Inhuman: Genesis


By Charles Soule, Ryan Stegman, Joe Madureira, Marte Gracia & various (Marvel/Panini UK)
ISBN: 978-1-84653-623-6

During mega-crossover blockbuster Infinity, mad Titan Thanos invaded Earth and clashed with The Inhumans’ ruler Black Bolt. The almighty monarchs wrestled to a standstill and, as a last resort, the embattled Inhuman king crashed the flying city of Attilan onto New York and into the Hudson River. This act was simultaneously linked to a release of the Hidden People’s mutagenic Terrigen Mist into the atmosphere where it triggered mutation in millions.

Follow-up event Inhumanity traced the effects of that global inundation as millions of mortals were killed or transformed by Terrigen fallout, proving that Human and Inhuman were not necessarily different races…

The Inhumans came into existence 25,000 years ago, after Imperial Kree explorers landed on Earth and tampered with the genetics of a tribe of primitives, just as they had on hundreds of other worlds.

Millennia later Randac, one of the rulers of the intellectual super-race that subsequently developed, took that meddling to its ultimate end by devising the Terrigen Mist process, which enabled citizens to mutate into infinitely unique individuals of astounding power.

The measure originally met with much opposition and many citizens of Attilan quit the city forever, setting up their own isolated enclaves and increasingly interbreeding with their less evolved cousins.

Even as Inhumans retreated further into myth, isolation and dogma, and lately moved away from earth to carve place in the wild voids of deep space, their alien-altered genetic heritage was slowly spreading and disseminating throughout baseline humankind.

Now the Terrigen cloud slowly mixing with the biosphere has activated all those dormant genes, metamorphosing unsuspected millions into new lives and forms.

All this came to the attention of global guardians The Avengers when Inhuman royal diplomat Karnak became their unlikely prisoner. In comfortable custody, the wily warrior described the last moments of the mobile metropolis, how his people evacuated the doomed city and passed en masse through the chimerical living teleport door Eldrac; scattered to the place that living portal deemed they “most needed to be”…

Whilst Karnak ruminated, his cousin Queen Medusa arrived. Believing herself widowed and facing the shattering burden of saving her people without the aid of the messianic Black Bolt, she was further shaken when her ferociously logic-enslaved kinsman continued his evaluations and calculations until, suddenly arriving at an inescapable conclusion he simply would not abide, he killed himself before her eyes…

Since that moment Medusa and the world’s metahuman heroes have sought to contain the crisis, but the rise of many factions – from criminal scientists and exploitative geneticists to full-blooded rogue Inhumans (like exiled former king The Unspoken) – all seeking to monopolise the transformative pods and super-powered “NuHumans” are making the task increasingly difficult.

The job is even further complicated by the recent emergence of clandestine Inhuman colonies which have hidden themselves from both humanity and the denizens of Attilan for thousand of years also seeking to steal or recruit their share of the exposed and mutated new people…

Collecting Inhuman #1-6 (from June 2013 to November 2014), the epic Genesis of a race in crisis resumes as Queen Medusa struggles to integrate the many scattered factions of Attilan Inhuman, returning – and often hostile – “lost tribes” and burgeoning NuHumans into a united whole.

The tale of ‘The Queen in the Sky’ by writer Charles Soule, illustrators Ryan Stegman & Joe Madureira and colourist Marte Gracia begins in Bergen as the Terrigen cloud forever changes another horrified mortal, whilst in New York Medusa is informed that long-missing Eldrac has been finally located…

Back in Norway Nuhuman Kristian is shaken from shock by a wild creature named Lash who offers his own skewed and biased take on Inhuman history and a lethally partisan doctrine of survival worthiness. The ferocious judge hails from the clandestine enclave of Orrolan and believes that only the truly deserving should benefit from the blessing of Terrigen transformation…

In Battery Park the Queen patiently negotiates with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who have mistaken Eldrac for a piece of rubble. That done she then passes through his psychically-triggered portal to land in Illinois in the middle of a firefight…

She is just in time to save pregnant Gabriela, her brother-in-law Dante and the ghastly cocoon-pod which used to be their mother from Lash’s murderous attack. The Darwinian scourge of NuHumans is delighted to be held at bay by Dante’s furious flame-throwing abilities and chooses to withdraw instead of facing the furious Medusa…

The next chapter finds Dante and family safely ensconced in the remains of Attilan where it rests as the Hudson River’s latest island and resisting the urgings and insistent probings of Inhuman surgeon Vinatos. The short-tempered doctor is unable to make these latest converts understand that their mother has failed transformation and simply died within her cocoon…

There is a more urgent matter to be addressed, however. Dante’s tendency to explode into uncontrollable flammable fury is posing a danger to all and Medusa assigns her cousin and chief warlord Gorgon to teach the boy control.

