Inferno #3 Review: Action and Fun Fuel X-Men Story


Inferno #3
Writer: Hopeless, Dennis
Artist: Garron, Javi
Cover Artist: Garron, Javi
Published by Marvel

Though there are a few Secret Wars tie-in titles that have yet to be released, most are on their second or third issues by now. We can tell at this point which titles fans have connected with and which seem destined for the bargain bin. It’s pretty neat that so many have been successful, at least creatively. There is some off-the-wall story telling going on out there in the Marvel universe this summer. Not only is the main Secret Wars title a disciplined bit of comic brilliance, but several of the tie-ins have been nearly as well produced.

Less neat about the success of the Secret Wars tie-ins is that lesser titles — creatively speaking and from a no-doubt biased fan’s perspective — are receiving as much attention as what I consider to be the best of the series. Sales estimates I saw from Comic Book Resources suggest that not only are traditionally well-selling titles/characters continuing to do so in the tie-in, serial format, but that new titles with newish mainliners are doing well too. Hard to tell what to make of these numbers; harder still to make an inference about sales versus quality. The fact is, the crossover event has clearly been a success by any metric, parse it as you please. Myself, I have tried to just enjoy the ride.

Inferno, one of the titles that I have been following, is an X-Men title with spectacular artwork and a fun, irreverent vibe that places it high on my list of the tie-in titles. More, while I have been a fan of the X-Men for the better part of three decades, Inferno gives me a depiction of Colossus as a solo character/team leader that not only have I never seen, but that I find appealing as well. He has always been a favorite, and seeing his character work so well in Inferno reminds me of what I liked about the character. A bit of a simpleton, he is as loyal and determined an X-Man can be. His strength and fighting abilities are world class. You go, Colossus.

There are a lot of other characters that pop in the series too. Domino is well-realized, and the Goblin Queen steals every panel that she is in. But it’s the way we see Colossus’s sister, Illyana the Darkchild, that raises the story up to sublime levels. She is well-designed (sexy demon!) and is tough as nuts. She goes against a whole mountain of X-Men and comes out the other side. That the plot of the series centers around Colossus and his attempts to save Illyana from herself strengthens her character, narratively, only more. She is the linchpin that holds the whole crazy story together.

Now in issue three of the series, Colossus has been successful in his raid with Domino and others to storm Illyana’s tower. With the help of the Goblin Queen, they take the tower. But Illyana, using the teleportation skills of a newly demonized version of Nightcrawler, ‘ports to safety (bamf!). In fact, she teleports out of the Inferno totally and across the river to where the X-Men are headquartered. A clever opportunist, she has jumped at the chance her brother has given her and turned it into a potentially huge strategic victory for the Inferno. When she destroys the force field that holds the Inferno at bay, its demon hordes quickly flood out into the wider world. Yikes.

From the perspective of the larger Secret Wars narrative where everyone on Battleworld finds him or herself on a fragment of reality that Dr. (God) Doom was able to save from the conflagration that destroyed the multiverse, I begin to see how many of these tie-ins might climax and flow into each other and even the main series. There is too much going on in any given region of Battleworld, too much power and unpredictability. It’s not going to be long before the powers in some of these regions burst out into the larger Battleworld. Doom may have brought this world into being, but it does not take a genius, even a mutant one, to see he’s going to have problems holding it together.

From Marvel:

"* What has Illyana done to Nightcrawler (and can we get the action figure)?* Can Colossus really trust the Goblin Queen?* Where did that weird little demon’s master go and what do they want with Boom Boom?* Kindergarten Cable? Seriously?* These questions and more will be answered in our hellacious third issue."

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