Inferno #2 cranks up the heat as the bonds that hold the X-Men together slowly melt away in a thrilling issue by Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli.
The X-Men are at war with one another in the pages of Inferno, a four-issue miniseries that serves as the culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s tenure with Marvel’s mighty mutants. The story is filled with intrigue and betrayal as the Quiet Council finds itself divided over the fate of mutantkind. After a strong first installment, Inferno #2 by Hickman and artist Stefano Caselli continues to crank up the heat as the bonds that hold the X-Men together melt away.
Inferno #2 opens by exposing the lengths Mystique went to resurrect Destiny. Using her shapeshifting abilities, Mystique obtained Cerebro, secured Destiny’s DNA sample from Mister Sinister, and convinced the Five to resurrect her former lover, all while under the guise of Professor Xavier. However, Destiny’s mind was overwhelmed by a rush of memories and visions when she was brought back to life, as her precognitive abilities caught up with her. Now the Quiet Council must vote on Destiny’s fate. Meanwhile, Xavier, Magneto, and Moira MacTaggert prepare a counter-measure. Will exposing Moira’s existence to a key X-Men leader while planting their agent on the Quiet Council help — or will it destroy everything?
While Jonathan Hickman is well-known for creating high concept stories for his heroes, Inferno allows the writer to delve into complex character dynamics. The story feels like a political drama, with its characters trying to manipulate one another into positions that will benefit their needs. Until now, Mystique has been a pawn in the games of Xavier, Magneto, and MacTaggert. Here though, she finally asserts control over her life and becomes the queen fans have been waiting to see. Mystique’s touching reunion with Destiny gives her a cathartic moment, even if it’ll inevitably lead to more heartbreak. This pivot benefits Inferno greatly by trusting that the audience will stay engaged with the story through their attachment to the characters. It gives Hickman a lot of power since he can crush the hopes and dreams of fans by choosing to lean into emotional beats over creating a spectacle.
Artist Stefano Caselli brings Hickman’s tense script to life, imbuing the story with a beauty that enhances the inevitable tragedy of Inferno. Caselli, coming off of a stretch on Marauders and a stint on S.W.O.R.D., is already intimately familiar with many of the story’s key players. However, it is his work with Destiny’s resurrection that stands out as remarkable. Destiny’s design depicts her emotional vulnerability as she comes to terms with everything she missed while she was dead. Taking time to show this side of Destiny adds extra weight to her actions when she confronts the Quiet Council. She has experienced considerable growth and will not put up with any more abuse. Colorist David Curiel continues his exemplary work from the last issue, fleshing out the characters while controlling the mood of the narrative. This isn’t a blockbuster action story. This is a tense thriller, and Curiel’s colors give the story a palpable sense of dread.
Interestingly, Inferno #2 also presents a major shift in the core character dynamics of the X-Men as Emma Frost learns the truth behind Moira MacTaggert’s life story and how it influenced the foundation of Krakoa. While this retcon was huge news for fans, it is infinitely more dangerous for the X-Men. This knowledge, alongside Frost’s already questionable allegiances, makes her a wild card worth watching, as she could potentially change the future of the franchise with a fleeting thought.
Overall, Inferno #2 is another engaging chapter in the hottest X-Men storyline this fall. Jonathan Hickman and Stefano Caselli team up for an exceptional read that looks to bring about the end of an era for the franchise. Ahead of the X-Men’s Second Krakoan Age, Inferno is perfect for any fans who have been engrossed in the ongoing narrative of the last few years.
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About The Author
Henry Varona is a writer and comic book connoisseur who never seems to take himself too seriously. He has worked with Midtown Comics, Multiversity, and ScreenRant. Along the way, he has collaborated with some of the biggest names from comics and film, but has never forgotten what truly makes entertainment special – the fans. He’s passionate about wrestling, comics, action figures, and pineapple pizza. You can find him on Twitter at @HAVcomics.
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