Inhumans vs. X-Men #3 Review

Posted January 25, 2017 by Jason Adams in Comic Books

Written by: Jeff Lemire, Charles Soule

Art by: Javier Garron

Publisher: Marvel

IvX already has the odds stacked against it in a few ways. A lot of comic fans are starting to get burnt out on the superhero-versus-superhero trope lately, with Marvel still in the increasingly-distant shadow of Hickman’s epic Avengers runs, and the cinematic Civil War and print Civil War II having been big pop cultural milestones of the last year. On top of that, being the spiritual sequel to AvX, an event that wasn’t one of Marvel’s most well-received, may have left some in a sour mindspace when this first kicked off.

Now three issues into the event, we now have a clearer view of what IvX is all about and what it’s trying to accomplish for Marvel. This war is a little easier to swallow; two species facing possible extinction (though one in a more immediate and literal sense than the other) makes more sense as the background for an epic battle between sometimes-friends and occasional accomplices in the overarching superhero world. It’s harder to classify one group as the “bad guys” this time around. And although it doesn’t carry the name, this war is a lot more civil than some others between colleagues that we’ve seen lately. Carol Danvers and Tony Stark going 100% no-holds-barred extreme to the max against each other as long-time Avengers buds is out of character compared to what we see in this issue of IvX, where, even though lines get crossed by both sides, they’re both sure to make sure no serious harm comes to the other side while they try to accomplish their respective goals. Inferno worries about hurting Logan too much, and we see X-Men taking a lot of prisoners as peacefully as possible. As far as a comic war between good guys goes, I buy it.

Pairing the X-Men against the Inhumans (who, to be upfront and honest, I’ve never been particularly enthralled by) this time has some pros and cons. Where AvX felt like it was taking place out of continuity (lasting for much longer than it should have in-story, having the Avengers in hiding for weeks, and having mutant gods solving world hunger, which seemingly should have had a more serious effect on the Marvel universe than it did), IvX fits in better. These two often-marginalized groups are often ignored in the big picture anyway, so why shouldn’t a war between them go unnoticed by SHIELD, Alpha Flight, the Avengers, and the world at large? This backdrop provides a better canvas for an event like this, but the downside of the X-Men taking on the Inhumans is that (and I’m sorry to the Inhuman megafans out there) they just aren’t as gripping an enemy against which to be underdogs as the Avengers are. Watching mutants taking on Captain America, Iron Man, and all our other fave mightiest heroes was satisfying in a much more blockbuster epic kind of way.

That being said, Lemire and Soule are making good use of the diverse range of Inhumans and their powers. Instead of the straightforward punchfest that was Civil War II, we get to see more interesting uses of abilities, my favourites being Jean Grey’s fake mind prison to hold Karnak (which makes it more clear that she’s been perhaps underutilized by Bendis over the course of her short time-displaced life), and Karnak’s concentrated mental escape.

At this point in the event, slightly faster pacing may be welcome, as the event fatigue starts to set in if there aren’t enough pieces in motion at once. The premise is interesting enough and the writing solid enough to warrant further following, but it’s not hard to not feel that this issue could have used another trick up its sleeve.

About the Author

Jason Adams