January 16, 2010

Ye Olde School Cafe’: X-Men: Inferno pt 1

Welcome back to another edition of Ye Olde School Cafe’! Come inside and sit down for a while and read about Inferno, one of Marvel’s ’80s classics. This company crossover covered more issues than I can count so I am only going to be covering the events that took place in the TPB (trade paperback). How many comics tied-in you ask? Well, around 42, give or take! Yeah, it was that huge, and since New York City is the focus you can imagine how crazy it got with all the NYC based superheroes in the Marvel U. In part one of this story we will be reliving; X-Men #239, #240 (writer: Chris Claremont, artist: Marc Silvestri), New Mutants #71 (writer: Louise Simonson, artist: Bret Blevins), and X-Factor #36 (writer: Louise Simonson, artist: Walt Simonson).

This is a monster story so I’ll be spreading it out over 3 parts/columns to try and keep everyone up to speed. First off, a little background on this arc. The major players are the X-Men, X-Factor, the New Mutants, Madelyne Pryor, Mr. Sinister, The Marauders, and the demon N’ Astirh. Now, when I say New Mutants, I especially mean Illyana Rasputin. She takes front and center in this epic, and we see her during a very dark transformation that scars Colossus’ “little snowflake” forever. We also see the beginning of a long feud between Mr. Sinister and the Grey/Summers family. This tale definitely tested the faith and strength of relationships and inner demons of the entire Marvel Universe. So, without anymore delay I bring you Inferno!

The story begins with the enigmatic Mister Sinister lurking in his hidden stronghold. First off, he has a confrontation with Malice about why she cannot separate herself from Lorna Dane’s (Polaris) body. Sinister tells her it’s permanent but also tells her that she is his most important tool and she eventually calms down while listening to his lies. Sinister then has a conversation with himself about the X-Men and his upcoming plans for them. One by one he discusses how he is trying to manipulate them to tear them down from the inside out and to usher in a new time in existence where mutants rule. One of the most interesting things we get to see is Madelyne seducing Alex Summers (Havok). At this point in the story you need to realize that Madelyne believes herself to be a real person, when in fact she’s a clone of Jean Grey. She was brought to life by Sinister, so he could use her to manipulate Scott and harness their combined powers in their offspring. Madelyne and Scott did have a baby, you and I know him as Nathan Summers, A.K.A. Cable.

After Sinister has his walk down memory lane about the X-Men, he then exits the room but he doesn’t notice the demon N’ Astirh creeping around the corner. Madelyne has made a deal with this demon; if he helps her find the Marauders and her son, she we help him against his nemesis S’ym and allow these demons a gateway into our world. Little does Madelyne know though, that Sinister has also struck a bargain with N’astirh to double-cross Madelyne and bring her to him. After we see Madelyne and Alex have some more personal time together, she exits while he is transported back to base (which is now the Australian outback). Alex then tells Wolverine and Storm that he and Madelyne have been trying to find where the Marauders have been hiding, and that they have done just that. The X-Men are transported there by Gateway (a mutant whose power is the ability to open “gateways” to transport people/objects in the blink of an eye). A huge brawl erupts and just as it seems that the X-Men are getting the upper-hand, the fight breaks out into the city and all the combatants are stunned to see New York City being overrun by demons! Meanwhile, Madelyne is confronted by the person responsible for her existence: Sinister.

Our story takes a wild turn now to a place known as Limbo. This hell-like dimension is filled to its limits with demons, goblins, and all sorts of extra-dimensional beings. For the most part, it has been ruled by an ancient evil sorcerer named Belasco. This story however focuses more on two demons: N’Astirh, and S’ym. These two enemies both want to rule Limbo and have been fighting to see who is more worthy. S’ym, is the demon who has been torturing Illyana while Belasco has been gone. We see the New Mutants trapped in this horrific place and they can’t get out. They fight demons and even S’ym himself but he is too powerful for them and even takes Magik’s Soulsword. After they try to keep out of S’ym’s reach, they wind up coming face to face with N’ Astirh. He offers them a chance to stop the horde of demons that are invading New York City, and also to set them free. N’Astirh teleports the New Mutants right on top of S’ym and they defeat him and return to NYC; but in doing so, the dark magic has turned Magik into the Darkchylde.

