Charles Soule, Jeff Lemire (W), Javier Garrón (A), Andres Mossa, Jay David Ramos (C)
Cover by Lenil Francis Yu and David Curiel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So, I know I was just griping about crossovers last week with Monsters Unleashed, another big Marvel event happening right now, but the difference with Inhumans vs X-Men is that it is actually good.
I know that difference is subjective, but at least IvX has a story. It focuses on specific characters and a specific conflict instead of bouncing around literally all over the world.
For a refresher on what led up to this story, the Terrigen Cloud, released by Black Bolt during his battle with Thanos during Infinity, is spreading around the world, awakening thousands of latent Inhumans to their heritage and their powers. However, the Cloud has also rendered all mutants sterile. Worse yet, it has given many of them a terminal disease called M-Pox. Beast has been working with the Inhumans on a cure for M-Pox and the sterility of mutantkind. However, he has learned that the saturation of the Terrigen Cloud in the atmosphere will soon be irreversible and there will be no safe haven for mutants on Earth.
Cyclops and Emma Frost already destroyed a portion of the Terrigen Cloud, and this led to Black Bolt executing Scott Summers. Now, with extinction on the horizon, Emma Frost, Rogue, Storm, Magneto, and Logan have conspired to destroy the remainder of the Cloud and save their species. They receive some pushback by Beast, and he threatens to tell the Inhumans of their plans. They knock him out and imprison him before he gets the chance to do so.
The first two issues involved their planning then executing their assault on New Attilan. During this, they captured the entirety of the Royal Family and imprisoned them in Limbo with the help of Magik. Young Jean Grey ambushed Karnak and rendered him inert with her telepathic powers. Inferno and Iso escaped the assault on New Attilan through the Inhuman portal Eldrac. This dropped them face-to-face with Logan in Alberta, Canada.
This issue picks up with Iso and Inferno fighting Old Man Logan. Iso discovers Forge working on some sort of machine and leaves Inferno to fight the former Wolverine. Iso determines that the machine is working with a pressure system to condense the Terrigen into a solid form. Her powers work with pressure. Meanwhile, Inferno gets Logan to stab him so he can directly tap into his internal heat. Iso destroys the machine while Inferno incinerates Logan. Iso and Inferno then escape, taking Forge with them. Logan is left to inform Storm of his failure.
The story moves to Limbo, where Medusa and the other Inhumans are trying to devise an escape. After the Human Torch tells them what exactly Limbo is, they resolve that the Nuhumans left on Earth are their only means of leaving the realm. In the interim, they will search for X-Haven, the mutant refuge the X-Men created in Limbo.
Iso and Inferno are trying to determine what their next step is. Iso contacts Ms. Marvel and tells her to round up what Inhuman allies they can find. She quickly corrals Grid, Reader, Mosaic, Quake, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and Synapse.
We are next taken to the stare down between Jean Grey and Karnak. Karnak discovers a flaw in her iris, and he learns that this is an illusion of Jean Grey. He also figures out that he is not in his tower. He is ambushed by Fantomex, who tells him that he is in the World, the pocket dimension in which the Weapons Plus Program created Fantomex.
On Muir Island, we see young Hank McCoy debating with his older self. Storm, Emma, Magneto, Rogue, and Logan decide that they need to get Forge back if there is any hope left for the mutants. We are also shown the prison they designed for Black Bolt. The image of his rather ghastly restraints is the one on which the comic ends.
This book is good. It’s not great, but it is a solid story. The stakes and tension are in abundance. The actions of each character is in line with what you would expect of them. The fights have been exciting, and there’s a level of gratification to be taken from seeing the ragtag X-Men dominate the aristocratic Inhumans. This is also aided by the meta-text of the fan base of the X-Men not willing to trade in their favorite heroes for the less likable Inhumans and that being why this story is even happening.
I was pretty apprehensive of this event at first. This was mostly due to how baffled I was that Marvel had the gall to use the marketing of the unmitigated disaster that was Avengers vs X-Men in advertising this book. However, after reading the first issue of Inhumans vs X-Men, I was quickly sold on the conflict. Soule and Lemire, two stars in the comics writing scene, are cooperating perfectly in this book.
The pacing has been quite efficient in this story, and this issue is no different. The plot is always moving forward at a brisk pace. The assault on New Attilan only took one and a half issues, and #3 doesn’t rest on its laurels and try to do nothing but build up the next arc of the story. It keeps moving. Iso and Inferno are rallying troops, the Inhumans in Limbo are planning on invading X-Haven, and the X-Men are going to find Forge. That does leave this issue to be the slowest of the series thus far, but it is far from a stalling tactic.
The art is good, but it leaves a little to be desired considering the first issues were drawn by Lenil Yu, a freaking legend in the comic art scene. His art is always incredible. That being said, this issue still looks good. There is a glossiness to everything that is visually appealing. Anime art styling is definitely being mined to inspire the facial detail. It looks good though, and its hybridized with common Western art styling to create a visually appealing book, even if the faces do look odd in some panels.
Overall, this is a solid book. It’s not doing anything particularly deep or impressive with its story, and it is contributing to the deluge of big crossovers that Marvel keeps putting out. However, it’s still an enjoyable read. If you like the X-Men, the Inhumans, or just a good old “fight-the-power” narrative, you’ll enjoy this too.
Final Score: 7/10