find an agent soon.

Destiny of XInfernoJonathan HickmanX-Men

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