Cover to The Uncanny X-Men # 240 (Jan 1989), the storyline's first issue, by Marc Silvestri.
PublisherMarvel Comics
Publication dateOctober 1988 – August 1989
The Amazing Spider-Man #311-313
The Avengers vol. 1, #298-300
The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger vol. 3, #4
Daredevil vol. 1, #262-263 265
Damage Control vol. 1, #4
Excalibur vol. 1, #6-7
Fantastic Four vol. 1, #322-324
The New Mutants vol. 1, #71-73
Power Pack #42-44
The Spectacular Spider-Man vol. 1, #146-148
The Uncanny X-Men #239-243
Web of Spider-Man #47-48
What If...? vol. 2, #6
X-Factor vol. 1, #36-40 Annual #4
X-Terminators #1-4
Main character(s)Madelyne Pryor
New Mutants
Mister Sinister
X-Men: InfernoISBN 0-7851-0222-1

"Inferno" was a Marvel Comics company-wide crossover storyline in 1989 that mainly involved the mutant titles, namely Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, X-Terminators, Excalibur, and The New Mutants. The story concerned the corruption of Madelyne Pryor into the Goblin Queen, the final transformation of Illyana Rasputin into the Darkchylde, the demonic transformation of Hobgoblin, and a demonic invasion of New York City. The series was written by Louise Simonson, Chris Claremont, Steve Engelhart, Gerry Conway, David Michelinie, Ann Nocenti, Walter Simonson, Jon Bogdanove, Terry Austin, and Julianna Jones.


Two demons from Limbo, S'ym and N'astirh, plan a demonic invasion of Earth. Their plan revolves around Illyana Rasputin of the New Mutants, as her mutant power allows her to open passages between Limbo and Earth. During one of the New Mutants' routine stopovers in Limbo, N'astirh casts a spell blocking Illyana's teleportation power, thus trapping the New Mutants in Limbo with S'ym, who has taken control of Limbo's hordes and is eager to kill the New Mutants in order to solidify his claim to Limbo. Illyana assumes that the entrapment spell was cast by S'ym, and so sees no reason to distrust N'astirh when he advises her that she can return to Earth by embracing her demonic power. She does so and opens a gateway to Manhattan. N'astirh had kidnapped Wiz Kid of the X-Terminators and coerced him into building a spell-casting computer; once Illyana opened the gateway, he uses this computer to cast a spell holding it open.

The city of Manhattan falls under siege, and the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Daredevil, Power Pack, and Spider-Man fend off numerous demons, as well as Hobgoblin, now possessed by a demon, and the mutant-hating Bogeyman, transformed into a monster by N'astirh. Inanimate objects become demonically possessed and begin attacking and devouring people. As shown in Daredevil and X-Men, most residents of Manhattan treat the demonic invasion as a part of normal life in the city. Buses still run, under an all-volunteer force since the drivers had either been eaten or transformed into demons themselves. Subways function, and people ride them willingly, even though some only go into Hell. Stores still sell products. Helicopter tours run. Originally, Spider-Man thinks that the events are illusions caused by Mysterio, however this is proven false when Mysterio is arrested and the strangeness continues

Meanwhile, N'astirh had made a bargain with Madelyne Pryor, agreeing to locate her son Nathan and manipulate the X-Men into killing the Marauders in exchange for her casting a spell that would make a permanent bridge between Earth and Limbo. To keep his end, N'astirh alters the X-Men's computer systems so that they can use them to locate the Marauders. Driven to bloodthirstiness by N'astirh's Inferno spell, the X-Men attack the Marauders' headquarters, gleefully killing most of them in the ensuing battle. Colossus remains unaffected by this spell, due to the protection of his organic steel armor. However, when he learns what happened to his sister Illyana, he concludes that he can only free his fellow X-Men from Inferno's influence by saving her. In fulfillment of his other half of the bargain, N'astirh liberates Nathan from Mister Sinister's laboratory, where Madelyne learns that she is in fact a clone of Jean Grey created by Sinister.

With their plan fulfilled, N'astirh and S'ym begin fighting each other for leadership of Limbo's hordes (and by extension, rule of both Limbo and Earth). With S'ym gaining the upper hand, N'astirh makes a desperate bid for victory by letting himself be infected with the Transmode Virus. He then merges with Wiz Kid's spell-casting computer, increasing his magical powers exponentially and thus allowing him to make a permanent bridge between Limbo and Earth without Madelyne Pryor's help. However, Wiz Kid destroys the computer before N'astirh can make use of this power. The explosion reduces N'astirh to ashes, but he is immediately reconstituted by the Transmode Virus.

