Inhumans vs X-Men issue # 0 sets the stage for the next superhero smackdown. For those feeling an acute onset hero on hero violence fatigue, be patient. The next superhuman bout may deliver where Civil War II faltered. IvX #0 continues in the same vein as Death of X filling the much-needed gaps, to paint a current picture of both the Mutant and Inhuman landscape. To be honest I definitely had my gripes about the flash-forward and off panel milestone story telling that Marvel had cozied up to. Having the complete picture now gives a coherence that in my opinion makes the story more enjoyable. I really hope Marvel sticks to more linear storytelling in the future.
Overall I found the characterization in IvX #0 quite strong. Hank McCoy the elder, has been slowly transforming with a bent towards unabashed arrogance as of late. I was just thinking the other day how much similar he has become too his Dark Beast counterpart from the age of apocalypse reality. There’s a flashback to his early lab work with the Inhuman ISO, and his flippant remarks about the current situation and his faith in science to solve it all came off as very blindsided. For all his genius Hank doesn’t seem to appreciate that through science he has created some unsolvable problems as well (i.e. the temporal displacement of the original five X-Men). This is very much the same Beast who we saw depart from the X-Men in the Uncanny #600 issue. (link to Unapologetic, stubborn, arrogant, and kind of an asshole. I’m very proud of Charles Soule for continuing on this characterization thread.
Emma Frost also enjoys a well-deserved spotlight. In my review of an earlier Inhuman title I wrote how Medusa’s character really got to grow and flourish in the absence of Blackbolt post-Infinity. In this respect, Emma serves as a mirror to Medusa throughout the issue. I have always marveled how desperation has fueled Emma and made her operate at her best. With Cyclops’ untimely demise she’s returned to that same Emma Frost we saw during the Dark Reign/ Pre-Utopia era. Devious, ambitious, and conniving. We see Emma tapping into her Hellfire roots on behalf of mutantkind in a pure way this issue and I couldn’t help but think how good it was to have the White Queen back! And its very symbolic that we have three queens (ex-Wakandan, Inhuman, and Hellfire) interlocked in such an interesting drama, with their own signature approach to statecraft. I love it!
With that said IvX excels at framing the oncoming conflict in evolutionary and political terms. We learn in this issue that the pre-emptive strike lead by Cyclops’ faction of X-Men neutralized half of the Terrigen cloud encircling the globe. This is quite a big deal as it shows mutants to be a force to be reckoned with deterrent wise. I’m reminded here of the Inhumans war against the Shi’ar in the War of Kings volume when it was speculated that Terrigenesis had a somewhat prescient element giving the Inhumans exactly what they need when they need it. Both the Inhumans and the X-Men are equal in this regard and this should make for and interesting conflict. It’s becoming ever more clear that there will be multiple perspectives on this conflict depending on the vantage it is viewed from. Given the reveals we have been given in Death of X Magneto remarks that the Inhuman missions upon the RIV are a protective military measure masked as a humanitarian mission. This threw me for a loop because I would have never considered this on my own. Naturally, Magneto has the eyes and the experience to make this interpretation. Given what we have seen overall his assessment has merit. This outlook is also significant given some of the early story arc’s of the All-New Inhumans, which dealt directly with themes of a humanitarianism, genocide, geopolitical gesture and espionage. Beast overhears Medusa ‘s planning asserting that whatever the outcome of the current détente, the Inhuman’s must be prepared to win. I believe this was Beast’s come to Jesus moment arrogance/optimism wise. To see these themes revisited and interwoven in such an organic way for this upcoming conflict organically was such a treat.
The art was vivid and had a serious tone similar to the work of Lenil-Yu, the facial expressions were also very expressive. A small touch that I always appreciate when I come across it as it always makes me more attentive and invested in the characters.
Admittedly I rolled my eyes at the prospect of another superhero conflict, but I must say I am now hooked and eagerly awaiting the next volume if the plotting and themes are as smart and organic as IvX #0 suggests then I think we’re in for a fun ride. Doubly so considering the Ressurexion event that is on the horizon.
Story: Charles Soule Art: Kenneth Rocafort
Story: 10 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation: Buy!
Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review