Death of X may be a glimpse into the past, but it also gives fans a taste of what’s in store for the X-Men following the events of Civil War II, which sort of interrupted the burgeoning Inhuman-X-Men conflict. As the story's played out thus far, Cyclops and Emma Frost – who both seem a touch on the extremist side during DoX – have made a startling discovery. The Terrigen Mist, source of life and rebirth to the Inhumans, is causing disease and death among the mutant populace.
Not always one for rash decisions, Scott Summers (perhaps with a little psychic push from Ms. Frost, perhaps not) quickly decided that the Inhumans are responsible for what amounts to borderline genocide. At the same time, the Inhumans themselves have been dealing with the positive aftermath of clouds, chasing after them and fending off a HYDRA assault on their newly cocooned members in Japan. The second issue of Death of X brings all the elements together, as some of the X-Men work alongside the Inhumans to find a cure for the harmful effects of the cloud, while others prepare for a fight to the finish.
Storm and Medusa United
X-fans worried that Marvel would portray their favorite mutants as a bunch of reactionary villains will be somewhat relieved. It’s really only Scott Summers' powerful band that is planning for war. Storm, on the other hand, after learning about the Terrigen Mists’ effect on the x-gene endowed, arrives at New Attilan to inform Medusa. After she’s certain the Inhuman queen had nothing to do with the deadly clouds, she agrees to work alongside them in order to foster a cooperative spirit and preserve the tenuous peace between their peoples.
Medusa informs Crystal and her team, already on their way to Madrid to welcome new metamorphosed Inhumans, who agrees to work with Storm to prevent the potential tragedy. Unfortunately, before the two teams can warn the Spanish Mutants, Cyclops bursts through on the emergency psychic broadcast system, courtesy of Emma and the Stepford Cuckoos. Taking an offensive road, he informs literally everyone on the planet about the Inhumans' plot to destroy mutantkind with Terrigen. Suffice to say, his words don't exactly have a calming effect.
Panic in the Streets of Madrid
Unsurprisingly, Cyclops’ declaration of war sets off a wee-bit of panic in the city. It also creates tension between the mutant and Inhuman teams, who now understand that any efforts on their behalf must be carefully coordinated in order to succeed, as well as balancing the forthcoming conflict. Thanks to Scott’s announcement, though, the Inhumans can no longer evacuate the mutant populace without being seen as a threat. Instead, the Crystal concocts a daring plan.
Rather than evacuating the populace, which would take too much time amidst the chaos, she decides to remove the threat from Madrid altogether. Taking Iso with her, the pair attempts to push the cloud out to sea. Iso decreases the pressure, while the Inhuman princess manipulates the oxygen at an atomic level, moving it away from the city. Even their immense powers aren’t enough to shove the massive cloud clear, though. Fortunately, Storm flies in, and whips up a cyclone or two, helping them blow the Terrigen away from land. Still, the panic persists in the streets.
Siblings Reunited for War?
In the aftermath of Jamie Madrox's death, mutants from all over flock to Muir Island, both to pay their respects and to find out what Cyclops and Emma’s shocking declaration of war is all about. One of the fresh arrivals is Piotr Nikolaievitch Rasputin (Colossus). He and his sister Illyana (Magik) enjoy a brief reunion before switching gears and trying to figure out exactly what to do in the wake of all the horrific revelations.
In the meantime, Scott and Emma themselves are still struggling with the ramifications of their actions. Ignoring the frantic hails of Storm and Beast, they realize that they've began something major, and there's no turning back. Their next move could determine the fate of mutantkind everywhere. As they determine their next move, Magik and Colossus storm in, demanding to what they're plan of action is. Cyclops and Emma inform the Russian siblings about their “powerful” mutant outreach program. Many of their contacts agree that drastic times require drastic actions and will support them in an aggressive course of action.
While the course of events careen towards war, Crystal and Storm seek a way to quell the chaos in Madrid. Fears of mounting casualties in the streets push the Inhuman team to deploy one of their newest, Daisuke, who put the entirety of Matsumoto, Japan (save the Inhumans) to sleep with his emergent powers. Despite worries of mutant backlash, the punky fresh-cut employs his abilities and the non-Inhuman populace winks out like a light, including Storm and her mutant helpers.
Meanwhile, behind closed doors at the Muir Island facility, Emma Frost makes a deal with the figurative devil. Using the footage of Storm’s team being put to sleep (taken out of context) as proof of the Inhumans' duplicitous intent, Emma pitches her plan to Magneto. Never one to shy away from a fight, especially when mutantkind is threatened and/or it advances his mutant-power agenda, he tells Emma that he's “always happy to help.”
The Plot Thickens
After the somewhat slow-burn of the first issue, Death of X part 2 gives X-fans and casual readers alike something more to chew on. With Beast and Storm aiding the Inhumans, the plot elements are a little more complicated than Cyclops and Emma wage war on Medusa's clan. Still, with a clutch of new characters arriving, neophytes just getting into the MU may need a primer to keep track of all them. At least DoX #2 makes some effort to clarify why things accelerate so quickly in the impending war.
Soule and Lemire’s plot does leave a little to be desired, though, especially when it comes to Scott Summers’ rapid conversion from concerned investigator to mutant-Inhuman warhawk (assuming it really is Cyclops. We did see him collapse earlier.). Of course, the circumstances, as well as possible his encounter with the Phoenix here could share some of the blame here. Ms. Frost, who, seems to be keeping a secret (one the Cuckoos seem to uncover before she tells them to bury it) hasn't exactly felt like the voice of reason either. Could their past mental traumas have pushed them to reactionary stances? She also seems a little too chummy with her former Hellfire club cohort, Magneto.
Despite the aid of Storm and company, tensions between mutants and Inhumans build to an inevitable conflict, leading directly into Death of X #3, as well as the “Inhumans vs. X-Men” miniseries. The trick is, will Storm and Medusa – who also has been formulating a plan of defense/counterattack with Black Bolt – be able to defuse any aspect of the situation before it explodes?
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