Finding Illyana, Colossus is horrified to see that she has so completely given in to her demonic side that she is totally covered by her eldritch armor and has demonic horns, legs, and a tail. Ashamed at her brother's reaction, she flees into Limbo and decides to end the demonic invasion by assuming rule of Limbo. However, her teammate Rahne Sinclair persuades her against this, and she instead gives up her demonic powers by creating a massive stepping disc that banishes most of the demons back to Limbo, including S'ym, then throwing her Soulsword in after them to seal the portal shut. Afterward, the New Mutants find a seven-year-old Illyana inside the husk of her eldritch armor.

However, while Illyana's actions banished all demons native to Limbo except for N'astirh, people and objects who had been demonically possessed remain uncured. N'astirh is destroyed by the combined efforts of the X-Men and X-Factor, but Madelyne Pryor maintains the Inferno spell and threatens to kill her son Nathan as a demonic sacrifice to open the gate between Earth and Limbo. She forcibly links herself to Jean Grey's mind and shows her Madelyne's entire life, including what she learned in Mister Sinister's laboratory. Meanwhile, the X-Men and X-Factor break through her defenses and rescue Nathan. In a fatal bid for revenge, Madelyne wills herself to die, attempting to take Jean with her. However, as Madelyne dies, the fragment of the Phoenix Force that first gave her life emerges and bids Jean to use its power to save herself. Jean does so, thus breaking Madelyne's mental hold on her. New York returns to normal.

However, due to their mind link, part of Madelyne's personality was transferred to Jean, and she becomes determined to get revenge on Mister Sinister, now seeing him as responsible for all her sufferings. The X-Men and X-Factor learn that he took over Professor Xavier's School while its headmaster, Magneto, was occupied with the demonic invasion. Aware of their coming, Mister Sinister waits until they are inside the school and then sets off explosives that demolish the building. However, none of the X-Men or X-Factor are killed or injured by the explosion, and some are not even rendered unconscious. Cyclops blasts Sinister to a smolder after Sinister reveals his plans on relocating his orphanage and arranged marriage to Madelyne.

Despite all of the destruction and death, many human Inferno survivors are convinced it was all a shared hallucination.

Significant issues

When collected into a trade paperback, only the portions from The Uncanny X-Men, X-Factor, and The New Mutants were included, and the latter story line was presented separately from the first two.

Background and creation

To avoid losing track of individual characters and plot threads in the story's large cast, editor Bob Harras maintained roughly 20 pages of timelines for how each character would develop over the course of "Inferno".[1]


The 2008 miniseries, written by C. B. Cebulski, X-Infernus, and starring Magik, serves as a sequel to "Inferno".[2][3][4]

A second sequel, "Fall of the New Mutants", centers around Project Purgatory, a government operation that took the mutant babies used to make the portal to Limbo, who were recovered alive and well, to make an Army controlled base in Limbo, as well as trying to figure out how to activate the powers of the mutant babies. Four years later (though due to a time dilation effect between Earth and Limbo, 26 years passed for them), Project Purgatory's surviving soldiers, led by General Ulysses, along with the new fully grown and powered surviving Inferno babies, both groups of which are battle scarred, and some of each having what appear to be grafted on demon body parts, have returned to Earth, apparently out to capture Illyana Rasputin.[5]

Project Purgatory/Inferno Babies members

"Secret Wars" (2015)

As part of the 2015 "Secret Wars" storyline, there was a mini-series called "Inferno." Its domain in Battleworld is known as Limbo.[6]

Five years ago in a variation of Manhattan, a bunch of demons rose up from the depths of Limbo and ravaged it. Since then, Limbo has been separated into two different areas: the area that is policed by the X-Men, and the area around the Empire State Building surrounded by demons with a captured Illyana Rasputina inside. Illyana's brother Colossus is determined to rescue her at all costs. Colossus eventually agrees to work for Cyclops for 364 days a year, but on the anniversary of Magik's capture, Peter gets to lead a team of volunteers to try a rescue attempt. In their fourth attempt, Cyclops gets clawed in the back in a way that angers Jean Grey and causes her to effectively end the fight in a draw. In an effort to make Cyclops' and Jean Grey's sacrifice meaningful, Colossus manages to make it to his sister, only to find out that his sister has become Darkchylde, ruler of Inferno, after she was able to overthrow Baroness Madelyne Pryor. She even corrupts one of his arms to reinforce her point. In the fifth anniversary/fifth rescue attempt, Colossus leads a team including Domino, Boom-Boom, and Nightcrawler into battle against the numerous demons. Despite Cyclops' warnings, Colossus leads the team right into the demon hordes, but eventually, his lack of strategy catches up with him. Nightcrawler is captured by Darkchylde and Boom-Boom apparently gets killed by N'astirh. Colossus prevails against the demons for a while, but even he gets roughed up by the Goblin Queen and her minions Goblin Prince and S'ym, who had subdued Domino.[7]

