Issue(s): X-Terminators #4
The New Mutants also come through.
Seeing them, especially Magik in her full Darkchylde form...
...the X-Terminators assume they are demons too, but N'astirh is kind enough to correct them. N'astirh then gives in to Crotus' pleadings and says he's going to give Artie and Leech to the lackey demon to eat. At this, Whiz Kid rebels, and since N'astirh still wants to keep him alive, he tells Crotus to guard him instead of eating the young mutants. But Taki is able to distract Crotus while Leech and Artie disable the computer.
This causes the pentagram to destabilize. Crotus is able to fix it, but it makes the X-Terminators realize that they can destroy the computer to close the portal.
N'astirh at this point is distracted because his tenuous alliance with S'ym has reached its end, and the two are fighting.
So Taki is able to construct a giant cartoon ship for the X-Terminators to battle the demons, rescue the babies, and attack the computer.
They are joined by the New Mutants, allowing them to split up their objectives.
Taki is recaptured, though, and brought to N'astirh even as he's fighting S'ym.
But the fight with S'ym takes a toll on N'astirh, and he decides it'll be easier to stop controlling Taki and let him get killed so that he can fight S'ym at full strength (Rictor is able to rescue Taki, though). The problem with that is the computer is designed to detonate when demons touch it, which is why N'astirh needed Taki to control it. So N'astirh makes a difficult calculation, and decides that he's going to allow the techno-organic S'ym to infect him with the transmode virus.
Seeing this, Taki uses his powers to destroy the computer, even though the resulting explosion will probably kill him. He's been feeling guilt ever since he was used by N'astirh to open the portal. The explosion doesn't kill him, however. It does seemingly kill N'astirh and close the portal to Limbo, leaving a very cartoony S'ym to run the invasion of Earth unopposed.
I guess in contrast to the schism between N'astirh and S'ym, this trial causes the New Mutants and the X-Terminators to join forces.
After this issue, the X-Terminators are folded into the New Mutants, which really ended any chance of these guys being thought of as a distinct group. I mentioned in the entry for X-Terminators #1 several reasons why i thought this might have originally been intended as an ongoing series (although to be clear that's still just speculation on my part), and the set-up that we saw there before it was immediately discarded for Inferno looked like it could have been an interesting way to distinguish these characters from the New Mutants, specifically by having them integrated into schools with non-mutant kids instead of segregated like the kids at Xavier's. And that would have fit with the way we saw these kids (especially Rusty and to a lesser degree Skids) being trained in X-Factor, which was designed to help them control their powers with the intention of re-integrating into society instead of becoming "X-Babies". Personally, despite having collected X-Factor from issue #1 in realtime, i never felt any special attachment with these characters except for Artie and Leech. But that may have been because they were relegated to hanging around the X-Factor headquarters whining that they weren't allowed to go on missions; putting them in a different scenario might have helped a lot.
If the idea really was for the title to be an ongoing, the idea might have been to launch the series as Inferno tie-ins to help build an audience. Obviously if that was the case it didn't pan out, but it's not the last time Marvel will try that approach. On the other hand, it really may have been intended as a mini-series all along, in which case i really question the way issue #1 was set up, with Rusty going to jail and the other kids being sent off to school. Sure, that made it possible to introduce Whiz Kid, but the rest of it winds up being extraneous.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: This issue is highly intertwined with New Mutants #72, and the story continues directly in New Mutants #73. By the end of this issue, the portal to Limbo has been closed and N'astirh is in a techno-organic form, marking a third stage of the Inferno series that we'll use to judge the chronology for other books. Note that i've listed all the Inferno babies as appearing here, including "Cable" / Nathan Christopher Summers. We'll see demons bring Nathan to a techno-organic N'astirh in X-Factor #37; i'm not sure if that means that Nathan was never part of the ritual seen in X-Terminators #3-4 or if the demons have recovered Nathan after the pentagram was disrupted here.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (4): showAlex (Inferno Baby), Artie Maddicks, Bob (Inferno Baby), Boom Boom, Cable (Baby Nathan Christopher Summers), Cannonball, Crotus, Face, Gosamyr, Leech, Loca (Inferno Baby), Magik, Maw, Mirage (Dani Moonstar), N'astirh, Rictor, Russell (Inferno Baby), Rusty Collins, S'ym, Scab, Shauna (Inferno Baby), Skids, Sunspot, Timothy (Inferno Baby), Toko, Trista (Inferno Baby), Warlock, Wiz Kid, Wolfsbane
Yeah, Skids, Rusty and Boom-Boom end up joining the New Mutants...as the super-bulky/tiny-footed shadow of Liefeld draws closer.
Not necessarily one of Marvel's better ideas with these kids.
Posted by: Ataru320 | August 28, 2014 12:45 PM
Nathan Christopher & 3 other babies were kept separate from the pentacle for a ritual in the Empire State Building we'll see over in X-Factor #38.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 28, 2014 2:14 PM
I'm surprised you didn't just make this an X-terminators #4/New Mutants #72 page because the events/story are so interwoven.
Posted by: Jay Demetrick | August 28, 2014 2:35 PM
Regarding Nathan, i'm still not sure that disqualifies him from being (behind the scenes) here with the other infants, though. X-Factor #37, where Nathan is (re?)delivered to N'astirh definitely takes place after X-Terminators #4.
Regarding a single page, i don't cut up the comics like that. If stories take place concurrently, i keep them as close together as practical (in this case, in adjacent entries), but i don't merge them into a single entry. If you were reading the comics you wouldn't jump back and forth between books, and i try to follow a similar flow here.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 28, 2014 5:03 PM
What other cases are there of Marvel starting up a series that was intended to be on-going, but also part of a crossover? Not saying there aren't any, nor that Marvel wasn't perfectly capable of making such a stupid decision, but having refreshed myself on "X-Terminators" for the first time in many years (possibly since it was fairly new) it looks to me like a short-term series designed to get a sales bump from an X-title #1, make use of characters that otherwise "Inferno" didn't have much room for and expand the scope of the storyline (introducing Crotus, for instance.)
Also, keep in mind that Weezie, Claremont and Bob Harras probably all knew that the X-Mansion was going to be destroyed at the end of "Inferno" and the New Mutants wouldn't have any home to go back to, so why not fold them in with the other teenage mutants hanging out with X-Factor?
Posted by: ChrisW | August 28, 2014 8:53 PM
ChrisW, i'm thinking of more recent books like, for example, Hercules starting out as a World War Hulk: Aftersmash title or an Alpha Flight book beginning with a Fear Itself tie-in. And then you have all the books launched out of things like Dark Reign, which i guess was less a crossover and more a formalized status quo change, but it's similar.
Posted by: fnord12 | August 28, 2014 9:29 PM
Fair enough. I assumed you were referring to later series, but just wanted to check that you weren't talking about books Marvel had already put out by this point ["Contest of Champions" was intended to lead to an on-going Shamrock series, or something.] Other than "Transformers" lasting 75+ issues longer than their original miniseries, I couldn't come up with any examples.
So given how Marvel was working at the time, I'll stick with my theory, that it was a way to get another X-Title #1 on the shelves, make use of characters who would otherwise have nothing to do, include details that wouldn't really fit in elsewhere - probably another reason "Inferno" is my favorite crossover - and set the New Mutants up with a place to go and things to do once the X-Mansion gets destroyed.
Posted by: ChrisW | August 30, 2014 3:01 AM
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