Graphic Novel Review: Uncanny Inhumans: Time Crush

Uncanny Inhumans: Time Crush

Uncanny Inhumans: Time Crush - Credit: Archant

Forget the X-Men, this is Marvel’s best series about misfit genetic mutations...

(Panini Books)

If anyone had told me a couple of years ago that one of the standout Marvel titles published today would have been a series featuring the Inhumans then I could very well have laughed in their face.

But writer Charles Soule has succeeded in taking the somewhat po-faced concept of a hidden race of superpowered beings and transformed it into an engrossing blend of Game of Thrones and the X-Men, while the books featuring the mutant heroes themselves continue to flounder.

He has torn apart the dull-as-dishwater relationship between ousted king Black Bolt and his queen Medusa, introduced a plethora of diverse new Inhuman characters, controversially added the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch and X-Men’s Beast to the line-up, and in this latest volume brought the Inhumans into a time-twisting conflict with the ruthless Kang the Conqueror for the first time ever.

It all came in the wake of the Terrigen Cloud, released when Black Bolt exploded the Inhumans’ floating city of Attilan above New York, unleashing the gases which grant his race their superhuman abilities…

Boltagon knew that centuries ago exiled Inhumans interbred with normal Homo Sapiens, ensuring generations received the immensely powerful Inhuman gene, which could then be triggered by exposure to Terrigen, even millennia later.

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Now new Inhumans are emerging in the cloud’s wake - apparently ordinary men, women and children who were completely unaware of their genetic heritage but are now finding themselves mutated into new and powerful forms as a result.

The concept owes much to the X-Men’s original idea of awakened mutants living among “normal” folk, but whereas that series has arguably lost its way over the decades, the Inhumans are keeping things pure and simple.

Adding the political intrigue and complicated family drama to the mix avoids obvious comparisons to the X-books, and Soule’s use of innovative cast members like Johnny Storm and Hank McCoy helps to further carve out the title’s place in the wider Marvel Universe.

If you’ve resisted the urge to pick up the current incarnation of the Inhumans thus far, the launch of this new volume should be a perfect stepping-on point, and is just so good you won’t be able to resist going back to Soule’s earlier instalments in order to fill in the gaps. Outstanding.