Death of the Inhumans Lives Up to Its Name with a Bloody Opening Act


The following contains spoilers for Death of the Inhumans #1 written by Donny Cates, drawn by Ariel Olivetti, colored by Jordie Bellaire, and lettered by Clayton Cowles.

Despite Marvel's best attempts, the Inhumans as a brand didn't work the way that the company wanted them to. To that end, it's no surprise that the Inhumans are being knocked down several pegs with the five-issue miniseries Death of the Inhumans. But what is surprising, at least a little bit, is just how eager the first issue is about living up to that incredibly ominous title.

Having been in ruins for some years now, the alien race known as the Kree have decided that enough is enough -- it's time to wipe out their creations (read: the Inhumans) before their creations wipe them out. To that end, the Kree open the series by murdering over 11,000 Inhumans, leaving them in the vacuum of space with three words marked on all of their bodies: "Join or die."

With his family of Royals, Black Bolt, the King of Earth 's Inhumans, arrives on a remote planet where the five Inhuman tribe leaders -- himself and four Inhuman queens -- can decide what to do. Black Bolt, having dealt with the Kree multiple times in the past, will clearly vote for war, but his decision turns out to be moot; all four Queens are dead when they open the door, the same three words written in their blood on a banner hanging about their corpses.

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Even before the first issue arrived, Death of the Inhumans had become notable for introducing what looks like an incredibly twisted version of Black Bolt named Vox. Through flashbacks, we learn what he can do, and why he was created. The scythe wielding agent of the Kree was built specifically for war, the first of their new race dubbed the Super-Inhumans. Vox has learned of the meeting between the tribe leaders, and thus murders the four Queens and their respective escorts; not only is their option to surrender cowardly, they straight up don't matter in comparison to Black Bolt. But before the Royal Family can mourn the loss of their people, a bomb detonates, injuring the Royal Family members and killing Triton.

On Earth, things aren't much better, as Vox and his men have arrived on New Arctilan and are in the process of murdering every Inhuman they come across, old or new. Armed with all of the Inhumans' abilities and no humanity, he easily cuts his prey down with his powers or his literal energy scythe. Even Maximus, armed with the biggest weapon in the city's armory, can't defeat Vox, quickly losing an arm for even making the attempt. Pretty soon, he and the ever reliable teleporting dog Lockjaw are both casualties of Vox, eliminated by the vocal powers that originally belonged to Black Bolt.

Trapped in space, the remaining Royals can do nothing but hope that Black Bolt's voice-boosted jump to their ship will get them to New Arctilan in time, but it's clear they won't.

Death of the Inhumans is said to be the lowest point in the history of the characters, and so far, it's hard to refute that. It would be easy to think that everything will be restored to relative normalcy when everything's said and done, but the fact of the matter is, the Inhumans don't have the same corporate security blanket the X-Men did when they were under similar threats of extinction. Add in the fact that the Inhumans brand has absolutely floundered over the past several years, and it seems all but certain that this series will take a lasting toll on whoever remains of the genetically engineered people once it's finished.

The bottom line is, if there's a way for Vox and the Kree to be defeated, it won't come without a lot of bloodshed and hardship for the Midnight King and his family.

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