I’ve been up and down with this event so far. The 0 and 1 issues were both really good, with a lot of entertaining build-up and a bit of course correction on the X-Men franchise as a whole. The 2nd issue was mostly an action issue that was fun, but with some serious characterization problems. Last issue was just boring. Can the second hero vs. hero event that started in 2016 pick up the pace a bit?
Inhumans vs X-Men 4, co-written by Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire, is decent. Unlike the previous issue, stuff actually happens, like the Inhumans starting their escape from their Limbo prison, Mosaic taking over Cyclops’s mind (which was shown in much greater detail in All-New X-Men 18 last week), and through that, he learns how desperate the X-Men’s situation really is. That said, with the exception of the ending, it still feels like a bunch of things happening, with not that much dramatic weight behind it. The Inhuman’s fight with the demons seems way too easy considering the X-Men (who are much more experienced with Limbo) have a lot more trouble whenever they’re stuck there. There’s nothing wrong with anyone’s characterization in this issue (as far as I can tell), but the only truly memorable moment out of this whole issue is the very end, where Ms. Marvel is clearly distressed by the news and asks the others who the good guys really are. It’s a great moment that improves an otherwise mediocre comic. Well, that and Mosaic trying to hijack Magneto’s mind is entertaining.
Thankfully, Javier Garron’s art is pretty good. The opening spread shows the Limbo Prison in great detail, with the high cliff holding the domed shield and a variety of weird beasts flying around. The following fight between the Inhumans and the demons is a fun montage of action shots combined with smaller panels of close-ups with characters faces. There’s a great variety of X-Men on page, and they’re all well-detailed and easily recognizable. The spread montage of Magneto’s brain when Mosaic is trying to hijack him is a neat collective of recent events and recognizable moments from Magneto’s past. There’s also one panel of Colossus walking through a wall of fire, looking downright scary with the flames reflecting off his metal beard. David Curiel’s colouring is also great. There’s great use of environmental shading, whether it’s the grey on Muir Island, the blue surrounding Mosaic or the red throughout Limbo. Apart from the shading, everything is bright and colourful, with great use of shadows and reflections.
As much as there are a couple great moments and generally great art in this comic, it doesn’t make up for the lack of significant dramatic weight behind what’s going on. The event isn’t digging into anyone’s heads to see how they’re feeling. As crowded of an event as Avengers vs. X-Men was, it still had plenty of room for character development on both sides of the conflict. Even Fear itself featured some good character development for both Iron Man and Thor, and that event is the prime example of an overcrowded, underwhelming event. The Inhumans making short work of the Limbo demons just feels wrong, no matter how powerful some of them are. It’s also hard to sympathize with the Inhumans when, whether they realize it or not, their actions are making it harder for the Mutants to survive their impending extinction level event.
It’s not too late for this event to end up being good overall, but the next two issues need to be really good to save this event as a whole. If you’ve been enjoying Inhumans vs X-Men so far, you’ll probably enjoy this, but it’s too early to recommend it to anyone who’s either skeptical or waiting for the trade.