Inferno #1, written by Jonathan Hickman and with art by Valerio Schiti, marks the end of two eras; the first being the era marked by Hickman’s time (though, if what has been said in various interviews and press releases is to be believed, not the end of the Krakoa era writ large), and the end of the early days of the aforementioned Krakoa era which began in 2019 with House of X and Powers of X (pronounced “ten”).
Like much of the current X-Line, Inferno is looking back at the same time as it looks forward. In a line featuring titles that borrow the names of series and teams from the past like Excalibur and X-Factor, it’s no wonder that the name Inferno would be chosen for what is set to be an earth-shattering, status quo-shifting series. But it isn’t just the legacy of the title that factors into what it could mean. Inferno is Mystique following Destiny’s instructions and burning Krakoa to the ground, something that I can’t wait to see play out.
Like House of X before it, Inferno begins with rebirth; in a scene meant to evoke the first glimpse readers got of Krakoa, Emma Frost resurrects Xavier and Magneto, wearing Cerebro and saying, “to me, my X-Men” as she does so. What this means is yet to be seen but, more likely than not, this heralds the fact that the old guards time, here represented by Xavier and Magneto, is over, and a new guard, illustrated by Emma, is set to take over once the dust has settled.
There’s a lot to focus on with Inferno. It’s a massive issue, clocking in at 51 pages, and a lot happens in those pages; there are multiple Nimrods! Orchis knows about resurrection! A (quite literal) changing of the guards with the appointments of two new captains! What’s more important than all of that, though, at least in my opinion, is that, in the resolution of a plot point that began with X-Men #6, Mystique finally got her wife back.
There’s an element of subterfuge to Inferno that is best emblematized by Mystique bringing Destiny back from the dead both against the wishes of Xavier and Magneto and without their knowledge. While it serves as a relief to finally see Mystique get a win after begging for Destiny’s resurrection, it also highlights the fact that, as much as they may like to pretend it isn’t the case, Xavier and Magneto are not entirely in control. There are cracks that people like Mystique have found ways to slip through. Cracks that will only become more apparent as time goes on. As well, it doesn’t feel accidental that Destiny’s return happens as leaves are falling. Autumn, after all, is a time of change. A time of dying, yes, but death has long been a symbol of change as much as it is the mark of an ending.
Of course, Destiny and Mystique isn’t the only bit of closure we’re getting in Inferno; we’re also getting some movement on the Moira front, something that, outside of HoXPoX and, if memory serves, X-Men #20, we haven’t seen much over the course of Hickman’s time on X-Men. Moira’s expressions of being tired, of being locked away and hidden from the rest of mutantkind offer hints that perhaps by the end of this, she won’t be Krakoa’s best-kept secret (and possibly their only secret if Orchis really has figured out that mutants have been resurrecting).
As per usual, Valerio Schiti’s art is top-notch, and his women look fantastic. I don’t know what it is that he does, but somehow he makes me adore every woman he draws. I promise you that if I could, I would just put out a slideshow of every woman in this comic. But it isn’t just Schiti’s art that makes Inferno look as good as it does; I would be remiss not to mention the work that David Curiel put into the colours and the part they play in how beautiful the entire issue looks. If I were to open this to practically any page, I would be able to gush about at least one thing on every page, maybe even in every panel.
Typically this is the point where I would say whether or not this is a good first issue. The answer to that is no, it isn’t a good first issue. By design, Inferno requires the context that comes with, at the very least, House of X and X-Men #6 and #20. Inferno cannot stand alone; it just can’t, which isn’t a bad thing. Endings are not meant to stand on their own as pieces of media separate from their beginnings. On a fundamental level, that’s not how storytelling works. So no, a new reader couldn’t pick up Inferno and be able to gain their bearings immediately. But, as someone who, as of December 2020, was a new reader, it isn’t hard to get your bearings once you’ve done the required reading.
Inferno promises fire, it promises ashes, and most of all, it promises change. As Storm says, “change is in the air, it seems. I can feel it.” And so it is. Whatever happens in the next four issues will change Krakoa in ways we likely can’t fathom, and I for one can’t wait to see what comes next.
We are joined by the X-Perts Connor Goldsmith (Cerebro) and Jordan Blum (Co-Creator of M.O.D.O.K. on Hulu) to help you get into the modern era of X-Men with some recs for older eras! We bring all the chaotic energy you expect from an X-Men story, now in one convenient podcast! If you’re looking to jump into the X-Men, we’ve got you covered.
Best entrance to modern X-Men covered: House of X/Powers of X from Jonathan Hickman and Pepe Larraz
Things are about to get fast and furious as Amanda, Amir, Jon, and Dan find themselves trapped at old Camp Blood with a hockey wearing maniac thanks to the Grave Robber. Join the Chaos Crew as they try to survive while also discussing Jason Voorhees and everyone’s favorite holiday….. Friday the 13th.
I’ve been reading comics for about three years, but I’ve always been a bit intimidated by the long ongoing series with lots of history. As part of Gatecrasher’s ongoing ‘Is __ New Reader Friendly?’ series, I’m a pretty good candidate to review X-Men #1: I’ve never read any X-Men comics and the last (and only) movie I saw from the franchise was the 2009 Wolverine movie.
The comic begins with the first of three villain introductions. All three of these are mostly motivated within the space of the first comic, and are probably some of the most accessible parts of the story. There was only one panel that made me feel like I missed something in the first few pages, when one of the villains is shown watching the news and learning something about Mars. It wasn’t immediately clear what the villain saw on the news, but it seemed like a reference people who read previous comics would pick up. Ultimately, this confusion about Mars would continue later, but it wasn’t totally necessary information to know what this villain’s whole deal was.
From there, we entered the main story, and the general gist was easy to follow. Overnight the X-Men made a home base that doubled as a giant tree, explained as the result of someone pouring billions of dollars into real estate to make this happen overnight and an army of lawyers to defend them from anyone who complained after the fact. I’m not sure even billions of dollars could expedite New York zoning laws, but I guess if we have superheroes, we can have our fancy treehouse too. The comic has a cute graphic that has faces and names, but I was still a bit slow to realize Cyclops = Scott = Mr. Summers.
