It’s round three of the war between Inhumans and Mutants from the creative team of Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire, Javier Garrón and Andres Mossa
Last issue saw New Attilan sacked by the X-Men and the majority of Queen Medusa’s forces banished to limbo. Only Iso and Inferno managed to escape with the aide of the ancient Inhuman, Eldrac, who teleported the two to a remote corner of Alberta, Canada.
Here the ultimate aim of The X-Men’s multi-tiered offensive is made clear. Laying siege to New Attilan, destroying The RIV, capturing Black Bolt and subduing Karnak was all a smokescreen diversion, something to keep The Inhumans out of the way in order to give Forge the opportunity to engage a device that will destroy the Terrigen Cloud.
Eldrac transports Iso and Inferno to the exact location of Forge’s device, where they find it defended by Old Man Logan. A fight quickly ensures where Inferno takes on Logan while Iso attempts to navigate Forge’s defenses so to disable the cloud-nullifying machine.
Inferno’s battle with Logan takes an interesting turn. The matter hasn’t been touched on since way back in Inhuman Annual #1, but Inferno’s powers are not truly fire oriented… rather they are based on magma. He can transform his body into a type of organic molten lava. It takes Logan be surprise and allows Inferno to gain a decisive win.
Iso, meanwhile, pulls a trick she had worked out before (in the pages of Uncanny Inhumans #6). She generates microscopeic vacuum pockets in the cerebral blood vessels coursing through Forge’s brain. This has the effect of temporarily diminishing his intelligence and leaving him vulnerable to the power of suggestion. Before he knows it, Forge is explaining his device to Iso, informing her of the machine’s central weakness most easily exploited by her powers.
Having dispatched the machine, Iso and Inferno escape on the X-Men’s skybike, taking the unconscious Forge with them so to ensure he cannot build another of these machines. A horribly-burred though quickly-healing Logan is left with he undesirable task of having to contact Storm and inform her that the plan had gone awry.
Magneto is outraged and Magik is confused. All of the ‘significant’ Inhumans have been accounted for… how could this have happened? Clearly Emma’s intricate plot had not factored in the threat posed by the newer Inhumans.
The scene switches to Limbo where the majority of The Inhumans have been incarcerated within a weblike force shield, protecting them from the various demons and goblins soaring about.
Medusa and the others gather, attempting to devise a means of escape. There doesn’t appear to be one and their better bet is to be rescued, but by whom? Medusa doubts her son, Ahura, would be inclined to assist; he’s made it clear he wishes to walk his own path. Black Bolt, Karnak, and Lockjaw are not accounted for, yet it seems far too likely that the X-Men have dealt with them as well. Then Frank McGee suggests that their best hope may be other NuHumans like himself; there are a lot of them out there, powerful ones, and those The X-Men don’t even know about.
Elsewhere, Iso and Inferno are having the same idea. They need to gather a force of NuHumans and retake New Attilan so to rescue the others. But how? Who could possible have the wit, resources and pull to bring together such a gathering? Fortunately, Iso knows exactly whom to ask.
After what must have been one of the wilder group text sessions ever, Ms. Marvel has amassed an impressive crew of Inhumans to help the cause. This includes Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, Mosaic, Grid, Synapse, Daisy Johnson and Reader. How exactly Ms. Marvel got all these folks together and whether or not they truly know what they’re signing up for remains to be seen.
The scene switches again to where Jean Grey has attempted to keep Karnak subdued. Karnak finally ascertains the flaw in Jean’s illusion and is able to escape from the mental prison she had trapped him in. He escapes, but only to find he is actually in a prison within a prison, trapped inside ‘The World,’ the artificial realm where the Weapon Plus program resides.
And while Karnak may have bested Jean’s telepathic illusions, in order to truly escape he must first go through Fantomex.
Back on New Attilan, Storm’s X-Men team are desperate to find Forge. They are running out of time and retrieving Forge so he can recreate his cloud destroying machine appears to be their only option for taking out the Terrigen Cloud before it permanently binds with the atmosphere. Storm orders that the X-Men break into two teams, one to search out any new Inhumans who could pose a threat, and a second to utilize Cerebra to locate and rescue Forge.
The X-Men are racing against the clock… not only do they have only a short amount of time before the earth becomes fully inhospitable to Mutant life, but The Royal Inhuman may soon discover a means of free themselves from Limbo. Rogue shudders at the thought of how angry the Inhumans will be once they discover what The X-Men have done with Back Bolt. With that, the scene switches one last time to an undisclosed location where Black Bolt has been maintained in some bizarre looking stasis chamber.
And here the issues ends with the promise of continuation.
The epic scale of the second issue is replaced with something much more plot-oriented, with significantly less action. It doesn’t exactly feel like a filler issue… more so a means of getting from the intense battle that took place in issue two to the intense battle that looking to go down in issue four. It’s a necessity, to be sure, but a bit of a letdown nonetheless just because the issue isn’t as exciting and grand of scale as the prior installment had been.
I’ll be very interested to see how Kamala managed to get Moon Girl, Synapse and the others to answer her call to action. Ms. Marvel is a former Avenger and when Avengers call heroes come, but will these Inhumans be willing to fight if they learn that their victory could bring about the end of the Mutant race?
Too much hinges on the fact that The Inhumans do not yet know that The Terrigen Cloud is dissipating and binding with the atmosphere. There’s no way that Ms. Marvel, or Synapse, or even Iso and Inferno would fight against The X-Men if they were to know Mutant extinction was at risk.
Morally, the X-Men are in the right on this one, but they’ve made a critical error in not trusting The Inhumans. Had they allowed Beast to share this information with Medusa, this whole conflict could have been avoided… As it is, it makes The X-Men look like the aggressors, invaders who have laid sieges to what is essentially a sovereign nation. That alone might be enough to get the other NuHumans to fight against them, but if they knew what was truly at stake, I imagine that most (perhaps even the Royal Inhumans themselves) would actually assist The X-Men in destroying the Terrigen Cloud.
A lifetime of being feared and hated has robbed from The Mutants the one thing they need most to prevail: trust in others.
Garrón and Mossa do excellent work on the art. The style is quite different compared to Leinil Yu, which makes the transition a bit jarring, but the line-work is ultra confident and smooth and the color pallet works wonderfully. It’s neat getting to see Garrón illustrating Ms. Marvel and Inferno… a little preview of what’s to come when Secret Warriors hits the stands this spring.
With issue two being pretty much all action, it ended up being a bit necessary for this third issue to be largely plot. As such, it’s not as exciting, but still a fun read and definitely succeeds in leaving me psyched for the next installment.
Recommended. Three and a half out of Five Lockjaws
<- these dots are a special gift to my good friend, Adam :3