on June 19, 2004
Inferno is by far my favorite x-men x-over. It is so intriguing and exciting, and the art is superb, as is the writing. I found no cheesy dialogue whatsoever which is nice.
There are a couple plot threads that intertwine, and the nice thing is that there is an introduction that explains the background. Anyways, the layout it this: Madelyne Pryor (The Goblyn Queen) strikes a deal with the Limbo demon Nastrith that through the sacrifice of her own son, a bridge will form between Limbo and Earth, and the Earth with be destroyed. Throw in the Mister Sinister factor, as well as problems with Jean Grey and Cyclops along the way.
Meanwhile, the other major storyline focues on Illyana Rasputin transforming more and more into the Darkchylde as the New Mutants try to save her from damnation. Oh, and while all this is going on, demons from Limbo have already invaded via a teleportation disc and a pentagram, transforming all of Manhattan into Limbo itself.
Its a lot to take in, but its very interesting and I was always left wanting more after each issue. There is tons of action and the villains include Nastrith, S'ym, Mister Sinister, The Marauders, and limbo demons. Our heroes include the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants, and the X-Terminators.
This is one huge x-over, consisting of 12 issues, 3 of which are double-sized. My only complaint was that the 2 Excalibur issues were left out and so were the 4 X-Terminator issues. The Excalibur issues were stand alone I guess, but the X-Terminator ones would have explained better some of the background. Nevertheless, I was completely satisfied with the 12 issues anyways. I guess the other ones would have interefered with the focus probably.
Anyways, I definately reccomend this x-over if you are a X-Men fan. Espciailly if you like reading issues from the past, this is a good read. Alot of what happened in Inferno still echoes storylines recently.
I know Amazon doesn't have this one in its own warehouse, but you can get it directly from [...] (Barnes and Noble).
Inferno contains: X-Men 239-243, X-Factor 36-39, and New Mutants 71-73.
on March 1, 2004
Upon rereading "Inferno", I was surprised by the maturity and sensitivity in the crafting of this X-Men story. Lots of comic books that came out from the late 1980s until today try to portray "maturity" by resorting to post-modern themes or shock-value. Check out a number of D.C. Vertigo books to know what I mean. Not that they are bad. In fact, most of them (e.g. Sandman) are pretty good. Just that the bulk of them (even the best of them), at times comes off as merely artsy pretensions.
"X-Men: Inferno" is a straight-forward superhero story. It is the capstone of the whole "Phoenix" saga (incl. "Dark Phoenix Saga", "From the Ashes" and "Phoenix Rising"). Madelyne Pryor goes on a rampage as a woman scorned and she literally brings hell to earth. In the middle, we also get the final resolution to the whole Illyana Rasputin/Magick saga.
Why do I like this volume so much? Firstly, the craft and design of the work is akin to the three circles of Dante's Inferno. We have the first circle here dealing with each of the X-Men's weaknesses (sins), then the second circle of the Magick saga and the final circle of Madelyne's epic battle - and finally the revelation of the devil at the bottom of the pit, Mr. Sinister. Wonderful planning and design throughout. Secondly, I found the work dealt with issues of adultery, vanity, vengence, sibling rivalry, repentance, etc. all presented in a mature and sensitive manner - without the pretensions of today's comics. Read it again to see Dazzler's vanity, the Marauders' violence, Madelyne's pain, Jean's tenderness, Havok's insecurity and Cyclops' regret. Thirdly, we have the introduction to one of the most interesting, Faustian villain ever - Mister Sinister - and a resolution to the events set in motion during the "Morlock Massacre" prior to this story. In many ways, this story is a closure - many of the dangling plotlines are resolved. In other ways, this story, like the best X-Men stories, marks a new beginning - the X-Men finally comes face-to-face with the X-Factor and this marks the beginning of the "extended family" concept in the X-books, laying the ground for future storylines.
on December 29, 2003
From "The Phoenix Saga" to "The Dark Phoenix Saga" and "From the Ashes" to "Phoenix Rising"--"Inferno" is the capstone of them all. The Phoenix has force dominated the Marvel world in her various incarnations since she first arrived on the scene, and Jean Grey's face haunted the Marvel world for years beyond her apparent "death" on the Moon. The mere memory of her haunted Scott Summers and Madelyne Pryor's marriage--her return destroyed it. Maddy is left without a husband, convinced of her fear that Scott married her only for her resemblance to his ex, and caring for an infant son.