The dialogue here referenced a lot of things I didn’t have context on. It definitely didn’t seem like it was to catch up a new reader, more to connect the current story to previous events, for people who had more background than me. There were two topics I was a bit confused on which related to events before this comic: Mars, which was claimed as ‘Arakko’, and Krakoan politics. After reading the whole comic, I’m admittedly a bit lost on these still, despite the comic making a clear effort to catch a new reader up on these. These seem important to figure out because they will probably motivate a major storyline.
The last part of the main story was a big monster fight. This was accessible and easy to follow. The labeled names, in the beginning, helped a lot, but we also got to see the characters use their powers and call out to each other a lot, so it served as a good introduction to the heroes in action, including some callouts to other allies in the universe who aren’t part of this story. From there, we get a lead-in to the two remaining villain stories I mentioned above, which were again accessible because I think this was introducing these characters to the long-time readers as well.
In all, the main story was easy enough to follow for a completely new reader. The dialogue felt at times like a series of inside jokes that weren’t meant for you, but it only seemed to affect the main story in one case, so if you want to keep reading you might want to Google what’s going on with Mars.
The camera opens on Dan standing outside the Hellfire Gala in a high fashion version of some of the staples of the biggest heroes of his Earth. It’s clear that is far outside of his normal element tonight. He has been through a few different multiverses but this one is very new. It’s clear from his head darting back and forth that this isn’t his typical world outside his window. He turns towards the camera, his smile as bright as ever as he faces a whole new exciting challenge.
Dan: Hello viewers! I know, I know. I look dashing this evening but I had to! Couldn’t show up to the biggest event in the multiverse in sweatpants, now could I? Turns out that this Earth doesn’t have the same heroes as my own but it’s fine because I look hot. Tonight is about high fashion and the future of Mutant kind. Mutants are like the metahumans of our Earth but they are feared and hated by many. But it seems like that has changed of late. I have made contact with some reporters from this Earth, designation 616, to help me cover the event tonight. I was the only one from the team who got an invite… So to the GC52 team, hope you’re having a nice night!
I was lucky enough to be provided a camera crew. Well by crew I mean it’s multiple copies of one man. A Multiple Man as they called him. His name is Jamie, seems like a nice guy! It seems like he is the staff for the entire party.
Before I kick it over to our guest reporters, let’s chat with some of the guests. Oh look, there is a man who is…shirtless and covered in blood? Let’s see how he is doing…
The camera follows Dan as he approaches a red-headed man who seems to be looking for someone at the Gala.
Dan: Hi, Dan from GC52, would you mind telling me your name and who you’re wearing tonight?
Shatterstar: My name is Shatterstar and should I truly concern myself with answering your question? It seems I am underdressed, wearing only the blood of a death goddess and my ring attire and you…are entirely overdressed.
Dan: I didn’t realize people didn’t know who Batman was here, the cowl was a bold choice but… yeah. Wait, a death goddess? What happened?
Shatterstar: I am afraid the tale may take too much time to explain, but…would you truly like to know…? Man of Bats? Is that correct?
Dan: No, I’m Dan. Batman is a friend, he’s kind of like your Moo- never mind. Ring attire you said? Like one of the AEW Wrestlers from my universe?
Shatterstar: Wrestling? Are you asking me if I would like to wrestle you? Ah, perhaps we could participate in some blood sport if you were up to it!
Dan: No, I, uh, wow this universe is stranger than mine. Is there anyone you were hoping to see here tonight?
Shatterstar: I…yes actually. Perhaps you have seen him. Handsome, slightly shorter than yourself…most likely scowling—-wait there he is!
As he spots the man, he takes off behind him as Dan stands dumbfounded at the conversation he had just had. Dan: Well let’s kick it over to Brad and Lisa!
A camera cuts to Brad, his head turned over his shoulder, away from the viewer. As the image comes into focus, Brad swivels and smiles face-front. Behind him, the Gala roars with life. Doctor Doom saunters across the frame. We hear his laughter, and Brad attempts to talk loudly over it.
Brad: Oh my! Stars of the night sky tend to keep to fixed orbits and never interfere with one another. Things tend to operate that way in normal celebrity shindigs, but not tonight, and probably not any night here on Krakoa. These stars cannot help themselves from bashing into each other. Sadly, friends, you just missed the Latverian ruler, Mr. Doo – Doctor Doom mockingly relish an encounter between Emma Frost and a Shi’ar delegate. We’re not exactly sure what was said, but based on Steve Rogers’ expression as he gulped down his drink, it was a sick burn indeed.
Tonight’s Hellfire Gala has brought many oddballs into confrontations, and I’ve been trying to sidle into their personal space. Earlier, I came so close to catching an uncomfortable exchange between a bedazzled Charles Xavier and a stone-faced Reed Richards. There was no stretch to Mr. Fantastic’s grin as he whispered seemingly harsh words into Chuck’s ear. The professor had to collect himself before returning some severe shade to Richards’ son, Franklin. I don’t quite understand all the context to their chatter, but Xavier was certainly spitting some vicious innuendo.
However, the real party is the one happening outside the party. Let’s cut to my co-host Lisa as she gets the scoop on this Gala’s hidden nooks and crannies.
The camera cuts to an outdoor patio. Lisa is huddled around Ben Grimm, Bobby Drake, Lucas Bishop, and others.
Ben Grimm: It’s Gamblin’ Time!
Lisa and Bobby throw their hands in the air as dice hit the floor, and that’s when Lisa spots the camera and adjusts her dress. She picks a microphone off the ground and establishes her game-face, but a smile breaks through every other word.
Lisa: Hi, Brad! So, sorry. Just rolling some bones and making myself comfortable. As they say, when in Krakoa…right. But as I’m sure you were saying, with parties as wild as the Hellfire Gala, the real adventure is happening off the dance floor.
