Charles Soule (W), Kev Walker (P), Scott Hanna (I), David Curiel (C)
Cover By: Mahmud Asrar and Dave McCaig
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This book is a weird one to talk about for a lot of reasons. It honestly is one of the best comics that Marvel is putting out right now, but it is really hard to recommend to people. I can explain to someone why Luke Cage is one of my favorite Marvel heroes and why Hawkman is one of my favorite DC’s. I can’t explain why The Uncanny Inhumans is so captivating. I like Black Bolt, but he’s definitely not one of my favorite Marvel characters. I like Beast and the Human Torch, but they’re not Inhumans and they just joined this book. I don’t particularly find Medusa, Triton, or Gorgon to be super interesting. The best way to describe this book is goes sort of like “Hey, you know the X-Men? Now imagine if they were a royal family and harder to relate to, like alien Game of Thrones.” Don’t worry, I will address the Inhumans vs. Mutants thing here. It’s kind of impossible to not talk about when discussing the Uncanny Inhumans.
Also, this will be another one talking about the entire series in addition to this past week’s issue.
This series picks up with Black Bolt, Medusa, the Reader, Beast, Triton, and the Human Torch trying to track down and rescue Black Bolt and Medusa’s son, Ahura, from Kang the Conqueror. It’s a trek across time and space only to find the very aged Ahura dressed as the Conqueror, and Black Bolt is forced to kill him. Before dying, the older Ahura shows the Inhumans how to find him at an earlier point where they can still save him (paradoxical though it may be). They are able to find him and save him from Kang. Black Bolt is also forced to cope with the fact that Medusa is now romantically engaged with the Human Torch.
This first story is phenomenal and quickly sold me on this series. The art is gorgeous, and the characters are engaging here. If you read nothing else of this comic, read this story. I can’t recommend it enough.
From here, the story goes to Black Bolt’s club, the Quiet Room. The premise of the club is that everyone is welcome as long as you don’t cause trouble. Of course, trouble ensues as The Leader and Mad Thinker, playing poker against one another, start threatening to blow up the place, a buff Moloid and a ripped Lava Man start duking it out at the bar, and a prototype is stolen from the visiting Inhuman corporation/nation, Ennilux. The prototype is a cure for Terrigenesis (sigh).
Ennilux threatens to go to war with New Attilan over the theft. Iso manages to subdue the feuding super geniuses, Black Bolt pacifies the fighting subterranean species, and Nur is called in to track down the prototype. They find it in the hands of the reanimated Capo. He is taken down but escapes, and the prototype is secured. The story ends with Ahura, who was promised a nice dinner with his parents, being nominated as the new leader of Ennilux.
This story is really solid too. It’s a lot lighter than the first one with Kang and sets a nice balance. The art is a little blocky and odd, but it didn’t really distract me too often.
The current issue picks up with Medusa and the Human Torch buried under rubble after a romantic dinner gone wrong. The issue flashes back to pinnacle moments in their relationship, as Medusa tells Johnny that she wants to end it. The support one another through the ordeal until they are saved by Crystal, Medusa’s sister and Johnny Storm’s former lover. She finds them kissing one another, Johnny having convinced Medusa not to end it. This awkward run-in concludes the issue.
If this premise sounds a little thin for an entire comic, well… it is. This issue is by far the weakest of the series so far. It tries to establish what their relationship is, Medusa the responsible one and Johnny the one that relaxes her, but it tries to establish it in a time of conflict. Plus, the characters aren’t given a lot of chemistry. They don’t really talk about anything other than about the fact that they are in a relationship. Prior to this issue, the only thing about their romance that is brought up is the fact that Black Bolt doesn’t like it very much. I am not really brought to root for them to stay together. I’m not really emotionally engaged at all. To add to it, the art isn’t very good. It’s kind of gritty looking and not pleasant to look at. It definitely seems out of place in this relationship-themed issue.
I won’t say that there isn’t something interesting about the fact that Medusa and the Human Torch paired off. Medusa is a serious and humorless queen while Johnny Storm is a hothead, a joker, and not the most reliable relationship partner. It says something about Medusa’s character that she would be attracted to someone like that, and it could probably be explored in an interesting manner. However, this issue is not the way to do it, and there should have been another story running alongside it to bolster the comic. Plus, this relationship should have been shown more in the previous issues to give context to it as well as to endear them as a couple to the reader.
Super hero relationships are always hard to write about (they can’t all be Reed Richards and Sue Storm or Luke Cage and Jessica Jones). It’s something that too quickly can become saccharine or sentimental. Or, worse yet, the reader just isn’t being made to care at all about the relationship. This issue definitely falls into the second category. This book isn’t absolutely painful to read. It just isn’t super interesting to read.
Like I said, this comic is really hard to recommend. These are characters that probably should have stayed as recurring personalities in books like The Fantastic Four and The Guardians of the Galaxy. It’s just hard to make them compelling enough to carry their own comic. That being said, if anyone has come even close to doing it, it’s Charles Soule with this title. I’m not saying that it’s a must read, but, if the book has even slightly piqued your interest, give it a try. You’ll probably be surprised. However, I wouldn’t start with this issue.
Now, we move on to the elephant in the room. This definitely seems to be the book that Marvel wants you to read over any X-Men title, as Fox has the movie rights to the X-Men while Marvel somehow as the movie rights to the Inhumans (even though they were originally Fantastic Four characters, which Fox has the movie rights to as well, these contracts don’t make sense). To make things worse, they seem to be mining X-Men stories and themes to write these titles, such as the world not trusting the Inhumans and the idea of an Inhuman “cure.” I don’t like it myself. I like this book, but it’s not good enough to make me okay with seeing the X-Men titles drop off the face of the Earth. The X-Men are classics, and they are some of the most memorable characters of the Marvel Universe. It wasn’t too long ago when the X-Men had roughly half of Marvel titles dedicated to the team and its members. Now, Marvel seems to be slowly shunting them off to whatever basement that holds Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman. I completely get it if, as an X-Men fan, you don’t want to support this title because Marvel wants it to replace your favorite team of mutants.
Issue Score: 4/10
Series Score: 8/10