Is X-Men: Inferno Worth Reading?

In the late 1980s, Marvel had several important storylines, but one of them – Inferno – has retained its importance even several decades after its debut. This mutant crossover was one of Marvel’s major events after the Secret Wars crossover that was published during the mid-80s, and it is going to be the main topic of discussion in today’s article. 

X-Men: Inferno is a seminal event in the history of Marvel’s mutant character and due to its undeniable historical importance, as well as the quality with which it was written and illustrated, we can clearly state that it is definitely worth reading. 

In today’s article, I am going to bring you all the necessary information you need to know about Marvel’s Inferno storyline. You are going to find out the exact plot of this crossover event, but also why it is so important and why exactly is it a must-read comic book story. Finally, I am going to give you a brief reading order so you know how to approach the material. Enjoy!

What is the story of X-Men: Inferno

As stated, X-Men: Inferno is a Marvel crossover event that focused mainly on mutant characters and that “united” storylines from Uncanny X-MenX-FactorX-TerminatorsExcalibur, and The New Mutants. It wasn’t, like Secret Wars, published as a special series, but it was, rather, stretched through several individual titles’ issues that, when read together, form the storyline of Inferno

Aside from the main mutant-related series, the crossover event also encompasses stories from comic books focusing on the Avengers, Spiderman, Cloak and Dagger, the Fantastic Four, the Power Pack, and Daredevil, among others. 

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The storyline was, thus, written by a variety of different authors and it was, collectively, published from October 1988 to August 1989. It encompasses more than 50 issues from more than 15 different series. 

The story itself is rather complex and focuses on a demonic invasion of New York City, with several vital side stories that developed along with the main crossover plot. Marvel’s official synopsis, taken from the back cover of one of the collected edition, summarizes the events as follows:

“The match is struck as the enigmatic geneticist Mr. Sinister and the demon-lord N’astirh set their respective master plans in motion – both centered around one woman: Madelyne Pryor, wife of Scott Summers, the X-Man called Cyclops. 

The flame is fanned as Sinister’s agents, the Marauders, attack Madelyne’s protectors in the X-Men, while a horde of N’astirh’s demons preys upon the helpless, horrified populace of New York City. The inferno burns as Madelyne strikes her own bargain with N’astirh, and as the Goblin Queen, threatens to cast a spell that would render the entire earth a hellish wasteland where demons rule. 

And the sacrifice necessary is none other than her own innocent child, Nathan Christopher Summers! It’s the X-Men, X-Factor, and the New Mutants in one of their most harrowing ordeals ever, with the fate of entire dimensions hanging in the balance – and the price for victory perhaps higher than any of them can bear!”

Marvel has done a pretty good job summarizing these events, so they require no further explanation. Aside from the main invasion, the event’s focus stories include the corruption of Madelyne Pryor into the Goblin Queen, the final transformation of Illyana Rasputin into the Darkchylde, and the demonic transformation of Hobgoblin. 

Credit Marvel Comics

Is X-Men: Inferno worth reading? 

Although it’s not as popular and universe-wide important as Secret Wars, I still think that X-Men: Inferno is worth a read, especially if you’re a fan of the X-Men. The overall storyline is really fun, as you could’ve seen from the above-written shorty synopsis, and the authors really did an amazing job to fully and completely connect all the issues into one coherent storyline with a meaningful stand and finish. 

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Alongside that, the art is also high quality and although it varies from issue to issue, I think that it’s exactly that which makes it so interesting. Diversity in comic book art is more often good than not, and in this case, I am pretty sure that you’ll enjoy the magic of all of these different approaches as much as I did when reading them. 

Finally, Inferno is quite important. It doesn’t have such a strong legacy as Secret Wars, but it’s quite important and it had implications on future events, both for the X-Men and other mutant characters, as well as other franchises. If one is an avid comic book reader, there is absolutely no way one could miss out on such an important crossover event. 

Credit Marvel Comics

How to read X-Men: Inferno?

Now that we know all the relevant information, I can give you a brief reading order so you know how to approach the material itself. There are two ways you can read Inferno – utilizing the collected issues or reading the individual issues in the right order. 

If you opt for the first, you’ll want to start with X-Men: Inferno Prologue, which collects: X-Factor (1986) #27-32 and Annual #3, Uncanny X-Men (1981) #228-238, New Mutants (1983) #62-70 and Annual #4, X-Men Annual (1970) #12, and material from Marvel Age Annual #4 and Marvel Fanfare (1982) #40. This basically a series of prequel stories that build on the “Fall of the Mutants” event and continue into Inferno. 

The main storyline is collected in the X-Men: Inferno Omnibus, which collects the following issues: X-Factor (1986) #33-40; X-Terminators (1988) #1-4; Uncanny X-Men (1981) #239-243; New Mutants (1983) #71-73; Power Pack (1984) #40, #42-44; Avengers (1963) #298-300; Fantastic Four (1961) #322-324; Amazing Spider-Man (1963) #311-313; Spectacular Spider-Man (1976) #146-148; Web of Spider-Man (1985) #47-48; Daredevil (1964) #262-263, 265; Excalibur (1988) #6-7; Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger (1988) #4, and additional material from X-Factor Annual (1986) #4. 

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This was the order for the collected issues. Now, if you want to approach the event by reading the individual issues, you should do it in this order (contains only the most important main event issues):

  1. Uncanny X-Men #239
  2. X-Factor #33-35
  3. X-Terminators #1-2
  4. Avengers #298
  5. Amazing Spider-Man #311
  6. Daredevil #262
  7. Spectacular Spider-Man #146
  8. Fantastic Four #322
  9. Web of Spider-Man #47
  10. X-Terminators #3
  11. New Mutants #71
  12. Avengers #299
  13. Amazing Spider-Man #312
  14. X-Factor #36
  15. Uncanny X-Men #240
  16. Power Pack #42-43
  17. Daredevil #263
  18. Avengers #300
  19. X-Terminators #4
  20. New Mutants #72
  21. Spectacular Spider-Man #147
  22. Web of Spider-Man #48
  23. Amazing Spider-Man #313
  24. Fantastic Four #323
  25. Uncanny X-Men #241
  26. New Mutants #73
  27. Excalibur #6 to #7
  28. Daredevil #265
  29. X-Factor #37
  30. Uncanny X-Men #242
  31. X-Factor #38
  32. Spectacular Spider-Man #148
  33. Uncanny X-Men #243
  34. X-Factor #39
  35. Damage Control #4
  36. Power Pack #44
  37. The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #4
  38. X-Factor #40
  39. X-Factor Annual #4