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Road to the X-Men/Inhuman War (Part 1)

A Summary, Analysis, and Review of "Death of X Issue #1"

In this post, we are going to be going over the first issue of Death of X by Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule, which is awesome because I love both of their writing. Death of X is a four-issue mini-series that leads up to the crossover event called Inhumans vs. X-Men where Mutants and Inhumans go to war with each other. After DoX and IvX, we go into X-Men Prime and Inhumans Prime, which re-shapes the Inhuman/X-Men status quo in the Marvel Universe.

The way that I am going to be breaking down this issue is by summarizing the events that happen in the first issue, and when something important pops up like a small detail, something a character said, a specific panel, some background info. Then, I'll go into explaining why said topic is important. So let's get started because these posts are usually pretty long.

The issue begins with a group of X-Men in the Blackbird, their jet, responding to a distress call from Muir Island. This group of X-Men consists of Cyclops, Magik, Emma Frost, The Stepford Cuckoos, Iceman, and a mutant codenamed Goldballs. What Iceman notes is that the voice coming from the distress call sounds a lot like Jamie Madrox, the Multiple Man, and that he has never heard Jamie sound so scared of anything before. Replying to Iceman's comment, Goldballs asks whether or not he should be on this mission because he is a rookie and things seem to be pretty serious.


If you're wondering who Goldballs is, well his name says it all. Goldballs is a mutant whose real name is Fabio Medina and has the ability to shoot gold colored balls of any size from any part of his body. That's it. Those are his powers. It is a pretty dumb power but I do think that he is a pretty good character. I haven't seen how he is written in other X-Men titles, but I do know that he is a great supporting character in the Spider-Man comics with Miles Morales.

...Yeah, I wasn't kidding.

After we learn about the distress call from Muir Island, we switch from the Mutant point of view to the Inhuman point of view. What the Inhumans are doing is watching the Terrigen Mist go over Matsumoto, Japan. The reason that they are there to watch over the Terrigen cloud is because the Japanese asked the Inhumans to offer aid to the newly emerging Inhumans. Here is where I want to discuss two things: First, I want to talk about what the Terrigen Mist is and why it is important to the Inhumans. Second, I want to discuss the world's opinions of Mutants and Inhumans, and why the world's opinion on the Inhumans and Mutants makes no sense to me.

Okay, so Terrigen is the substance that gives the Inhumans their powers. In essence, they started as an early group of humans that were experimented on by a race of aliens called the Kree. What the Kree's objective was was to create a mutant race of humans that would help them fight in a war against another alien race called the Skrulls. What happened was the Kree was successful in creating mutants whose DNA housed the coding for their powers, but in order for those powers to become activated, the mutant creations needed to be exposed to Terrigen in any of its forms. The process of power activation by Terrigen is called Terrigenesis. So when I use the term Terrigenesis you know what it means.

You may be wondering what the difference between the Inhumans and the Mutants are. Well, Mutants have the coding in their DNA to get powers, but they do not need to be exposed to any substance to have those abilities activated. Rather, their powers develop naturally and usually first show up around the time of puberty. Inhumans are similar, but instead of having their powers come naturally, they need to undergo Terrigenesis.

One thing to note is that though conceptually the two groups are very similar, the world in the main Marvel Universe has vastly different views on them. For some reason, people absolutely hate the Mutants and say things along the lines of them being God's mistake, being unnatural beings, some religious fanatics like Reverend William Stryker believe that Mutants were sent by the Devil. But when it comes to the Inhumans, the world is absolutely in love with them. An example is the people of Matsumoto, Japan in this issue of Death of X. The people there are super ready to see if they can become Inhumans.

After we pick up with the Inhumans in Japan, we are taken back to Muir Island with Cyclops and his team, and we notice that the Mutants don't like being exposed to the gas, and Cyclops begins coughing. After noticing that something is wrong, Emma Frost, Cyclop's lover, inquires about his health. But Cyclops, being the stubborn guy that he is, decides to keep on going on with their investigation of Muir Island. When the team enters the research facility, they discover a body of an unnamed Mutant. So essentially what this scene does is explain what happens to Mutants when they are exposed to Terrigen.

What we learn is that Terrigen actually causes mutants to contract what is the Mutant equivalent of smallpox. But at this point we don't know what else happens as a result of being exposed to Terrigen. Cyclops, seeing how serious the situation is, makes finding Jamie Madrox or any other survivors the number one priority. And at that moment, the Stepford Cuckoos sense someone outside of the facility.

Stepford Cuckoos

Essentially, the Stepford Cuckoos are these girls that were created from the ova cells of Emma Frost, a telepath while she was in a coma. So I guess you could say that Emma Frost is kind of like their mom, which likely gives you hints as to what their powers are. The Stepford Cuckoos essentially have Emma Frost's telepathic powers and can use them individually, but when they use their powers together and at the same time, their power levels shoot way up.

Going back to the story, we return to the Inhumans in Japan where we see a cocoon that Inhumans stay in as their Inhuman DNA becomes activated. Essentially, newly-emerging Inhumans stay in these cocoons as they undergo Terrigenesis. At first, we are told that what the Inhuman group in the sky is planning on doing is swooping into the city to collect all the cocoons that house the new Inhumans. The reason that they are doing this is because they do not know what powers these new Inhumans have, and sometimes their abilities are unpredictable and chaotic. So it would be best for the safety of the new Inhuman and the people around them. The only problem here is that it is revealed that we were actually listening in on the orders coming from a Hydra Agent, and not the Inhumans. So what Hydra likely wants to do is capture the new Inhumans and experiment on them.

