Marvel’s Inhuman has a title that comes with a lot of baggage. Initially it was to be a part of a new mini-event resulting from the end of last year’s Infinity. But the creative differences between writer Matt Fraction and Marvel Editorial meant that Inhumanity didn’t really go anywhere and when Inhuman finally was released as an ongoing with writer Charles Soule at the helm, there were several delays that soured my experience. It didn’t help that the first arc involving Lash was really awkward at times, both art and story, though there was indeed some promise and only recently has the title really improved.
With the end of the arc involving the Inhuman villain Lash, we launched into a new arc involving an old foe of Black Bolt and Medusa, the Unspoken. Things have been pretty damn intense for a while, but everything has centered around Medusa rebuilding what her people have lost. New Attilan is now home to the surviving Inhumans as well as the NuHumans who have come about thanks to Black Bolt releasing the Terrigen Mists on the world. Charles Soule’s writing has gotten steadily better, and even the art has been an upshot of late since Ryan Stegman stepped in for Joe Madureira. But the burning question remains: what happened to Black Bolt?
With Black Bolt and his brother Maximus both missing, and Karnak having committed suicide shortly after the events of Infinity, Medusa has had a really tough time. She has had to shepherd her people through the loss of Attilan, establish New Attilan as a sovereign state, guide new Inhumans into understanding where they come from and the family that awaits them, and establish to the world powers that she is not someone to be messed with. Despite some of my earlier misgivings, Medusa has turned out rather well, and that was firmly established in Inhuman #4 when instead of punishing a trio of NuHumans who had dared to assassinate her, she provided them sanctuary and acceptance in New Attilan. The lady gets points for that.
But like I said, even as the rebuilding of the Inhuman civilization continues, he big question of what happened to its king still remains, and that’s what Charles Soule attempts to answer in this issue.
There is some uncomfortable handwaiving of facts in this issue, at least as far as Inhuman itself is concerned, since apparently events from New Avengers have had an impact on what Black Bolt has been up to, so some of the things mentioned here don’t make much sense to me. However, I did like whole interplay between Black Bolt and Maximus. The Inhumans are not a team I have previous experience with, outside of Infinity and Matt Fraction’s Inhumanity one-shots, so I can’t say how true to form both these characters are, but I think that Maximus absolutely rocked this issue. And Black Bolt was quite… destructive, shall we say.
And then, in Auran and Nur, we have two new characters joining the cast and they do make an excellent addition. The former is a true-born Inhuman while the other is a NuHuman, but one thing is for sure here, with their skills as investigators and cops, they are the perfect tool for Medusa to use in her search for finding out the truth of Black Bolt’s disappearance. She is a ruler beset on all sides by those who would harm her and her people and she needs her husband by her side.
I liked Auran and Nur here. They make for a really good team, balancing each other’s deficiencies and skill-sets, and I can’t wait to see what Charles Soule does with them beyond their appearance in this issue. I’d hate for either of them to be a one-off since he has overall done quite well with the new characters, especially Dante, Naja and Flint.
Pepe Larraz is the penciller on this issue, replacing Ryan Stegman, and Richard Isanove is the colourist, replacing Marte Gracia (the cover clearly has the wrong credits). The difference in the art styles is minimal I think, and since I love both, I can’t really say which one I like more. Regardless, I liked Pepe and Richard’s take on these characters, particularly the animosity boiling between Maximus and Black Bolt, which I’m sure is going to burst quite soon and then we are going to have ourselves a big showdown. Some of the panels are a bit heavy on the inks and the facial expressions can be quite indistinct as well, but on the whole, not too bad. Not too bad at all.
If there’s anything really missing from this issue, it is what exactly is Lineage doing in New Attilan and how he knows the things that he does about Black Bolt’s whereabouts. Hopefully that will be addressed soon.