I noticed our pal Ben Grimm needed a little air – trouble in Fantastic paradise, perhaps. I trailed him outside, where he immediately invested himself in Pyro’s side hustle. The Thing’s an inside numbers man, but he hasn’t crapped out yet.
Brad: You don’t really sound that familiar with the game.
Lisa: Whatever. My actual wild card is the Zoom recorder tucked in my bra strap. Pyro spills beans when he’s rollin’. And I think his dice are loaded. Don’t tell Bishop.
Camera cuts back to Brad. He and Conan O’Brien are ogling Emma as she ascends the stairs.
Brad: Yes, well, um, there’s a lot to see here, and I think the surprises are only starting to reveal themselves.
The feed cuts back to Dan who is talking to Dr. Doom. Dan: Sorry Vic, give me 2 seconds. Hi viewers! Lets check in with Alicia who seems to be off in the corner over there… back to what I was saying, V, that green! So lavi-
The camera cuts to Alicia, standing off in an empty corner of the Hellfire Gala. Wolverine, Domino and Deadpool can be seen fighting off in the background.
Alicia: Good Evening, this is Alicia Wilder reporting live from the Hellfire Gala. The mutant nation of Krakoa is hosting its first big event, and so far, it’s been full of surprises. Though most guests seem to be unaware of any suspicious activity, I’ve had my eye on what’s been happening in the shadows.
Alicia looks to her left and right to see if anyone is visibly listening.
Alicia: With such a diverse guest list some of Krakoa’s strongest mutants are posted at the entrances. Things got off to a rocky start with the arrival of Iron Man. In true Tony Stark fashion, a flashy and not Krakaon-approved entrance was made. Tensions between this Avenger and Kid Omega, the mutant who put a stop to his antics, lead me to believe not everyone trusts this new nation.
Though the main event tonight is said to take place inside the minds of those attending, the docks on the outskirts of the island appear to be less than quiet. A mysterious box was seen both arriving and leaving the island. It left on the Marauder, a ship known to be associated with the Hellfire Trading Company. No word on what is in the box, but one can only imagine, with so many distinguished guests, what kind of back door deals are being made.
This exchange isn’t the only thing to happen outside the eye of the average party guest. It appears Deadpool was not on the invite list and is not happy about it. He just attempted to crash the party and a pretty intense fight is taking place between him, Wolverine and Domino.
Now, back to that distinguished guest list. Many ambassadors have been acting out of sorts throughout the night. Perhaps there is something in the water? Their actions haven’t gone unnoticed by the White Queen herself, who I just saw subtly excuse herself from the party to, as I can only assume, get to the bottom of things.
To Alicia’s right the image changes to Emma storming off while beast licks his fingers
Alicia: These seemingly minor incidents I’ve witnessed throughout the night hint at something bigger. What’s really going on with the Hellfire Trading Company? Are the mutants all really united, and on the same side? Is all the pomp and circumstance of this event really a cover for some secret plot involving the world’s ambassadors? All I know for sure is that this reporter won’t let the upcoming firework display distract me from finding the truth. Back to you (insert appropriate name here).
And with that camera cuts back to Dan who is coming back into the party from the beach.
Dan: Sorry, I met some nice fellas who wanted to shotgun beers. You know me, can’t turn down a good Miller High Life, the champagne of beer felt fitting for the event. The Deadpool looked like Deathstroke but if he was, well more annoying. It was me, Adam X the X-treme who is like a youtube star or a snuff film maker, not sure there. There was this other guy who popped his beer with a claw in his actual plan.
Logan gives Dan a nod as he walks past and goes to do something else.
Dan: Funny story though! Deadpool and Logan both complimented my Harley Quinn and Batman pieces. Turns out, funny enough, they know Batman and Harley from Fortnite! You know that WILD battle royale we have been covering? Small multiverse. Anyone, let’s check in on…
Dan squints at the teleprompter.
Dan: That can’t be right, the Dan of Earth 616 was killed by Dan of- OH GROTE. Dan GROTE. Yes. Awesome. Jamie, you can edit that out right?
Jamie: Yes, I was 100% paying attention…
The camera cuts to Hot Goss Grote, dressed in what can only be described as stuff he fished out of Jumbo Carnation’s dumpster.
Hot Goss Grote: Hey there, Dan, Hot Goss Grote, comin’ at ya hard and fast with the latest out of the Hellfire Gala, and let me tell you, I’ve seen a lot of wild things tonight — and had a few things telepathically implanted into my brain — but if I’m being honest, one thing stands out to me more than any other. The egg woman.
Dan: The … egg woman?
Hot Goss’ expression changes from one of camera-ready excitement to distracted pondering.
Hot Goss: Dan, I’m gonna show you some footage from earlier in the evening
The monitor shows the Hellions crashing the party.
Hot Goss: So, our crew had been following around Alex Summers, aka Havok, former leader of the government-sponsored mutant team X-Factor and former leader of the Avengers Unity Squad, but frankly he wasn’t doing anything interesting, just going up to members of the Quiet Council and begging for them to resurrect his dead clone girlfriend. But then we caught this 3-foot egg exoskeleton with red gloves, boots and lipstick, and … Dan, I’m sorry, I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
Dan: Well who is she, H.G.? Is she a member of the Quiet Council? A Krakoan ambassador?
Hot Goss: Based on some yelling I overheard, her name is Nanny. She doesn’t appear to be one of Krakoa’s public figures. In fact it sounds like they’re ashamed of her, but she was very drunk, and very angry with noted mutant geneticist and cape aficionado Mister Sinister. In fact, once she’d dumped enough liquid courage into the top of her head, Nanny charged at Sinister with a broken bottle declaring, and I quote, “Judgment Day, mother[bleep].”
Dan: And when you say, “dumped liquid courage into the top of her head” …
Hot Goss stares into the middle distance.
