The Mutant Inhuman War comes to it climatic conclusion in this finale from the creative team of Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Yu and David Curiel.
It all comes down to this with the fate of two species hanging in the balance. On the cold shores Iceland, The X-Men have only moments to destroy the Terrigen Cloud before it dissipates and leaves the Earth completely uninhabitable to Mutants. Many of the younger, newer Inhumans have learned this perilous truth and have opted to assist the X-Men in destroying the cloud. Emma Frost, in her zeal but gain revenge for the death of her love, Scott Summers, has ordered the X-Men to attack, not realizing that they are inadvertently taking arms against what may be their last best chance at survival. Amidst the chaos, The Royal Inhumans arrive, but have they the strength to turn the tide? Do they know the truth about the Terrigen Cloud? Will they be willing to sacrifice the future of their own race so to save the Mutants?
Emma leads the charge. She doesn’t appear especially concerned about the approaching Terrigen Cloud and the certain doom that it entails. Perhaps she has become resigned to her fate and wants to make sure that as many Inhumans die alongside her as possible. Rogue tries to remind Emma that their true mission is to save Mutants, not take out Inhumans, but Emma has other things in mind.
Merging her mind and mental powers with that of the Stepford Cuckoos greatly enhances Emma’s psychic powers. Together, they take over the wills of Johnny Storm and the many of the younger Inhumans, turning them against the Royals. Crystal manages to take to take out Magneto; and Naja takes out Storm (sort of), but Magik teleports in numerous X-Men reinforcements. The Royals are quickly outmatched, overpowered and overwhelmed.
Though still in a weakened state from his time imprisoned in Forge’s stasis chamber, Black Bolt takes action. He knows that Emma is the key, that taking her down may turn the tide and he darts in to engage her. Emma knew it would come to this. She had been practicing for months, honing the speed at which she can transform into her diamond form. She anticipates Black Bolt attack and counters in a dash, taking on her diamond form and plunging her arm, like a sword, into Black Bolt’s chest.
The Inhumans are beaten.
But the X-Men may be as well…
The Terrigen Cloud is bearing down on the shore. Three enormous zeppelins emerge from the cloud. They are the vehicles of The Ennilux Corporation, the shadowy Inhuman organization currently run by Medusa’s son, Ahura.
Ahura and his Ennilux forces fight back the X-Men, offering Iso a moment to confer with her queen. And here Medusa finally learns the truth of why The X-Men had waged this war on The Inhumans. Iso explains that the cloud is causing the atmosphere to become saturated with Terrigen, that quite soon it will reach a point where all Mutant life on earth will be eradicated. If only The X-Men had told her, surely some peaceful solution could have been achieved. Yet The Inhumans hadn’t given The X-Men very good reason to trust them and the stakes had become too high to leave the matter to chance.
With Ennilux’s assistance, Forge and Moon Girl had rebuilt the Terrigen-nullifying device. The entire cloud and all the remaining Terrigen could be destroyed with the push of a single button. The Inhumans would lose their heritage, the very way of life, but the Mutants would be saved.
Moon Girl hands the remote control to the device to Medusa. Iso states that the decision should be in her hands. Medusa agrees and engages the device without the slightest hesitation.
A flash of blinding light is emitted from the zeppelins as a series of rays strike the Terrigen cloud destroying it in entirety. The threat has ended, the Mutants have been saved. It is over.
Or is it?
Emma is not content with the mere abolishment of the threat. The Inhumans have been responsible for countless Mutant deaths, including that of Scott, and she insists that true vengeance must be extracted.
The X-Men are unwilling to continue the fight in this fashion. Cyclops reveals that Emma had manipulated them, that the Scott who had died in Madrid was merely a mental illusions Emma had put int heir minds.
In truth, Scott had died from Terrigen poisoning at the very beginning when it was first discovered that Terrigen was lethal to Mutants. All of this could have been avoided had she not insisted in seek revenge in Scott’s name.
The X-Men will no longer fight for Emma, yet she had planned for such a contingency. For her this was always going to be about the destruction of The Inhumans. During her months of planning, she had coopted Forge’s will and manipulated him into building a quartette of super sentinels, redesigned to target Inhumans rather than Mutants.
Emma deploys these sentinels and they attack, catching many X-Men in the crossfire. The Ennilux zeppelins are destroyed, their crews killed. The X-Men’s android ally, Cerebra, is also destroyed when Magneto joins Emma’s side in attacking The Inhumans.
The Inhumans and X-Men join forces in taking on the super sentinels. A still gravely injured Black Bolt flies Medusa to atop one of the sentinels to take on Emma. Emma switches to her diamond form to perry Medusa’s attack. Altering into her diamond form incapacities Emma’s telepathic abilities. In as such it is revealed that she had taken advantage of Magneto’s having lost his helmet to garner control over his mind. Released from her control, Magneto retaliates and he, Storm and The Human Torch destroy Emma’s sentinels.
Emma is ensnared in Medusa’s locks. The two queens argue back and forth. Regardless of it not being the real Scott, Medusa still gave the order for him to be killed. Medusa admits to this, but adds that she hated herself for having to make that call, for being unable to find another way.
Medusa constricts her hair, tightening it around Emma. It seems for a moment as though Emma’s diamond form may crack, that she will be killed by Medusa. At the last moment, however, Medusa is struck in the back by one of Havoc’s solar blasts.
