Over the past few years, the mutants and Inhumans of the Marvel Universe have shared an interesting relationship. The X-Men were once Marvel’s flagship franchise, have recently focused on sorting out their own problems rather than taking center stage at world-changing events like Secret Wars. Meanwhile, the Inhumans, once a fascinating corner of the Marvel Universe, are now more populous and widespread than ever, thanks to Black Bolt’s Terrigen Bomb awakening latent Inhumans all over the globe. Now, the rival relationship between these two disparate, diverse Marvel groups has been literalized with the revelation that the Terrigen Mists don’t just give Inhumans powers — they’re also deadly to mutants. This October, Marvel will publish a four-issue miniseries, Death of X, that dives into this complicated relationship, and fills in some long-awaited questions about what happened in the eight months since the end of Secret Wars and Marvel’s “All-New, All-Different” reboot. The series will be co-written by X-Men writer Jeff Lemire and Inhuman‘s Charles Soule, with art by Aaron Kuder (check out the cover of issue 1, drawn by Kuder, above).
“Right now things are not good for mutantkind,” Lemire says. “On the flipside, Inhumans have been growing and becoming more prominent in the Marvel Universe. There’s a lot of tension between these characters about that, and also within the fandom.”
Any mutant/ Inhuman conflict is, by its nature, larger in scope than a scuffle between two different groups of Avengers. Both groups are large, diverse, and encompass villains as well as heroes. And this problem, too, is nearly impossible: the Terrigen Mists are vital to one species’ survival and deadly to the other. The stakes couldn’t be higher in this apparently zero-sum game. Though leaders like Medusa will obviously have big roles in how things unfold, don’t expect a uniform reaction from either side.
“For both sides of this, it doesn’t affect just a small group of them,” Soule says. “There are heroic Inhumans, but it also affects the bad guys and the psychotic ones just as much as it affects the nice love-and-happiness ones. It’s not just their livelihood and way of life but their very lives at stake, so they’re gonna react the way you think they would. Some people move to some kind of shared solution, but there’s a lot of superhero punching and blasting and stuff like that.”
Most of Death of X takes place at the beginning of the post-Secret Wars eight-month gap, and as a result will answer some burning fan questions. Perhaps most notably: what happened to Cyclops? The controversial X-Men leader has been missing and presumed dead since the All-New All-Different launch. Death of X will finally fill in some of those blanks, in ways that will have major ramifications for the current-day storylines.
“We’ll definitely see some characters who have been missing in action since the series launch,” Lemire says. “We’ll answer the question of where certain mutants have been, and what’s happened to them. Cyclops is the big one, he’s the one we’ve said was dead and that’s all we’ve really said. His death was very controversial, so obviously that’ll be a big part of the story we’re telling here.”
To hear them tell it, Soule and Lemire are just as excited to reveal some of these long-burning mysteries as fans are to read them. But they’re still staying mum on important story details. For instance, what does the title Death of X mean? Does it refer to one specific death, or a more abstract “death” for the entire X-universe of mutants and X-Men? For that, you’ll just have to wait until October for the first two issues of Death of X (with the final two following in November).