Inhumans vs. X-Men #1-7

Writers: Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire
Artists: Leinil Francis Yu (#1-2; 6), Javier Garron (#3-5)
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Colorists: David Curiel (#1-2; 4-6), Andres Mossa and Jay David Ramos (#3)
Letterer: VC‘s Clayton Cowles
Publication Dates: November 2016 – March 2017
Publisher: Marvel 

Prologue: A new beginning?

What defines a comics completist? For me, it comes down to one thing: the urge to know everything there is about a particular series or character. How did things end up like this? What stories lie behind those references that are mentioned by the characters? And it means that I cannot start reading a book in the middle of the series. I have to start at the beginning. For a while now, I wanted to take a closer look at X-Men Gold, Blue, Red, and Black — including some of the mini-series and spin-offs that also came out at that time.

So, while everyone else has moved on and enjoys the adventures of the all-new all-returned Uncanny X-Men (Scott is back from wherever he was), I am going back to previous storylines.

I like that quite a bit because it means that I can read through an entire series (in this case various series) in a short amount of time — dive wholeheartedly into the world unfolding before me. Hopefully, it also allows me to see a bigger picture developing. And with a little distance, everything looks different.

Also, on a more personal note, I hope I can revive my Everything X-Men column and talk about more X-Men books in the future. I am not going to make any promises, but I think the key is not to take everything as seriously as I used to. I am going to focus on having fun, reading good comicbooks and writing about them.

Inhumans vs. X-Men

After Death of X, which I did not read, because I thought everything I needed to know was in this mini-series/event, the X-Men went to war against the Inhumans. Their goal was destroying the last Terrigen Cloud on Earth, before it spreads all over the world and kills every single person with the X-gene. I learned about Death of X while researching for this article and read the summary of it. Knowing the story of Death of X, everything that happens in Inhumans vs. X-Men makes a lot more sense.

So, Cyclops got killed by the Terrigen Mist, Emma Frost covered it up and made it look like he died heroically — in a battle with Black Bolt. As we now know Emma did the X-Men no favor by letting Scott die a martyr. If the others knew he got killed by the Terrigen Mist and not in a battle, it might have been just as tragic. Furthermore, mutants and Inhumans alike would have mourned him and maybe worked together to find a solution, not war.

With that in mind, it cannot be as simple as “why didn’t they talk to each other.” This statement was my first thought after finishing the main issues of the event. It cannot be that simple for two reasons:

First, Scott allegedly died by an Inhuman. Why the hell would the mutants think that they might help them avoid extinction? All the grief, anger, and hopelessness comes together, and there doesn’t seem to be a solution.

Second, for us readers, it always looks so clear what to do, because we know all the pieces and viewpoints. We know what every single character thinks and does. That fact usually adds up to a suspenseful tale, but sometimes it means we lose touch with the viewpoints of the individual characters at play – especially when there are so many of them.

The artists and writers involved manage to set up a very dystopian atmosphere throughout the series. We know it indeed marks not the end of an era (that of the X-Men), but at times it feels like it. Especially when seeing the drastic actions they are willing to take against the Inhumans — neutralizing Black Bolt in an inhumane box attached to tubes and sci-fi-looking modules. They also put Lockjaw in a box attached to infusions which put him to sleep. And finally, they put every other Inhuman on a sealed-off platform in Limbo.

Everything that is going on shows us the dark side of the characters we know and love and how Magneto and Emma can easily manipulate them if the circumstances are just right. But we soon learn that everyone has his or her own agenda. Emma has only revenge in mind. For Scott’s death, which she staged in the first place. The conflict itself becomes a farce. Or the end of a tragic love story.

Whichever you choose, there is also a bright side to everything: the NuHumans. They are Inhumans who did not join the Royal Family and live life on their own. It is terrific to see Moon Girl doing the right thing (listening instead of fighting), and the other NuHumans supporting her. There is no need for a fight. Just a desperate need for a solution. Because Inhumans might not get their powers without the Terrigen Mist, but mutants are about to be whipped off earth forever.

And who knows, the next scientific breakthrough might only be a mini-series away, and Inhumans, once again, can activate their hidden talents.

Now, there is one downside which bugs me about this event: why is this not a 12-issue maxi-series? Having everything that happens in Death of X, Inhumans vs. X-Men, and Uncanny X-Men (2016) #19 in one series? I learned of the prequel after reading the main event. In addition to that, I did not realize I was supposed to have read Uncanny X-Men #19 as well — the reveal at the end of the first issue of X-Men Blue would have been quite more astounding. Though the main event was a good read, now I feel frustrated, because I could have had a more wholesome experience.

Christoph Staffl

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