Before these Hydra Agents are able to take the cocoon, they are attacked by a few of the Inhumans in the Terrigen monitoring group. The group consists of Crystal, Iso, Flint, Grid, and Naja. Crystal has the abilities to control the four elements, fire, earth, wind, and water. Iso can manipulate pressure. Flint can manipulate rocks and crystals. Grid can manipulate the electromagnetic spectrum. Naja essentially looks like a cross between a snake and a person. She has claws, scales, she can fly, turn invisible, and that is really about it I'm pretty sure. Essentially, these guys' appearances lead to a fight between Hydra and the Inhuman group.

Before, we see how the conflict between the Inhumans and Hydra ends we are taken back to the Mutants on Muir Island where the Stepford Cuckoos lead the group to the person that they sensed earlier in the issue. What the group stumbles upon isn't the greatest site to behold. What they find is Jamie Madrox and his duplicates all dead. But they hear a duplicate call out to them, and we find out that this Madrox is not a duplicate but the original. And he tries to tell Cyclops everything he knows before he dies.

Jamie tells them that he and his duplicates were studying the Terrigen Mist, but found out way too late that it is toxic to humans. What we had up until this point was a case of dramatic irony. We as readers knew or should have known that this mist we saw killing Mutants was Terrigen because if it were anything else, there wouldn't be a war between the two groups. The Mutants in the story, however, did not know that this was Terrigen. I do not know the extent of their relationship, but I do know that Cyclops and Multiple Man were friends. So having Multiple Man die in front of Cyclops is enough to make him feel some sort of anger towards the Inhumans. So what this drives Cyclops to do is order Magik and Iceman to send the younger X-Men like Goldballs and the Stepford Cuckoos back to the Blackbird. This leaves us with only Emma Frost and Cyclops going into the research facility. What Cyclops does is contact Beast, who is a very intelligent Mutant, and send the data that Madrox collected to Beast. Scott tries to continues talking to Beast, but starts coughing more frequently up until the point where his nose starts bleeding and he faints.

Nearing the conclusion of the scuffle between the Inhumans and the Hydra Agents, the Inhumans find themselves losing to the large number of Hydra Agents that outnumber them. Of course, before the Inhuman team gets taken down, the new Inhuman inside of the cocoon bursts out. And activates his powers for the first time. Just to note, this Inhuman, whose name we will learn soon, did not burst out of the cocoon and use his powers purposely to help the Inhuman group. It was mostly just coincidence that he came to the rescue.

In fact, this new Inhuman mostly just emerged, and seemed to experience a type of power surge, which does a pretty good job of showing us what his abilities are. As it turns out, he has the ability to put people into a trance. So what this instance does is create a situation where the conflict is resolved quickly without much conflict, allowing the story to progress to more important parts. This leaves us with a pretty funny scene where the Inhumans beat up the Hydra Agents while they're entranced. Essentially, finishing the fight before we get to the really cool part of this story.

Once again, we are taken back to the Mutants right outside the Mutant Research Facility on Muir Island. Magik and Iceman teleport to Emma Frost's location after escorting the children back to the Blackbird, and ask Emma where Cyclops is. Cyclops comes out saying he's fine, which is weird considering that he just fainted. But Cyclops says that he got into contact with Hank and confirmed that the Terrigen Mist is lethal to mutants. In response to Cyclops' statement, Iceman asks why Madrox died and Goldballs got sick? Why does it affect Mutants to varying degrees? Well, Cyclops says to him it doesn't matter because it still kills Mutants and the Inhumans didn't tell them. And to make matters worse, there are two giant Terrigen Clouds floating in the air that will reach basically everywhere on Earth. All Mutants on Earth will be exposed to it and probably die. So Cyclops sees this as an act of war and that they need to protect their own.

The issue ends with the Inhumans team leader, Crystal, talking to the new Inhuman, whose name is Daisuke. Crystal offers Daisuke a place to stay at New Attilan, where he'll have access to a bed, food, training, and people he can become friends with. At the end of her speech, Crystal says that Inhumans protect their own. And the panel ends with a nice... I do not know the term for this, but it seems to be two half-splash panels.

I wouldn't say that this issue is my favorite in the mini-series because the bits where there is action comes later in Death of X and Inhumans Vs. X-Men. This issue was really meant to set the stage for the conflict that is about to develop between the two groups. Overall, I didn't see much that I had a problem with other than the fact that I felt there wasn't much going on in this issue, but again, the purpose of the issue was to give way for upcoming events.

This concludes my post about the first issue of Death of X. My post on the second one will come out maybe in about a week as I am currently reading through Hunt for Wolverine spin-off titles to make more posts leading up to the Return of Wolverine by Charles Soule. I am also going to get into Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps: Darkstars Rising because that is such a good storyline. Actually, the entirety of this title is awesome so maybe I'll cover all of it. I also need to get started on the "Multiple Man Issue #2" post because that story is amazing and it'd be crazy not to share the rest of that story. The same goes for Sentry by Jeff Lemire. So until then, feel free to check out my other posts on my profile, and see you in the next one!

Note: I do not own the panels, texts, art, and images. All panels, texts, art, and images belong to their respective owners.

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