[Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Inhumans Vs. X-Men #0-2.]
The war for survival is now underway in the mutant corner of the Marvel Universe. After exhausting every possible option during the nearly year-long truce that followed the tragic events of Death of X, the X-Men find themselves out of time as the planet about to become inhospitable for their ilk. The only way to keep the Terrigen clouds – which bring life to their Inhuman compatriots -- from saturating the Earth is to destroy the final remaining mist. But with the powerful Royal Family defending it tooth and nail, getting rid of it won’t be an easy task.
As a result, former enemies like Storm and Magneto form an uneasy alliance and fashion a risky gambit (without Gambit, though). Their drastic action may well save mutants from an agonizing death, but it could also create a permanent rift between the X-Men and Inhumans, leading to major problems in future. Of course, when your continued existence is at stake, first things first. The conjoined mutant forces put their plan into action in the first two chapters of Inhumans vs. X-Men.
Capturing the Queen
Seeking to destroy the sole remaining Terrigen source will require some masterful maneuvers, especially with the extremely powerful Inhuman Royal Family still on the board. To even the odds, the X-Men strike preemptively during IvX #1: Jean Grey and the Stepford Cuckoos capture and trap Karnak in a psychic prison; Emma Frost and Dazzler disable Black Bolt’s incredible vocal chords, Fantomex swipes Lockjaw; and Magneto detains Crystal and Gorgon, as well as the rest of the RIV (Royal Inhumans Vehicle) crew. After that, only one major piece remains in play, Medusa.
Capturing the Inhumans’ super-coifed warrior queen won’t be easy, though, since she's been locked down in New Attilan, desperately trying to contact her missing family members. The X-Men stage a threefold assault on the stronghold city, as a strikeforce distracts their defenses, while Magik whisks away potential threats like guardsman Nur to Limbo. Meanwhile, the time-displaced Beast sneaks into his furry blue counterpart’s lab in search of any useful Terrigen research. When Medusa discovers him snooping around, the two face off briefly, before Nightcrawler drops in and BAMFs her away to Limbo as well.
Running for Reinforcements
While the siege of New Attilan takes shape, Medusa’s clan seals off the city and prepares for the X-Men's fury. The Inhuman leader had a special mission in mind for two recent converts, Iso and Inferno. They're tasked with leaving the compound and uncovering the whereabouts of Black Bolt, Crystal, and the others, as well as gathering Inhumans like Reader, Grid, and Ms. Marvel to aid their cause along the way. Of course, slipping by the rigorously trained X-Men isn't exactly a walk on a sunny beach.
On their way to the hangar, they stumble across Sabretooth. Before they can square off with the fearsome mutant, though, Medusa’s BAE, Johnny Storm, steps in to assist. The Human Torch lights their path out of the city, and they cruise out of the complex at top speed, with Wolverine and Angel in close pursuit. Managing to make it to New York City before Laura snikts their flying scooter, they land near the spot area where the Inhumans' living portal, Eldrac the Door, now resides. With Wolverine and Angel close in, Eldrac awakens just in time to wing them away.
Unfortunately, their narrow escape from one Wolverine leads them right into the claws of another: Old Man Logan.
Advantage X-Men - But for How Long?
Two issues in (technically three, if you count the introductory issue), the X-Men seem to have the upper hand in the war, thanks to their treacherous yet decisive action. Although their early success gives them an advantage, their tenuous alliance already shows some signs of fraying. Merging such broad spectrum of mutants, with tactics ranging from situationally aggressive (Storm) to downright murderous (M's vampiric twin brother) will prove problematic as the battle heats up. Some X-Men are already expressing concerned with their tactics, while others clearly feel mutantdom is taking it too easy on the Inhumans.
The Inhumans, of course, are no slouches. The event's crossover title, Uncanny X-Men #16, highlights, Karnak is already making some headway in escaping his telepathic quagmire. Even though their key personnel is trapped in Limbo, the Inhumans’ resilience and their mind-boggling powers won’t be held in check for long. Assuming Iso and Inferno can escape OM Logan, which won’t be easy, the Kree-seeded clan could have some major reinforcements on the way as well.
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Since several covers and promos have featured Ms. Marvel, Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur, and other prominent Inhumans, it wouldn’t be a shock if the Royals and their subjects received some much-needed backup. As Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire escalate the story and the battle (with fluid artwork from Leinil Francis Yu), the Inhumans will have to rally their forces to stop the X-Men from succeeding at their end-goal and destroying their last life-giving cloud.
Of course, if they manage to protect the Terrigen, it could prove catastrophic for mutantkind. Will they be able to find another solution to their terminal problem or could their end spell new beginnings? These answers and more await fans in Inhumans vs. X-Men #3 and beyond, all leading up to the surprising rebirth in this spring’s ResurreXion.
Inhumans vs. X-Men #2 is currently available in stores and online.