Inferno #2 Review: Retro X-Men Action With A Touch Of Funny


Inferno #2
Writer: Hopeless, Dennis
Artist: Garron, Javi
Cover Artist: Garron, Javi
Published by Marvel

The first issue of the Secret Wars tie-in Inferno took us back to that 25-year old storyline where the X-Men held off hordes of invading demons (you can read my review here). On Battleworld, however, our favorite mutants failed to win victory that day, and have been struggling in their impasse with the forces of darkness since. More, they have been set up as adversaries to one of their own: Illyana Rasputin, sister to the X-Man Colossus, stands as Darkchild and master of the Inferno. We pick up on the story as Colossus leads a team of X-Men into the Inferno to save Illyana.

That brings us to issue #2 of Inferno. Picking up where the first issue left off, Colossus has been captured by Madelyne Pryor, a.k.a. the Goblin Queen and clone of Jean Grey.

(I have not followed Madelyne’s story-line since the original Inferno event, but I understand it has had some twists and turns. This new iteration of Inferno ignores all of that, treating the character as if she never left Manhattan all those years ago.)

In a gladiatorial scene reminiscent of Planet Hulk, Colossus establishes himself as an ally to Madelyne, and together, they decide to work against Darkchild.

Hopeless has brought a playful and humorous approach to his story. We see an adolescent Cable — he of the historically bulging muscles and big guns — interacting with our heroes as a skinny boy. There is a scene where he and Domino lightly talk about their love of guns, lots of guns, the bigger the better, and that part of Marvel’s history typified by Rob Liefeld’s grotesque body types and insane weapons pops to mind. Playing on Madelyne’s infamous instability is another fun throwback. In fact, Hopeless has clearly studied his source material, imbuing all of his characters with that whiff of the late 80s and early 90s. That he was able to bring humor and lightness to a time in Marvel’s history that was known for its over-the-top characterizations make his work that much more delicious.

And his artist, Javier Garron, continues to impress. His layouts are consistent, and he has so much going on in his panels. As much as we can point to Hopeless, Inferno’s success in portraying Colossus as a legitimate lead goes to Garron. His Colossus leaps from the page, a well-designed and beautifully crafted mutant man of metal. His action sequences are fluid and fun. And his approach to female curves, while totally exploitative (to some), does not go to the degree we so often see with sexy female comic characters. His Darkchild and Madelyne are both gorgeous, pin-up beauties, done more or less in a respectable fashion.

From the perspective of the larger Secret Wars narrative, Inferno offers very little in the way of advancement. There is a line or two that references Dr. (God) Doom, but speaking to the larger plot, Inferno, to this point, stands on its own. With the quality and fun vibe Marvel has imbued this book with though, I’m not sure who can really complain. If you enjoy the X-men, tight story-telling and awesome art, Inferno is for you.

From the publisher:

* As if Colossus’s Inferno raid wasn’t impossible enough, now his skeleton crew X-Men are a team divided.
* With Boom Boom gut stuck and bleeding out.
* Nightcrawler caught in Darkchylde’s hellfire web.
* And Domino’s fate in the hands of The Goblin Queen Madelyne Pryor.
* Find out if our big metal mutant can pull his team’s bacon from the flames and get this suicide mission back on track as X-Men vs. Hell-on-Earth action continues. Rated T+

Next: Secret Wars Battle Report, Week Six

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