Issue(s): Inhumans #1, Inhumans #2
The biggest challenge with the Inhumans, similar to but even moreso than the Sub-Mariner, is that they aren't superheroes but they are superhero-like characters that nonetheless rule an ill-defined society. So do you tell superhero stories or political dramas or what? Do you focus just on the Royal Family or delve into the larger Inhuman society? And who do you bring in as antagonists? Really, the judge of any Inhumans story is how long it takes before Maximus tries to takeover the Great Refuge yet again; the answer this time is the end of issue #4. But for these first two issues, Doug Moench and George Perez start things off really well by focusing on the Inhumans' Kree connection but having the Kree, as part of a political plot (a "war with three galaxies" going on in Kree space, although we don't learn anything about that in these issues), bring in Blastaar to play the more traditional super-villain role.
Blastaar is at the right power level to play against the Royal Family, but after he kicks some ass...
...and activates some Kree devices, he heads off, having fulfilled his end of the bargain that got him freed and having "other matters to attend". But the devices he activates before leaving are super-awesome giant erector set robots with bulldozers for hands and giant cages in their bellies to store their scooped up Inhuman prisoners.
Definitely on my top ten list of most insanely cool and coolly insane things i've seen in a comic book. Sadly the "kaptroids" are defeated, but obviously the Kree menace remains for future issues.
Maximus does appear in this story. He begins ranting (more) crazily (than usual) at the beginning of the arc...
...but Black Bolt just puts him to sleep.
We learn that he had an agreement with the Kree to activate the kaptroids and that's what he was supposed to be doing, but when he was incapacitated the Kree settled on Blastaar instead.
In terms of the non-Royal Inhumans, let's first note that we've got two centaurs guards. They are named Centarius and Stallior.
Stallior has had several appearances along with Maximus' group of evil Inhumans. Centarius has only appeared once before in what was possibly just Jack Kirby using the wrong name for Stallior; the appearance of both centaurs here maybe covering for that mistake. Centarius' beard has turned grey since his last appearance. It's odd for two Inhumans to have the exact same mutation. It's odder still for Black Bolt to put former Maximus allies in charge of guarding Maximus' cell.
In fact, most of the non-Royal Inhumans in these issues are from Maximus' faction, and all seem to be entrusted with important jobs in the security sector. There's Leonus, and Timberius is also mentioned (but not shown)(the other Inhuman in this scan, Avius, is also said to have worked for Maximus before, although i don't think that's accurate).
The bigger news is the introduction of a character called Iridia. She appears before the Royal Family begging to be allowed to expose herself to the Terrigen Mists to fix her appearance. Iridia looks like a shriveled old woman but i take it that she's not actually supposed to be old.
I was a little surprised to read that not all Inhumans were exposed to the mists; in earlier stories (see Thor #147) it was said that all Inhumans would be allowed to be exposed to the mists. It's not clear why Iridia is mutated here. Gorgon considers it "profane" for her to be exposed to the mists, but Black Bolt allows it.
Gorgon says it establishes a "dangerous precedent". And at the end of these issues we see Iridia emerge as a beautiful butterfly woman.
The huge potential cast plays to George Perez' self-proclaimed preference of drawing lots and lots of characters, and he clearly has fun here. Doug Moench establishes a nice potential premise for the series as well. It's a good start. The series unfortunately won't live up to its promise but for now it's a good beginning.
Quality Rating: C+
Chronological Placement Considerations: In Inhumans #3, Lockjaw returns from the visit with the FF that was shown in Fantastic Four #160-161. We don't see him or Crystal and Quicksilver (who appear briefly in FF #160) during these two issues but i'm going to assume they're happening roughly simultaneously, with the FF arc starting slightly earlier. If the Inhumans had just had an attack from Blastaar, they probably would have mentioned it when talking to the FF.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: Marvel Masterworks: The Inhumans vol. 2
Inbound References (2): showAvius, Black Bolt, Blastaar, Centarius, Gorgon, Iridia, Karnak, Leonus, Maximus, Medusa, Stallior, Timberius, Triton
The weird thing is that Iridia says the Mists can't be used by her since she's done nothing to distinguish herself but there are multiple stories where the Mists are used by children.
Posted by: Michael | May 12, 2013 8:47 AM
According to George Perez in the fanzine AFTA #2, these issues were initially supposed to be Giant-Size Inhumans #1.
Posted by: Mark Drummond | January 18, 2014 4:26 PM
When Iridia is exposed to the mists she apparently transforms into a lifeless husk. Freaked me out was a kid. Then it turns out it's a cocoon that Iridia emerges from. This is apparently what inspired the way all Inhumans transform now, through a chrysalis. That wasn't the norm before.
Posted by: Andrew | May 20, 2016 5:37 PM
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