Dan: Hot Goss, Hot Goss, you gotta stay with us, buddy.
Hot Goss: OK, well, you know how I said she had lips, right?
Hot Goss: Well, those lips weren’t made for drinking. For about an hour, I watched as Nanny dumped bottle after bottle into a hole in the top of her exoskeleton, as if there were a gaping maw inside, facing the heavens, making cartoon glug noises. I’d never seen anything like it.
Dan: Is there anything else you can tell us about the gala, Hot Goss? Any celebrity sightings? International diplomacy? Surprise canoodling? Tell me you at least saw the fireworks at the end.
Hot Goss: Fireworks? Oh, I missed those entirely. My attention span kind of trailed off after she left. But Nanny, if you’re out there, call me. Please.
Hot Goss puts his thumb and pinky to the side of his head.
Hot Goss: Back to you in the studio, Dan!
The camera cuts back to Dan, clearly regretting the studio’s decision to hire a gossip reporter.
Dan: At least my world isn’t the only one so chaotic… I did meet this nice man earlier, Steve Rogers. He’s called Captain America and carries a shield… It’s a choice. Turns out they have a Captain Britain as well who does not have a shield but she is a great dancer! I twirled with her and her friend Rachel! Just delightful people. They were a bit tiffed that the UK pulled out of the Krakoan drug deal. All that was cleared up when I showed them that this humble reporter can drop his ass like it was my secondary mutation.
Dan: Let’s check in with Justin because I heard Dazzler is at this party and I am really trying to do a duet with her. Do we think she knows any Carly Rae Jepsen?
The camera pans across a crowded Hellfire Gala floor showing mutants and humans mingling.
Justin: Good evening and welcome to a night of mutant fashion and flair. I’m Justin Wilder reporting live on the green carpet as homo-superior takes center stage for the Hellfire Gala. Oh, John look up, it seems like… something is about to happen.
The camera follows as Marvel Girl / Jean Grey floats into the room
Justin: Marvel Girl and Cyclops are calling everyone’s attention. What was just a room teeming with sound and energy, has now suddenly fallen silent as all of the mutants’ glow with an unknown pink energy. Let’s see if we can figure out what’s going on.
The camera finds and focuses on a group of non-mutant super heroes.
Justin: Excuse me, Dr. Strange, can you tell me what’s going on here?
Dr. Strange: Telepathically bonded, every mutant who wishes to is telling the others why they want to be an X-Man
Justin: Sounds like quite the conversation, are you sure humans should be spying on it?
Sersi: If you have the ears to hear… they are shouting out from every corner of the Earth. No one is hiding anything here. There’s no shame.
Justin: Wow. Still feels kind of personal. Maybe I’m just jealous that I can’t hear. I’d be happy to transcribe what you’re… oh something is happening.
The camera centers on Marvel Girl / Jean Grey as her eyes open.
Marvel Girl: It’s done. And done well. Step forward… Rogue. Sunfire. Wolverine. Synch. And Polaris. Ladies and gentlemen… humans and mutants… I give you… your X-Men”
The camera pans to Justin as he’s crying.
Justin: It’s just so damn beautiful. Well there you have it folks, we’ve witnessed history with the first-ever X-Men election. All mutants, in attendance or otherwise, linked together by Marvel Girl have voted for a new team to represent them.
To Justin’s right is a superimposed image of the full X-Men lineup
Justin: These heroes of Krakoa intend to save the planet, regardless of how rocky current human and mutant relations may be. Well, I’m going to try and get an interview with Kevin Feige, back to you Dan!
When the camera cuts back to Dan, he is engaged in what seems to be a dance battle with the mutant known as Boom-Boom. The energy is electric on the dance floor. Most news networks would cut away. NOT GC52! These two break out the best moves until the song finishes. Dan comes back to the camera.
Dan: Okay I love this Earth. I gambled with a man made of ROCKS. This one wasn’t even looking for the Anti-Life equation. That’s where I met Boom-Boom. What a woman. Anyway, onto Reagan, she was actually the first reporter who reached out to me. Good kid, lots of potential!
Reagan Anick, a fresh-faced young reporter stands nervously in front of the camera, holding a microphone in her hand. She’s wearing a short white dress with a skirt covered in balls of tulle that make it resemble a cloud.
She swallows a little before speaking.
Reagan: [Whispering to the camera man] We’re on right? We’re live?
The cameraman can be heard mumbling something.
Reagan’s eyes go wide for a brief moment before, like a switch has been flipped, her demeanour changes; gone are the nerves, in their place instead is confidence as Reagan adjusts her posture; standing up straighter and rolling her shoulders back. Her eyes sharpen as a determined look makes its way onto her face. She speaks with confidence.
Reagan: Good evening, I’m Reagan Anick, live at the Hellfire Gala where we’re providing you with all of the latest news from this momentous event.
Behind her, Moonstar and Warlock can be seen mingling as they work their way through the attendees.
As you can see, it’s been a busy night with superheroes, celebrities, and politicians all rubbing elbows while Krakoa is, for the first time ever, open to non-mutants and we’ll be giving you updates as the night progresses.
The broadcast cuts to commercial.
Skip to later that evening, after the Gala has wound down (on Earth at least). Reagan looks visibly frazzled as the camera cuts back to her.
Reagan: [Somewhat rushed] Welcome back to our coverage of the Hellfire Gala, I’m live on Krakoa where, if our sources are correct, the body of a young Mutant has been found. Gabby Kinney, formerly known as Honey Badger, currently known as Scout has allegedly been found dead tonight. As of this moment, none of my sources have come forward with any idea of who may have killed Ms. Kinney but rest assured that I will continue to cover this story as it develops.
Quick cut to Zack, panicked, but in a stylish, jet black suit coat with yellow, embroidered patterns that almost evoke a microphone. He has no shirt on under it.
