The last few years have been genuinely exciting ones for X-Men readers; or at least, for this X-Men reader, since there’s always those grumblers out there on the interweb who will find something to complain about. But, under the stewardship of acclaimed writer Jonathan Hickman, Marvel’s mutants have entered a new status quo with their island nation of Krakoa as their home base, with Professor X and Magneto leading the way (though they’re part of the ruling Quiet Council, so perhaps they’re figureheads more than anything else).
This new mutant world has spun off into multiple books, some better than others, and the good ones absolutely excellent. But all good things come to an end, and following the conclusion of the mini-series Inferno Jonathan Hickman is leaving as Head of X; he goes out on a high note, though, with Inferno #4 wrapping up multiple storylines while charting a new course for the future of X.
Without giving too many spoilers (it’s really worth reading), there are some highlights to call out – the deaths of Xavier and Magneto (this isn’t a spoiler, since mutants have conquered death); instead, it’s how the two go out and return that are stellar and where the the surprises lay. Inferno also wraps up the longstanding issues of Destiny’s resurrection and her and her wife Mystique’s permanence on the Quiet Council. And finally, the machinations of leaders finally come to a head, with results that will lead into the next stage of Krakoa.
While it appears that Al Ewing is the next writer to manage the world of the X-Men (he’s a capable one at that), I can’t help but wish that Jonathan Hickman’s tenure would have lasted longer. In a medium often criticized for its impermanence, his vision for the X-Men feels like it’s only just beginning, and I would have enjoyed seeing where he took things next. Regardless, he goes out strong with Inferno, a fitting end to an excellent saga…so far.