As Madelyne Pryor holds Colossus over an army of demons, she gives a speech to the demons saying that Colossus thinks he can stop his sister. She then questions whether he's tough enough to do so and hints that if he is tough enough, then they would gladly follow him in this battle. Madelyne throws him into a horde of demons to test his toughness. A quick, but brutal battle unfolds with Colossus failing miserably, and his arm that Darkchylde corrupted turns against him. Madelyne makes an unexpected contribution, throwing the Soul Sword down into the arena for Colossus to wield with his demon arm. Meanwhile, as Domino (who was placed in a fiery prison cell) tries to escape, Darkchylde uses her powers to corrupt Nightcrawler and turn him into a massive and immensely powerful demon, that only she can control. After showing his skills with the Soul Sword, the Goblin Queen invites Colossus up to her throne room and explains that not just anyone can wield the Soul Sword and his ability to do so with his demonic arm actually gives them a fighting chance against his sister. She then says outright that she wants to help him get Illyana Rasputin off the throne. She'll even lend him her demon hordes to give him a better chance than just a handful of X-Men.[8]

With Colossus leading the charge, they make it to Magik's central lair in Limbo, to discover she's not there. Madelyne Pryor reveals she didn't want to save Darkchylde. She just wanted the throne. They quickly find out that Darkchylde has a good reason for not being there. Armed with a demon-infused Nightcrawler, the laws of Limbo don't apply to her anymore, so she just teleports her army right to the front door of the X-Men's headquarters, catching the mutants completely off-guard. What's more, by invading Limbo with their forces, they've essentially trapped themselves there, and are unable to aid the X-Men in any capacity. Outside Limbo the battle unfolds as Darkchylde tries to break the force field that's keeping the rest of Limbo from spreading across the domain. Cyclops rallies the X-Men to him and urges them to fight the demon army. However, by doing this some end up abandoning their posts, leaving parts of their base vulnerable. They thought Darkchylde couldn't get there because of the shielding, but with Nightcrawler converted into a demon, Darkchylde is easily able to bypass all barriers. Armed with Nightcrawler's teleportation powers, Darkchylde teleports inside the building while back at Limbo, Madelyne Pryor informs Colossus and Domino that the situation with the X-Men has entered a new level. The force field that held Darkchylde's demonic forces back is down, thanks to her sneak attack against Beast and Dr. Strange. Now the full force of her army can invade and crush the X-Men. Cyclops still tries to return to the base and stop her, even though he is now missing his legs. As the attack continues, it is revealed that there are actually other forces involved, in the form of Mr. Sinister.[9]

Darkchylde watches gleefully as her demons ravage the other boroughs of New York, while she, in turn, is being watched by Longshot. He witnesses how Sheriff Strange appears and offers her the role as baroness of the domain, since Scott Summer failed to keep order. In the meantime, the surviving X-Men are hiding in the sewers. Jean Grey suggests they leave the domain but Cyclops refuses. Longshot joins them and tells them the grim news. Moments later, they are attacked by Darkchylde's troops. Elsewhere, Colossus and the Goblin Queen's army are slowly making headway, though they are losing goblins. They are surprisingly found by Boom Boom, who wants to lead them to her savior, hiding in the tunnels. While Boom Boom and Madelyne argue about her intentions, Colossus hears fighting on the other side and smashes through a wall to find the X-Men battling demons. They join the fight, and Madelyne even manages to save Jean Grey from the dragon Nightcrawler by telepathically destroying his mind, making sure he obeys her now, but, when Colossus apologizes to Cyclops for not trusting him, Cyclops gets furious. They are interrupted by Boom Boom's savior, Mr. Sinister, who is accompanied by several Boom Boom clone demons, and tells them they need each other.[10]