Zack: I hate to cut in but we have a breaking news update from the Hellfire Gala. The mutants have taken Mars, I repeat, the mutants have taken Mars. I’m sorry, I’m struggling to put words to this, but the small island nation of Krakoa has terraformed Mars and claimed it as their own. The red planet is now blue with roaring oceans.
A stunned crowd gasps at the site of life being created whole-cloth.
What’s more, they are, yes, they are claiming they have built a space port on the surface where galactic dignitaries can negotiate with “the Regent Of Sol”.
Mars is under their dominion and mutant kind now claims to speak for, not just our world, but the entire solar system.
His eyes begin to nearly glow in a rapturous sense of awe. Tears of joy and terror stream down his face.
Dan, this is… In all my years I’ve never seen anything like this. In a matter of moments, Krakoa has created life, unbound. It’s Eden. It’s Shangri-La. It’s unbelievable. I’m not a religious man but I cannot help but believe that we have new gods now.
When the camera cuts back to Dan, he is visibly intoxicated with a very large sword in his hands.
Dan: God I hope they have a Big Barda up there too. WHAT IS UP EARTHHHHHH! These absolute heroes took Mars with this big ass salamander man who I am in love with now. BUT LOOK AT THIS THING.
Dan dangerously swings the sword around.
Dan: It’s called the Soul Sword and Magik said I can hold it after we had one too many shots. Love her. Hope she gets to kiss that lady she mentioned. Shit. Anyway. Uh. Next!
The camera cuts to Armaan, on a beach outside the main Hellfire Gala Event.
Armaan: Good evening, I’m reporting to you live from Krakoa, just outside the main event, where there appears to have been a scuffle between founding X-Man and X-Corp CXO, Warren Worthingthon III, and co-founder of Fenris Consulting, Andreas von Strucker.
A blue-skinned and metal-winged Archangel is seen holding the unconscious form of Andreas von Strucker, before the camera blacks out, returning to Armaan.
Armaan: Unfortunately, I cannot show you scuffle as it happened, as we’re experiencing some technical difficulties in regard to captured video footage – it differs rather pointedly from the version of events I personally was witness to. According to our camera footage, Worthington escalated the fight by unleashing his blue-bladed “Archangel” powerset, though my own eyes tell me he’s his regular, unruffled self.
We’ve encountered problems of this nature before, and it is believed to be the work of mutant illusionist Jason Wyngarde, also known as Mastermind, whose illusions do not work on camera, and who is also present on the scene.
X-Corp made quite a splash earlier by unveiling their own private island headquarters, separate from Krakoa, launching their business quite literally with the reveal that it is capable of sustained flight! With such a showy opening, all eyes are on the mutant-run company in the hopes of finding out just what kind of products it hopes to offer.
According to an unnamed insider with close ties to the company, X-Corp’s launch in Brazil may just have been premature, though the cause is unknown. Some have speculated that it’s launch was done early so as to not be overshadowed by whatever announcement the nation of Krakoa is making at the end of the Gala event. Personally, I cannot imagine what could possibly be bigger than a flying island, but we’ll have to wait and see.
X-Corp’s allegedly premature launch has left several seats on its board unfilled, and throughout the evening, Worthington III and his fellow CXO, Monet St. Croix, have been seen talking to several potential board members, including major mutant players such as Selene Gallio, Neal Shaara, Roberto da Costa, and human researcher Sara St. John.
Monet St. Croix, whose gown is in shreds, Jamie Madrox, and Trinary join Worthington, Wyngarde and von Strucker on the beach. Trinay gives the camera a conspiratorial wink.
Armaan: As to what caused the altercation between Worthington and von Strucker, it is unclear. We now see St. Croix herself, looking like she’s gotten into a scuffle of her own!
I will continue to be keeping a close eye on X-Corp, given that despite its launch, we still don’t know what product they plan to be selling – especially given that their mutant pharmaceuticals are freely given to allied nations. This is Armaan Babu, signing off, still wondering what X-Corp has to offer.
As Dan is walking through the Gala, the cameraman dogging his every move to keep him in shot, he sees off in the distance a familiar face. Rushing over, the camera swings around to point at this person Dan recognized. Wearing a dark green suit and matching tie, a white shirt, and black boots, it’s a face familiar to longtime GC52 viewers. It’s Ethan.
Dan: E- ETHAN?! What are you doing here?
Ethan turns to Dan, slightly taken aback.
Ethan: How the hell do you know my human name? Who even are you? Why are you dressed like a bat?
Dan: You don’t recognize me… Damned multiverse, of course you don’t. Sorry, I’m from another universe, I know… knew you there.
Ethan: Right. Sure. Multiverse. Uh-huh. Look, I don’t mean to be rude, but I’m due to go on shift in a minute and I’ve just had a strange experience on the docks and need a shower.
Dan: Shift? We’re at a party, why are you working?
Ethan: Look, I work up on The Peak, you know, the SWORD station? I popped down here for a quick drink before my shift, okay? And then, as I was down on the docks, having my drink, watching the fireworks, this big fucking plant…monster jumped on me. Lucky that Wolverine was around to do what he does best, he saved me.
I asked him what was going on, but he just gave me this look, mumbled something about Beast and war crimes, before running off to deal with whatever the hell was going on. So yeah, I’m not coming down here again, I’ll stay up on The Peak.
Dan: Well that’s something. Look, I need some smart contacts on this Earth, and you seem to have a knack for finding stories. I could use someone like you here. So, Ethan, you in?
He takes a moment to ponder the offer, nods, and shakes Dan’s hand.
Ethan: Send any details up to The Peak, I’ll get it sorted from there. But listen, my human name, the one you called me earlier? Don’t use that anymore. Use my mutant name. Call me Journo.
Journo heads towards one of the Krakoan Portals. As he’s about to enter, he looks back at Dan, a smirk on his face.
Journo: See you around, newsman.
With those final words, he enters the portal. Dan heads back to the bar as Jamie follows him.
Dan: Listen, this place is really wild. I think there is so much here to explore, Jamie, don’t you think? You aren’t listening…let’s check in with Terrence!
