Once hidden from the rest of the world, Inhumans are now on the loose and growing in the Marvel Universe. The revelation of their existence to the general populace within comics coincides with efforts by Marvel to make these characters a bit more well-known in the real world.
It is a bittersweet development that comes as the company quietly stops creating new mutant characters for the X-books. This ties to the complicated arrangement Marvel has with Fox, who holds media rights to all things X-Men (a rocky movie franchise that now is on deck for a reboot).
Rather than focus on the messy mutant tar pit, Marvel is giving the Inhumans a push to fill the niche as outcasts from humanity’s status quo. Change is hard, but as mutants seem to continue edging closer to the sunset, here are 15 reasons why the Inhumans are pretty awesome.
15. An Inhuman World Is A Cleaner World
Though they are gifted with a myriad of superpowers, often paired with exotic physical features, Inhumans live in an environment devoid of the pollution and toxins from the outside world. In essence, the clutter and trash of humanity is detrimental to the health of this species. While some Inhumans have emerged in the outside world and are acclimated to it, many born in Attilan can only tolerate exposure to pollution in the air and water in limited doses.
This is not to say Inhumans are not industrious. They have existed for millennia with technology that outshines modern innovations. Their entire home city of Attilan, for example, can fly thanks to its antigravity engines. That has let the Inhumans relocate to different locations around the world—and even to the moon—to avoid detection. The Inhumans show that advanced technology does not need to spew out damaging pollutants (or at the very least, they mastered scrubbing their environment of such impurities). Perhaps if the world did a better job of picking up after itself, more Inhumans could come out to play.
14. The Inhuman Species = An Alien Weapon X Program
There is no question that Logan of the X-Men had it rough being turned into a killing machine by a shadowy government project, but the militaristic Kree Empire wanted an entire army of killing machines. Apparently, starships and lasers were not potent enough for the star-spanning Kree-Skrull War, which gave rise to genetic manipulation by the Kree and the creation of a Cosmic Cube by the Skrull Empire. Borrowing a page from the Celestials, the Kree experimented on prehistoric humans and forcibly created the Inhumans to serve as living weapons to fight the Skrulls.
Though the Kree successfully turned their test subjects into super-powered warriors, who often had to cope with extreme and even debilitating physical alterations, the achievement set off a bit of a panic. A prophecy arose about a doom the Inhumans might bring upon the Kree and their leader, the Supreme Intelligence. The experiment was shut down and the Kree fled back to the stars. Abandoned on Earth by their worried creators, the Inhumans had to carve out their own place in the world—left behind like undetonated explosive ordnance. Thanks to the Terrigen Mist, the Inhumans gained great, at times frightful, powers at the cost of damage to their genes.
13. Lockjaw Is The Best Dog Ever
It is really hard to not love the official bulldog of the royal family of Inhumans. Lockjaw may be the faithful, oversize super pooch of Black Bolt, but his adventures land him in the company of other residents of the Marvel Universe.
His ability to teleport almost anywhere naturally comes in handy when the Inhumans need to travel fast and to effect daring rescues when friends and family are in danger. Lockjaw’s teleport power also makes for a nifty trick when playing fetch with his longtime chum Ben Grimm; surprising new friend Ms. Marvel, Kamala Khan; or finding Infinity Gems with the help of the other Pet Avengers.
With his great strength and burly stature, Lockjaw can playfully roughhouse with superheroes, yet is still good with kids. He likes hugs, but does need a watchful eye. Lockjaw’s abilities include being able to eat all sorts of matter. Steel girders, robots, shoes (it is plausible that if he got bored, Lockjaw might mangle an entire shoe store, bricks and all).
12. Medusa, The Queen In Front Of The Throne
Throughout history and fiction, there have been standout women who ruled, yet Medusa belongs to a special class. She is the queen of the Inhumans by marriage to Black Bolt, but her power is all her own. As a head of state, she sees to the protection of the people of Attilan and their NuHuman kin, such as Ms. Marvel, who have emerged around the world. Though she is the primary interpreter of Black Bolt’s wishes, the two have disagreed on courses of action.
When not dealing with courtly matters, Medusa can scrap with the best of them. Her voluminous red hair is far from a vain display; it’s a weapon capable of overwhelming her foes in surprising ways. Tangling and ensnaring enemies is just a basic use of her power. Medusa once literally whipped Venom into submission with her hair by setting off rapid sonic booms, a key weakness for the alien symbiote. She also defied an edict of her people that would have terminated her pregnancy, splitting from Black Bolt while she carried their child to term. Medusa is a queen and mother who spared no effort to see to the well-being of her son. Queen Cersei Lannister from “Game of Thrones” could take notes from her.
