September 29's Inferno #1 marks the beginning of the end of writer Jonathan Hickman's tenure as 'head of X,' the lead writer of the X-Men line. Alongside artists Valerio Schiti and David Curiel, Hickman crafts a functional sequel to House of X and Powers of X, the twin limited series that kicked off his X-Men run (as examined in our spoiler-lite Inferno #1 review).
But in following up the long-running threads of Hox/Pox, Inferno #1 immediately turns the mutant status quo on its head. Both the first and last pages of Inferno carry shocking moments for readers of Hickman's X-Men run and for the mutants of Krakoa themselves.
Each moment is enough to shake the foundations of the mutant nation on its own. But taken together, the two biggest beats of Inferno #1 set the stage for the limited series to live up to the hype that has surrounded the story.
Spoilers ahead for Inferno #1
Right off the bat, Inferno #1 opens with a moment that is sure to rock X-Men fans - though it's unclear exactly when the scene takes place, or how it fits into the overall narrative just yet.
Standing in the mutant resurrection chamber, Emma Frost oversees the resurrection of both Xavier and Magneto - even wearing Xavier's Cerebro helmet.
This isn't the first time Xavier's been resurrected. He was killed back in the current X-Factor #1, with his resurrection overseen by Jean Grey and Beast - though Jean didn't actually wear Xavier's Cerebro helmet, she operated it telekinetically.
Does this mean that Emma is somehow taking over Xavier's role? Well, she could simply be presumptuous enough to wear the helmet - but the later events of Inferno #1 seem to indicate that this apparent flash-forward has much bigger implications than are apparent on the page.
From there, a flashback scene revisits a crucial moment from Hox/Pox in which Mystique and her precognitive wife Destiny confront Moira MacTaggart, warning her to use her next resurrection (and current incarnation) to help her fellow mutants instead of harming them.
This somewhat different portrayal of the interaction sheds new light on exactly why Moira has demanded Magneto and Xavier refuse to resurrect Destiny.
In a subsequent visit between Moira, Charles, and Magneto, tensions build between the three as Moira demands that Xavier and Magneto now go so far as to destroy Destiny's stored DNA and psionic records to prevent her resurrection from ever happening. Xavier and Magneto apparently comply, gathering the data and DNA.
To deal with Mystique, the trio resolves to call a vote in the Quiet Council to fill the two currently vacant seats - possibly with Moira herself - while ousting Mystique.
As the issue rolls on, anti-mutant organization Orchis examines evidence of previous attempts to prevent the creation of the super-Sentinel Nimrod and destroy the Orchis facilities. They realize mutants are resurrecting themselves, though not exactly how, but redouble their efforts to destroy mutantkind.
Meanwhile, back on Krakoa, Cyclops steps down as Captain Commander of Krakoa's Great Captains (the leaders of Krakoa's defensive forces), bringing in Bishop as his replacement. Meanwhile, Psylocke is installed as a Great Captain to replace Gorgon, whose personality was overwritten by his resurrection after he died in the Multiversal nexus of Otherworld during 'X of Swords'.
In the issue's finale, Xavier and Magneto coyly make their case that it is time for change in the Quiet Council, stating that they are considering their own leadership roles and urging the rest of the Council to also consider whether they'll step down or remain. They state that they'll call a vote for new members - which can be done at any time under Krakoan law - at a later time after the sitting Council members have considered their futures.
But Mystique interrupts them, insisting there will be a vote at that moment, and what's more, she has a candidate to nominate for membership on the Quiet Council. As tension builds in the council chamber, Mystique calls forth her candidate - her resurrected wife, Destiny, much to Xavier and Magneto's apparent chagrin and everyone else's shock (or even delight).
This raises the immediate question of how Destiny could be resurrected if Magneto and Xavier actually destroyed the DNA and data necessary to do so.
There are three likely answers to this question. It's possible Destiny was resurrected secretly, before the destruction of her records. Her records could also have been secretly preserved somehow, or another method of resurrection found. Or, there's also the possibility that Xavier and Magneto gathered Destiny's DNA and psionic mind data as shown, but rather than destroying it, they resurrected Destiny for some reason.
If the latter is the case, why would Xavier and Magneto have been resurrected in the opening scene? It's possible Mystique and Destiny decided to enact revenge regardless of the circumstances of Destiny's resurrection, or that Xavier and Magneto dying is part of the plan.
Or there's the chance that Moira will take revenge on Xavier and Magneto if they did indeed betray her request to destroy Destiny's records. Take note of the issue's cover, which features Moira standing among the defeated bodies of the entire Quiet Council - Magneto, Xavier, and Mystique all included.
At the same time, the cover of October 27's Inferno #2 shows an apparently enraged Emma Frost in her diamond form, holding Xavier and Magneto's helmets. Is she mad enough to kill them, or angry at their deaths?
Whatever the case, it seems that Inferno is setting up a series of story twists that may turn all expectations of the limited series - and its implications for the future of mutantkind - entirely on their heads.
Stay on top of everything coming for Marvel's mutants with our listing of all the planned X-Men comic book releases for 2021 and beyond.