Not with a bang but an eh… whatever
Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule (W), Leinil Francis Yu (P), (I), Gerry Alanguilan (I), David Curiel (C)
Cover by: Leinil Francis Yu and David Curiel
Publisher: Marvel Comics
When last we left Inhumans vs. X-Men, I praised it for being a pretty decent crossover in a sea of mediocre-to-outright-awful ones being cranked out by Marvel Comics. It wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was a pretty cool climax to the friction between the mutants and the Inhumans.
Here we are at the climax of the climax: the final issue to the story. How does it stand up? How does it finish out the tale? Let’s see.
The issue opens up with the big showdown between the X-Men and the Inhumans rallied by Iso and Inferno. The forces of Attilan arrive via Lockjaw to join the fight immediately.
Emma in particular seems more elated about the war than the others. She and the Stepford Cuckoos help the X-Men gain the upper hand by taking control over members of the Inhuman forces. More X-Men arrive via the teleportation of Magik, among them being Psylocke and Archangel.
The X-Men appear to be winning when Ahura and Ennilux arrive to back up the Inhumans. The Terrigen Cloud is also closing in. Iso informs Medusa that this war isn’t about revenge but survival. Moon Girl then presents the queen with the activation remote for a device that would destroy the cloud for good. Medusa presses the button, and the Terrigen Cloud is destroyed.
Emma tries to encourage the fight to go on, but Storm tells her that it’s over. Emma becomes enraged and summons a brigade of Sentinels made to hunt Inhumans (they actually are really cool redesigns of the classic Sentinels). They open fire upon the Inhumans, and the X-Men help them get to cover.
Cerebra moves in on the new Sentinels, but they tear apart her own Sentinel form with ease. Magneto comes to Emma’s aid, but it is quickly revealed that he has been possessed by Emma’s telepathy.
Medusa and Black Bolt conclude that they need to be the ones to end this, so the two approach Emma Frost. The Human Torch destroys the Sentinel that Emma is standing on, and that breaks her hold on Magneto. He prepares to kill Frost, but Havoc shoots him down.
Medusa restrains Emma and seems ready to execute her. Before she has the chance, Havoc blasts her too. He goes to Emma, and the two disappear in a flash of light.
From here, we get snippets of the aftermath. Storm frees the elder Beast from his prison. We see Emma donning a helmet that resembles a hybrid of Cyclops’ ‘X’-mask and Magneto’s helmet.
Medusa abdicates the throne of New Attilan, giving it to Iso. However, Iso would prefer an election for the new leader of the Inhumans. Medusa leaves New Attilan and ends her relationship with the Human Torch. The comic ends with her visiting Black Bolt at his club, the Quiet Room.
Marvel is really bad at sticking the landing on final issues to crossover stories. This is typically because they often take the interesting ideas that drive a story like this, and then they reduce it to half-measures, maybes, and people “not being as bad as they seem.”
The prime example of this, though I was later told that I was late to the game on being privy to this information, was the fact that Black Bolt did not actually kill Cyclops. He died before Black Bolt had a chance to kill him, and Emma Frost conjured a vision of Cyclops which Medusa and Black Bolt destroyed. This all occurred in the final issue of Death of X. I didn’t actually read that story. I read the first issue and decided I wasn’t interested. Now, I will grant that Medusa and Black Bolt had the intent of killing Scott Summers, but it still all feels like a conceit made to absolve the royal couple to a degree.
The fact that the X-Men and the Inhumans forgive one another so quickly to cooperate in bringing down Emma Frost was a little underwhelming. I get it, the necessity of survival and all that. However, it feels hard to believe that Havoc is the only one who bears a grudge over the death of Cyclops and the other mutants killed and/or sterilized by the Terrigen Cloud. Hell, even Magneto seems like he would have helped her if she hadn’t stolen his mind. Also, there was a moment where Emma gets Magneto to say “Emma was right,” and I cringed so hard. This is all without saying how the tension of the conflict was unceremoniously defused immediately by the cooperation between the Inhumans and the X-Men.
The destruction of the Terrigen Cloud has its own set of problems too. Firstly, and correct me if I’m wrong here, but I felt like it was established that the intent of Forge, Iso, and Moon Girl was to condense the cloud down to a manageable size or reverting them to a crystal form. The complete destruction of the Terrigen Cloud seems like the vaguest concept of “stakes” being inserted into this tale when the super minds of Moon Girl, Iso, Forge, and both Beasts seem like they could have found another way.
What also really didn’t work about that was that Medusa, in a thought caption towards the end, proclaims that “Our species’ ability to transform through Terrigenesis does not outweigh the lives of even a single mutant, much less all of them.” This does not work for so many reasons, and it again seems to be trying to morally absolve the queen of the Inhumans for so much that has happened. The world knows about M-Pox and how it was caused by the Terrigen Cloud. Beyond that, we saw the death of Multiple Man on Muir Island at the beginning of Death of X. Lastly, you want to tell me that not a single mutant was killed by the sweeping Terrigen Cloud and the blight of M-Pox? We are actually supposed to believe that the Inhumans and the X-Men saved every single mutant ever caught in the way of either of those problems? Was this just a minor threat that the X-Men just decided to get around to now? What about the potential extinction of the species? What about the actually flipping tagline of this story, “Victory means survival, defeat means extinction?” By the shiny bald head of Charles Xavier, what the hell is going on here? I’m sorry queenie, but there is no way not a single mutant died over this, even if you aren’t counting Cyclops and Multiple Man.
All of this amounts to giving this finale the same impact as a pillow softly hitting me in the face. It’s setting up a new status quo, and it’s phasing out the Inhumans to a capacity. I get that. However, it still didn’t really have me shocked or surprised.
The fight scenes were cool, and the extended conflict between the Inhumans and the X-Men was fairly exciting. This is in no small part due to the always superb artwork by Leinil Francis Yu. He is one of the best comic book artists of the modern age, and I’m glad he came back for this final issue. But he definitely deserved a better story to bring to life than this.
As I’ve said, this final issue was just…there. I didn’t particularly enjoy it beyond the opening fight sequences, and it was far from a satisfying ending to what was a pretty interesting story at its core. I can’t recommend it, even if you were following this story from the beginning (especially at a five-dollar price tag). Just check out the Prime issues for the Inhumans and the X-Men when it comes out. I’ll at least be reviewing the X-Men: Prime here. Give this non-ending a pass.
Final Score: 4/10