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Who Are the Inhumans’ Royal Family?

by  in CBR Exclusives, Comics, Lists, TV News, TV Comment
Who Are the Inhumans’ Royal Family?

With the announcement that ABC is poised to launch an “Inhumans” TV series, debuting in September 2017 in IMAX theaters before then airing on the network, the questions as to how the show will be structured and tie into the Marvel Cinematic Universe are many. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” has been dealing with Inhumans for a number of seasons now, but is unclear if this show will be tied into that plotline at all.

RELATED: Marvel’s Inhumans Coming to IMAX, ABC in Fall 2017

What we do know is that the Inhumans’ Royal Family will be involved in some shape or form. Although the various “Inhumans” comic book series (like “All-New Inhumans” and “Uncanny Inhumans”) have greatly expanded the possible Inhumans that you could use for a TV series, the Royal Family remain the “main” Inhumans and thus, the most likely characters to make it on to the upcoming TV series.

With that in mind, we thought it would be nice to provide a quick recap of just who the Inhumans Royal Family are.

8. Black Bolt

blackbolt

The most powerful of the Inhumans is also the most mysterious. Black Bolt debuted in “Fantastic Four” #45 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott) as the overthrown king of the Inhumans. He had to wrest the crown back from his brother, Maximus. Black Bolt’s powers come from his voice – just a whisper from Black Bolt can cause a great deal of destruction! Black Bolt was the king of the Inhumans for many years and it was while he was king that he married his cousin, Medusa. Due to the fact that he cannot speak without causing destruction, Black Bolt can be hard for others to really understand.

Perhaps due to that enforced silence, Black Bolt is known for engaging in a number of secret plans that he does not consult the rest of his family before implementing. He joined the secret group of superheroes known as the Illuminati as the Inhuman representative. During his time with the Illuminati, he received one of the Infinity Gems for safe keeping. Black Bolt’s last act as king was to detonate a “Terrigen Bomb.” The Terrigen Mists are what all Inhumans are exposed to as a rite of passage – the mists mutate them and show them their adult form and powers. By exploding the Mists, residue of the Terrigen Mists slowly spread across the globe, activating people who did not know that they were part Inhuman. Black Bolt’s rash act changed the state of the globe and got him removed as Inhuman king. His estranged wife, Medusa, is now the head of the Inhumans.

7. Medusa

medusa

The very first Inhuman to debut was Medusa, who showed up as a member of the villainous Frightful Four in “Fantastic Four” #36 (by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby and Chic Stone) as “Madame Medusa.” She had been in an accident and had amnesia and the Wizard was able to turn her into a villain. Her superpower is that she can make her hair do all sort of stuff. The Inhumans were actually introduced in a story beginning in “Fantastic Four” #44 where Maximus sends someone to bring Medusa back home because he wants to marry her.

Of course, she does not marry Maximus, who is deposed at the end of the first Inhumans story, but she does marry Black Bolt. First, though, she does some time as a member of the Fantastic Four, filling in for the Invisible Girl during a period where she and Reed were separated from each other. Once she married Black Bolt and became the Queen of the Inhumans, Medusa took on a very important diplomatic role for the group. After all, Black Bolt couldn’t actually talk to anyone, so Medusa had to be the voice of the Inhumans. When Black Bolt was presumed dead at the end of the “War of the Kings” storyline, Medusa took over as the head of the Inhumans. She gave the role back to her husband when he turned out to be alive, but after his actions with the Terrigen Bomb, they are estranged and she is in charge of the Inhumans once again. Currently, Medusa is dating Johnny Storm, formerly of the Fantastic Four and formerly her sister Crystal’s boyfriend.

6. Crystal

crystal

Introduced in “Fantastic Four” #45, Medusa’s sister, Crystal, had an odd role in the initial Inhumans stories. She was clearly intended as a love interest for the Fantastic Four’s Human Torch (Johnny Storm) but she wasn’t developed much more than that, including both her powers (which were ill-defined at first) and her costume (which pretty much did not exist, she just wore nondescript clothes). Eventually, her “forbidden romance” with Johnny went to the next level when she left her family and began living in New York City and dating Johnny.

When the Invisible Girl had to take a leave of absence when she was pregnant with her first child, Crystal took her place as the first new member of the Fantastic Four. Crystal’s powers made her a powerful addition to the team. Crystal could control the elements, so she could create fire, wind, water and could control the earth, as well. When she and Johnny broke up, she returned to the Inhumans and ended up, in one of the most inexplicable romances in Marvel Comics history, marrying former Avenger Quicksilver. The two had a child together, Luna.

Later, she and Quicksilver broke up and she joined the Avengers. She started a romance with her teammate, Black Knight. When the Avengers disbanded following Onslaught, she returned to the Inhumans. She has remained with her family ever since. During the “War of Kings” storyline, she was involved in a political marriage with Ronan the Accuser. She grew to actually love him, although that marriage ended, as well, when Black Bolt decided that the Inhumans and the Kree were no longer going to be connected to each other. Most recently, Crystal has been traveling the Earth as the Inhumans ambassador, as Crystal’s former position as a Fantastic Four member and as an Avenger makes her the perfect public face for the Inhumans.

