I love the Inhumans.
When I think about all of the characters in Marvel Comics that stand out to me as being incredible in concept and design, I jump straight Black Bolt and Medusa. How could you not? They’re mysterious, they’re powerful, and they have a relationship with the Fantastic Four that teeters between enemy and ally. They’re a family, and species, that deserve their due; and in recent years, it seems like they might finally be getting the spotlight they deserve. There have been murmurs in interviews with Marvel Studios world that the Inhumans are always there on the list, and it seems like Marvel has been trying to build their reputation to springboard into film.
Last year, during the Infinity event, in which the Avengers fought invasion from the villain Thanos, Black Bolt unveiled the secret plan he had been building over the past months. In a final push, he destroyed his kingdom Attilan, which hovered above Manhattan. With its destruction, a gas cloud of terrigen (the mist that allows Inhumans to gain their superhuman power) began to engulf New York and traverse the world via the jet stream. After decades of struggle, the kingdom of Attilan was in shambles, and new Inhumans were springing up around the globe. How would Medusa manage cope with her family missing and dead, and still bring together the new Inhumans of the world, who are being killed or recruited by other parties?
It’s a tall order. An order we were promised by Marvel to shake the foundations of the comic universe forever.
Eight months after the destruction of Attilan, I’m sad to say that there’s been barely an aftershock.
Time of death: May 8th, 2014 at 10:47am.
Readers knew what was coming before the Infinity event even ended. We were seeing advertisements for the new series, Inhuman, which would spin directly out of December 2013’s Infinity finale. Matt Fraction would be writing Inhuman, and also the companion book Inhumanity. To do this, he was stepping down from Fantastic Four and FF (Future Foundation) before the end of his planned arc. For many, this was a major letdown, and the only consolation was that he was stepping down to work on the Inhumans stories, and from his scripting of Medusa in FF, there was something to be excited about. In December, we got the premiere of Inhumanity #1. It was a very solid start, laying out the history of the Inhumans and a surprising death, especially impactful for Inhuman fans.
But then the problems began.
January rolled around and Inhuman #1 wasn’t on shelves. Despite Matt Fraction leaving other books to work on this, it was announced he was leaving Inhuman due to conflicts with Marvel over the story direction. Inhuman #1 didn’t hit shelves until April. A full seven months after the destruction of Attilan, four months after the previous Inhuman story installment. This is supposed to be the biggest event at a multi-million dollar publishing company? Inhuman finally seems to be on track, with issue #2 releasing at the end of this month, but it’s been announced that artist Joe Madureira will leave after issue three, further pushing that book into limbo after June’s Issue #3.
But what of the other Inhuman book, Inhumanity? Similar problems, unfortunately. The end of the first issue promised a following one-shot called Inhumanity: Medusa #1. By the time Medusa #1 came to print, it had been renamed Inhumanity #2.
What happened to the original Inhumanity #2? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Further, after the release of Inhumanity #2 in January, the issue previewed in the back was Inhuman #1, which was finally released in April. So what of Inhumanity #3? Well, that still doesn’t have a release date, from what I can tell. It doesn’t appear to be solicited yet, which means we shouldn’t expect the book to ship before August. Original Sin, the new event featuring Uatu the Watcher that began this month (and shipping twice a month), will actually be finished before the next issue of Inhumanity. As another gauge, the upcoming Marvel film Guardians of the Galaxy premiered its first trailer in February, AFTER Inhumanity #2, and the movie will be in theaters BEFORE Inhumanity #3.
Combining with these disappointments are several tie-in stories in other Marvel books under the .INH title (example – Superior Spider-Man #15.INH). These books were meant to show the impact of the new Inhumans on the rest of the Marvel Universe, but did more to interrupt other, more interesting stories. Very few (if any) of the characters introduced in the .INH issues actually went on to do anything in those books after the one-shot. The delays and staffing changes have been bittersweet for Inhumans fans like me, who were hoping that Marvel would be giving these characters their moment in the sun. And now that there is a new event for Marvel to be concerned about, it’s hard to judge the Inhumanity event as anything other than ‘Dead on Arrival’.
I think about Karnak, the Inhuman with the ability to identify weak points in any opponent or structure. There’s some irony to the fact he was the first Inhuman to die in this event. (Did I use irony right here? I think maybe Alanis Morissette has ruined me forever on that concept.)