The camera cuts to Terrence.
Terrence: Hello everyone! I’m Terrence Sage reporting from the Hellfire Gala. It’s after midnight and Emma Frost just revealed to everyone that the X-Men have a Planet! So that’s not terrifying and cool at the same time. People are clearly contemplating what this big shift means for Earth…Doctor Doom and Captain America are exchanging some words down below and I think I heard someone whisper about ORCHIS as the party winds down. I’m about to sit in with the S.W.O.R.D Station to report on some current moves from Abigail Brand that are happening in the wake of the big announcement.
The Galactic Council are all discussing the news and implications of what the Omega Mutants of Krakoa and Arakko just did. It’s all very political and very important because “this is what comes next” for Earth and our Solar System at large. The Mutants have put Earth and our Milky Way on the galactic scale very much so and everyone has opinions about it. Wakanda, Imperial Guard, and Kree Representatives all bring different opinions to the table concerning the faction-heavy Earth and that’s when Brand brings something new to the table! Mysterium, I’m told if you think of life in comic terms, this little metal showed up in SWORD #1. Brand explains that this metal is and can only currently be created by Earth’s mutants and it’s nothing short of an ‘economic miracle’ for the Planets in the cosmos and quite the bargaining chip to elevate the status of Mutants. Richard Rider (Nova) points this out and Brand expands on the point of handing out Mysterium to not only earn some goodwill but for people on the council that there’s now a unified point in the Sol System, a concrete foundation in charge of things when it comes to Earth’s place, Planet Arakko.
You heard it here first folks! As far as business for Earth goes…it’ll be with Planet Arakko from now on! Firmly establishing Planet Arakko as the spokesperson for Sol is a major power move from Brand and Krakoa as a whole, one that will surely be developed as the revelations begin to settle. Before closing out, Doctor Doom teleported into the meeting doing a mean impersonation of “Can I speak to your manager?!” but for the Voice of Mars and….well the Voice of Sol answered in a mighty fashion. Storm of the X-Men is the Regent of Mars. I do love an upgrade.
Meanwhile, I’m getting word that Magento is meeting a certain someone now that the party has died down…curiouser and curiouser these Mutant relationships and growing pains.
When the camera cuts back to Dan, a floating green blob is holding his feet in the air as he does a kegstand. The Blob turns to the camera and says something in a language only few know before winking and letting Dan down.
Dan: We now go over to our correspondent Joe, who’s prepared a special segment on the culture of Krakoa.
Joe: Thanks, Dan. Now, if you’ve been a human of the planet Earth in the last year or so, you’ve probably heard something or other about the mutant island nation of Krakoa. But what is this “Krakoa”, what is their culture “like”, and do they possibly have any “laws?”
Joe mimes quotation marks in the air with each successive question. He’s serious.
Joe: If you’re like me, you’re itching to find out.
Joe gestures at the camera operator. The camera pans over to the left, revealing Pixie. She smiles and waves at the camera.
Joe: This is Pixie, who’ll be chatting with us tonight about Krakoa’s culture. Pixie, are you enjoying the festivities?
Pixie: Quite! It’s all well exciting, I think.
Joe: Very much so. Can you tell us a bit about Krakoa’s government? Is it a monarchy situation?
Pixie: Oh, no. I don’t really know how much I can say about that, but we’re welcome to talk about the three laws.
Joe: Ah, yes. The legal system. Punitive justice. I’m well-acquainted.
Pixie: Well, there’s one about respecting the land–we don’t have ownership of anything on the island, no commerce and all that. We’re also not supposed to murder people, elsewise we’re put in the hole. I don’t think I can get into all the details about the third one, but my friend Kurt is well concerned with it at the moment. You mighta seen him, bumbling around out there tonight.
Joe looks off into the distance. The camera zooms in on Nightcrawler, seen in the background accidentally teleporting into the bushes. He lies there for a moment before teleporting away in a puff of purple smoke. The camera returns to Joe and Pixie as the former turns to face the camera again.
Joe: Very mysterious. Thanks for talking with me, Pixie. This doesn’t sound like any legal system I’ve ever heard of, but I have to respect that. Back to you, Dan.
Dan: Thanks, Joe. This has been very…educational? Let’s check in with Katie while I grab a drink before last call.
Katie: Oh, here? Yeah, I’m new. Okay—hi! I’m Katie, co-host of the wildly popular (with our close friends) mutant gossip podcast Is It An X-Man?, here to report on our crime-solving friends over at X-Factor.
I love a little family drama, and you needed adamantium claws to cut the tension between X-Factor’s Polaris and her father, the infamous Magneto, when Polaris reached for another glass of champagne. It’s a party, Maggie, live a little. No word yet on his reaction to Polaris’ election to the X-Men, but I personally have nothing to say but congrats! And we’ll miss you dearly on X-Factor.
Meanwhile, everyone’s favorite mutant skier and his adorably human husband spent some quality time with Jubilee and her son, Shogo. Could it be time for Unk Peepee and Kyle to have a few enfants of their own? But everyone around the watercooler this morning was abuzz about Northstar’s other other half. Does their tango mean that Aurora has tamed the savage Daken? Is Wolverine happy his son found a nice Canadian girl? Does this mean Akihiro will stop flirting with me at the Green Lagoon? God, I hope not.
I’m sure I’m not the only one whose heart stopped when Rachel Summers walked in. I’m all about reclaiming the hound look, especially when you can pull off shoulder spikes like Rachel can. So glad the gala allowed pets, too, because Amazing Baby came to dance. And how cute was the color coordination between Rachel and her best gal pal, Kate?
My pick for look of the night from the X-Factor team absolutely has to be Eye-Boy. Love that Trevor shed the skater boy aesthetic and rocked a stunning blue skirt accented with—you guessed it—an eyeball motif. Beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder. Though Prodigy made a splash in an all-gold ensemble upon arrival, I lost sight of him fairly early in the gala, but I was able to catch up with him around dawn, hanging around with a certain speedy fella.
