The recent issues of Inhuman have focused on exploring the fate of the Inhumans’ missing King, Black Bolt, and his brother Maximus. This has been one of the biggest mysteries of the Marvel universe in the wake of last year’s Infinity event and the last two issues have done much to enlighten readers about where these two have been and what indeed they have been up to in that time. But, we have also seen how Medusa continues to shepherd her people through the changes besetting them at present, and how they can all move forward from their experiences.
In this week’s Inhuman #9 however, we see some interesting, and not so good, things happening. For one, the series is now caught up in the Avengers & X-Men: AXIS event, an even that I’ve given up on after reading 2 issues since it seems far too continuity-ridden and also quite confusing. Nevertheless, the Inhumans’ queen Medusa was a part of this event and after a particular moment, she has come out with a very different mindset that seems alien to her previous attitude towards everything. The issue is interesting enough, but it lacked the punch of previous issues, though Ryan Stegman’s art is still good, for the most part.
Medusa in Inhuman #9 has a very different attitude towards coexisting with humans than she did before, all thanks to Red Skull’s (or should that be Red Harvest, unless I’m mistaken?) Hate Wave from AXIS #3. She took a very dim view before of the American government and the United Nations telling her what to do and not do with her people, and with the creation of New Attilan itself, but now it seems that the Hate Wave has changed things towards an extreme that I’m not comfortable with on the series.
Charles Soule’s build-up to that final moment in this issue, that final emphatic page of the issue, is something that has been covered before, albeit in Medusa’s ultimatums to the Avengers, specifically Captain America who was the go-to between the Inhumans and the Avengers/World after the events of Infinity. It is basically the same arguments trotted up now as they were before, and while I didn’t like that approach, I liked that the writer emphasized that this is pretty much the final straw for Medusa. She is rebuilding her people and is faced from danger on all sounds, whether it be the other governments of the world or supervillains who have their own idea on what to do about her and her people. And she is not amused by the constant criticisms and looking-down that she has to suffer.
Over the course of this series, there’s been a gradual growth in Medusa as a character and this issue seems to take all of that and then… invert it towards a darker Medusa who is willing to go through with some rather extreme measures to safeguard her people. The other Inhuman characters, such as her loyal advisor Gorgon or the NuHumans don’t make much of an appearance in this issue so the focus is almost always on Medusa, who is clearly going to continue to be the driving force of this series, and that’s fine with me for now since I’m interested in seeing where she goes from here.
The story involving Reader and the NuHuman Xiaoyi continued in this issue, towards a rather dark climax as the blind Inhuman finally brought her to Ennulux, a safe haven for rogue Inhumans and NuHumans alike. This is one part of the tale that still confuses me since I can’t see exactly what Charles Soule is building to, but I liked that there’s a separate story going on that doesn’t depend on the main cast at all, though they may all eventually intersect at some point. And I also loved that Reader became more of a hero in this issue than he had been before, and that the camaraderie that had been developing between him and Xiaoyi was allowed to properly crystallize.
Ryan Stegman is back on artistic duties with this issue after the brief interlude involving Black Bolt that was covered by artist Pepe Larraz, and he is assisted by Richard Isanove who is on colours, VC’s Joe Sabino and Clayton Cowles who are on letters. Ryan does the cover himself for this issue, and it aptly hints at who the “new” Medusa is, someone who is much more creepy than could be imagined before. For the most part, I liked Ryan’s artwork on this issue. His Medusa is clearly different from how she looked before, and has more of a martial look that I find captivating. But at the same time, some of his expression-work with many of the characters left a lot to be desired. His pencil-work in general, and Richard’s colours keep things flowing however, and the art definitely has the vitality that is in the story, so the match-up is still a good one.
Quite a different turn to the story than I was expecting, but good nonetheless.