Can’t mutants just get along with anyone?
Over the last few years we’ve seen Marvel’s merry band of outsiders duke it out with ithe Avengers over the Phoenix Force. Now all things point to the X-Men heading into battle with the Inhumans, whose presence on Earth have escalated ever since their fallen king, Black Bolt, released the Terrigen Mist into the planet’s atmosphere, leading to the creation of new Inhumans around the planet.
Does this all sound like a lot of gobbledygook? It may very well, if you haven’t been reading the last few years of Inhuman and X-Men comic books. Luckily, the new limited series Death of X doesn’t require a significant amount of backstory familiarity to enjoy it.
Written by next generation stars Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule, and illustrated by Aaron Kuder, Death of X is set 8 months earlier than the current Marvel continuity. In it, the X-Men have travelled to Muir Island after the Multiple Man sends them a distress call. Meanwhile, in Japan, a band of Inhumans led by Crystal is following the Terrigen Mist, where it’s about to envelop 200,000 potential new Inhumans. Both groups, on separate journeys, don’t get what they’ve bargained for. There is life and there is death, and more than anything, the existence of mutants in the Marvel Universe hangs in the balance.
Death of X moves quickly, and juxtaposes the two teams quite nicely. The Inhumans are full of optimism – their ranks are growing, and they welcome their new brethren with open arms. The X-Men, led by a militant Cyclops, are more like a group of soldiers, world and war weary. While Lemire and Soule nail the Inhumans and their tone, Cyclops and his group feel just a little bit more cliched than you’d hope. It may simply be familiarity – these characters have been around for decades, and while they’ve grown and evolved, there’s something still fairly rote about them.
The issue here is very much a set up for what comes next, and is certainly successful in its delivery. A battle is brewing, and I’ll be there to read it.