Katie trades her playful smirk for a more solemn expression.
Katie: This is where things take a bit of a turn, friends. As I’m sure many of you know, Eye-Boy, Prodigy, and Speed were the unfortunate trio who discovered the body of one Wanda Maximoff on the gala premises. We don’t have any further details, but something tells me we’re all in for quite the trial ahead.
Good night—and good luck.
Katie misses her cue and turns away from the camera a beat before it cuts away from her.
The feed returns to Dan as he smiles at the camera to sign off. Dan: This has been Dan McMahon from GC52 bringing you this special event! Be strong in all your convictions.
The report ends as everyone either heads home or to the after party on Arakko. Dan was lucky enough to snag an invite from his new friend Boom Boom. As everyone parties as music and lights blare on what was once Mars. Dan stands at the bar with his cowl removed. His graying hair pulled back behind his ears as he catches his breath. It’s clear now that for someone in their mid 50’s, Dan’s age is catching up with him.
Reagan: Hey there boss man, are you doing alright? Did I do alright…?
Dan: You did spectacular! This Earth of yours is wonderful. I’ve been doing this for so long and it feels like I have only now just begun to see the universe. I’ve done some very far out there stuff. Do you know what the Morphin’ Gri- nevermind. Another time for that. I was thinking though as I see all of this… it doesn’t seem like your Earth has a trustworthy News Network. I met someone named J Jonah Jameson who seems like a real crackpot who runs a news network.
Reagan: He certainly is something.
Dan: GC52 is doing much better than I could have ever expected but there is too much news for just one channel.
Dan: What I’m saying is that I’m looking to expand. A second channel. I want you to be the lead anchor. So how does that sound… would you want to help me get GC616 on its feet?
There has always been discourse around the X-line of comics. Whether that be about the outcome of the X Of Swords tournament with character fates being theorised or about the (in?)famous X-Men election, the conversation has been never-ending. For those new to these characters, this is the era of X-Men comics they will remember 20-25 years from now. This is the era that invested them in the characters.
It may be the penultimate issue, but X-Men#20, by Jonathan Hickman, Francesco Mobili, Sunny Gho, and Clayton Cowles, promises to be an issue with consequential moments. Seeds planted a year ago slowly come to fruition. If the cover is any indication, what implications will the creation of Nimrod have for Krakoa and the future of mutantkind?
And what did the elusive and ever-changing Roundtable have to say about this issue? Let’s find out!
Despite having an outer-space reach, X-Men #20 tells a contained story with long-lasting consequences. Readers follow Mystique, as she attempts to destroy an Orchis base. However, as par for the course with Raven Darkholme, her motives lie elsewhere.
The issue suffers with the disjointed storytelling style that the current X-Men ongoing has become known for. That said, Hickman’s script maintains a tone that feels appropriately understated yet dramatic. The plot moves forward steadily, until it ends at a startlingly consequential conclusion. Given X-Men #20 is the penultimate issue of the series, it is anyone’s guess as to what the ramifications will be in the next release.
Francesco Mobili’s art manages to capture individual character expressions well. Sunny Gho’s colors notably contrast the nature-based resources of Krakoa with the technological density of the Orchis base. The art slightly falters in the final pages, but overall does well to keep up with the hushed atmosphere of the issue.
Ever since House of X and Powers of X the new story of X under Hickman has been one of divergent evolution: humans into mutants, contrasted with humans into techno-beings, leading to the final conflict between what naturally evolved of man into mutants versus the created mechanical post-humans. Now we see the parallel more clearly as Mystique enters through a gate, darkly.
X-Men #20 is at its core a story of two wives—widows really. As the mutants of Krakoa have mastered resurrection, so too have the humans by way of Dr. Alia reviving her husband as Erasmus, who becomes Nimrod. She and Mystique act out of love for their late spouses, desperate to bring them back. Ultimately neither is able to do so. The hatred and fear building in all the players here is exciting. When the thread of Mystique and Destiny began in X-Men #6, Matteo Buffagni’s smooth lines and heavy contrasts sold the romantic scenes very well, both in the flashbacks of the living Destiny and the final pages of Mystique toasting to her late wife. With Francesco Mobili, it’s different. Opening exactly as #6 ended, the thinner lines—as well as a subtly different approach to color rendering by Sunny Gho, who colored both issues—show us a harsher reality. This is a world without love; only people desperate to revive it.
Jonathan Hickman’s run on the main X-Men title has been characterized by an anthology-like nature, creating several plots designed to be fulfilled in the long term. This has been Hickman’s style at Marvel in general, but it also harkens back to the way that X-Men in the 1980s would set up plotlines far in advance.
This issue follows the thread set-up in X-Men #6, and involves Mystique infiltrating the main ORCHIS base to ensure its destruction. Thematically, the issue slots in perfectly with the post-human conflict introduced in Powers of X.
For a deceptively simple story, it has a lot of ground to cover, but the pace is never an issue and it hits all the beats it needs to. Francesco Mobili’s art in the book does a good job of selling the stakes, and Sunny Gho’s colors work well to contrast Krakoa and the ORCHIS base. The issue’s impactful conclusion promises monumental consequences in the near future.
X-Men #20 is three things in one; a continuation, a conclusion, and a prologue.
In the space of one issue, Hickman furthers the plotline of Mystique fighting to get her wife, Destiny, resurrected while simultaneously closing the door on the chapter of this story concerned with the birth of Nimrod. At the same time, as these two feats are accomplished, Hickman guides us into what comes next. After continually being denied access to her wife, Mystique is ready to follow Destiny’s command and burn Krakoa to the ground, something we’ll see either come to pass or come to a screeching halt this Fall in Inferno.
Regardless of how this plays out, I’m excited to see what happens. It promises to be messy and I love mess.