Next we see the efforts, how futile they may be, of X-Factor as they try and stop these demons from killing innocent people. We also get to see N’astirh confront Archangel after he has killed Cameron Hodge in response to him killing Candy Southern. In the next sequence we see Scott and Jean being mentally attacked by these demons, Iceman and Beast on a subway ride from hell, and people being torn apart by these otherworldly creatures. The team is actually holding its own but is shocked at the appearance of their former teammate, Warren Worthington. He had been kidnapped and changed into Archangel by the Darwinian despot, Apocalypse. If you recall, at the end of Mutant Massacre, we saw Angel lose his wings from a vicious attack by the Marauders. Apocalypse turned Warren into his Horseman of Death, physically and mentally. He has come around though and is back to help his friends against this seemingly never-ending assault from Limbo.

This is where I will leave you for now but get ready for hell on Earth in part 2. In the next installment you’ll read about Sinister and Madelyne Pryor going one on one. We’ll see how he has manipulated her but also underestimated the power of The Goblin Queen! Also get ready as Colossus goes to hell and back for the soul of his little sister and to top it all off, Cyclops and Madelyne’s baby, Nathan, will be caught in the middle of a war to end all wars! You dare not miss part 2 of this hellish tale next week!

Billy Dunleavy



  1. I always prefered the What If? story about the X-Men losing Inferno more than the actual story itself. It’s a great read, and it’s all told in a single issue!
    Of the actual event, I think the two Excalibur issues were the best.

  2. Yet ANOTHER X-Men story I need to re-read ASAP! I recently ordered the HC so I’ll wait for that to arrive.

  3. Jeff Jackson

    This isn’t one of my favorites. I’m not sure why, but I was always sympathetic to Madelyne. She didn’t deserve the screw-job Scott gave her. This might be the first time I was ever cheering for the villain.

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by, dan. dan said: thanx for following! Ye Olde School Cafe': X-Men: Inferno pt 1: N'Astirh teleports them right on top of S'ym and t… […]

  5. infinite speech

    Are you serious Jeff? She TOTALLY deserved everything she got. Everything she did here was building up in X-Factor and I’m sorry man she put his baby in danger and Scott just wasn’t having that or the fact that Havok was givin’ it to her, weren’t they still “technically” married?

    Ever since X-Factor started I waited and waited for them to cross paths with the X-Men and it was great that the wait took sooo long to happen and it was even better that it was in this story! This was one of the last few good arcs in my opinion of that era

  6. Eli

    I’ve never read this arc, strange as that is. I know it’s supposed to be pretty good, but I just never got around to it. However, that hardcover would be a nice addition to my shelf.

  7. billy

    @Speech and Jeff-I see where Jeff is coming from on one hand but yes, Madelyne and Cyke were still married when she boned Alex. Cyke kinda left her high and dry when he discovered Jean was still alive.
    @Eli-IMO, they should have made this Tpb into at least 2 volumes to include all the other issues (Spidey, Excalibur(good mention Bill), etc…).

  8. infinite speech

    @ Billy-Maddie gave Cyke an ultimatum when he found out his best friend/former girlfriend was still alive and Maddie told him if he went to go see her she would be gone. What kind of mess is that to say?! So Scott went to see Jean but where he messed up is that he didn’t tell Jean right away about Maddie and Warren was trying to push him to do it only becuase Warren wanted another crack at Jean.

    What Maddie SHOULD have done is gone WITH Scott, met Jean, then the team could get past that awkward “Scott hooked up with a chick that looked like his dead girlfriend” moment but with Jean and Maddie present lol

    Oh…then after that Maddie should have taken Scott hom and rocked him till his visor broke!!

  9. […] Inferno pt 1 […]

  10. […] Inferno pt 1 […]

  11. […] is the one who engineered Madelyne Pryor, the subsequent child, Nathan, and pretty much the entire Inferno fiasco. It has also been revealed that he has been influencing Scott Summers since he was a child. […]

  12. […] […]

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