Writer: Charles Soule
Artist: Kenneth Rocafort
Colors: Dan Brown
Letters: VC’c Clayton Cowles
Inhumans v. X-Men #0 is the bridge from last weeks Death of X #4 and the upcoming Inhumans v. X-Men (IVX) event that is set to launch this month. The focus for this issue is two-fold but really serves one purpose, to establish why the Inhumans and the X-Men go to war. After Death of X I was very leery of this comic as I still remember how much I praised the first issue of Death of X and then how disappointed I was by issue #3 and outright angry by #4. Unfortunately I feel like I am on the same path here but event fatigue might have finally caught up with me.
The two main focuses of the story are the Beast and Emma Frost. Since Secret Wars Beast has been living amongst the Inhumans and working on finding a cure for the M-Pox, a potentially deadly condition for anyone carrying the X-Gene. Beast is working closely with Iso, an Inhuman or NuHuman as anyone exposed to the Terrigen Mist after Infinity is referred to. Their main focus is to find a cure for the M-Pox but a new mystery presents itself as well as the last Terrigen Cloud is shrinking and Beast wants to know why. We also see Beast’s decent into desperation as the cure eludes him and he is aware of what will happen if he fails. Emma on the other hand is preparing for what she believes is an unavoidable conflict with the Inhumans. Emma has taken up Cyclops’ cause after his demise during the Death of X. Emma is working on strategy to defeat the Inhumans while also preparing herself as she develops a way to confront Black Bolt and obtain her revenge. She is also raising a Mutant army as she rallies Magneto and the Uncanny X-Men, the time displaced All-New X-Men, Storm and the Extraordinary X-Men and a mystery ally who has yet to be revealed.
The Inhumans v. the X-men #0 countdowns the eight months from the end of Death of X to the present day Marvel universe and sets up all of the players and motivations for the coming war. At its core this war is Darwinian in nature, as it will decide which species will survive. I’m just not sure the readers care at this point. The X-Men have been sidelined for the past few years and although still popular they are nowhere near as popular as they once were. The Inhumans on the other hand have been forced upon us since the end of Infinity. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe searched for a mutant allegory they could use they focused on the Inhumans and Marvel comics ran with it. The Inhumans are great supporting characters, going back to their introduction by Stan and Jack in the Fantastic Four and I loved what Hickman did with them during his Fantastic Four run but they are not the leads that Marvel wants them to be.
Charles Soule is an excellent writer. I’ve enjoyed just about everything he has written and I still think his time writing Swamp Thing is one of the best comics to come out of the New 52. He does a nice job on IVX #0 as it is an engaging story and it sets all of the pieces in place for the upcoming event, where co-writer Jeff Lemire will again join him. I love Kenneth Rocafort’s pencils and his work here is some of his best. I first noticed him on Hunter Killers with Mark Waid at Top Cow and more recently on the Ultimates with Al Ewing. He really has a style all of his own and works perfectly with Soule’s story. I wish he was staying for the entire series but Marvel is playing it safe on their timeline and having several artists draw IVX. With their recent streak of lateness this is probably a smart move.
Verdict: a lukewarm buy. I’m invested enough that I want to read at least the next issue but IVX as a whole is on a very small leash for me. If you are not invested at all with the characters or the storyline then pass on it, you’ll be able to find it in trade later or catch up in a few months on Marvel Unlimited.