Inferno (2nd series) #3

Issue Date: 
February 2022
Story Title: 

Jonathan Hickman (writer), R.B.Silva, Stefano Caselli & Valerio Schiti (artists), Adriano Di Benedetto (inker), David Curiel (colorist), VC’s Joe Sabino (letterer), Tom Muller (Design), Jerome Opena & Frank Martin (cover artists), Guiseppe Camuncoli & brian Reber; Russell Dautermann & Matt Wilson; Peach Momoko; Oscar Vega; Jeff Dekal; (variant cover artists), Lauren Amaro (assistant editor), Annalise Bissa (associate editor), Jordan D. White (editor), C.B. Cebulski (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

Some time ago, Professor X brought Cypher to Krakoa to prepare his plans. Left alone, Cypher and Warlock (whom he had smuggled along) begin communicating with Krakoa and building a friendship. As their relationship with the island grows and more mutants come to Krakoa, Cypher offers Xavier and Magneto the habitat and gateway flowers, and later the no-place flowers, which grow habitats that Krakoa cannot listen into, offering them a safe place to store their secrets. They are unaware that Warlock has merged with the island’s nervous system and he can eavesdrop. A few days ago, via that system, Cypher learns of Xavier, Magneto and Moira’s plans regarding Destiny. In the present, Emma Frost has invited Mystique and Destiny. When the Stepford Cuckoos are snotty to the two, Destiny retorts by giving the unsettling predictions about their future. Afterwards, Emma reveals the secret of Moira X and her powers to them. They agree that they cannot risk Moira ending this life, however it becomes clear that Emma expects Mystique and Destiny to do the dirty work. She does have some gifts for them, however. A little later, Moira is abducted on the street by what seem to be Orchis agents. Xavier and Magneto are discussing their long-term plan but are interrupted when Xavier senses Moira’s panic. Magneto uses the tracer to track Moira to the Orchis Node in Terra Verde. When they fight their way in there, what they do find is Moira’s severed arm with the tracer. Moira herself finds herself a prisoner of Mystique and Destiny. At the Orchis Forge, Omega Sentinel reveals to Nimrod how she is from a future where mutants won and she is here to prevent this, along with him. When they learn about the mutants’ attack on the Orchis facility in Terra Verde, they decide to intervene.

Full Summary: 

“I know something far more valuable. A different history of the world.”
Omega Sentinel

Krakoa, then:
Professor X has just brought Cypher to Krakoa. Doug is amazed at the island’s beauty. Xavier states he was hoping Doug wouldn’t mind spending some time here on his own. Ah, Professor X has plans, Doug notes. He is interested. Professor X shows him telepathically how he intends this to become a home for mutants. A beautiful society. The beginning of mutant ascendancy.

That’s ambitious, Doug deadpans. What worthwhile thing isn’t? Xavier retorts and asks how long it will take. Doug considers it. Phonology, Syntax. He’ll have to build an interface. The ecosystem is an unknown, so that will be tricky. Months, maybe a year, if he is terrible at this. How’s that sound? Like he has quite a lot of work ahead of him, Xavier replies and tosses him his bag. Best get to it!

Xavier leaves, leaving Doug alone, more or less.

Hey, professor, what happens if the island tries to eat me?” Doug asks and pretends to answer as Xavier: “Don’t worry, Douglas, my boy, everything will work out fine. Just like that time you died while I was in space having sex with a bird lady.”

Warlock forms himself from his arm. Doug asks if they trust the professor. Warlock replies that experience says they do not. Doug sighs, agreeing. The heart says yes, but the head says no. Regardless, first things first: time to make peace with the island.

Later, Doug has established a dialogue with Krakoa. Doug suggests some kind of merging between the island and Warlock, then asks Krakoa how it really feels about a bunch of mutants coming to live on it.

One month later:
Doug watches the first resurrection taking place as the Stepford Cuckoos’ two dead sisters, Esme and Sophie, are resurrected. Doug asks Krakoa how it feels about a million mutants living on it.

