In “All-New Inhumans” #3, the source of the nightmarish visions is revealed, which further escalates the conflict between the team and the Commissar of Sin-Cong. Writers James Asmus and Charles Soule explore the tensions among the group, even as their forces are split in half, while artist Stefano Caselli nicely renders a wide array of Inhumans, some beautiful and some horrific. Colorist Andres Mossa dominates the issue with his own array of almost exclusively secondary colors, giving the already strange and troubling surroundings an even more alien consistency. The tensions among the team are high, both in the field and in their ship, likewise dominating the issue with a heightened sense of uneasiness that keeps it edgy.
Asmus and Soule shine the spotlight on Crystal’s right-hand NuHuman Swain, who makes a daring and heroic move to uncover the nature of the visions the team has just experienced. Characterized as bold yet nervous and focused yet quirky, her presence makes her the issue’s strongest cast member. She does indeed uncover the cause of the nightmares, but her heroic efforts backfire terribly, and this is how the writers demonstrate her bravery while never forgetting she’s only been at this Inhuman thing for a very short time. Caselli’s rendition of the threat, which turns out to be possibly the most unusual and threatening Inhuman yet, is genuinely chilling, as are the consequences of this confrontation gone bad.
Caselli’s characters are all cleanly delineated throughout, but his tidy layouts and designs for each individual carry the early part of the issue, which starts out slowly and is heavy with exposition, but nonetheless comes across as an enjoyable and attractive sequence. The field team’s run-in with both the Commissar’s prisoners as well as his forces is also well-executed and nicely paced and gives Caselli an excuse to illustrate a few more diverse characters. Mossa’s colors are sometimes a little dark, but appropriate for the often darker confines within Sin-Cong.
Asmus and Soule give the issue some topical relevance by patterning the Commissar after Kim Jong-un, complete with the odd childhood indulgence. The parallel continues as this Commissar is actually the son of the original, but — unlike the real-life dictators — the original is still around, albeit in a rather unnerving fashion. The real-life allegory serves the issue’s villain well, as there’s not much else to the character; his presence is far less important than the results of his past deeds, so decorating him in a guise evocative of a real-life villain is little more than dressing but it at least gives the character some personality.
“All-New Inhumans” #3 helps establish the identities of not only the players, but also the team as a whole; it’s a work in progress, but so far it’s been one worth watching as it grows.