It’s the second installment of the mega event cross-over from the creative team of Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Yu, and David Curiel, with a bevy of covers by David Curiel, Leinil Yu, Michael Cho, and Terry Dodson.
The Terrigen Cloud has been found as deadly poisonous to the Mutants and The Beast’s discovery suggests that in short time the cloud will bind with the atmosphere and make the earth uninhabitable to the entire Mutant race. The previous issue showed the X-Men taking matters into the own hands, breaking the tentative truce with New Attilan and launching a series of preemptive strikes against the most powerful of The Inhumans. With Black Bolt incapacitated, Karnak trapped, and the entire RIV destroyed by Magneto, Medusa is left with depleted forces to protect New Attilan and fend off a full scale siege of one of the largest collection of X-Men ever assembled.
With the X-Men at the gates, Medusa quickly issues her orders. The children, elderly and all other noncombatants are rushed to shelters in the bowls of the city, soldiers are sent to the front line. The young Inhumans, Iso and Inferno are tasked with escaping so that she may somehow find and rally the other Inhumans yet to be accounted for. Johnny Storm requests that he be allowed to go out and attempt to broker a peace, but Medusa doesn’t allow it. The X-Men have come for war and nothing is going to dissuade them. Nor does Medusa want Johnny at her side. She can take care of herself and there are sure to be others who are more needed of his aide. Medusa dons a formidable-looking battle suit, with various axe-like weapons laced into her flowing hair. She knows that the odds are stacked tall against her people, but she is refusing to go down without a fight. It’s totally bad-ass…
The X-Men breach the gates and a tremendous battle ensues. The X-Men have little difficulty with he rank and file of New Attilan’s populace. They tear through the city’s defenses, leaving frightened citizens running for their lives. War seems ill suited to The X-Men’s leader, Storm. She isn’t pulling any punches yet comes across as remorseful that it is has all come to this. She issues orders to the others to be sure not to injury any of the civilians.
While the unnamed Inhumans don’t put up much of a fight, Nur, Flint and Naja more than hold their own. And this is when Storm issues the execution of ‘phase two.’ This phase two involves Magik entering into the fray, grabbing each of the Inhuman heavy hitters and teleporting them each into Limbo. One just page Magik is able to dispatch the majority of the Inhuman forces. It’s rather impressive and one gets the sense Illyana might have been able to successfully conduct this siege all on her own.
Meanwhile, the younger Beast has made his way deeper into he city, to his older self’s laboratory. He there to rifle through the older Beast’s findings and ascertain some means of destroying the second and final Terrigen Cloud. Medusa finds him there and is incensed. Grasping onto his leg with her prehensile hair, Medusa smashes McCoy about the lab, bellowing claims of treachery. McCoy responds that they had no choice, but Medusa is in no shape to hear it. The Inhumans, she proclaims, had dedicated themselves to working with The X-Men and this favor was returned with betrayal.
McCoy is saved when Nightcrawler teleports into the lab, grabs Medusa and teleports away… no doubt delivering her to Magik so to be dispatched to Limbo.
Elsewhere, Iso and Inferno flee through the mayhem searching for a means to escape. They make it to the flight deck where there are still a few sky sleds left undamaged. Unfortunately, to get to them involves going through Sabertooth.
Just then, Johnny Storm blazes in and engages Sabertooth. Johnny sacrifice buys the time needed for Iso and Inferno to take off to the skies. Iso has formulated a clear idea where they need to go, it’s just a matter of getting there in time.
Storm is made aware of the two young Inhumans escape and she send Angel and Wolverine to intercept them. The sky sled has nowhere near the speed to outrun Angel and Inferno does his best to shoot fireboats at their gaining pursuers. It’s to no avail. Angle tosses Wolverine at the sled and she uses her claws to carve through it, bifurcating the sled in two in mid air.
Iso uses her vacuum powers to cushion their descent. They’ve actually made it to where she was hoping to arrive. Inferno is still confused, what could Iso possibly be looking for on the beach-coast of the New Jersey shore. The answer is made evident when Iso uses her power to unearth the sand covering the enormous face of Eldrac The Door.
Eldrac has remained here ever since the final issue of Inhuman where he apparently committed suicide while gazing out across the bay. Yet Eldrac is not dead, only in a sleep-like stasis. Edlrac’s teleporting powers can take anyone where ‘they need to go’ and Iso pleads with him to wake up and help them escape.
Wolverine catches up with the two and lunges forward with what is sure to be a killing blow. Just then, Eldrac comes to life, blue energies exude from his mouth and teleports Iso and Inferno to places unknown.
It remains unclear exactly where the two have been transported. Possibly the Savage Land or perhaps some other tropical zone. Awaiting them there is Old Man Logan, claws already unsheathed.
As quixotic as Eldrac can be, there is sure to be a reason why he has transported the two there. My guess is that the machine Logan is standing in front of is some form of device meant to neutralize and destroy the Terrigen Cloud.
And it is here where this breathtaking issue ends.
Seeing my beloved Inhuman so entirely routed is a very tough thing, yet I find some lukewarm comfort in the fact that the issue is so brilliantly done, with breakneck action and absolutely stellar art. Plus it’s kind of nice seeing The X-Men firing on all cylinders once again. Emma plan to divide and conquer and Storm’s execution of the final siege went off like clockwork and there is sure tobsome very happy X-Men fans crowing about on the message forums… As for The Inhumans, things are not looking too good… a solemn scene shows them looking dejected and forlorn atop a spire in the gloomy backdrop of Limbo.
The big mystery the reader is left with is what is going on with Logan and that big ol’ machine in the jungle setting. We know from Marvel’s twitter teasers that Logan will be fighting Inferno and Iso will do battle with Forge… so it’s a good bet Forge is there as well. Forge is likely working on and calibrating the machine so to take out the cloud. The next issue is certain to show a throw-down between these four with the fate of their respective people in the balance. Can’t wait to read it!
The artwork by Gerry Alanguilan and Leinil Yu with David Curiel on colors is just top notch across the board. It truly excels in hammering home the epic feeling of the conflict. The opening scenes of Medusa and the others hurrying about in preparation for The X-Men’s attack just crackled with tense, anticipatory energy. And the battle itself was like a crashing wave of punching, lasers and lightning
It has seemed as though Marvel has been trying for a while now to get The Inhumans to capture that Lord of The Rings/Game of Thrones feelings… This issue in particular succeeds in achieving the goal. The battle sort of reminds me of the siege of the Fortress of Hornburg from Tolkien’s ‘The Two Towers.’ It’s an exceptionally fun read.
The chase scene at the end is also a very cool bit. The panel of Wolverine severing through the sky-sled was particularly wild. And it was very neat that Soule and Lemire chose to bring Eldrac back into the fold. Readers unfamiliar with Soule, Stegmen, et al.’s prior run on Inhuman may have felt a bit confused as to who this Eldrac is. Yet the dialogue offers adequate exposition and his showing back up is a very much appreciated wink to us longtime Inhumans fans out there.
My only complaint would be that ‘phase two’ worked a bit too well. Having Magik transport each Inhuman to Limbo is a cool idea but kind of made it all look too easy. I would have liked to have seen the fights between Psylocke and Nur, Cyclops and Flint, and Iceman and Naja go on a little longer before Magik interceded. Then again, I’d also like the issue to be twenty pages longer, so I’m aware my complaint may be a bit unreasonable.
Again I hated seeing my Inhumans so defeated, but I know it is merely a battle and not the war. And I cannot deny that it’s a tremendously well done comic with fantastic art and a very cool story. This is an event book done right! Strongly recommended!
Four and a half out of Five Lockjaws!