Bobby Varghese Vinu
A notable theme in Hickman’s work has been the concept of the “great man” and how their belief in solving “everything” arises from an arrogance that harms everyone. True to form, we see that with Xavier’s and Magneto’s exploitation of Mystique when she goes to Orchis in a thrilling sequence of events to stop Nimrod, who is akin to the harbinger of death for mutantkind. Hickman excellently delivers on the implications introduced in House of X/Powers of X, with there being more to come.
But I do have a criticism of the art. Mobili’s pencils are serviceable at best and unremarkable at worst, with Gho’s colours elevating it. And the exploitation of Mystique can understandably upset some readers, especially with regards to the unfortunate lack of other wlw romances in the X-line, but this issue makes it clear that this is not the end of her story, which is reassuring.
One of the long standing plot threads of the new era of X-Men comes to a boil in this chilling 20th issue. Hickman once again charts Mystique on a mission of a love lost and attempts to be found again but will doom everything Krakoa has to offer. Francesco Mobili on art gives a colder, more uneasiness as we move to conversations between Mystique, Professor X, and Magneto and then later on the ORCHIS Station where all Hell breaks loose. The last time we focused on this plot line, it felt more akin to a ticking time bomb and Hickman promptly has reached zero as we reach a new shift in this specific narrative thread.
Sending you this memo for this week’s Fun-Size Roundtable, since I will be OOO. X-Corp #1 is out and you know what that means: there is social media engagement to be had. X-Men are HOT right now, they’re printing money. Only way they could be selling more is if they slapped a Bat Symbol on one of them!
(Note: Look into acquiring rights for Dark Claw)
Anyway, BIG week for corporate so please keep buzzwords in mind.
Return on Investment
Possible slogan for campaign: “That’s Mag-fu#$in’ Neato”
This one’s all about the business of Krakoa. Basically, Angel and Penance have been tasked with building out the corporate side of Krakoa. It’s written by Tini Howard, illustrated by Alberto Foche, colored by Sunny Gho, and lettered by Clayton Cowles, with cover by David Aja.
Anyway, I left my review on your desk to show. I am off to Krakoa to secure GC52 press clearance for the Hellfire Gala.
For one of my most-anticipated books of the current Reign of X era, featuring some of my favourite mutants, X-Corp #1 ended up being just incredibly average. There’s good stuff in it; Angel and Monet are a lot of fun, Jamie Madrox seems to be getting some development again, and I’m a mark for corporate shenanigans.
However, I found the story itself to be lacking, unfocused even, as if the team needed to get through as much story as possible before the Hellfire Gala next month. I wasn’t the biggest fan of the art either; it didn’t fit the vibe the book was going for. So yeah, X-Corp #1, it’s fine.
Is X-Corp #1 a great comic? Not really. There’s three too many plots, a couple of the characters’ voices are off, the art feels blandly serviceable at best, and it’s frankly far too confident in itself for what’s on offer. But while the book definitely stumbles out of the gate, there’s good here too – the bones of the book’s world show for a wide world of stories, and Howard’s proven on Excalibur that once she gets pieces in place, her storytelling picks up considerably. The writing, while over-expository, keeps things humming and lands a few good gags. Most intriguing is that it’s a superhero comic with essentially no fight scenes – always worth a look, if only for the novelty.
There’s no denying that this isn’t the best opening offer for a series with so much potential, but given time and space to develop, X-Corp might just be worth the investment.
There’s a sort of aimlessness to this issue, as I do feel like the book struggles with showcasing how X-Corp would work in a world like our own, with its own set of businesses and practices. It seems more preoccupied with just showing what I like to call the “cool biz.”, which begs the question: What is this book about?
What also bothers me the most about X-Corp #1 is Trinary. When Tom Taylor’s X-Men: Red came out, I was excited at the prospect of an Indian mutant, so imagine my disappointment when she was used as the team’s tech support character, a trope which falls prey to a disheartening stereotype that I’ve had to endure as someone who hails from India. She’s still tech support here, and there’s a bit of dialogue that makes it clear that this is a white person writing an Indian character. There’s no life to her character besides a bland artificiality meant to make her “interesting.”
So what are the positives? Well, the pencils are okay, but the colors do make me wish that there could be more life to it. The images have an artificial feeling to them, which I would like to think is intentional given the book is about a corporation, but I think this is just an oversight on the art as opposed to any deliberate meaning.
Maybe X-Corp will improve in the long run, but besides the David Aja cover (why couldn’t he draw the issue?) and the colors by Sunny Gho, this is a disappointing first issue.
Ya’ know, really going against the grain here to say that I loved this issue. Sure, some of it is a little messy, but it feels like one of those montages of getting the gang together. I think there is so much here in the way of character dynamics being set up. Monet and Warren both have two sides to them and we get to see that on full display in this issue. I’m also a huge sucker for Jamie Madrox, so I was excited to see him. I loved this issue and am excited for more.
X-Corp #1 starts off with a musing on possibility, and it was an issue with a lot of them. I tend to enjoy corporate hijinks when done well, and so I’d been looking forward to this series for months. Alas, it took me around five full readings to get what was going on in this issue, and once I did, it wasn’t worth it.
The only thing that our leads actually do that seems to matter is flying their base to Brazil to gain media attention, and when we’ve seen so many other things fly in the Marvel Universe already, it’s no longer impressive for the readers. I still think this book has possibility and potential. It just needs to pivot quickly and find its focus, lest it lose all the hype that’s been built up over the past year.
Today’s special guest, Leah Williams, flipped the script and did not tell us a sandwich! Did tell us all about Mysterio and Daken! Listen to hear about Amazing Mary Jane, X-Factor, and Jake calling Dan out for bullying him for years for thinking Daken is neat!
Things are about to get fast and furious as Amanda, Amir, Jon, and Dan find themselves trapped at old Camp Blood with a hockey wearing maniac thanks to the Grave Robber. Join the Chaos Crew as they try to survive while also discussing Jason Voorhees and everyone’s favorite holiday….. Friday the 13th.