5. Karnak

karnak

Karnak is unique among the Inhuman Royal Family in that he was never actually exposed to the Terrigen Mists. His brother, Triton, had such a severe mutation that Karnak’s parents decided that he would be spared from the Mists. He was sent away to a monostary where he became an expert in martial arts.

Karnak’s “power” is that he can see the flaw in anything. When he was introduced in “Fantastic Four” #45 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott), that whole “see the flaw in anything” ability was purely intended to be expressed in his physical martial arts. However, later writers expanded that idea to being able to find the flaw in theoretical ideas, as well. When his cousin, Medusa, became the Queen he became her chief adviser. This led, briefly, to a dark turn when he saw the future of the Inhumans period to be flawed and drove himself to suicide. He, of course, found the flaw in the afterlife and returned to life. He still serves Medusa, but now also has his own title where he assists S.H.I.E.L.D. with his skills.

4. Gorgon

gorgon

Gorgon appeared one issue before most of the other Inhumans, as he was the agent sent to bring Medusa back home, so he showed up in “Fantastic Four” #44 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott). Gorgon is super strong but also has legs and hooves like a goat that he can use to stomp the ground and cause miniature earthquakes.

Fearless, Gorgon is often like the proverbial bull in a China shop, as he often leaps before he looks. Luckily, this is also matched with an unerring sense for justice. He helped convince his cousin, Black Bolt, to free the lowest class of the Inhumans, the Alpha Primitives. Gorgon was captured during the “Silent War” storyline and was exposed to Terrigen Mists for a second time, which further mutated him into a bull-like creature. Those effects wore off after some time. More recently, Gorgon was paralyzed after being shot by a bad guy. While in a sort-of-wheelchair, Gorgon has followed his cousin, Crystal, on their diplomatic mission. Even more recently, he has regained the ability to walk.

3. Triton

triton

Due to his appearance being a good deal more “Inhuman” than the rest of the Inhumans, Triton really stood out in the early Inhumans appearances and he got a bit more of a spotlight than the others at first (he debuted with his family in “Fantastic Four” #45 by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott). His skin is green and scaly and he can only breathe while underwater. In the early days, this meant him wearing special suits to keep himself hydrated at all times. His ability to breathe underwater made him a frequent guest-star in Namor the Sub-Mariner’s comic book series. Triton also played a major role in the Kree-Skrull War, helping to bring the Avengers’ aid to the Inhumans after another coup by Maximus. Neal Adams clearly got a kick out of drawing him, as seen above.

More recently, Triton’s breathing issues have finally seemed to be halted for good. With his brother, Karnak, working more as a solo figure, Triton has taken on Karnak’s role as one of Queen Medusa’s most trusted advisers.

2. Lockjaw

lockjaw

One of the most popular members of the Inhumans is Lockjaw, who is essentially a giant bulldog that can teleport anywhere (he debuted along with everyone else in “Fantastic Four” #45 by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott). He often has worked as the primary mode of transportation for the Inhumans (as he can just teleport the whole group wherever they would like) but tends to prefer to travel with a single person at a time. Not an issue with the difficulty of teleportation, but more that he seems to grow attached to certain people. Over the years, it was Crystal whose side he rarely left.

For a time, he was actually more or less given to Ben Grimm, the Thing, and served Ben faithfully during the Thing’s short-lived ongoing series leading up to “Civil War”. Lockjaw also had a few adventures with other animal heroes in the Pet Avengers (he even got top billing in the group, as their series was “Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers”). He eventually returned to the Inhumans, where he faithfully serves them as the best giant teleporting bulldog in comics!

1. Maximus

maximus

One of the most fascinating Inhumans is Maximus, who was the driving force behind the Inhumans’ debut storyline, although he himself did not physically appear until “Fantastic Four” #47 (by Jack Kirby, Stan Lee and Joe Sinnott). As you can see from the above panels, Kirby beautifully captured the reason why Maximus is often called “Maximus the Mad.”

Maximus has had a rivalry with his brother, Black Bolt, since they were young. It was when exposed to Black Bolt’s powers for the first time than Maximus first went crazy (he had already plotted against his brother before that point, so he can’t blame his madness as the reason for his villainy). In the years since, Maximus has tried to take over control of the Inhumans from his brother a number of times. One of the more successful coups was stopped by the rest of the Royal Family, along with the Fantastic Four, in their first appearances in “Fantastic Four” #44-48.

In recent years, Maximus’ crafty brilliance has been reluctantly used by his brother Black Bolt more and more, as Black Bolt has been forced to take more unconventional approaches to help his people, even when they involve using his evil brother’s help. Maximus was part of the Cabal, a group that helped destroy other Earths during the Incursions storyline in the pages of Jonathan Hickman’s “Avengers” and “New Avengers”. The brothers are currently in a sort of truce with each other.

The Royal Family have been the stars of a number of series over the years, including the Inhumans feature in “Amazing Adventures” as well as a number of mini-series, most famously the Marvel Knights mini-series by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee, in which a number of the Inhumans got slight makeovers. Currently, the Royal Family are split between the pages of “Uncanny Inhumans” and “All-New Inhumans”. Time will tell which of them make it into the “Inhumans” TV series, but odds are a good chunk of them will make the transition, perhaps even all eight! The world needs a giant teleporting bulldog on TV!

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