Inhumans vs X-Men 5, co-written by Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire, is the issue where all the separate story arcs are starting to come together. A lot of stuff happens in this comic, and admittedly, some of it is kind of awesome. For example, a solution to the X-Men’s problem of facing extinction is figured out, and it’s a team of X-Men and younger Inhumans working together. It’s a nice moment that shows heroes actually acting like heroes and trying to understand each other. There’s also an awesome moment where Magneto casually shrugs off an attack from a magnetically powered Inhuman, yet doesn’t really attack back. It’s saying something when Magneto is one of the more reasonable heroes in an event like this.
However while there are great moments in this comic, there still isn’t all that much room for dramatic depth. This is a story that could have worked much better if they gave some time for dramatic depth. Instead, Karnak easily escapes his prison – too easily if you ask me. Havok lets Medusa’s team rescue Black Bolt without a fight or even bothering to explain the X-Men’s point of view. That’s just dumb. There’s also a moment with Cyclops attacking Emma Frost. If you didn’t read the All-New X-Men 18 tie-in, you’d have no idea why. There isn’t even an editor’s note to help readers out with that, nor is there enough room on the recap page to mention either character by name. Everything adds up to a bit of a mess, and the few great moments don’t make up for that.
The art by Javier Garron is great though. Every character is well-detailed, and there’s good use of realistic looking fighting forms during Karnak’s escape. The waves of energy flying around in the later fight all look really good. The moment where a young Inhuman attacks Magneto is particularly brilliant, with blue rings of power emitting from his arms, varying in thickness at different points, but they flow off in strange withered shapes by the disinterested wave of Magneto’s arms. The environments are well detailed and varied, from the bizarre look of The World that looks like an optical illusion, to a park in New Jersey with New York City across the river in the background complete with nighttime city lights, stars, and nearby bushes and trees. David Curiel’s colouring breathes life into the art, making this a bright and colourful comic with great use of reflections and shadows. The writing in this comic may be flawed, but it’s hard to find anything in the art to complain about.
I will give this comic two major advantages over Civil War II. Stuff actually happens, and each issue is $1 less than the same issue in Civil War II. By that standard, it is easier to recommend. That said, with only one more issue to go and so much story to wrap up, there isn’t enough time left for the dramatic weight needed to make this story compelling. When there are moments that you need to read specific tie-ins to understand, the event also fails to be self-contained. If you’ve enjoyed Inhumans vs X-Men so far, you’ll likely enjoy this issue too. That said, I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone who hasn’t.