His methods are brutal but extremely effective…

Gabriela is a problem less easily handled. Although she has not – apparently – been affected by the Mist cloud, her unborn baby has…

As Medusa entertains human envoy Captain America – visiting the tiny sovereign state in a friendly and not-at-all official capacity – in Brooklyn former gangster Lineage rehearses for his own impromptu audience. He feels his newly gained ability to glean knowledge from anybody he shares DNA with – ancient or modern – will be of great interest to the embattled queen, but will have to wait as news comes in that A.I.M. agents are attempting to confiscate a fragment of Attilan from Central Park…

The bloody battle is mercifully brief once she and the Sentinel of Liberty join forces to end the murderous endeavour…

In the aftermath the Queen uses her people’s advanced technology to broadcast a message to the world inviting everyone touched by Terrigen transformation to become part of the new nation of Attilan, but her big day out ends on a shocking note when Lineage finally approaches with hints of much-missed husband Black Bolt’s intentions at the moment he instigated the Terrigen release…

Issue #3 finds Lash back in Orrolan with a boy named Jason: someone who has survived his first test of worthiness. The lad is then introduced to other super-powered residents but cannot help wonder what their uncompromising mentor’s final game plan is…

In Attilan Dante’s training is going well and Gabby suggests that his new Inhuman name should be “Inferno”. The title seems to inspire him and he begs to be allowed to join the secret squad Medusa is leading against Lash…

The surprise invasion of Orrolan is shockingly sudden and the subsequent battle savage and short. Jason – AKA Flint – exacts massive damage through his control of stone and rock, but the Queen’s goal is not conquest but union. When Lash hears what Lineage has to say he reluctantly withdraws his opposition to her plans and rule…

With Lash’s charges now part of the constantly-expanding population of Attilan, the next chapter sees the introduction of enigmatic seeker “Reader” who spectacularly saves young Nuhuman Xiaoyi from a division of Chinese soldiers rooting out potential “security threats” to the People’s Republic.

Whilst that’s occurring, on Attilan island thunder god Thor is on hand when Medusa opens the borders to human tourists and traders. The event almost ends in a bloodbath when assassins try to kill her, but after the Avenger and Inferno apprehend the shooters only the queen is unsurprised to find her assailants are all NuHumans…

As Lineage works behind the scenes, cautiously ingratiating himself to anybody of potential use to him, Medusa experiences a massive shock when her nation’s greatest monster resurfaces with an astounding demand…

Long ago Black Bolt and his cousins Medusa, Gorgon and Karnak impossibly overthrew the reigning king – the most powerful Inhuman ever born. The monarch had overstepped his authority and stole the race’s most puissant weapon, the Terrigen-fuelled Slave Engine.

The device was created to balance the scales should the teeming hordes of humanity ever attack the pitifully small race of outcasts, but the complacent and too-soft King deemed it an abomination; stealing and hiding it from his fellows.

Although defeated and banished he would not return it, and for his crime his name was stricken from all records and was forever “Unspoken”. When he returned in recent times all pretence of nobility was abandoned and he tried to eradicate humanity and conquer the world…

The story resumes here and now in ‘Empty Throne’ as the villain – now wizened, aged and powerless – repeats an offer of marriage to Medusa, declaring his right and ability to lead the Inhumans to glory. When that ploy fails he tries to convince the appalled and still grieving Medusa that he knows where vanished Black Bolt is…

Across the water in Greenwich Village Inferno is listening to Jason’s incredible life story. The African boy had been adopted by American parents but only learned after the Terrigen outbreak that he had been born into one lost tribe of Inhumans and brought to the USA by another. By the time Lash found him Jason was the only survivor of the body-warping fallout…

Medusa knows that the fallen king’s true purpose is to ferret out any remaining Terrigen to restore his faded powers and locks the audacious scoundrel up. It is exactly what The Unspoken intended and he uses his ages-old technical knowledge of the fallen city to uncover one last stash of the miracle crystals and take over…

When Dante, Jason and new NuHuman friend Naja try to return to Attilan they are brusquely turned away by armed guards. Realising something bad is happening and desperate to get back to Gabby, Inferno leads a three-person commando raid and, with the aid of Dr. Vinatos, succeeds in tipping the balance back in Medusa’s favour in a brutal ‘Trial by Fire’.

The cost however is both tragic and horrific…

With the Unspoken securely imprisoned, Lineage again begins his games within games, secretly taunting the defeated usurper with stolen Terrigen crystals as he reveals that he truly knows where Black Bolt is… and who’s got him…

To Be Continued…

Blending themes of growth and alienation with hearty slices of excessive action and political intrigue, Inhuman: Genesis also offers a gallery of 11 covers-&-variants by Stegman, Madureira, Gracia, Jeff Scott Campbell, Humberto Ramos and Ed McGuinness, and comes with a selection of digital extras accessible via the AR icon sections (Marvel Augmented Reality App) which give access to story bonuses once you download the free code from marvel.com onto your smart-phone or Android-enabled tablet.

Suspenseful, dramatic, action-packed and brandishing a potent metaphorical message, this is a compelling and entertaining slice of Fights ‘n’ Tights fiction to satisfy the most jaded comicbook palates.

™ & © 2014 Marvel & Subs. Licensed by Marvel Characters B.V. through Panini S.p.A. All rights reserved. A British Edition published by Panini Publishing, a division of Panini UK, Ltd.