Hell hath no fury...
Reeling from the return of Jean Grey in "Phoenix Rising," the X-Teams have no time to prepare for the impact of her look-alike. More is explained of the fate of Phoenix, and the Phoenix powers. The climactic face-off between Jean Grey and Madelyne is, however, not the end of the Phoenix.
As always in Marvel, what is done can be undone... and no one stays dead forever.
For more Madelyne Pryor, look to the X-Man comic books. You'll find another battle between the two gorgeous redheads of X-Men fame. For more of the Phoenix, look to Rachel Summers and eventually back to Jean herself.
Phoenix is a force that never dies.
The comic is a real page-turner, spurred on by the haunted women at the center of it--Maddy, Jean, and Illyana Rasputin (Magik).
When hell breaks loose on earth, individuals have to come to terms with it-and it changes them all. Madelyne's duty is to fan the flames, even at the expense of her own son's life, and recieve shocking answers to questions that have plagued those around her since her appearance in "From the Ashes." Jean is a woman searching for answers, with pieces of her life missing after her stasis at the bottom of the bay. Illyana is a young girl, raised in that hell, coming to terms with her own role within it and the sacrifice she will need to make to push it out of the real world.
While this is not where new readers should begin, it is essential for the most important arc in X-Men history. Start with the "Pheonix Saga", but make it all the way through to "Inferno." It's worth it.
Before I sat down to re-read this TPB, I remembered Inferno only for the outrageous demonic aspects, with inanimate objects coming to life all over Manhattan, the climax of the Magik storyline, and the Goblin Queen holding her own as the X-Men and X-Factor try to stop her from sacrificing her own son. There is much more to the story than that, though, as this is where the reader sees the true origins of Madelyne Pryor, Longshot's luck powers get explored, and the writers squarely address the idea that Scott Summers abandoned his wife and child when he first learned that Jean Grey was back from the dead. The words are a real treat to read.
Much of the art, though, is pretty terrible. I love Silvestri's pencils, with their menacing elegance spilling out from every one of the Goblin Queen's raised-eyebrow side glances, so the X-Men issues of this crossover are great. In New Mutants, however, the reader has to suffer through the cartoony work of Blevins, which works for the animated objects in Manhattan but not for the darker aspects of the story, and X-Factor readers are subjected to Simonson's scribbly messes on every page. The coloring is bad across the board, as in a violent story, the most gore we get is the colors consistently bleeding out of their lines like a toddler with crayons got hold of the pages before they went to press.
Artwork aside, though, this is an intriguing and entertaining adventure through some of the darkest aspects of the X-Men mythology, and it is certainly worth a read.
on June 10, 2002
I was still a kid when the Inferno saga hit Marvel Comics, and I remember it fondly. At that time all the Marvel books began to show traces of the demonic chaos emanating from NYC, but the mutant teams were right at the heart of it. I don't want to spoil anything for those of you who don't know the various X-Men plots; I'll just say that Mr. Claremont wrapped up the Phoenix saga in a way that was completely unexpected, creepy, over-the-top, and super fun. (But come to think of it, was it really wrapped up? I stopped reading comics shortly after this so I don't know.)
I was always a big fan of Marc Silvestri's art. He was totally overshadowed by Todd McFarlane, who at the time was illustrating Spider-Man en route to a legendary career. I liked McFarlane and felt that he was perfect for Spider-Man, but Silvestri's mastery of draftsmanship, anatomy, and facial expressions were in another league altogether. He and inker Dan Greene put a rough surface on their art, giving it a rushed, sketchy look, but their attention to the form underneath was perfect. But I think this roughness turned off a lot of people during the Sharper Image 80s.
Anyway, Silvestri's X-Men were terrific, and his demons were very cool, especially N'astirrh. The other artists were (if my memory serves me correctly) Rob Leifield on New Mutants, who was very good, and Walt Simonson on X-Factor, who really wasn't very good but didn't stink. Ultimately, the book is great because it's classic Chris Claremont, with an awesome villian (Mr. Sinister) and an ingenious damsel-in-distress (Maddie Pryor)-turned-femme-fatale (the Goblin Queen), and with masterful action sequences that are only less intense than the explosive personal confrontations. I highly recommend it to anyone who likes superhero comics: believe me, you'll enjoy it.
