[WARNING: Contains SPOILERS for Inhumans vs. X-Men #0 and Death of X.]
Roughly a year ago, the Inhumans and the X-Men narrowly avoided a full-scale war during the events chronicled in Death of X. Since those stormy days, both groups have maintained an uneasy peace as they try to figure out a way to make the remaining Terrigen cloud safe for mutants. However, the peace doesn’t sit easily for some mutants, who understandably fear for their own safety as well as the well-being of their fellow x-gene possessed.
While the older, bluer Beast (as opposed to the younger, more-human Beast running around with the All-New X-Men) and Inhuman Iso light the midnight Bunsen burners in search of answers, Emma Frost has a few ideas of her own with regards to the Terrigenesis problem. Inhumans vs. X-Men #0 tracks the evolution of Emma’s plans, as well as the slow dissolution of the truce between their respective peoples.
Beast’s Valiant Effort
The events of Death of X, which saw Emma Frost and ‘Cyclops’ chemically-reconfigure one of the two Terrigen clouds, at the cost of Alchemy’s life, resulted in a short-term truce. Fostering a spirit of cooperation, the Inhumans put Beast up in New Attilan while he seeks a cure for the Terrigen-borne M-Pox. He uncovers a few startling facts in his eight months of research, determining that the cloud is shrinking.
Racing to unlock Terrigen’s secrets, Hank plants sensors around the world, including the Savage Land – a pocket of prehistoric life – to determine what’s happening to the vanishing cloud. In the meanwhile, he works tirelessly to find a potential antidote for the mutant affliction, developing a Cerebra-based mutant tracking device (which may come back to bite him on the posterior), eventually coming to understand that the Terrigen attacks every mutant in a completely different manner thanks to their unique DNA. To cure each x-gene-enhanced individual will require a separate vaccine – a daunting task even in a mutant-depopulated world.
Beast also discovers something shocking about the disappearing cloud. Apparently, large quantities of Terrigen are collecting in the Savage Land. So, yeah, not good.
Emma Frost Prepares for Battle
While Dr. McCoy researches an answer to the X-Men’s troubles, Emma Frost has her own solution in mind. Despite faking the manner of Cyclops' death, she still blames the Inhumans for killing Scott and seeks revenge, as well as an end to the Terrigen threat. Naturally, her first order of business is to seek out one of the most the most mutant-centric folks around: Erik Lehnsherr, a.k.a. Magneto.
Although wary of the Inhumans’ growing powers, Magneto is willing to aid her cause in the long run, pledging his Uncanny X-Men to whatever schemes she has in mind. But Emma plans don’t merely land on mutant supremacist ears: she also seeks out a faceless and nameless woman at the Hellfire Club (who has a distinctly Mystique-like aura to her, but probably isn't), the time-displaced versions of the All-New X-Men, and even visits Storm and her team at X-Haven in Limbo.
Perhaps out of loyalty to their fallen comrade Scott Summers, out of frustration, or simply out of the fear of extinction, members of the X-teams fall warily in line behind Emma Frost. The final straw comes as Storm receives a call from Beast, who’s called for representatives from each and every X-squad around the globe to meet in the Savage Land. Apparently, he has some important news about the Terrigen, and it doesn’t sound cheery.
The Winds of War Begin to Blow
Since the end of Secret Wars, tensions have been running high between the X-Men and the Inhumans. The obvious cause of conflict is, of course, the Terrigen cloud(s) circling the globe. Naturally, the actions of Cyclops and Emma Frost were detrimental to the peacemaking efforts and also painted them as borderline war-criminals within the MU for destroying the life-bringing mists.
Destroying the cloud was a pretty awful thing to do, but desperate times called for desperate measures (at least that’s what Emma and Magneto probably reassure themselves with each evening before bed). Ironically, the 'death' of Cyclops actually waived a white flag between both groups. Despite that, there aren’t too many ‘We Heart Scott and Emma’ shirts being passed around New Attilan or X-Haven these days.
Inhumans vs. X-Men #0 may be a little light on action and heavy on exposition, but it manages to fill in a few gaps between the conclusion to Death of X and the present. In particular, it explains how Emma Frost has consolidated her power, as well as elaborating upon her vengeful motives behind what amounts to starting a war (one which she'll undoubtedly have some help). It also shows Beast’s fading hubris – something which has made him a divisive figure in the recent years – and growing frustration with his capacity to find a viable solution.
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Keeping the focus on Beast and Emma, two generally compelling characters, was also a good way for writer Charles Soule to highlight the hawkish and peaceful intents of mutant-kind. Kenneth Rocafort’s sharp lines and expressive characters mix well with Dan Brown’s blend of cool lab scenes and warm outside palettes, helping to maintain focus as the story lurches forward through time, splitting the action between a variety of locales and story lines.
All that remains now is for each sides' plan B to unfold: What sort of treacherous ploy does Emma Frost have in mind, especially with so many facets and backers, including the otherwise peaceful X-Men leader Storm? We’ve already seen how capable and cunning an adversary Emma is, as well as how powerful a mutant she is. The Inhumans certainly are no slouches when it comes to devastating powers (see Black Bolt) and can mount an attack or counterattack like few others.
While the inevitable war may be slowly dawning, the stakes aren't quite as high as some conspiracy theory-hopped up X-fans might have feared, seeing as Marvel already announced its ResurreXion reboot for this spring. Nonetheless, the IvX creative team has promised more than a few surprises along the way. If Civil War II proved anything, it's that Marvel isn’t averse to breaking a few big eggs to make an event omelet.
Inhumans vs. X-Men #0 is currently available in stores and online. War begins in Inhumans vs. X-Men #1 which launches on December 14.