In the sewers, Mr. Sinister suggests an alliance with the X-Men. However, Madelyne, out for revenge, manages to kill him by mind controlling the real Boom Boom. In the meantime, N’astirh has informed Darkchylde of the X-Men, Pryor and Sinister meeting in the sewers. Back in the sewers the X-Men soon realize that killing Sinister was a mistake as the Boom Boom clone demons screech and manifest time bombs ready to kill Madelyne, who is herself ready to die. However, Havok throws himself in front of her as the timebomb goes off. Madelyne then used the dragon Nightcrawler to kill all the clones. Darkchylde soon arrives and massacres most of the heroes and goblins. Of the X-Men, only Colossus, Boom Boom and Domino survive. Colossus tries to kill Darkchylde with the Soulsword, but she turns into Illyana and begs him not to hurt her. He hesitates and, a moment later, she is Darkchylde again. She claws his chest open as she laughs that he is too easy. He again tries to strike her with the sword but she turns human again, crying he can't mean to murder his own flesh and blood. Once again he hesitates. Seeing how Darkchylde is messing with Colossus' head, Domino decides to join the fight, but she too is quickly overwhelmed by the baroness. Watching his lover being threatened gives Colossus the strength to realize his sister is gone, and he splits her apart with the sword. The three X-Men remaining decide to leave the domain. Madelyne and her son have survived as well and she inherits the Darkchylde's power, coming out as the winner.[11]

Other versions

In the reality of Earth-89112, towards the end of Inferno, Illyana's Soulsword returns to Limbo at the same time as S’ym. The demon uses the sword to return to Earth and, together with the Goblin Queen, kills the X-Men except for Wolverine, who becomes demonized. The demon infestation spreads all over the planet. While the few remaining heroes attempt to devise a plan, the demon hordes attack, killing most of the heroes. Only Dr. Strange and a handful of others escape. Strange eventually discovers Rachel Summers, frozen as a mannequin. He frees her and they rejoin the remaining heroes. Before Strange can summon the Phoenix Force to cleanse the world, the hordes attack again, this time with the aid of Baron Mordo. Many more die until Wolverine returns to the heroes’ side and Baron Mordo betrays his new demonic allies. After the deaths of both S’ym and the Goblin Queen, Rachel summons the Phoenix Force and uses it to purge the demonic infestation from the Earth. The world is reduced to a primitive state and given a new beginning.[12]

Collected editions

Title Material collected Published date ISBN
X-Men: Inferno Prologue Omnibus X-Factor #27-32 and Annual #3, Uncanny X-Men #228-238, New Mutants #62-70 and Annual #4, X-Men Annual #12, and material from Marvel Age Annual #4 and Marvel Fanfare #40 December 2021 978-1302931360
X-Men: Inferno Vol. 1 Uncanny X-Men #239-240, X-Factor #33-36, X-Terminators #1-4, New Mutants #71-72 and X-Factor Annual #4 February 2016 978-0785195115
X-Men: Inferno Vol. 2 Uncanny X-Men #241-243, Excalibur #6-7, X-Factor #37-40, New Mutants #73, Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #4, Power Pack #44 June 2016 978-0785195443
X-Men: Inferno Crossovers Avengers #298-300; Fantastic Four #322-324; Amazing Spider-Man #311-313; Spectacular Spider-Man #146-148; Web of Spider-Man #47-48; Daredevil #262-263, 265 December 2016 978-0785195511
X-Men: Inferno Omnibus X-Factor #33-40; X-Terminators #1-4; Uncanny X-Men #239-243; New Mutants #71-73; Power Pack #40, 42-44; Avengers #298-300; Fantastic Four #322-324; Amazing Spider-Man #311-313; Spectacular Spider-Man #146-148; Web of Spider-Man #47-48; Daredevil #262-263, 265; Excalibur #6-7; Mutant Misadventures of Cloak and Dagger #4, material from X-Factor Annual #4 March 2021 978-1302928544
Inferno: Warzones! Inferno #1-5 December 2015 978-0785198734


  1. ^ Zimmerman, Dwight Jon (November 1988). "Bob Harras". Comics Interview. No. 62. Fictioneer Books. p. 12.
  2. ^ SDCC '08 - Cebulski on X-Men: Infernus, Newsarama, July 25, 2008
  3. ^ CCI: Cebulski and Lowe Talk "Ex Infernus", Comic Book Resources, July 25, 2008
  4. ^ SDCC 08: The X-Men Face Another Inferno Archived 2008-08-01 at the Wayback Machine, IGN, July 25, 2008
  5. ^ New Mutants vol. 3 #9, #15-19
  6. ^ "SECRET WARS Gets Hot With INFERNO Redux". newsarama.com. Retrieved 17 April 2018.
  7. ^ Inferno #1
  8. ^ Inferno #2
  9. ^ Inferno #3
  10. ^ Inferno #4
  11. ^ Inferno #5
  12. ^ What If...? (2nd series) #6

External links[edit]