Graphic Novel Review: Inhumanity


Inhumanity - Credit: Archant

Move over X-Men, the Inhumans could be Marvel’s next big thing...

(Panini Books)

If you believe the online conspiracy theories, this series (which directly follows the Infinity crossover) is part of Marvel’s masterplan to reinvent the Inhumans – a genetically manipulated race of outcasts originally introduced in Stan Lee and Jack Kirby’s Fantastic Four run – as an alternative to the mutants featured in the X-Men titles.

With the Inhumans soon to be appearing in TV show Agents of SHIELD, and eventually their own movie, Marvel apparently wants them to gain a wider profile to mainstream audiences, especially as rival studio Fox holds the movie rights for the X-Men. Hence this major crossover event. See, it all fits together!

In the aftermath of Infinity, the Inhumans’ floating city of Attilan has been destroyed, its ruins crashing into the Hudson River close to Manhattan, and in the process releasing a cloud of the Terrigen Mists which give young Inhumans their powers.

However, because thousands of years ago Inhumans interbred with normal humans, the mists trigger unexpected metamorphoses in their descendants across the globe, sending them first into cocoons and then reawakening them as newly minted Inhumans, complete with associated powers and bodily changes.

But with the ruling Inhuman Royal Family either dead, missing or divided, and the rest of the planet’s superhumans caught up responding to the Terrigen pandemic, rogue elements are exploiting the crisis to steal cocoons and plunder them for their genetic potential…

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This bumper volume collects issues from a variety of different comics series, including Avengers Assemble, Avengers AI and the Superior Spider-Man, to give an overall picture of the impact of the Inhumanity crisis on the whole Marvel Universe. So we have introspective, personal stories of metamorphosis alongside bigger tales exploring the Avengers’ efforts to recover stolen cocoons, as well as accounts of how the surviving members of the Royal Family are dealing with these world-shattering developments.

The quality of stories fluctuates somewhat, with some instalments stronger than others, but by the book’s end you are left in no doubt that the world has been dramatically changed by the creation of these fledgling Inhumans, and they could in fact grow to challenge the mutant race as an influential subsection of the planet’s superpowered population.

Whether the Inhumans will become the multimedia force that Marvel appears to be striving for remains to be seen, and will rely on the strength of their future appearances in comics, TV and films, but if these efforts fail then it certainly won’t be through want of trying.