on August 8, 2013
As far as X-Men story arcs go, Inferno is a classic for a reason. It features several tightly interwoven story arcs involving N'astirh's plans for Manhattan. The art is sub-par, but my main problem was that the Kindle version featured the comic issues in alphabetical, rather than chronological order. This made the story much more difficult to follow than it needed to be.
on March 15, 2004
I remember when Inferno happened. It was one of my favorite comic storylines of all time. So I was real happy when I found this TPB that collected it all in one (rather thick) volume. It's one of those classic X-Men stories. Inferno also bled over into several other comics and I wish they had been included here (or maybe Marvel will release a companion volume that contains them)--those like Spider Man, Daredevil, and the X-Terminators. Still, even with just the X-Men and The New Mutants, it is a must have volume.
on March 5, 2011
The hardcover edition of X-Men: Inferno, published in 2009, collects X-Factor #33-40 and Annual #4, X-Terminators #1-4, Uncanny X-Men #239-243, and New Mutants #71-73, all originally published between 1988 and 1989. Production quality is similar to Marvel's Omnibus line of graphic novels: bright colors on low-gloss paper, a solid sewn binding, and finished boards with bronze foil-stamping. Disappointingly, there's no creator commentary--but there is a fair amount of bonus material: house ads, previous trade paperback covers, pencils from X-factor #38, and the pre-coloring cover to X-Factor #39.
Story-wise, Inferno is a bit of a mess--difficult to follow, occasionally nonsensical, and poorly integrated across books. Too much happens too quickly, and the resulting pace is too fast to adequately convey the psychological turmoil supposedly at the root of the cross-over's events. Adding to the difficulty, Inferno has an immensely long and convoluted back story; readers unfamiliar with earlier X-Men and New Mutants history will thus find this collection exceptionally hard to follow. Walter Simonson's crowded layouts and overly angular art on X-Factor do not help in this regard, nor do Marc Silvestri's surprisingly rough-looking pencils on Uncanny X-Men. Though X-Terminators lacks the heavy drama of the other series, it is the most self-sufficient part of Inferno and is, to this reviewer at least, also the most enjoyable to read. Jon Bogdanove's slightly cartoonish pencils (inked to great effect by Al Milgrom) are also a refreshing change of pace from the other series' more "dramatic" art work.
For all its problems, Inferno nevertheless remains a key event in X-Men history. The current line of monthly X-books regularly riff on it, with Madelyne Pryor, in particular, making a return in Uncanny X-Men: Lovelorn and Uncanny X-Men: The Sisterhood. Committed X-fans will thus want to pick this one up. Though the hardcover is a little pricey, for most consumers it's probably the better buy. For those considering the softcover, be aware: it lacks the 4 X-Terminator issues.
on January 30, 2014
The contents page lists the issues in story chronological order, and that's how you expect them to be sequenced in the e-book. But, super confusingly, the sequence bears no relation to the contents page. You get issues from each title grouped together, and the titles are almost displayed in alphabetical order, but not quite: New Mutants, X-Men, X-Factor, X-Terminators.
It makes the entire narrative impossible to read without shuttling back and forth to the contents page, to see which issue comes next. This might be manageable if you could click on a title to jump straight to that issue, but you can't. Even more annoyingly, bookmarks rare for some reason disabled, meaning that you'll waste ages scuttling around with the scrollbar.
Skip this edition! I've been reading iBooks versions of Marvel collections, and they seem a hell of a lot easier in navigation etc....
on June 6, 2001
This book ties the transformation of Illyana Rasputin, the rebirth of Jean Grey/Phoenix, Cyclops' return to the superhero life, and even the New Mutants into an entirely new story with a minimum of confusion and clunky expository bubbles. X-Men comics are so soap-operatic in their continual explanations of what's going on that I can recommend this for new readers, although I would further recommend reading the two preceeding books, "The Dark Phoenix Saga" (or "Days Of Future Past") and "From The Ashes" first, for maximum emotional impact.
I consider this crossover to be a small notch below the Dark Phoenix Saga (in my opinion one of the greatest comic stories ever published), because its tone is sometimes overly serious and mean-spirited. Also, there's a segment involving babies that's annoyingly sentimental and inconsequential. However, the action generally follows as a logical consequence of the conflict between ordinary people with extraordinary powers, making the emotional scenes even punchier. (Illyana's struggle with her own corruption and the climactic showdown between Madelyne Pryor and Jean Grey are highlights.) All in all, a great read.