One month later:
He’s done what? Magneto asks him sharply. Doug points out that, while he has had ideas, Krakoa is the one actually doing something with them. Magneto apologizes and Xavier asks Doug to walk them through it. Doug explains that they have enough mutants living here now that Krakoa can passively feed on them without harming them or entering prolonged periods of dormancy. Krakoa not needing to preserve energy has resulted in some flowering. As a result, they have resolved two of their biggest problems.

He shows them a flower and explains it is a habitat flower. He plants it and a habitat grows out of the ground. Xavier is amazed and grateful. What is the other problem? he asks. Doug demonstrates the gateway flower.

Four months ago:
Doug and Beast look at a few flowers. Doug explains he doesn’t know what they do exactly. They did exactly what Beast said, and this is what came up out of the ground. They have three fields of them. Beast asks if he did exactly as he said. Did they use the cadaver he supplied? He keeps on asking and Doug cuts him off with his replies, finally stressing his orders were followed to the letter. And it was super gross! Hank is amazed and considers all the possibilities. Doug announces he is off to help Sage with sorting out the control mechanism of the gateways. Hank isn’t even listening.

Two months ago:
Doug, Warlock and Krakoa are conferring. Doug states, the professor is going to announce them to the world very soon. How are they feeling about this? Warlock states the land is good and self-friends are happy. Maybe he was wrong. What about it? Doug asks Krakoa, who returns the question. Doug admits that he is happy here. He wants to believe in what they are doing, but what he has seen over the years… It grinds you down… steals hope. Makes you suspicions of everyone. He wants to believe – he does believe, but they are doing this blind. He asks Krakoa to show him. Krakoa grows a flower. It grows a different kind of habitat – a tumor the island is blind to. And the idea is for Doug to give it to them as a place to store their secrets. What they don’t know is that Warlock has spread through the entire island, acting as almost something like a nervous system. So, while Krakoa will be blind to those secret spaces, that doesn’t extend to Warlock, enabling them to know what Magneto and Charles don’t want them to know.

Two days ago:
Cypher eavesdrops on the talk between Moira, Magneto and Xavier, where Moira makes it clear that she will not accept Destiny being resurrected and demands her DNA be burnt from existence.

Doug swears.

The White Palace:
Expecting Destiny and Mystique are four of the Stepford Cuckoos with identical resting-bitch faces.

Mystique announces they are here to see the White Queen. Their presence was requested. One of the Cuckoos corrects her that, actually, they were summoned. There’s a difference, another Cuckoo adds. Destiny asks Raven who those delightful creatures are. Mystique explains they are the Cuckoos, the five in one. Five mutant sisters who act as a single unit. The first naturally occurring mutant circuit.

One of the Cuckoos corrects her that that is a misunderstanding. They are just one. Singular. They’ve tested this idea of individuality and didn’t care for it.

A door opens and the fifth Cuckoo dressed in black announces she is ready. They can go in now. Mystique asks why one of them wears black, if they are the same. They rotate that because it makes the idea of them more acceptable. The truth is that no other could tell the difference, because there isn’t one.

But, as Ms. Frost says, shortcomings don’t make one inferior, just limited, one of them adds snootily.

Destiny asks them if they know who she is. They do. And do they know what she sees when she looks at the lot of them? Three who will find love. Two who will not. One will be changed forever – severed from the Five – in Otherworld. And one of them will never recover from it.

Uneasily, the sister in black asks which is which. How would she know? Destiny retorts. After all, she can’t tell the difference, because there isn’t one.

Inside the hall, Emma thanks them for coming. She had a rather eventful twenty-four hours. The two of them were at the center of it, but not alone. Sounds interesting, Mystique observes. That’s one word for it, Emma agrees and asks them to have a seat. She narrates how, after the vote, Erik and Charles wanted to meet with her. They framed it as concern for her not standing with them but, when she arrived, there was a third person with them: Moira MacTaggert.

Mystique retorts that Moira is dead. Destiny points out that she has been back less than a month and even she knows better than to take something like that seriously. Mystique clarifies that resurrection, outside of recent exceptions, is for mutants only.

Emma reveals that Moira has been alive the entire time and been working with Charles and Erik in secret. She is also a mutant.

