Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: R.B. Silva, Stefano Caselli, Valerio Schiti, Adriano Di Benedetto, David Curiel, VC’s Joe Sabino, Tom Muller, Jerome Opeña, and Frank Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: December 8th, 2021
INFERNO #3 is what we’ve been waiting for since all the speculation transpired with HOXPOX. We finally get answers to questions, direction, puzzle pieces placed together, and a reasonable formation of the original vision that was this Age of X-MEN. Readers won’t receive a ton of action throughout INFERNO #3 but they will ride a suspenseful information avalanche that should cause many rereads to fully comprehend. Don’t let the cover fool you… you won’t see a showdown quite yet between Nimrod, Magneto, and Charles. Nevertheless, fans will leave set up for the concluding issue of Jonathan Hickman’s run to cascade into the build-up of immense proportions. Let’s take a look under the hood of this penultimate issue of INFERNO by Jonathan Hickman to see what shakes out.
Truthfully, the opening involving Cypher was a bit slow. Yet, I appreciated the payoff at the end of that opening section. Fans have known for quite some time his importance to Krakoa’s success and this only solidified what readers already knew. However, I absolutely loved the trust issue showcased in this section between Charles and Cypher, as well as the behind-the-scenes silent espionage that I never saw coming from the young hero. This opener was genius and I loved it. However, I can’t help but wonder about its value unless this section is revisited in INFERNO #4. Otherwise, it only garnered value to Cypher and didn’t add anything else to the real progress of the story as a whole. So, let’s hope this aspect of the issue is reexamined next month!
Yet, as intriguing as the Cypher angle was, the rest of the topics focuses on Destiny, Mystique, and Emma positioning as well as a fascinating reveal from the Omega Sentinel and Nimrod to conclude the issue. The story of INFERNO almost felt more like a chess match where all sides have been plotting and formulating plans behind the scenes yet left the readers out in the cold for too long to hit that “wow” moment. Sure, the reveals were clever and added some interesting developments to the story. However, why did it take so long to get here?
These reveals should have been happening periodically throughout each intertwining issue for X-fans of this generation to gradually piece everything together. Instead, readers got X OF SWORDS and a HELLFIRE GALA that were fun, entertaining tales that saw brand new mutants and a brand new mutant planet. Again, pretty cool… but the main foundational story from HOXPOX was never really touched again until… now. Granted, I’m glad we are finally getting it. But readers could realistically reader HOXPOX and practically jump into INFERNO directly to wrap things up. And, if you wanted a bit more gaps to fill in, you could dive into X OF SWORDS or even the HELLFIRE GALA. But all the other series really didn’t add much to the overall premise of the story, which is just a letdown from what I expected.
However, refocusing on the story at hand, INFERNO #3 plows through Orchis, Nimrod, and the Omega Sentinel with as much detail as they can fit into the issue without making your head explode. Again, they are thorough. However, a much more gradual reveal of this information would have played much better for this story without making it feel like a large info dump. Moreover, the action finally begins to heat up as INFERNO #3 comes to a close. And this reviewer can’t wait to see Charles and Erik in action, as well as the fallout from Mystique, Destiny, and Moira MacTaggert.
This week’s INFERNO has a variety of pencilers who all ultimately exhibit the same tone, style, and design. In fact, they made it rather difficult to completely differentiate between the two. Noting the prior statement and having them all reasonably gel together, I noticed that the smaller panels and detail with the linework seemed less detailed than normal and came across with more rough and jagged edges than usual. With the proper space, this art team certainly came to play. However, the background pencils involving the Cuckoos (for example) just seemed almost scratchy and lacked depth. Moreover, Magneto looked more like a brute than normal.
However, there were some great qualities to write home about. For example, the reflections in Destiny’s helmet, as well as Charles’ Cerebro, added that special knack for detail that this reviewer loves with his comics. Nevertheless, there were just more shadowy figures overall as well as a lack of detail that seemed out of character for this creative team, especially with their past noted on the X-MEN titles with Hickman directly. The illustrations and design certainly weren’t bad by any stretch. Yet, I feel like I’ve seen better from everyone involved.
INFERNO #3 lays out a massive helping of information that should have been gradually released since HOXPOX began. But alas, it’s at least finally given to fans. The biggest problem is how dense, heavy, and quick it’s released throughout the issue. Sure, you’ll be able to reasonably understand the premise, however, it really weighed down the action and suspense that could have been in this penultimate issue. Look, I’m happy we finally get this information. Nevertheless, it felt like an avalanche of evidence thrown on our laps just to squeeze every last drop out of a story instead of it happening organically. Yet, the items revealed were pretty amazing and well needed. This is certainly not a jumping-on point for any fan and I would highly recommend a look into HOXPOX first before hitting up the back issues of INFERNO. Nevertheless, it’s definitely worth the read. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!