Issue(s): X-Terminators #2
Note also that N'astirh has Belasco's spellbook, which was used by the Right in X-Factor #32 to contact N'astirh when he was still in Limbo. Did N'astirh get the Right's book after Angel killed Hodge, or is this another copy (the Right actually just said that they had "access" to the "notes" of Belasco, so it may not be the same thing, but it's an interesting coincidence).
N'astirh is not at all pleased with his demons, who misinterpreted his description of human babies in bringing him Artie and Leech. The demon Crotus tries to placate his master by showing that the young kids have power. At first, only Leech's powers are visible to N'astirh, but Artie's become apparent when the two kids are separated (since Leech's powers block Artie's).
N'astirh sends his demons out to capture some real infants, keeping Artie and Leech together so that Artie's powers are cancelled out, and keeping them alive as a food reward for the demons when they complete their mission. N'astirh then goes to attempt to contact Madelyne Pryor, who he refers to as the Goblin Queen. The footnote says #238 but that must be a typo for #236; no indication of whether it's the first or second time he attempts to contact her in that issue.
By showing N'astirh's conversations with Hodge and Madelyne, this X-Terminators issue plays a role in connecting the events of X-Factor to that of Uncanny X-Men as both of those books build up to their parts of Inferno.
Notice that N'astirh says that he needs 13 infants in the scene above. N'astirh also makes a stray comment about rewarding any demon that can help speed up his spellcasting, which will be important later.
Artie's brief ability to use his powers provides the distant older x-kids with an image of the graveyard where they are being held. It's not an exact location but it shows the Twin Towers in the background, giving them something to go on. However, Taki's method of travel is pretty slow and the kids are still hours away from New York, and most of them are in their pajamas or prison clothes. So Rusty has them stop at a gas station to call X-Factor. However, after some hijinx with a soda machine to steal quarters for the phone call...
...the phone is unresponsive, and the kids even get the sense that it is laughing at them. So the kids move on after buying some junk food, which Taki refuses since he's into tofu and bean sprouts.
Interspersed with the teen hijinx is a bloody scene of the demons taking their first infant. Gotta give the mom some props for that eye gouge.
The kids' next stop is a clothing store where the kids create some costumes for themselves. Taki uses his powers to modify some sporting goods into a costume for himself...
...and the rest just mix and match.
It turns out that Taki has a trust fund, so he's able to pay for the clothes they are taking, and also transfer money to the gas station for the quarters.
The demons had been using the goggles that N'astirh used earlier to examine Artie and Leech, and with them they detected the other kids. They become interested when Taki makes mention of his computer's spell checker.
So the demon Crotus decides to follow them, thinking that the spell checker will earn him the reward that N'astirh casually offered earlier for helping to speed up his spells. I remember reading this in realtime and thinking it was just some clever wordplay and that Crotus would get a smack from N'astirh when it turned out that a spell checker isn't what he thought it was. But this will turn out to be a major plotpoint, and it was with that that i kinda soured on the series.
In the meantime, the kids decide to take on the name X-Terminators, which was the name previously used by X-Factor when they were in their "evil mutant" disguises.
The X-Terminators make it to New York but are still unable to locate X-Factor. And here we start to see the backdrop for the Inferno series that will be the most prominent aspect in most of the non-mutant tie-ins. It's a New York of heatwaves and perpetual garbage.
Basically the worst aspects of the city become a literal Hell on Earth. And that includes demonic phones and other objects.
The demons continue collecting babies.
A total of four have been acquired by the end of this issue. And when Taki can't get the older teen X-Terminators to take his talk of demons seriously, he wanders off on his own and gets kidnapped...
...and brought to N'astirh to create his spell checker.
We're pausing here to let the rest of the Marvel universe catch up with us as Inferno builds up.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: During this issue we see N'astirh talking to Cameron Hodge in a scene concurrent with X-Factor #34 and then later going to contact the Goblin Queen, which is given a footnote of Uncanny X-Men #238 but most likely meant #236. So this is concurrent with both of those issues. I've split the difference and placed it in between them. There is a gap between this issue and next - at least enough time for the older X-Terminators to have located some aerial maps - and i'm going to be making that gap quite large because we have a lot of other books that are happening around the same time. Since X-Factor #34 has the Beast away helping the Avengers, we've got to fit in at least Hulk #350, Avengers #298, and Avengers annual #17. And beyond that we need to let the other Marvel universe books play out and get to their Inferno tie-ins. So it's going to be a longer gap, which may mean that it takes the X-Terminators a long time to find those maps, which isn't such a stretch considering the state of the city. It also means that N'astirh is chewing out Crotus on and off for a while about bringing him Taki, but i don't see that as being a major problem either. And i think that in the early parts of Inferno it's ok if we show the city seemingly looking normal in other books. It's a slow build and could even ebb and flow a bit before things get going for real.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (1): showArtie Maddicks, Boom Boom, Cameron Hodge, Crotus, Leech, N'astirh, Rictor, Russell (Inferno Baby), Rusty Collins, Skids, Timothy (Inferno Baby), Wiz Kid
A few occurrences of "N'astrih" later on the text. The correct spelling seems to be "N'astirh".