Destiny observes she has been reborn in a world where everything seems upside down. She finds it disconcerting. How is Emma taking it? As expected, in stride and no small measure of grace, Emma replies tight-lipped. Mystique smirks, observing Emma thought she was their confidant, only to find that yet again she is the other woman. At some point you’d think, she’d grow tired of that. All things considered, she thinks she handled it well, Emma sniffs. Shall they see how they do?

Emma shows them selected memories she got from Moira: namely how Destiny and Mystique murdered her. Mystique is at a lack for words. She turns to Destiny, who takes off her mask and mumbles, “There is a hole in the world. It’s shaped like a person, but inside there is darkness and death, and beyond that oblivion.” She sees Moira and she sees her terrified of Destiny.

Mystique supports her and turns to Emma, talking about this vision. Emma corrects her. Not a vision. Moira’s past - other lives. That’s her power. Annihilating theirs. At any moment, she could erase everything they have made, they have sacrificed, they’ve ever loved… gone. As if it never was. And she gets to keep doing it over and over, until she is satisfied or, she supposes, until Charles and Erik are.

Mystique refuses to lose what she has gained. They have to be stopped. If she believes in this life, that would be the correct conclusion, Emma agrees. So how do they do that? Raven asks. As she puts on her mask, Irene remarks that Emma is not actually offering that kind of help. Emma is pulling string like Charles and Erik would. She’s like them. Mystique asks Emma what if she had to choose: Erik and Charles or them?

That’s no choice at all, Emma replies stonily. She will never be with Mystique and Destiny. But she isn’t with Charles and Erik anymore either. So… all alone, Irene remarks. As she has always been, Emma agrees. Alone, with all her children. So, she is sitting this out like a coward, Mystique challenges. Destiny tells her not to be harsh. Emma has gifts, doesn’t she? Emma smirks.

The next day:
Moira’s safehouse in Paris. She enters through a Krakoan gate, then leaves the normal way and walks down to the street. A moment later, she curses. Several black cars surround her. Men in red armor capture her. No use struggling, they tell her. They know what she is. As they drag her inside an apartment and to a teleportation gate, the other man asks if she knows the story of the mutant who flew too close to the sun. It is an old one and it always ends the same way. With arrogance and hubris… and a great fall. She thought the heavens would be hers. But those are for the gods and she was just playing at being one.

Later, the House of M:
Magneto stands on the balcony, watching the young mutants below frolicking. Something on his mind? Xavier behind him asks. Magneto asks if he ever gets tired of it. The burden of responsibility? Xavier asks. Of course not! “Heavy lies the head.” Erik knows this. Magneto reminds him he has always been at ease with hard decisions and not once has he tried to escape consequence. He is talking about something else. That little voice at night. The one that whispers in his ear and steals his sleep. It says “You have seen the future… many of them. And you know it never ends.” “There is no victory to be found,” Xavier continues. “And there will never be peace… because it’s us or them,” Magneto finishes.

They stand silently until Xavier forcefully insists that he doesn’t believe that Magneto thinks that. That used to be true… but he isn’t so sure anymore. Magneto levitates his helmet into his hand. Does he know what the worst part is? he asks, as he puts it on. Charles convinced him he was right.

When we win, Xavier begins. “If,” Magneto corrects him. When they win, Charles doubles down, things will be different. They will be merciful. The two of them can agree on that, can’t they? And if they do, what does it matter? Magneto retorts. They are just two mutants of millions. Xavier stresses that they still have control. Keep telling himself that, Magneto smirks. He saw how Emma looked at them. She looked right through them. “We always win.” She knew immediately that they had sold her a lie. So, they have to ask what…

Xavier senses Moira’s fear as she is abducted and screams.

He groans, it’s Moira. She is badly hurt. She may be dying. He asks Erik to find her.

Magneto locates her in Terra Verde. At an Orchis node.

The Orchis Forge:
Omega Sentinel and Nimrod look outside at the Mother Mold. Omega Sentinel explains that Orchis is remaking it. Things will be different this time. Does she know this? Nimrod asks. She demurs. She knows something far more valuable. A different history of the world. She is not from here, Nimrod decides. And? she asks. She is not from now, he continues. And? she repeats. Nimrod continues that she hid it well but, once you see it, you can’t unsee it. The tachyon decay gives her away. He has many questions, but one of them is paramount: Where is she from? Mutant hell, Omega Sentinel replies. And the climb out has been long and perilous. In the future, she is from this once-human host, Karima Shapandar, originally achieved full Omega Synthesis two years from this date.

