[Warning: Contains SPOILERS for "Death of X" #3.]
Marvel’s Death of X mini-event is three issues deep, and just getting to the heart of the conflict. As the Inhumans and the X-Men race for survival, both groups have made difficult choices, causing rifts between their now-disparate and desperate populaces. The X-Men themselves are divided into two factions: a cooperative team led by Storm, currently working alongside the Inhumans, and the hawkish splinter group led by Emma Frost and Cyclops.
The struggle for survival is taken up a notch when Emma contacts her on-again, off-again cohort Magneto for assistance. In the meanwhile, the joint Inhumans/mutant team managed to stop the Terrigen Mist/M-Pox from enshrouding Madrid. With the city rioting, though, Princess Crystal and her Inhuman cohorts took drastic action, knocking out the city and their X-Men collaborators in the process. Suffice to say, their choice has only fueled the tensions between the two groups.
The Inhumans Run Damage Control
After successfully defusing the riot in Madrid, the Inhumans enjoy a brief celebration, slapping one of their newest members, Daisuke (recently-christened "Downer") on the back for an impressive use of his freshly manifested powers. Gorgon, ever the pragmatism, discusses strategy with knowing full well that, although the civil unrest has abated, the X-Men could view their sudden bout of unconsciousness in an unfavorable light. And it seems his fears are correct.
On the ground, Storm and her team (as well as the city) awake from their enforced slumber. As they take stock of the situation, Iceman deduces that everyone in the city was put to sleep, with the exception of the Inhumans. As anger and suspicion boil over, Storm and her crew fly up to the R.I.V. (Royal Inhuman Vehicle) to confront Crystal and her team. Cooler heads seem to prevail... until a greater cause for concern arises: Magneto.
A Fan-Created Character Returns
Emma Frost and Scott Summers enact a two-pronged attack against the Inhumans. The second part of their plan comes together with the help of the Stepford Cuckoos. On a covert assignment, the trio heads to England to enlist the help of one-time X-Men teammate Thomas Jones, better known as Alchemy.
Alchemy is an on-and-off X-Men member who came to life as the result of the fan-based "Mutant Registration" contest in the late 1980s. Created by winner and reader Paul Betsow, Alchemy first saw life in X-Factor #41 in 1989, written by Louise Simonson and drawn by Arthur Adams. At first, Jones could only transmute objects into gold. However, the more chemical makeups he learned, the more molecular structures he could alter with his psionic powers. Although he only showed up in a handful of books, he was one of the few mutants to retain his powers after Scarlet Witch reformed most of mutant-kind after House of M (2006).
Clearly, he's still kicking around the Marvel Universe, because after his initially recruitment, he teleports along with Magik, Emma, and Scott to a location near one of the Terrigen clouds. Cyclops asks for the nebbish young man’s help, saying it would be a way to prove his worth as an X-Men, and in the process, save the lives of mutants everywhere. After calling Scott out on the “transparency” of his ploy, the fan-built mutant agrees to chip in.
As Storm and Crystal try to calm their teams, the skies over Madrid glisten with metallic objects. Magneto, accompanied by Colossus, Wolfsbane, Warpath, and Rockslide, confront the joint squadron, trapping them inside a mesh work of steel girders and beams. Ororo’s protests go unheeded, since Erik has arrived with the goal of specifically escalating the conflict.
Magneto dares the Inhumans (Storm's crew included), to act against him and begin the war for survival in earnest. While the ripples of the Inhumans and X-Men’s war may not be felt for some months to come, when IvX dawns in December, it's possible the first battle could be fought in Madrid. Despite their cooperative efforts, the standoff between Crystal, Storm, and Magneto could be the shot heard round the mutant world, so to speak.
At the same time, the mutant extremist is also well aware that he's not the main attraction. His job is to occupy the Inhuman task force while Scott and Emma put their plans into action. More than likely it will be their ploy, rather than a skirmish between Magneto and the joint mutant and Inhuman squads, which eventually leads to the death of Summers and others, and which may forever soil Cyclops' name in the annals of the Marvel Universe.
Cyclops and Emma Unleash Their Plan
Although exactly what Cyclops and company have in mind is unclear, Alchemy’s presence is undoubtedly the key factor. It would appear that Emma and Scott are attempting to reconstitute the Terrigen Mist into a harmless chemical compound – or something far more sinister. If they succeed, their actions may save countless mutant lives, but it could push them into a costly war with the Inhumans. After all, the Terrigen is their source of life, something if destroyed will cause some serious animosity between the alien-enhanced DNA set and their mutagenic cohorts.
How Death of X will ultimately play out is unclear, but the actions of Scott, Emma, and Magneto will begin a larger beef to be settled, ultimately, in the pages of Inhumans vs. X-Men. It will be interesting to see how the fates of Cyclops and Emma Frost, both missing and one presumed dead, align as the fourth and final chapter arrives at the end of this month.
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Death of X #3 is now available in stores and online. Death of X #4 arrives November 23, 2016.