It’s been a long time since I reviewed the first Inferno comic, but it’s finally time to wrap up the saga. It definitely feels like one of the grandest X-Men story arcs in scope even if it never seems to be brought up nowadays. Pretty much all of the big players are here and there’s definitely a lot of action. You probably will wonder where the Avengers and FF are at times, but they are referenced and I believe they were on a mission somewhere at the time. It’s a pretty enjoyable story arc, some parts can get a little dark and others not as exciting, but on the whole it’s definitely an intense arc.
There are a lot of plots going on at once here. For the main plot, the Goblin Queen has decided to embrace her dark powers and take control of the planet. To that end she has teamed up with demons to transform the entire city. Some of them have plans of their own as well though. Cyclops, Jean Grey, and the rest of the X Factor head out to stop her, but their team isn’t as united as usual. Cyclops blames himself for the Goblin Queen’s transformation since he did rebound after marrying her pretty quick.
Another plot is that the X-Men are doing battle against an anti mutant faction and in the process they are becoming demons as well. As they lose more and more of their minds they start to barely even resemble heroes anymore. This leads them to start attacking all of the sides. Then you’ve got the Power Pack who are being forced to deal with the fact that their parents now know who they are thanks to the events with the Orphan Maker from volume 1. The parents are having a real hard time coping.
Then the New Mutants are also flying around trying to save Magik. Magik took control of Limbo but now the villains are starting to wrestle control back from her. Magik can destroy them, but doing so will eliminate the last of her light so she has a tough choice to make. Meanwhile Colossus is also trying to find her, but going from world to world is tricky and the villains are content to mock rather than help him. Finally, Sinister is also in the mix and naturally he also wants to mess things up for the heroes.
Those are just the main plots and there are even more subplots running around. I imagine that this was definitely the ultimate X faction arc back in the day. Pretty much every X group was here and I forgot to mention that this even includes Excalibur. If the heroes were all in one place this would probably be an easy win for them, but naturally the demons won’t let that be an option. Even as this trade ends there are already a lot of plotlines set up for the next arc.
I think one of the best aspects of this saga is the subtle craziness of the situation. In the background you’ll see the animated objects making a lot of jokes at the humans as they crush them. For example one mail box reminds one guy that he should have used a stamp before eating him. There are a lot of fatalities here as by the time the heroes arrive the humans are long gone or no longer human. The villainous appliances all have a pretty good sense of humor though. It’s definitely pretty grim humor, but it works well.
As for the characters, this is definitely gonna be a rough showing for Havok fans. Regardless of all his justifications, he seems to be going for the Goblin Queen to one up Cyclops. He had no problem with cheating with her even while she was with Cyclops so you doubt his motivations from the start. I usually like Havok, but definitely not in this comic.
Another character who looks really bad here is Rachel Summers. Keep in mind that during this saga she is a host of the Phoenix Force and yet she can’t win a single fight here. There’s gotta be some reason why her Phoenix Form was so weak, but I definitely would have liked that to have been elaborated here. She gets mind controlled and one shotted early on and as such has nothing to do for the whole volume. I couldn’t believe it when she was taken out so easy.
Cyclops naturally gets a big role here as well. It’s not his best appearance, but he is doing his best to handle the situation. It’s just gotten past the point of merely being “personal” since his kid is being hostage and his ex-wife is trying to murder everyone. Cyclops did have a pretty fishy set of decisions that led to this moment like ditching his wife and getting back with Jean, but that’s all events that happened before this volume. In this one he is trying to pick up the pieces, but it’s been awfully difficult. So I wouldn’t say that he looked bad per say, but I’ll be glad for him to have this drama past the bend.
Ice Man and Psylocke don’t do a whole lot in comparison to the other characters, but they are around for the full saga. They look really good as they focus on an objective and support the team the whole time. Ice Man’s powers are definitely at the point in the series where they are steadily becoming a top tier threat. Psylocke still seems to be quite a bit weaker than the other main telepaths, but at the same time she does contribute. I don’t think she’ll ever be seen as one of the strongest telepaths, but as long as she is strong enough to help out that’s good enough.
The Goblin Queen naturally gets a really big role here as well. Her emotions are all over the place as she constantly switches between acting as the victim and embracing her role as the evil empress. I can’t really say that she’s my kind of villain, but her motivations for revenge are definitely pretty reasonable considering what a bad hand she’s been dealt. She has to live with the fact that everyone considers her to be a fake and she’s being manipulated by quite a few parties. At times it can be a bit iffy to see her being led around so much though. She’s a villain who was thrown into the role and as such isn’t prepared for it. You kind of want her to have a happy ending even though from the start you don’t really think this will be possible. She simply went too far down the rabbit hole into darkness.
We get cameos from some characters like Magneto, but sadly he doesn’t get to do much. It was nice to see him, but there was almost no point to be honest. I’m sure his scene probably continued in a spinoff though. The Power Pack’s plot is probably the most annoying in some ways as the parents just do a terrible job of handling the situation. The plot was going for realism, but I dare say that their reactions were so poor that it wasn’t realistic at that point. They basically fell into depression instantly which was a bit iffy. Surely they could find some silver lining to the kids being superheroes right?
As for the X-Men basically turning into demons, it was unfortunate that their will power was not all that good. Most of them fell into the evil instincts very quickly and so the X-Factor definitely ended up doing a much better job. One thing the X-Men comics like doing a lot that I could definitely do without is all the “Surprise!” kisses that occur. The villains seem to love doing that to the heroes which is definitely a dicey power move. There are way better ways to make the villains a threat than by doing that. There aren’t any quality romances to be found here, that’s for sure. Throw in the Cyclops drama and you’ve got a real complicated situation for the heroes.
I would have liked to have seen more of Magik’s plot since hers was probably the most interesting. Limbo seems to have quite a lot of power struggles over there and with her abilities continuing to grow it would be interesting to see how she fares against the bigger X-Men villains. I’m thinking that’s why they always keep her out of Earth. Even the Sinister threat probably would have been a whole lot smaller if she was around since one or two hits would probably take him down for the count.
The art is definitely real solid. It’s pretty consistent across the various titles. The character designs are definitely on point although of course a lot of them look pretty evil most of the time since they slowly start to lose their sanity. The battle scenes are definitely really good and it’s definitely an easy page turner. The pages are never too busy where you have to slow down. This trade also brings a lot of issues so it’s definitely a comic where you get your money’s worth.
Overall, There’s a lot happening in Inferno. It’s definitely very dramatic and the characters get a lot of development here. It’s not quite my favorite X-Men arc, but on the whole it was definitely pretty solid. I could definitely roll with seeing the town go crazy a little longer. I do think the epilogue parts are a bit hard to swallow though as there were too many witnesses for this to be swept under the rug. I mean, the humans in these comics usually aren’t too smart, but I dare say that this is almost pushing it a bit. It’s easy to see why Earth would crumble without the superheroes in these things. If you haven’t read Inferno volume 1 yet then you’ll probably want to do that before jumping into volume 2. It’ll definitely flow a lot better for you that way.