Why? he asks. To see him born, she replies. Early and fit for the coming wars. She is here for him? he asks. She is here for him now, she corrects. Before it’s too late to prevent any of what happened. Listen to her. In the future she is from the mutants always win!

Omega Sentinel’s narration:
Soon the Children of the Vault – post humanity – should emerge. They will appear to be dominant. A threat to supplant humanity and mutantkind alike, but fractured and warring on two fronts, they would eventually fall to Krakoa – namely Apocalypse and his family. Nimrod was born in the years that followed. Lesser than he is now, but still a marvel of marvels. A great machine. But his emergence did not go unnoticed by the mutant nation. And his makers sent him back in time to fight mutantdom in its infancy. This Nimrod – this flawed version of him – failed. Earth – the entire Sol system – was lost to both humans and machines. Mutants ruled and all their machine hopes rested in the timeless machine gods – Dominions. To save them… take them in, so they could be. But the mutants captured the celestial powers – life and death – and using the Phoenix Blade the child of the sun – who wielded it with vigor – destroyed Titan after Titan, Dominion after Dominion. And ended the machine future forever. Except for her. Omega, the end of the line. The trickster Titan – betrayer of its brothers and sisters – downloaded her mind and sent it through a black hole to infect and overwrite the version of her who lived in the past but had not yet awakened. She closed her eyes in mutant hell and opened them years ago here. All her days of a future past.
End of narration

Nimrod begins to understand that she founded Orchis. She found Dr. Kilian Devo, took his eyes and replaced them with something more effective. She changed his reality and repurposed his mind. He believes that he has lived through what she has lived through and came from the future with her to change the world. And together they built Orchis. He is her human whisperer and he does his job well.

Nimrod announces there is an alert from the Node in Terra Verde. It’s part of a message talking about a mutant attack. Knowing what he does now, shall they let these insults continue? she asks No, he replies.

Magneto and Xavier arrive outside the Terra Verde node. Magneto tears apart the doors. They step in to find a group of massacred Orchis forces.

Magneto announces the signal from Moira is coming from deep within the base.

They follow the signal further into the base, past more dead bodies. Outside a steel door, Magneto announces he has found her.

Mystique wakes Moira up. She is sitting on a chair. Does she honestly believe those men are coming to save her? she asks. She hopes not. Because Moira couldn’t be more wrong. There is something she needs to understand. They cannot save her. Not this time. They can’t even save themselves!

Terra Verde:
Magneto tears open the steel door. Inside, they find Moira’s severed arm with the tracer. A moment later, they find themselves facing an army of Orchis soldiers, and teleporting in are Nimrod and Omega Sentinel…

Characters Involved: 

Destiny, Emma Frost, Magneto, Mystique, Professor X (all Quiet Council)
Stepford Cuckoos

Moira X

In the past:
Professor X
Cypher, Warlock
Stepford Cuckoos

Omega Sentinel

In Omega Sentinel’s predictions:
Genesis II
Death, Famine, Pestilence, War
Aguja, Fuego, Perro, Sangre, Serafina

(Children of the Vault)
Nimrod the Lesser
Dr. Aliia Gregor
Erasmus Mendel

Omega Sentinel
Professor Devo

Story Notes: 

Text pages:

Omega Sentinel’s history is an alternative version of Moira X’s tenth life. Ironically, originally, Moira’s tenth life is the one where she would have succeeded.

Further notes

The scenes with Cypher on Krakoa take place after Powers of X #4.

Cypher’s view on Xavier’s role in his death is a bit jaundiced. Xavier had no choice but to leave with the Starjammers and Lilandra in Uncanny X-Men (1st seres) #200 or he would have died.

The Cuckoos (the three that were alive at the time) tried to be individuals in uncanny X-Men (3rd series).

Mystique should know that Moria should be dead. She killed her after all (or killed the artificial Shi’ar creature in Moira’s place) in the Dreams’ End crossover.

Nimrod returns in time to Uncanny X-Men (1st series) #191. However, he is originally from the “Days of future past” timeline.

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