Uncanny X-Men #239 (1988): Inferno Ignites

According to the cover, this is the issue that “ignites” Inferno.  It establishes that something uncanny is happening in New York City (which will become the site of a portal that allows Limbo demons to pour into our dimension), and offers the second appearance of Mr. Sinister. But really, we’ve been seeing this story develop for a while now across several comics.

Inferno is one of the better linewide events, and mostly because the writers who played along wrote scenes about man-eating mailboxes and elevators and stuff like that–it was almost as if Marvel briefly morphed into a horror publisher.

As I said above, this is only the second appearance of Mr. Sinister.

That’s right, he first appeared well over a year ago in X-Men #221.

That’s how long Chris Claremont is willing to wait to pursue a plot thread.  It’s part of what thrilled diehard X-fans and frustrated everyone else who couldn’t afford to buy six or more books a month, or who didn’t want to spend their free time mapping out all the various plotlines.

Sinister is trying to gin up a war between mutants and humans.  Inferno, of course, will involve demons.  But he’s basically aligned philosophically with Apocalypse, in that he believes mutants are a superior race that should overrun Earth.

And he’s sad that the X-Men are dead (or so the world thinks), because it makes him feel cheated and diminished to have missed out on meeting them…

We’re also reminded that Sinister still controls Polaris, through the use of Malice, who is possessing her.

While his gal Polaris is away, Havok starts linking up with Madelyne Pryor.  It doesn’t take him long to make moves, I guess. (He’s under Malice’s thrall.)

Sinister also has baby Cable, and the demon N’astirh tracks him down into Sinister’s world.  N’astirh and Madelyne are allied, so this will be important.

Oh, and for some reason Storm didn’t know Jean Grey was running around with X-Factor. I don’t see how that’s possible given how often that team is on TV, but whatever. And also Carol Danvers’ personality is breaking out inside Rogue, years after it was absorbed in Avengers Annual #10, one of the top 10 comics of the 1980s.

This issue ends with Madelyne swearing she’ll get baby Cable back from Sinister/N’astirh, and invoking Inferno.

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