Tuesday, January 26, 2010

X-Men: Inferno Omnibus Hardcover Review

X-Men: Inferno
Marvel Comics
Oversized Hardcover “Omnibus”
600 Pages
ISBN 9780785137771

Contributors: Chris Claremont, Louise Simonson, Mark Gruenwald, Walt Simonson, Marc Silvestri, Jon Bogdanove, Terry Shoemaker, Bret Blevins, Jim Fern, Rob Liefeld, Dan Green, Bob Wiacek, Al Williamson, Al Milgrom, Joe Rubinstein, Mike Manley, Hilary Barta, Glynis Oliver, Petra Scotese, Gregory Wright, and Tom Orzechowski

Reprints: X-Factor #33-40 and Annual #4, X-Terminators #1-4 (of 4), Uncanny X-Men #239-243, and New Mutants #71-73

Synopsis: Hell comes to Manhattan in the form of a hot redhead and the demon hordes of Limbo. The city suffers from a wicked heat wave along with the demonized transmogrification of most of the city’s denizens/objects (think Ghostbusters). The X-Men and New Mutants are smack in the middle of it all and we’ve got a major throwdown:

• The X-Men are believed dead by the world and have been living in the Australian outback. Madelyne Pryor and Alex Summers (Havok) have a budding relationship after her apparent abandonment by Scott Summers (Cyclops). Distraught at the disappearance of her son she attracts the attention of the demon N’astirh who promises to find the missing baby. Has the demon bitten off more than he can chew when she begins manifesting incredible amounts of power reminiscent of the Phoenix?

• X-Factor has been posing as a service hunting mutants for the benefit of the general public, but was recently outed as the original X-Men. Cyclops has been unsuccessfully searching for his wife Madelyne Pryor and their son. He originally left them to investigate the return of the supposedly deceased Jean Grey. Torn between family duty and his long-lost love will Cyclops be able to save the hate-stricken Goblin Queen from herself?

• The New Mutants are trying to save one of their own from becoming the thing she hates most. Illyana Rasputin is the X-Man Colossus’ sister and was kidnapped to Limbo where she apprenticed under the demon Belasco. Eventually rebelling and conquering the realm with her mutant ability to control the teleport discs native to the dimension, Illyana has slowly succumbed to her dark side. Belasco’s former henchman S’ym was infected by the transmode virus and is gathering power to overthrow the Darkchylde. Will the friends be able to save Illyana and stop the demonic invasion?

• The X-Terminators are the teenagers brought together by X-Factor’s mutant-hunting services. They uncover a mystery involving disappearing babies and demons, but these youths are more enthusiasm than skill. Will they be able to make a difference or die trying?
Affected by the demonic influence permeating the city both X-Men/X-Factor teams must stop trying to kill each other long enough to save the world and one of their own. Once the dust settles the real perpetrator is revealed!

Pros: Claremont's writing is perfect and each character is his own personal creation honed over 150+ straight issues, Silvestri’s art is pure sex and easily some of the best of his career, beautiful over-sized hardcover including the main storylines from Inferno, clears up some major ongoing plot threads such as Magick/Illyana/Darkchylde + Madelyne Pryor/Jean Grey/Phoenix, great extras including house ads and additional covers, ‘80s fashion/trends were in full effect when this was created and you’ll get to relive all the good (and bad)

Cons: Simonson’s art just doesn’t hold up to Silvestri’s and even Bogdanove’s art is sexier/more coherent for a team book, Rob Liefeld (briefly) contributes, doesn’t include the many other tie-in stories from Spider-Man/ Daredevil/ Excalibur (it would be most excellent if another volume were produced to collect them)

Mike Tells It Straight: Gnarly to the max, the ‘80s are back! I first started reading X-Men comics when “Inferno” hit shelves and this story was a real blast from the past. You will get your X-Men/New Mutants fix right here, but be warned: this book is not recommended for new X-Men readers. You need to know a lot of back-story to really enjoy the conclusion to several major plot threads. Recommended reading for complete preparation: Uncanny X-Men Omnibus vol. 1 (intro to Phoenix), Dark Phoenix Saga (exit Phoenix), From the Ashes (intro Madelyne Pryor), Phoenix Rising (Jean Grey returns), Mutant Massacre (intro to Marauders), Essential X-Factor vol. 1 (Cyclops reunited w/Jean Grey, Madelyne goes missing), and Fall of the Mutants (‘death’ of the X-Men). Now you’re ready!

TO BUY and Recommendations: