Inhumans Graphic Novel
Issue(s): Inhumans Graphic Novel
This is an incomprehensible mess of a story that we're unfortunately going to have to wade into for a bit because it features the birth of Black Bolt and Medusa's son, Ahura. Writer Ann Nocenti and artist Bret Blevins both have expansive, unrestrained styles, and putting them together doesn't compliment so much as enable each other. This is a story that has no resolution; it introduces some concepts and conflicts aand then veers off into a dreary detour halfway through and never recovers. It does not play nicely with any existing Inhumans appearances or characterization. And Blevins' art, while very suitable for frantic stories about teenagers as we've seen on his work on Cloak & Dagger and New Mutants, here contributes to the messy nature of the story, and makes many of the characters look too young.
And on top of all of that, Maximus is the bad guy once again.
The story starts with the idea that young Inhumans are committing suicide...
...because a Genetic Council is forcing them into incompatible marriages. The idea is that since the Inhumans were once a "slave race" for the Kree, the Genetic Council has to carefully match the genetics of all the Inhuman citizens. And it's made pretty clear in the story that the Council is full of ignorant and senile people who have no idea what they're doing.
Karnak is against the Council, but Gorgon - who is especially stupid in this story - considers that to be disloyal talk.
Things come to a head when Medusa cheesecakingly reveals that she's pregnant...
...and the Council have not given them approval to have a baby.
Before i go further, take a look at the first scan in this entry, with Gorgon worrying what the regular citizens think of the Royal Family. That literally has nothing to do with anything else in this story, and it's an example of the kind of stray thoughts that go in every direction with this book. There's also the overly symbolic stuff, like a scene right after that where Gorgon notices a statue of justice in ill repair...
...and, getting back to our plot, Medusa and Blackbolt breaking a rattle while kissing after she revealed that she's pregnant.
Anyway, so the council rejects Black Bolt and Medusa's baby (you'd think this would have gotten sorted out before they got married), and rule that it must be destroyed. And the ruling has nothing to do with a reversion to Kree slavery; it's because the baby might inherit Black Bolt's destructive voice, and because there's mental illness (Maximus) in Black Bolt's bloodline.
And despite the angry citizens, despite Karnak's arguments, despite the fact that it's their own baby, Black Bolt acquiesces. Medusa, however, starts talking about how she used to be a "bad girl", which i finally realized refers to her time with the Frightful Four...
...and decides to flee the Inhuman refuge and go hide on Earth, despite its pollution. "Days later", Gorgon has completely switched sides in his debate with Karnak...
...and Crystal convinces the rest of the Royal Family (sans Black Bolt) to go to Earth to find Medusa. Karnak is kind of all over the place too.
On Earth, Medusa has been accompanied by her servant Minxi.
And for a brief minute i thought Gorgon might be the father of Medusa's baby.
Maximus also escapes his cell and goes to Earth at this time, obsessed with Medusa.
And this is where the story just goes off the rails. Forget all that stuff with the Genetic Council, which was potentially interesting even if it's not something that came up directly before (i'd love to see the ruling on Crystal and Quicksilver's baby; i guess bringing in some non-Inhuman DNA was considered to be a good thing). Instead we're going to sit in some desert encampment outside Las Vegas where some ex-gamblers have decided to live...
...and we're going to fight some sort of elemental created when Crystal tries to remove the pollution from the area....
...and contend with Maximus' illusions...
...and watch Karnak and Gorgon get jealous at each other over Minxi...
...and watch Karnak generally be an ass.
The plot is just completely lost. I honestly just have no idea what anything has to do with anything.
And did i mention that Karnak is an ass?
Eventually the baby is born...
...and then pages and pages later it uses its super-voice against the elemental monster.
Eventually Black Bolt comes to Earth...
...takes everyone back to the moon, and then they hand over the baby to the Council.
And that's basically how it ends, except for Maximus returning to his cell ranting about how it was his plan all along.
Nocenti will pick up on the events here in her Daredevil series (of all places), but this does not feel like a set-up story (and at $8 in 1988 dollars, that really wouldn't be fair anyway). It's just a jumbled mess of ideas and feelings vomited at us.
Quality Rating: D
Chronological Placement Considerations: The MCP has this after the Inhumans' brief appearance in Thor #400.
Continuity Insert? N
My Reprint: N/A
Inbound References (2): showAhura, Black Bolt, Crystal, Gorgon, Karnak, Lockjaw, Luna, Maximus, Medusa, Minxi, Quicksilver, Triton
The weird thing is that we'll see in Inhumans Special 1, (which is published in 1990, but probably was in the works before this story, since Vinnie Colleta did the inks) that Medusa only became a member of the Frightful Four because she was amnesiac following one of Maximus's schemes. So if that's what Medusa means by referring to herself as a "bad girl", I'm not sure why it's such a big deal that Black Bolt forgave her- after all, we've seen that Black Bolt blames himself for his brother's madness before.
Posted by: Michael | September 8, 2014 9:50 PM
Maximus is giving off a major Sam Keith/Kelly Jones vibe in those prison cell panels.
Posted by: Jay Patrick | September 11, 2014 6:07 PM
"This is an incomprehensible mess of a story"
Neither comment is surprising considering Ann Nocenti is the writer.
Posted by: Ryan | January 10, 2015 10:44 PM
The gambler talking to Chrystal sure looks like Jerry Garcia. Kinda looks like a few more Grateful Dead members may be behind him.
Posted by: Brian Coffey | June 19, 2017 7:57 PM
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