During the “Secret Wars” event, the shattered remnants of the Marvel Universe were stitched together to form Battleworld — a patchwork planet home to off kilter concepts and new takes on familiar characters. In one of Battleworld’s most unexpected twists, the taciturn Inhuman king Black Bolt was reimagined as the proprietor of a wildly popular super human night club known as the Quiet Room. That temporary status quo may have run its course with the conclusion of “Secret Wars,” but many of Battleworld’s concepts have persisted — including the Quiet Room.
In “Uncanny Inhumans” #5, writer Charles Soule and artist Brandon Peterson kicked off a new story arc that took readers inside the Marvel Universe’s version of the Quiet Room, revealing that this underground club was an important part of Medusa and Black Bolt’s long term plans for the Inhumans. Readers also learned that this new Quiet Room is a much more raucous and dangerous place than anyone believed. CBR News spoke with Soule about the Quiet room, its staff and his long term plans for “Uncanny Inhumans” — which include embroiling his cast in “Civil War II” and the reemergence of Black Bolt’s maniacal brother Maximus.
CBR News: In “Uncanny Inhumans” #5, you kicked off a new arc that brought the Quiet Room — Black Bolt’s club from Battleworld — into the Marvel Universe. Was that always your plan when you introduced the locale in your “Inhumans: Attilan Rising” series?
Charles Soule: It was absolutely my plan from the start. One of the goals with “Secret Wars” was to bring elements of the Battleworld locales over to the main Marvel U once the event was complete — not just for my series, but for all of them. I thought the Quiet Room would be a great addition to the MU, because I couldn’t think of anything else like it — essentially a crossroads for all types of people. [It’s] a neutral ground where heroes, villains and regular people could all hang out and, if necessary, work through their disputes. Plus, I just like 1930s-style fancy clubs — the direct inspiration was Club Obi-Wan from “Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.”
Issue #5 suggested that the Quiet Room has been open long enough for news of it to spread in certain circles. Were Black Bolt and his associates building and establishing the place during the eight-month gap following “Secret Wars”? Are you interested in telling the story of its origin?
You know, that’s a great idea — but I’d have to find a place for it. I have Inhuman stories planned out for quite a ways — but never say never. Black Bolt and friends were putting the Quiet Room together during the period subsequent to “Inhuman” #12, when he and his currently estranged wife Medusa split up. He knew it would be awkward if he hung around New Attilan (where Medusa is queen and he once was king), so he had to find something else to do.
The Quiet Room was the answer — but as we see in “Uncanny Inhumans” #5, it’s clear that the Quiet Room is part of a larger plan set up by Medusa and Black Bolt to help bring the Inhumans into the Marvel Universe in a peaceful, prominent way. We’ll see how that works out
What can you tell us about the staff of the Quiet Room and their loyalty to Black Bolt? With Medusa, her subjects see her as royalty. Does the Quiet Room staff view Black Bolt in a similar way, or is he more of an employer?
Black Bolt will always be a king, whether he has a throne or not. He’s also one of the most powerful beings in the entire Marvel U. So, one way or another, his people see him as the boss. He definitely inspires loyalty, though — I don’t think these folks are just working for the paycheck.
Given his non-loquacious nature, it’s sometimes hard to get Black Bolt’s true feelings on something. However, it seems like being an underground club owner agrees with him. What can you tell us about his feelings on his new life?
Imagine if you had the most important job in the world and it consumed every moment of your life and your thoughts, and on top of that you have to remain completely under control at all times for fear of making even the tiniest sound and destroying everything around you. And then, suddenly, you don’t have to do that job anymore. You still can’t talk, but you can do whatever you want. So, you open the coolest club in New York City and hang out with the rich, famous and beautiful all day and all night. Yeah — owning the Quiet Room agrees with Black Bolt.
You welcomed back Brandon Peterson to the book with this new arc of “Uncanny Inhumans.” It seems like he’s really having fun with all the different and crazy aspects of the Quiet Room.
