When Johnathan Hickman reimagined the X-Men line with House of X/Powers of X, so many new ideas were introduced, but it feels like a lot of those ideas weren’t really touched on outside of a few issues of X-Men — that is, until Inferno, however. And Inferno #3 reinvigorates a lot of the same energy as House of X/Powers of X once had.
In many ways, Inferno makes the last two years of X-Men stories feel mostly useless. Like, outside of a few issues of Hickman’s X-Men, we didn’t really need any of it to continue the story. Inferno feels less like a culmination of the last two years of X-Men stories and more like a direct sequel to House of X/Powers of X. It holds this air of importance that I missed in the X-line, this idea that now the story is actually moving somewhere and the things in this title actually matter.
Inferno is good for that reason, but it also makes me worry for the future of the line. Once Inferno ends, will we still have that forward momentum? Will stories still feel like they’re moving towards a goal? Or will we go back to pussyfooting around in contained stories that don’t seem to matter outside of their title?
What made the Krakoa era interesting was the idea that those plot threads from House of X/Powers of X mattered, that we were building to a greater story setup in those titles. And until Inferno, it felt a bit directionless in that regard at times.
The opening pages with Doug on Krakoa are pretty interesting and they touch on ideas from HoX/PoX, lending credence to my earlier statement that Inferno feels like a direct sequel to that event. It’s neat to see the early stages of that come into play and you can always tell Hickman seems to have a blast writing Doug.
Emma Frost is probably one of the most interesting characters in Inferno, however. Hickman seems to realize that Emma is a calculating woman and she’s someone who doesn’t like to be yanked around. She’s playing a chess game of her own and no one can argue that the White Queen’s intentions aren’t good. She’s emerging as a major force in this Erik/Moira/Mystique/Charles game and it’s a blast to see all of that unfold. Emma Frost is cunning and a force to be reckoned with — and Inferno realizes that quite well.
Inferno #3 is light on the action, but it shines in its dialogue. There are plenty of great lines in this book, from Erik to Emma to even Nimrod himself. There doesn’t need to be heavy action for this book to be interesting to read.
One striking thing is how Hickman directly parallels some ideas in HoX/PoX. If you remember, when Moira approached Charles, he was struck with the reality of mutants “always lose.” And Krakoa was supposed to be different, it was supposed to be the one time mutants did win. But one thing Hickman has done since HoX/PoX is make the reader question “can we trust Moira?” and no series has examined that question more than Inferno.
In the scenes with Nimrod, he’s told mutants always win. And it becomes clear here that some of the things we weren’t allowed to see in HoX/PoX will finally be revealed — and the secrets “burning away” will be explosive.
This is where Hickman finally demonstrates that he understands the core appeal of the X-Men. It’s not the action, the sci-fi, the villains — it’s the character drama and character relationships that attract people to the X-Men. And that’s what makes Inferno work so well — it’s a book entirely about dynamics, betrayal, and secrets between the cast of characters. It’s about interpersonal drama.
Inferno #3 sets quite the interesting stage both in the explosive nature of its character dynamics, which seems to be coming to a boiling point and in its impending action. Nimrod is finally setting foot on the island and at this point, the only thing that’s clear is that Inferno #4 will be a wild ride from start to finish.
Hickman’s writing is strong in this issue and every artist brings their A-game to the table. Several interesting concepts like Dominions and post-humanity from HoX/PoX are finally referenced again, kicking the plot back into action for the entire Krakoa era as a whole. All of this together makes Inferno the most exciting thing to happen to X-Men since HoX/PoX.
Join the AIPT Patreon
Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:
- ❌ Remove all ads on the website
- 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
- 📗 Access to our monthly book club
- 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
- 💥 And more!