Inferno officially starts with X-Terminators #1. Actually, it started before that, when Madelyne Pryor got demonified. And when we saw The Right aligning with a baby-stealing demon. Actually, I think it started with X-Men #239. But the fact that I can’t tell is part of the problem.
Anyway, X-Terminators #1 feels like an official kick-off: A four-issue miniseries written by the creator of X-Factor.
S’ym, the demonic upstart occupying Limbo and creating problems for Magik on a regular basis, instructs the demon N’astirh, who we’ve seen in the pages of X-Factor providing power to The Right in exchange for babies, to steal 13 babies for a sacrifice. And we’ve already seen that Magik’s taking of her sword out of Limbo has caused problems.
So this is kind of explaining events we’ve already seen—to now, we didn’t really understand that there was a greater purpose to N’astirh’s baby stealing.
During N’astirh’s adventure, he stops by a graveyard in an EC Comics-like sequence, complete with a tombstone for Frederick Wertham…
He was a sociologist who wrote about how evil comic books corrupted youth. I think the fat guy in the yellow shirt is supposed to be Bill Gaines, creators of EC Comics, which formed the basis for many of Wertham’s conclusions. So, this event gets both a “creators appearing,” a “celebrities appearing,” and a “publishers crossing over” tag.
Meanwhile, Scott and Jean seem to be shedding several of the “in training” X-Factor members, putting them in local schools and Rusty decides to return to the U.S. Navy.
This enables an introduction to some new characters.
Like Takeshi Matsuya, who will later become Wiz Kid. He builds a personal copter.
It also gives Rictor the chance to steal soda.
Once the X-Factor kids are redistributed (I don’t really get why the X-Factor elders would do this, knowing that these kids have been involved in several adventures and are likely targets for no-goodniks), N’astirh’s subordinate demons try to kidnap them.
Taki uses his powers to get the other kids back together to rescue Leech and Artie—and that’s basically the premise for this book.
All this feels unnecessary—if all they wanted to do was have an adventure of the younger X-people and introduce a Japanese kid with the power to create electronic devices, there were much less convoluted ways to do it. I mean, the first half of the issue breaks them up, only to reunite them by the end of the very same issue. Then, there’s a bunch of scenes of the kids interacting, getting costumes, trying to be a team, and deciding to name themselves The X-Terminators, which doesn’t make sense to me because that team name was already used by X-Factor several years ago and because they’re not actually exterminating anything. There are some ingredients for a good comic here, but they don’t work together. Like vinegar and ice cream.
During the rescue, Boom-Boom puts her hand on the crotch of one of the assailants. Why?
Anyway, when his servants return with Artie and Leech, N’astirh is mad because they’re not babies. I do like the idea that demons, who are an entirely different species, have trouble identifying a baby human. N’astirh decides to offer the two kids as a food reward to his demons, who still need to get him 13 babies.
I’m skipping over a bunch of plot-points because they’re not critical to the outcome.
Taki also gets kidnapped, and N’astirh tries to use the kid to augment his own powers by creating a spell-computer (kinda dumb) and there’s some coordination with other Inferno events to link this tale up chronologically.
The babies used in N’astirh’s spell end up being kind of important in later years. One of them is Nathaniel “Cable” Summers, for example.
For the big conclusion, the Inferno events in The New Mutants tie in. Magik has been taken over by her evil Darkchylde persona, opening a portal so that all of New York gets overrun by Limbo demons.
S’ym and N’astirh start competing for dominance, the “spell computer” gets destroyed, and N’astirh appears to die.
Whiz Kid kills him?!??
This is ponderous.
As a result of this, the X-Terminators become part of the New Mutants team. They really should have been with them from the start. X-Factor isn’t a team designed to raise young mutants or teach them to use their powers—that’s the role of New Mutants. So, this does seem to fix this long-running disconnect.
Other than that, this feels pretty inessential—which I guess is often true of “event” books, even though supposedly they’re super-important.
Artistically, there are several panels and sequences in this series that parallel issues of New Mutants. Only they’re better in the New Mutants’ Inferno issues.