Posted by: Luis Dantas | August 9, 2014 8:13 PM
Posted by: fnord12 | August 9, 2014 8:31 PM
I thought the concept of a 'spell checker' was very clever, especially with the way it worked into N'astirh being infected with the techno-organic virus which he had spent so long fighting. Crotus' status as 'butt-monkey' also worked very well throughout "Inferno."
I don't have any fond memories of the "X-Terminators" series, but the scenes reproduced here are good examples of what the mutant titles (and teen superheroes in general) should offer. They should be fun, they should have interesting character moments which usually have little to do with anything superheroic. Skids and Boom-Boom taking advantage of the chance to play dress-up (like, you know, teenage girls do on occasion) and Rusty trying to prove himself as the leader even then ("No tights.")
It's worth noting that their costumes are a lot better than the New Mutants were wearing at the time, either as graduate X-Babies or rebellious X-Babies. Only Boom-Boom's is hideous, and Rusty looks weird from the 'no tights' rule. Artie and Leech don't need costumes, and Rictor, Skids and Taki look great.
There was an internet meme a year or so ago, how if "The Breakfast Club" took place today, the kids would spend all Saturday texting about what a lousy time they were having and never make friends with each other. Truly, these are comics from a different era.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 9, 2014 9:42 PM
Actually, if you read The Uncanny X-Men #238 carefully, N'astirh isn't shown contacting Madelyne there anywhere. This may be a mistake and they meant to write The Uncanny X-Men #236 in the footnote, which is where we do see him contacting her through a medical monitor and she tells him "Later" (then he blows up the monitor). Or... he may be responsible for massacring the "examining/interrogation team" during the "Thirteen seconds" at the beginning of #238, giving Madelyne a magical boost while she was being probed by the telepaths.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 10, 2014 5:35 AM
Yeah, i think it was just a typo or a mistake in coordination due to the bimonthly schedule. I've updated the reference, thanks.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 10, 2014 9:25 AM
Hodge says in X-Factor 34 that Nastirh offered him aid in exchange for the children "and certain other concessions." He may just be referring to selling his soul, as referenced in X-Factor 32, but perhaps another concession was turning over Belasco's spell book.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 10, 2014 8:08 PM
Then again, if Nastirh stole the book, maybe it's not the same as the Right's collection of notes. Was there a Belasco spell book in earlier Limbo stories? I presume he stole it from Sym or Magick.
Posted by: Walter Lawson | August 11, 2014 12:38 AM
On http://marvel.wikia.com/ it says Scab's real name is Tim/Timmy. Scab is blond haired where Timothy is black haired. If that's correct, you should probably change the "Characters Appearing:" tag from Timothy (Inferno Baby) to Scab. If it's incorrect, I guess Timmy's hair went from blond to black at some point...?
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 31, 2014 12:09 AM
I mention this in the entry for X-Terminators #3. There's definitely a character named Scab whose real name is Tim, and there's also a Timmy. According to Marvel's wiki, it's Timmy, not Scab, who appears here. I'm sure that's not authoritative but i'll stick with it for consistency. The point of tracking these Inferno babies isn't really to be specific about which baby appeared exactly where, but just so that when we get to those issues their chronologies will show that they were appearing around this time. I'm really tracking them all for consistency; it's Face that is the only one that has anything approaching lasting significance (so far and as far as i know).
Posted by: fnord12 | August 31, 2014 9:26 AM
Can not look at the mom yelling "Timmmeee!" and not hear South Park in my head.
Posted by: Erik Beck | August 11, 2015 11:42 AM
Taki is one of the keys to Claremont's long-running Illyana story. I've said that I think he always intended Illyana to become a little girl again after "Inferno" (or the Five Bloodstones plotline) but looking at these summaries, a couple of things stick out at me, all having to do with the difference between magic and technology. The quote is probably attributed to different people, but Arthur C. Clarke pointed out that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic. Flip a switch on the wall and the room is lit up no matter what time of night it is, for instance.
So we've got magic and demons infesting modern technology as "Inferno" spreads. Illyana started losing control of Limbo when Magus infected S'ym with the techno-organic virus. The fact that Magus could find and enter Limbo suggests immense ability, and his powers along with Warlock's are basically indistinguishable from magic. The X-Men were living on a magical island when Illyana fell into Limbo in the first place, then came home from the Brood Saga to a newly-built ultra-technological mansion.
So Illyana's story ends (for Claremont's purposes) with a new mutant whose powers are basically that he can do anything with technology. Also, N'astir'h gets infected with the techno-organic virus and now outclasses S'ym as the first 'boss' the main X-teams fight at the climax. Then Maddie's plotline has to be resolved along with "Inferno" proper, and we meet Mr. Sinister, who clones people.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 3, 2017 10:35 PM
And after "Inferno," the X-Men return to Australia, where the computers are evolving themselves and the whole town is looked over by the aborigine with access to Dreamtime.
Posted by: ChrisW | March 4, 2017 12:01 AM
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