Inhumans: The Untold Saga #1 (Inhumans Special)
Issue(s): Inhumans: The Untold Saga #1 (Inhumans Special)
...but it largely takes place over various periods in the past. I'm glad to include it because it finally addresses the question of Medusa's early villainous period, and provides a few other smaller answers along the way as well, like WTF were the Trikon. As Rick notes in the comments, it turns out these questions were actually first answered in the Marvel Handbooks, but this is the first time we're seeing it in an actual comic.
After the frame, which just has Black Bolt uneventfully looking in on the imprisoned Maximus while the other Inhumans look on, we begin some time prior to the first appearance of the Inhumans in the Fantastic Four but after the history of them provided so far in the Thor back-ups and the Kree-Skrull War. Maximus was imprisoned at that point, too, but at that point he was able to mentally stimulate three of the Alpha Primitives...
...who then go and expose themselves to the Terrigen Mists....
...and become the Trikon.
The Trikon then spur a rebellion amongst the Alpha Primitives against the Royal Family.
Maximus is freed and he takes control of the rebellion.
During the battle, Medusa is knocked out of the sky and away from the Refuge by the Trikon.
When she lands, she has amnesia.
Meanwhile, by taking Gorgon's parents and other important members of Inhuman society as hostages...
...Maximus gets Black Bolt to surrender.
The "Bolt Clan" (not the Boltagon clan?) is exiled from the Refuge.
The Bolt Clan winds up not doing very well in exile...
...and Gorgon eventually returns to the Refuge to allow them back into the Refuge. In return, Gorgon has to find and bring back Medusa.
Maximus also agrees to release the hostages. The announcement is made to the general Inhuman populace including, apparently, Marvel Girl.
But it turns out that Gorgon's father is dead.
Gorgon is stunned by the Seeker and dumped outside the Refuge to make good on his promise to find Medusa.
Medusa, meanwhile, has fallen in with a thief named Paul Dumas.
But they eventually have a falling out and Dumas calls the police on her. She flees to a Mediterranean island. At this point we get into stories we already know. The Wizard locates Medusa and recruits her into the Frightful Four, eventually Gorgon seeks her out, and that all leads to the Fantastic Four helping the Royal Family overthrow Maximus and take control of Attilan again. A quarter or so of the book is devoted to recapping those events but i don't cover that since we can link back to the original issues.
As usual with these things, it's really just a history and shouldn't really be judged as a story. But it's good to have an explanation for Medusa's early appearances. Art is by Richard Howell, who worked with the Inhumans a bit in the Vision and the Scarlet Witch series. The art is generally pretty stiff and weird.
But i suspect that in part he is trying to replicate the style of the early Silver Age that the majority of this story takes place during. I don't know that he's doing a great job of it, but i do think it helps explain why the art is weirder here than, say, in his Vision and Scarlet Witch run.
Quality Rating: C
Chronological Placement Considerations: The framing sequence needs to take place while Crystal and Quicksilver are still together and while the rest of the Royal Family is present. The MCP have it after the Inhumans Graphic Novel but before some of them start showing up in Daredevil's book, starting with Daredevil #272.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
That scene with Crystal is a complete ripoff of Wanda's origin. And it makes no sense, since Crystal has never had any problems controlling her powers, unlike Wanda. I know some writers have suggested Crystal reminds Pietro of Wanda but this is ridiculous.
Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2014 4:10 PM
Loads of one-shots and mini's all of a sudden!
Posted by: Berend | October 12, 2014 4:14 PM
Here's one thing I've never understood about Lockjaw's powers- can he teleport directly to anyone he's met before or does he need to know their location? Because in Thing 3 when Crystal wants help he's able to teleport her directly to the hospital where Ben is at and in Avengers West Coast 60 when Quicksilver wants help he's able to teleport him directly to Ocean World where the Avengers are. There doesn't seem to be any reason to teleport to those locations unless he knew there would be superheroes there. But in this story, he's unable to teleport directly to Medusa, and there are other occasions when that's happened as well- e.g. when she was captured by the Enclave.
Posted by: Michael | October 12, 2014 4:21 PM
This issue is actually not the first revelation of Medusa's amnesia to explain why she was a villain when she first appeared.
If you read Medusa's entry in OHOTMU Deluxe Edition #8, which published four years before this in 1986, Medusa's amnesia is revealed there. It may well have been revealed in the first OHOTMU from a couple of years earlier. I don't have that series, so I can't confirm.
Posted by: Rick | March 10, 2016 10:38 AM
Thanks Rick. I've confirmed that it was in the original Handbook too. And it's interesting that it's not only the fact that Medusa had amnesia, but they even came up with the idea that it was due to an attack by the Trikon on the Great Refuge. So the plot for this story really comes from stuff that was already decided years ago, which i guess is why they labeled it a "Saga" (which, for Marvel books, has a specific meaning to me). It also seems that it's not quite as "Untold" as the title says.
Interesting also that no writer ever worked anything about this into some stray dialogue by Medusa in all the years between the first Handbooks and this issue.
Posted by: fnord12 | March 10, 2016 1:00 PM
I wonder - some of the pages look like stiff attempts to imitate John Byrne in his own imitate-Kirby mode; is that just what you get when Colletta inks Howell trying to do a lot of Kirby poses?
Posted by: BU | March 11, 2016 11:46 AM
I have to wonder when this was written- Vince Coletta stopped working for Marvel in 1987. Maybe it was plotted before the original Handbooks and not finished until 1990 for some reason.
Posted by: Michael | March 13, 2016 10:14 AM
@Michael - Yes, this story was written & drawn several years before it was published. It's entirely possible that it was written before Medusa's entry in the OHOTMU Deluxe Edition in 1986, meaning that the amnesia explanation for her earliest appearances could have originated here.
Richard Howell had the following to say about this story on Facebook...
"Hey, there--for anyone who hasn't has enough INHUMANS lately--at one point, the highly-underrated Lou Mougin and I produced a back-drop series which would explain why the Inhumans' back-story (Medusa's, in particular) is so messy. Lou--in collaboration with the late Mark Gruenwald, who liked to make things make sense--produced something that I drew. It was later published as some sort of INHUMANS Special or something. The inks are by Vinnie Colletta (about whom I have mixed feelings) but I think that the page looks nice."
Regarding how Colletta specifically came to ink this story, Howell had this to say...
"This was produced under odd circumstances. At one point, Vince Colletta had some sort of assurance (perhaps contractually) of a certain amount of work from Marvel, but there were--several--editors who didn't want his "look" on "their" books, so Vince was given clearance to delve into the slush pile (closet) and ink whatever he wanted to. My five chapters of the Secret Origin of the Inhumans (scripted by Lou Mougin) were languishing in that closet, and that's how the Howell/Colletta team came to be. I thought that Vinnie did a very professional job, and he was very nice to me personally. He's not what I expected when I asked for a "classic Kirby inker," but things could've been worse…!"
Posted by: Ben Herman | March 13, 2016 2:01 PM
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