In “All-New Inhumans” #1, Princess Crystal explains, “What we’re about to attempt here? It isn’t just… superhero stuff. It’s political.” That quote stands in as a mission statement for the issue, which finds Crystal, Gorgon and the NuHumans struggling to convince the world there’s more to Inhumans than rogue Terrigen clouds. Writers James Asmus and Charles Soule balance the statecraft and slugfests well, and they craft a believable, complicated problem for their protagonists to solve. Stefano Caselli and Nico Leon’s robust, comprehensive panels give the story heft and drama. Had the team’s personalities been more distinct and the story an easier introduction for new readers, this would have been a real hit. Still, “All-New Inhumans” #1 makes a very smart decision: moving the Inhuman drama out of the throne room and into geopolitics. I’m excited for what’s next.
The protagonists of “All-New Inhumans” can’t just storm in and smash their opponents, no matter how despicable their methods. Much more so than in “X-Men,” the zealots’ and racists’ rhetoric is founded in understandable fears: “Most regimes let loose a chemical weapon, they don’t get treated like the pope.” Asmus and Soule make it clear Crystal and her team won’t merely have to defeat their enemies; they have to win them over, while still providing aid to NuHumans, cleaning up after the mist and solving the mystery of the skyspears. The creative team does an excellent job establishing the uniqueness and delicacy of the Inhumans’ situation. That conflict is the primary draw of the issue.
Caselli and colorist Andres Mossa are an excellent team on the main story. Caselli’s more detailed style still feels dynamic and mobile, and Mossa’s rich colors give it depth rather than weigh it down. There are a few close-ups that feel static and heavy, but Caselli handles the melee in Australia Square really well. Mossa also gives the scenes so much additional clarity. He fades the colors in the background action but doesn’t blend them, so the reader’s eye can focus on the most pertinent actor in the fray without losing a sense of turmoil. Mossa is also adaptable. His colors are lighter and smoother in the short R.I.V. story with artist Nico Leon, and Leon’s less-detailed approach works well for the PR-happy U.N. visit in that story.
However, in this issue, Dinesh and Flint don’t really get to show off their personalities. They work well as complements to Gorgon and Crystal, but they spend most of their time answering and asking questions. As a result, it was difficult to get a sense of them as people. There are subtle hints — and I can appreciate aiming for subtlety — but the result is that they read like an indistinguishable pair of neophytes. I couldn’t quite invest in their journeys.
Now, the conspiracy theorists will certainly be talking about one scene, which is sure to feed speculation that Marvel Comics wants to privilege the Inhumans over the X-Men due to film rights. Reacting to his new responsibilities, Gorgon asks, “I can’t use my legs — let alone my powers… how can I train and lead a mission team of neophytes?”, Crystal tells him, “Charles Xavier did it from one of these.” I don’t know if Asmus and Soule were intentionally poking fun at the conspiracy with that comparison, but it is certainly upfront.
All told, “All-New Inhumans” is a series to keep your eye on. It may not have been a perfect first issue, and I’d love to see the NuHumans shine more as characters, but the creative team has set up a cool, complex problem that should be a real reward to follow.