11. Black Bolt Is A Force Of Nature
Under no circumstances should anyone ever ask for a shout out from Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans. His gift, and burden, from the Terrigen Mists is a voice that can shatter worlds. The ways his powers function are strange, but that is par for the course with Inhumans. All it takes is a small sound from Black Bolt’s lips to release his destructive energies. This can be in the form of a blast that crumbles mountains, or it can be channeled to enhance his physical abilities. Black Bolt even uses these energies to fly.
The power comes at a high cost, though. Black Bolt must silence himself to protect others. He underwent years of training in near-solitude to discipline himself to suppress any sound he might utter. A sneeze, a hiccup, or a laugh could pulverize everything around him. It is not easy for this king to bear such a mantle, but when necessary, Black Bolt is an irresistible force that can topple empires.
10. Ms. Marvel Is A Rising Star
Though her life started out as a seemingly normal kid from Jersey City, Kamala Khan’s discovery of her latent Inhuman genes introduced the world to an endearing superhero, the new Ms. Marvel. We first meet Kamala as she covetously, and hilariously, inhales the scent of bacon, a forbidden food in her Muslim culture. This is just one example of her seeking balance between her devotion to her heritage while living in a community that presents temptations to stray from her traditions. Coupled with the awkwardness of growing up, and being a self-proclaimed fan of geeky interests, the revelation of Kamala’s Inhuman ancestry is a very modern take on classic superhero tropes.
The introduction of her powers are no immediate blessing. In the midst of her Inhuman genes awakening, Kamala is confronted by a vision of her personal hero, Carol Danvers, the current Captain Marvel, who scolds her for not listening to her parents. This first manifestation of Kamala’s power temporarily transformed her to look like Danvers, an allegorical wish to be like her hero mixed with struggling with a desire to fit in. Kamala soon finds her own path and identity as a teenaged hero. Her adventures as Marvel’s first Muslim superhero have already won accolades, including a Hugo Award for her debut in 2014.
9. Inhumans Are the Future
Ms. Marvel is just one example of what could lie ahead for those with Inhuman genes. Thanks to a convenient retcon, it turns out that segments of the world’s general populace have some Inhuman ancestry. It is not that farfetched though to believe that over the centuries, Inhumans trickled into human society here and there, adding their enhanced DNA to the mix.
When Black Bolt infamously detonated the Terrigen Bomb, it set off a cloud that spread a Terrigen Gas to parts of the world. This led to a fresh generation of Inhuman descendants, dubbed NuHumans, to sprout up across the planet. There emergence opened up the possibility for more and more characters to surface who traced their heritage back to Attilan.
There is a severe downside to the gas however: it can render mutants such as the X-Men sterile. Worse yet, the Terrigen Gas afflicts some mutants with the deadly M-Pox disease, pushing their species closer to extinction yet again. Far from karmic fairness given what mutants have already endured, the rise of Inhumans and NuHumans does mean the theme of outcasts who are born differently can continue in a new form.
8. Tough Genetic Love
Forget about Sentinels hunting mutants, Inhumans police their own populace, at times harshly, for the sake of their people. At least that is the message from the Genetics Council. Because of the erratic twists in their DNA, caused by their ancestors’ rampant exposure to the Terrigen Mists, the offspring of Inhumans can exhibit unpredictable traits. In fact, each new generation of Inhumans runs the risk of being born with monstrous transformations waiting to manifest due to genetic damage. The Genetics Council, formed to guide the breeding of the people, monitors and selectively decides which Inhumans can have children, striving to cultivate the best traits possible for their society while hoping to prevent dangerous combinations.
Not even the royal family can escape the eugenics-driven, strong-arm reach of the council, who deemed the unborn offspring of Medusa and Black Bolt a threat. They feared the child might inherit his father’s powers and his uncle Maximus’s cray-cray mind, and then blow us all to bits. Medusa fled Attilan rather than be forced to abort her child. Even after her son, Ahura, was born, the Genetics Council repeatedly pursued, and for a time locked the boy away fearing the havoc he might cause.
