Thee Comic Column #119 – Inferno!

Could you pass the mustard please? I believe slathering my words – which I am about to eat – may go easier with a nice stone ground brown or perhaps even a lovely champagne dill atop them.

That’s right, a scant four weeks after I used this space to humbly declare that I am going to stop buying Marvel comics monthly – not as a boycott but simply as a “Whatever I want to read I’ll do so in trade”  maneuver in an effort to curb the amount of my limited cash flow I spend at The Comic Bug every week, reallocating those funds for indie or creator-owned books, a story on Newsarama this week has made me seriously consider changing my mind. What could have that effect? What could be so big, so much more amazing than how good a job I feel Marvel is already doing on a monthly basis with a lot of their titles that I would fold so quickly and easily?

Inferno!

You’ll remember we learned in last month’s announcement that the Marvel Comics Universe will be coming to an end in May and that the status quo or new Universal structure to house their characters will be Battleworld; an location/idea that harkens back to 1984’s very first Secret War. This iteration of Battleworld will be populated by anything and everything that the company chooses to populate it with from the entire history of their various continuities*. This is obviously how the company is going to give us re-plays of flagship events from Marvel’s past; it was about six months ago that Marvel made headlines by releasing enigmatic images for an upcoming Civil War, Planet Hulk, Old Man Logan series (among others) – all events that have already happened but appear to be either getting a revamp or a reboot. Well, now that Battleworld is in place it looks as though some of the pieces that populate it are going to be literal areas on the map that represent continuations of those events, continuations that can then be quite craftily spun into new, ongoing What If? like titles. And one of those, announced this week, is a pocket of Battleworld that is the MCU if the X-Men had not stopped Inferno. Inferno, if you don’t know, was a crossover event – in my opinion the best crossover event – that ran across the X-titles and infected a large amount of other books at the time and saw Illyana Rasputin and Madylene Pryor manipulated by the demonic forces of the hell dimension Limbo, manipulated to help bring about a hell on Earth scenario. The X-Men of course defeated the forces of darkness, however in Inferno Chris Claremont really constructed a fertile setting for story possibilities. During the series Manhattan itself was possessed by demonic forces, and the resulting “demon city” that served as the setting for much of the action was amazing. Mailboxes and elevators eating people, household appliances growing teeth and attacking, dogs and cats living together – mass hysteria!

Seriously, the setting for Inferno is one of the elements of the story that always endeared it to me so much, and the idea that now, over 15 years later Marvel is going to revisit it and tell us what that world looks like further down the line is making me salivate with anticipation. I know, I know, it’s usually better to leave well enough alone. This is one instance however where I simply cannot. Even the set-up that writer Dennis Hopeless is starting with is fantastic: five years on and every year Colossus has taken a team of X-folks into Demonic Manhattan to try and save his sister, and every year he fails. In the above-linked article to Newarama Hopeless says this series begins with the fifth year’s attempt.

The reality of the situation is leaving Marvel is not going to be as easy to leave on a monthly basis as I think it is. With all of these exciting possibilities coming down the pipes who knows what they’ll announce yet, although I will say this is probably the only event in Marvel history I have this level of affection for, so I may be okay. And of course, I may not like what they do with this new Inferno series at all and that would no doubt strengthen my future resolve. However, with me Marvel has earned the benefit of the doubt. I’ll buy the first issue of Inferno at least – just looking at the promo pages from artist Javier Garron has me excited for this. And of course I’ll be keeping my eye on the other series spinning out of Secret Wars. I’m even thinking, although most likely erroneously, that the new Battleworld set-up may make it easier to read a series or two and truly stay self-contained to that book, although we all know that is probably definitely not the case. Either way, as I write this I am chewing through the first mouthful of those previous words. A little tough, but I guess I won’t really know how they taste until I read Inferno number one.

*Can we get some Starbrand going maybe?

……………………..

Can’t find a comic shop? You can always use old reliable Comic Shop Locator at 1-800-COMIC-BOOK. Or you can take some of my recommendations. If you live in the greater Chicagoland area I recommend any of the wonderful four locations of Amazing Fantasy Books. In Los Angeles it’s The Comic Bug. Las Vegas it’s Alternate Reality Comics. San Francisco? Try the Isotope Comic Lounge and if you happen to venture a little further North I’d say you have to visit The Escapist Comic Book Store in Berkley (with the wonderful Dark Carnival Books next door and owned by the same folks). Read on!!!

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

One Response to Thee Comic Column #119 – Inferno!
  1. JFK Reply

    Hey Shawn, I dig the site. Some cool stuff. I moved and need your mailing address.
    Cthulhu for prez.
    JFK

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