What I Remember:
I found this comic in the back issues bin of a long-defunct comic shop, near the train station where I used to get off on my way home from school. I would spend a lot of time riding the rails from the Bronx into Manhattan and was always looking for reading material, especially anything that wasn’t my homework. I had read about the “Inferno” crossover in a Wizard and picked it up because in my mind at the time every crossover was a milestone issue. I also picked up another issue from the Inferno Saga but can’t seem to find it.
Uncanny X-Men #242 “Inferno: Part The Third, "Burn!”
Writer: Chris Claremont
Penciller: Marc Silvestri
Inker: Dan Green
Letterer: Tom Orzechowski
Colorist: Glynis Oliver
Editor: Bob Harras
Editor-In-Chief: Tom DeFalco
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Publication Date: March 1989
Cover Price: $1.50
Re-Collection Price: Unsure as I bought it as a back issue in the mid-1990s
Previously in the X-Men, the original X-Men have formed X-Factor, leaving a new team of recruits to take over the X-Men. Cyclops is married to Madeline Pryor, whom bore him a son, Nathanial. Two demons S’ym and N’astirh have used Illyana Rasputin, member of the New Mutants and sister of Colossus to bring Limbo to Earth, specifically the island of Manhattan! As the city’s various super teams battle the hordes of limbo, our issue begins, with Wolverine locking lips with Jean Grey?!
Cyclops objects and Jean isn't happy about it either and thinks that the X-Men are dead and that these are imposters, she orders Iceman and Beast to capture the Goblin Queen, Pryor. The only problem is that Madelyne is being protected by Havok!
Wolverine keeps trying to pick up Jean and gets into a fight with Archangel to protect her honor.
Rogue intercepts with a kiss, that opens her eyes to Archangel’s dark past. A full on battle between X-Factor and the X-Men ensues.
Elsewhere, Longshot and Dazzler frolic around in some water and make out.
Back at the battle, Central Park is flooding because Havok melted Iceman’s ice bridge.
Cyclops tries to rescue Madeline and the baby but she doesn’t want his help and he’s attacked by his brother, Havok, who is defending Madelyne since Scott walked out on her. Madelyne summons N’astirh who’s rebuilt as a sort of demonic computer and takes the Sommers brothers out and then turns some demons on Jean, which Madelyne seems happy about.
Madelyne gives Cyclops a chance to stop her from a riding off in carriage of demons or save Jean. He saves Jean. Madelyne is whisked away with Havok hanging on, preventing Cyclops from taking the shot that both saved Jean and stopped Madelyne.
The carriage arrives at its destination, the Empire State Building, now the castle of the Goblin Queen. Colossus, tries to intervene in favor of his friends but is shut out. Not giving up, he begins climbing the tower.
The Goblin Queen ascends to her throne with Havok and they begin preparing for a sacrifice in order to prevent the world from returning to its original state.
Madelyne prepares to sacrifice her son, Jean learns of her plans through a vision and Madelyne sense that her son is reaching out to Jean telepathically to save him. Incensed that both her husband and son now choose Jean over her she vows to have Jean’s soul.
Storm, who has managed to remain above the fray whisked Jean above the fight and they reunite, despite the X-Men and X-Factor being at war.
As N’astirh attacks again both teams begin to unite to defend their teammates.
Rogue absorbs the techno-virus from the demon as Colossus makes it to the top of the tower, he’s quickly blasted off but is intercepted by a quick thinking Iceman, to uses him to weaken the demon further.
He retreats to the Empire State Building, the teams come up with a plan to defeat a techno-organic being. Which results in Iceman freezing the entire building, which allows his processors to work faster but then Storm and the rest combine their powers to heat it up to an ultra-hot state, shutting him down and bringing his destruction!
The teams celebrate their victory, but the world remains limbo, they wonder what went wrong when suddenly Jean is captured by the Goblin Queen and Havok!
Continued After Ad:
This is 80s X-Men at their best. There’s relationship drama, Cyclops has ditched his wife for his his first love, Jean. His brother takes the scorned wife’s side and falls for her. But then you get the out-of-this world twist that she’s trying to sacrifice their son to a demon to bring about Limbo and get back at Cyclops. The wild sci-fi soap opera that Claremont-era X-Men stories were known for is here.
All of this seems like it would be dense for a new reader to get into but it isn’t you get a sense of everyone’s role in the telenovela and how they relate to the story. I especially liked how aloof Dazzler and Longshot were, they were way more into each other than than the fighting or even restoring the world back to order.
There was also a cool girl power theme throughout the book, sure Madelyne is going after Jean over Cyclops but the moment where Jean and storm embrace brings the teams back together despite all of the chaos that erupted prior. (Pryor?) Jean also teams up with Psylocke to combine psionic powers, was a nice way of having the old psychic from the X-Men team with the new psi-powered woman. All this while Cyclops, Wolverine and Havok are competing for Jean and Madelyne.
Because this is such a massive crossover it’s hard to find the entire set and the trade is large and pricey but it’s well worth putting in the time and effort to complete the story.