Havok has saved Emma, but he explains that he hasn’t done it for her, but rather as a last favor for his fallen brother, Scott. Using some type of teleportation device, Havok takes Emma and teleports them both elsewhere.
The fighting is done.
A series of epilogues shows the various outcomes of this war. The X-Men are relived that this threat to their race has abated; that the months of hiding and running have come to an end and that they will enjoy a new day, a return to prominence in the broader world. Yet many feel guilty for not having trusted their ally, Hank McCoy. McCoy leaves the X-Men, it appears he no longer wants anything to do with them.
Emma Frost has gone to ground, hiding from retribution from The Inhumans, and Ennilux and possibly her fellow X-Men; and plotting her next move. A scene shows her donning a new costume, an amalgamation of her own outfit combined with that formerly worn by Scott Summers. This new costume seems connote her new life as an outsider and a villain.
Medusa doesn’t truly blame Emma. She can sympathize with all she had been through. She doesn’t see Emma as evil, but rather as heartbroken, driven somewhat mad by the gravity of her lose.
Reflecting on the matter, Medusa seems to decide that life is too short and too precious to hold so tightly to grudges. That perhaps the penance her former husband has served has been suffice. She breaks off her affair with Johnny Storm, thanking him for his companionship and wishing him goodbye.
The Inhumans are left with an uncertain future. The Terrigen has been lost and with it their way of life. The younger generation of Inhumans and the generations after that may never know true fulfillment, may never be able to achieve the splendor of becoming their true selves.
Yet their ways and their customs could not be worth a single Mutant life much less all of them. Medusa knows she has done the right thing, but it does not make the cost of it any easier to bare.
She chooses the abdicate her throne, handing rulership over New Attilan and The Inhuman people to Iso. Iso, in turn suggests democratic elections. Democracy over monarchy… The Inhuman ways and culture is surely coming to an end. Yet perhaps change is what is needed, maybe the Inhumans can learn from their Mutant cousins and adapt so to survive.
Anything is possible and a final scene shows Medusa meeting with her former husband in the Quite Room. He has recovered from his wounds and it looks quite possible that their marriage and relationship may recover as well.
A very satisfactory finale to a surprisingly good event book.
The whole ordeal was not especially necessary, the war between The X-Men and Inhumans was not needed. Yet in that it had to happen, it was at least done well.
Event books are profitable. And it’s clear Marvel was hoping that tethering The Inhumans with The X-Men would result in augmenting The Inhumans’ status. Personally, I would have preferred that the two teams had stayed more separate… would have rather that Charles Soule could have been allowed to tell the stories he had planned and didn’t have to redirect things so to accommodate this artificial conflict with The X-Men. Many of the plot-lines Soule had built up, the Sky Spears, Ennilux and the fate of Utolan, each had to be placed on the back burner so to make room for IvX. Hopefully these plot points will be picked up on by the new Inhumans writers. It’s too bad that Soule couldn’t address them himself. But again, in that IvX did have to happen, I’m glad that it was done well.
The art by Gerry Alanguilan, Leinil Yu, Javier Garrón, Andres Mossa and David Curiel is all just fantastic. Their collective feat is particularly impressive in light of the rapid pace in which IvX unfolded. The event sped through twice monthly without a delay and. though the middle act lagged a touch, the whole thing proceeded at a terrific speed that kept me thoroughly engaged all the way through.
I suppose a part of me is disappointed that my beloved Inhumans lost this war. Yet they lost with class and ultimately did the right thing. I didn’t like seeing Black Bolt so thoroughly defeated, but my upset over it is easily overshadowed by how glad I was that Medusa trigger the Terrigen destroying device without hesitation. In the end, The Royals proved that they are not the heartless, genocidal monsters that the necessities of the narrative at times made them seem to be.
In reviewing the previous installments of this series I’ve done a lot of pontificating over the thematics of race, culture, assimilation and accommodation. I’m sure it all seemed quite pedantic (if not for the multiple spelling errors :p).
Rather than try to intellectualize the matter further, I’d like to share a rather personal reaction that came to mind in that ending scene where Medusa was sitting before her people mourning the loss of the Terrigen. It reminded me of the last Passover Seder I went to at my grandmothers apartment. My grandmother was quite old and rather ill and most of us were aware this was likely to be out last seder all together. My grandmother was the last member of the family who was devoutly religious, who insisted on following the customs and doing things a particular way.
It didn’t dawn on my at the time, but in this last Seder I wasn’t just preparing myself to lose my grandmother, but I was also losing an aspect of my culture. Sure the family would go on to have other seders in the future, but it would not be the same… no one would be speaking Yiddish and making sure everything was done just right. The true sense of culture, ritual and custom just wouldn’t be there.
In short I can relate on a level with the loss endured by The Inhumans. The ways of Attilan are weird and frightening and often problematic, but it is their ways. And it is a tremendous loss.
Still, with every end there are new beginnings. The X-Men are receiving a rather bright new beginning, with a large host of new titles; as well as a new villain who may have what it takes to finally replace the reformed Magneto.
The inhumans are getting a new beginning as well. This chapter of The inhumans mythos is coming to a close ands though it is a somber end, it is not one without hope. And the launching ‘The Royals’ this spring it’s entirely possible that Medusa will succeed in discovering a new source of Terrigen so that her people may truly live again.
Good stuff! Four out of Five LockJaws for this sixth issue;
Three out of Five Lockjaws for the event as a whole.