This article was originally published at ComicBook.Com on December 26, 2016.
IVX (a.k.a. Inhumans Vs X-Men), Marvel’s next big event, is just around the corner. After the lead-up mini-series Death of X and a thorough recap in IVX #0, the stage is set for the two largest groups of outcasts in the Marvel Universe to duke it out all over the world. With a title and abbreviation similar to AVX (Avengers Vs X-Men), it’s all but guaranteed that we can expect to see some similarly status quo shaking results and fallout that will shape both franchises for years to come. Two major X-Men have died already, so it’s difficult to predict just how wild things will get in IVX itself. The only people who really know are writers Charles Soule and Jeff Lemire, artist Leinil Francis Yu, and their editors at Marvel.
There is a lot of information to go on when making some educated guesses though. We aren’t here to distribute theories like a man on the street with pamphlets, but we do have our eyes on some key characters and ideas though. If you’re looking forward to IVX and are wondering what might happen, these five items are likely to be some of the most important elements in this series.
All Eyes on Black Bolt
Even though Medusa has been leading the Inhumans throughout most of their modern revitalization, Black Bolt has remained as ominous and powerful of a figure as ever. His role as King of the Inhumans for so many decades combined with one of the most destructive powers on Earth will always place him centerstage for any story he appears in. Now top that off with his “murder” of Cyclops at the end of Death of X and you can be sure that his role in IVX will be massive.
What exactly he will do is unclear, but it’s likely that he’ll have something to say and we all know what that means. Marvel has already announced a new Black Bolt series coming from writer Saladin Ahmed and artist Christian Ward that will begin with the former king behind bars. It’s a nasty indicator that while Cyclops was already dead, Black Bolt may rack up a real body count yet. In IVX Black Bolt’s voice is Chekhov’s Gun, it has already been set on the table so we ought to expect that it will be used before the story ends.
This is the cause behind the confrontation. If the roaming clouds of Terrigen Mist didn’t cause people with the X-Gene to get sick, then the X-Men and Inhumans would be just as likely to sit down for tea as fight. That’s not the case though. Since the end of Secret Wars, Terrigen has plagued the mutant community and pushed them to the brink of extinction. Now Emma Frost has destroyed one of the two clouds of Terrigen in Death of X, placing the Inhumans in a very similar predicament. Both camps are fighting for survival.
Whatever happens to the final cloud of Terrigen, you can expect that the issue of Terrigen sickness will be resolved by the end of IVX. After being the center of X-stories for more than a year it’s time to move on and the editors of the X-Men books at Marvel have said as much. They’re done with extinction stories and ready to refocus on the X-Men as superheroes. For better or worse, this disease will be dealt with in the pages of IVX. It may still take a few more victims before it goes though.
Emma Frost’s Inevitable Meltdown
After almost 20 years of heroism and fighting for the side of good, it appears that Emma Frost is ready to make a heel turn once more. The conclusion of Death of X revealed that it had been her, not Cyclops, acting as the leader of the X-Men and pushing for violent confrontation with the Inhumans. The loss of her beloved to the Terrigen Sickness appears to have relieved her of some, if not all, of her sanity.
If Death of X was all set up for IVX, then part of the payoff has to be the completion of Emma’s downward spiral. Her cruelty and manipulativeness were clearly back and not for the better there, so it’s only a matter of time until her allies see that change in her. The real question is how much damage she might do before someone recognizes what is going on. While the path isn’t exactly clear, you can definitely expect Emma to be one of the key villains in IVX and a force for no-good in future X-Men stories.
Beast Picks a Side
Right after Secret Wars many readers were surprised to see Beast featured in the Inhumans line of comics instead of the X-Men. He has been hard at work searching for a cure to the Terrigen illness that will satisfy both groups. Unfortunately, his peaceful endeavors have been for naught and time has finally run out. Without a cure or much hope for one, a showdown between X-Men and Inhumans has become inevitable.
In this time Beast has become close friends with many Inhumans and even attempted to halt some of the X-Men’s proposals in IVX #0. So his loyalties are certainly in question. One of the biggest moments in IVX will doubtlessly center on Beast having to pick a side in this fight (and possibly even betraying it later). If IVX were compared to Civil War, then Beast is playing the pivotal role of Spider-Man. Unlike Spider-Man though, Beast also happens to be something of a mad scientist, which makes him an even more dangerous wild card.
What About the Outliers?
While characters like Black Bolt, Emma Frost, Medusa, and Beast are all certain to be involved in IVX, there are still a lot of question marks on both sides. Just consider all of the Inhumans who while part of their community are hardly associated with the royal family or formal teams. Characters like Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl all qualify as Inhumans, but it’s unclear how they feel about all of this or if they’ll willingly be drafted into the fight. The same goes for some X-Men like the original five and the all-new Wolverine.
This is a long list of question marks, but there is one answer already on the table. In the wake of IVX, Marvel will be launching a new Secret Warriors series that is prominently featuring quite a few Inhumans, including both Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl. The need for a team of young Inhumans and inclusion of these outliers in the community suggest they will have a role to play in IVX and will become more important to the Inhumans comics after this event is finished.