I love the presence of Brandon’s artwork — everything seems so real. Steve McNiven’s work has that quality too. So it’s been great to have two superstars at their level working on the title.
Brandon is also big into making 3D models of interior spaces to help make his work feel grounded in a particular place, and he did that for the Quiet Room. Somewhere, on his hard drive, the whole place actually exists. As you pointed out, though, there’s a ton going on in this story; I wanted it to feel like a French farce, with everything going wrong at once and a million plot lines happening all at the same time. Brandon, to his credit, didn’t blink an eye and has been going forward like gangbusters. I hope we do a bunch of additional issues together.
The emergence of the Quiet Room has me wondering about another Inhuman that was last seen on Battleworld: Black Bolt’s brother Maximus. I imagine you don’t want to spoil when he might show up, but do you have plans for Maximus in “Uncanny Inhumans?”
Maximus is one of the big guns of the Inhuman world, and he’s a big part of what makes the Shakespearean elements of the royal family’s saga work. He’s power-hungry and nuts, but in his own way he loves his family and they love him. In particular, he has a fascinating dynamic with his brother, Black Bolt. So, I absolutely have plans for him, but he’s the kind of character you want to bring out for something big. Maybe keep your eyes peeled this summer.
“Uncanny Inhumans” #5 also featured a scene where Black Bolt and Medusa addressed the mystery of the Skyspears. It seemed like you were hinting in that scene that they’re some how connected to the mysterious and massive threat that was mentioned back in the first arc of “Inhuman.” Will we learn more about this threat soon?
We will learn more — like in “All-New Inhumans” #5 & #6 — but we won’t learn everything for a while yet. It’s crazy to think about, but based on planned stories and timing, explaining the Skyspears and pulling the trigger on that story will have been a multi-year plan when all is said and done. I’m excited to do it, though, and I plan to keep laying threads for it all along the way so it will land really hard when we get there.
Let’s start to wrap up by talking about the immediate future of “Uncanny Inhumans” and what’s coming further down the line. First, can you offer up some hints and teases about the next chapter of this arc and the future of Frank McGee?
Well, Frank McGee is one of my absolutely favorite characters I’ve created for the Inhumans world. He’s sort of a grumpy, crotchety guy, tough as nails, who used to be a detective in the NYPD. He got hit by Terrigenesis, lost his job and his wife as a result of becoming Inhuman, and washed up on New Attilan, where he has become Medusa’s chief of security. He’s kind of like Bruce Willis in “Die Hard.”
As we saw in issue #5, a very important piece of prototype technology was stolen from Ennilux, a prominent multinational Inhuman-run corporation that’s sort of a rival to the royal family’s group. This tech must be retrieved before war begins between Ennilux and New Attilan, and who better to save the day than the best damn Inhuman detective in NYC?
I’m using the “Quiet Room” arc to focus on a number of characters aside from the royals — Reader is another one who gets a feature issue down the road — and it’s a lot of fun to give these guys some development.
Finally we know that Medusa and Black Bolt have their long term plans, but something is on the horizon that they probably didn’t plan for — “Civil War II.” Will the Inhumans be drawn into the conflict and be forced to choose sides?
The Inhumans are sort of on their own side, most of the time. They understand that it’s important to be part of the larger world, but if people get in their face, then they will defend themselves and then some. They will definitely be a part of “Civil War II,” and I still almost can’t believe I’m writing the story for them that I get to do. Their adversary is a big, big deal and we’ll see some lasting changes to the MU out of this story, both for the Inhumans and otherwise.
I’m trying to use “Uncanny” as an opportunity to tell many different kinds of stories — from the epic superhero time-travel tale with all kinds of familial overtones we did in the first arc to the wild, funny, anything goes beats of the “Quiet Room” story. As mentioned, I’ve got detective stories coming up, romance, tragedy — it’s all over the map, but it’s also all part of a larger plan. I hope people will continue to check it out!
“Uncanny Inhumans” #6 arrives in stores on March 16