Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Valerio Schiti, David Curiel, VC’s Joe Sabino, Tom Muller, Pepe Larraz, and Marte Garcia
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: September 29th, 2021
It has been so dang long, hasn’t it? It’s felt like this Jonathan Hickman X-MEN era has been rather stagnant lately. It’s almost as if it’s been perpetually stuck in the mud. And then, out from the long-awaited shadows comes INFERNO! And finally, we get some momentum. Finally, readers see the story progress. X-MEN fans will certainly be pleased with the opening installment of INFERNO and overjoyed to see what almost felt like new life blasted into the narrative. For an issue with very little action, fans will leave jazzed for what’s to come as INFERNO by Jonathan Hickman continues to unfold.
There are so many layers to the onion that’s INFERNO. To start, readers will see a backstory between Destiny and Moira MacTaggert that adds some extra fuel to the fire. Additionally, fans will see further development from Orchis and Nimrod, as well as a special guest appearance from the Golden Girls of Botany. And if that wasn’t enough, X-MEN fans get a glimpse behind the curtain to see a bit more of how “the sausage was made” in this entire process/ scheme developed by Moira, Charles, and Erik.
However, the layers don’t stop there. On a more thematic level, readers see the inner workings of humanity and our current society as a whole. And ultimately, it’s fear. Within this story, we see the sinful nature of humanity attempting to crush what they can’t accept and understand solely because they fear they’ll be killed, taken over, or simply lose their spot in the pecking order. Mutants are battling back relentlessly without question. They can’t understand how or why someone would want to kill them for things they can’t possibly control. So, they fight. However, both sides are on two opposing ends of the spectrum unwilling to meet in the middle. Granted, some may argue that mutants were attempting just that by offering up medicines, help, and their expertise. Yet in reality, the nation of Krakoa has been positioning itself to take control since HOXPOX began. Heck, they now have a dang planet and ushered in an entire lost civilization of mutants for Pete’s Peppers! You can’t get more power-hungry than that!
But even deeper still is the connection Hickman’s made to our current everyday society. The parallels to what’s been happening in this book chime so well with the state of our culture today. Now, I’m not here to argue one side or position over the other. I’m simply just pointing out that like the Hickman narrative in front of us, mutants and humans have been in this constant battle on totally opposite sides with very little common ground and fear as the driving force. Fear of losing freedoms. Fear of dying. Fear of possibly being lied to. Fear of compromise. Fear of losing who we are and fear of who we once were. It’s become so bad in our current world structure that we’ve now added mask opinions and vaccinations to the list of things we shouldn’t talk about in public. The fracture is so deep one might wonder if it can ever be fixed, which is essentially the struggle with mutants and humanity that runs deep to the core of Hickman’s entire run.
My point: INFERNO shows Moira coming up with what she deems a compromise in her third life. Just like society today, a choice or common ground for everyone if you will. Yet, readers discover Destiny has given her no other option but to find another way, which is what’s led us down this current path we see within Hickman’s X-MEN run. Moira’s back was against the wall and she chose her personal survival due to her fear of death, which inadvertently has led to what we’ve seen laid out in our culture today. Plus, the scheming within their own ranks has caused an unexpected cliffhanger that will infuse X-MEN readers with excitement for next month’s issue of INFERNO. Readers, the layers are wicked deep. I recommend taking a couple of rereads to see what else you might discover under the surface.
For an issue with little to no action, fans will be fully content with background answers and story beats that finally become prosperous. Hickman uses INFERNO as a means to provide explanations for gaps and questions that many fans have wondered since HOXPOX. And frankly, no single issue has truly been this good since HOXPOX ended. INFERNO is what I envisioned more issues within the DAWN OF X run would encompass. Yet alas, I was mistaken. However, the intensity and speculation that once surrounded HOXPOX is back! The feeling I got when reading HOXPOX has definitely returned. And to anyone tired and rundown with the current state of affairs surrounding the X-MEN since X OF SWORDS, as well as the HELLFIRE GALA, this issue will certainly rejuvenate your comic soul! Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!