Marvel Is Having Inhumans Kill Off X-Men in the Comics

Extraordinary X-Men 1 (header)

Over the past year, Marvel Studios has plucked the Inhumans from relative obscurity to give them prime placement in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only are they getting their own feature film in 2019, they’re the subject of a major ongoing arc on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Essentially, they serve as a stand-in for the X-Men, since 20th Century Fox still holds the rights to Marvel’s mutant roster.

But replacing the X-Men with Inhumans in the movies and TV shows is one thing; now, that offscreen rivalry appears to be spilling over into the comics. Previews of the upcoming Extraordinary X-Men #1 tease a storyline in which the Inhumans’ expansion is literally killing the X-Men. More about the Inhumans killing X-Men after the jump.

To rewind a bit, the Inhumans are an alien race whose genes are mixed in with some of Earth’s human population. In the comics, the recent release of a vapor called the Terrigen Mists has activated latent Inhuman powers in many people who had no idea of their alien heritage. (If you want a more in-depth summary of who the Inhumans are, check out our explainer.)

But mutants exposed to the Terrigen Mists become ill, and Extraordinary X-Men #1 confirms the worst: Not only is the substance toxic to mutants, it sterilizes them as well. With a single plot device, Marvel Comics has the chance to kill off a bunch of mutants and prevent the creation of future mutants. See the preview pages via Blastr below:

To be sure, this is far from the first time the X-Men have been threatened with extinction in the comics. And there’s probably no threat of the X-Men being permanently wiped out; the characters are too popular for that. We’d also wager that if you asked Marvel whether the move had anything to do with movie rights, they’d blink innocently and feign indignation that you’d believe them capable of such spitefulness.

However, it’s pretty clear Marvel is beefing up the Inhumans’ comic book presence to support their MCU appearances — and now their growth is coming at the expense of the X-Men, whose rights are held by Fox. Maybe movie rights issues aren’t the only reason this arc is happening, but it’s difficult not to suspect they’re part of it.

Previously, Marvel Comics cancelled the Fantastic Four comic and dialed down Fantastic Four merchandising in the lead-up to Josh Trank’s new movie. (As it turned out, Trank’s film didn’t need any help failing, but that’s another story.) Of course they swore it had nothing to do with the Fox / Marvel rivalry, but fans have remained skeptical. And Marvel didn’t really help its own case, pulling cute little stunts like killing off Trank’s Fantastic Four cast in the comics. Nor is this the only time Marvel has tinkered with its comics to help its movies.

In addition, there are rumors that the Terrigen Mists storyline will push the X-Men further off into the corners of the Marvel Comics universe, where they’ll have less contact with the characters whose movie rights are still owned by Marvel. We’ll have to wait and see if that part pans out. Based on everything else that’s happened so far, though, we wouldn’t put it past them.

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