7. Defiant Freedom Fighters
Every once in a while, someone tries to push the Inhumans around. It might be an intrepid Kree who gets the brilliant idea to re-enslave these people and use them as the weapons they were created to be. Other times, a certain mad Titan comes calling. Regardless of who attempts to play the bully, such efforts are unwise. Inhumans, though often outnumbered, have grown into a resolute culture that does not easily bend knee. After their abandonment by the Kree, the Inhumans found themselves in a hostile world that forced them to create the safe haven of Attilan away from humanity.
Choosing to live in seclusion, they kept their existence largely unknown for thousands of years, relocating their beloved ancestral city when threatened. This included moving to the blue area of the Moon for a time (for the beachfront property of course.) In short, the Inhumans will not be pinned down. Turning his nose at their history, Thanos sought to throw his weight around Attilan, calling for the heads of Inhuman children, all to hide that he had fathered a son among them. Confronted with the threat of a Death-loving Titan poised to unleash furious anger upon his people, Black Bolt faced off with Thanos and let out a resounding cry that destroyed Attilan while both stood in the city to take the damage.
6. Interstellar High Rollers
After getting dragged into various conflicts once too often, the Inhumans decided they would call the shots in the battles among the stars. The Skrulls made a teensy mistake when they kidnapped and replaced Black Bolt with an imposter during an attempted invasion of Earth: they let Black Bolt live. After the immediate threat was dealt with, and Black Bolt was rescued, the angry king chose to go on the offensive.
In the “War of Kings” series, Black Bolt not only wanted to pay back the Skrulls for their aggressions, he also sought to settle affairs with everyone who had messed with his people. Fighting their way across space, the Inhumans seized control of the Kree Empire and then went toe-to-toe with the Sh’iar Empire, then led by Vulcan. At the climax of this interstellar war, Black Bolt stood ready to set off a Terrigen Bomb that would turn everyone in the galaxy into an Inhuman.
Cooler heads prevailed, however, with Crystal negating the Terrigen effects of the device, which Vulcan set off in a vindictive countermove against Black Bolt that blew a hole in space and time. In the end, the Shi’ar still wound up bowing down to the Inhumans-led Kree Empire.
5. A Lifeline for Post-Decimation Mutants
For better or worse, the Inhumans gave the mutant population a shot to the arm in the wake of Scarlet Witch’s devastating act at the end the House of M storyline. Her now infamous words, “No more mutants,” stripped the majority of mutantkind of their abilities, putting some in life-threatening conditions without their powers.
Some were not to accept this new status quo, including Quicksilver, speedster, brother to Scarlet Witch and the often troublesome ex-husband to Crystal of the Inhumans. Unhappy living life in the slow lane, and fearing for mutantkind’s future, Quicksilver appropriated some of the Inhumans’ Terrigen Crystals, embedding them in his own body as a means to jumpstart his and other mutants’ lost abilities. This led to some unexpected results.
Using the Terrigen Mists from the crystals in this way was not a great idea. It brought out altered and overcharged mutant talents, which were fatal to some. For Quicksilver, he found himself skipping through time rather than running faster. Eventually Quicksilver’s attempts to play Johnny Appleseed with superpowers came to an abrupt end when the Terrigen Crystals were forced out of him.
4. Powerless Inhumans Are Still Strong
Their weakness to pollution and germs aside, Inhumans are naturally an exceptional and robust people. They can live around 150 years and, with training, can become strong enough to lift extraordinary weight. And all that is without being exposed to the Terrigen Mists. As a species, the physical prowess of baseline Inhumans surpasses the best of humanity’s athletes. In essence, they all start out with the potential to be on par with Captain America and only get stronger from there.
Those who devote their time to training can attain other phenomenal traits. Karnak, a member of the royal family, honed his martial arts skills and mental focus to the point where he can find a weakness in anyone and anything, and then shatter them with a perfectly placed blow. There are numerous hand-to-hand combat focused heroes out there such as Daredevil, Iron Fist, or White Tiger, but Karnak is essentially a Jedi who can Kung-Fu you to pieces.
3. Big League Team Players
Despite their reclusive society, the Inhumans do participate in action in the outside world. Marvel’s A-list superhero teams have included Inhumans among their ranks at various points in time. The much-loved “Princess of the People,” Crystal has served with groups such as the Avengers and the Fantastic Four. Her sister, Medusa, likewise joined the Fantastic Four, though she had previously served with the villainous Frightful Four.
Black Bolt collaborated with the Marvel Universe’s top talent as a member of the Illuminati, where he sat alongside the likes of Doctor Strange, Reed Richards, and Charles Xavier. Together, they tackled planet-wide threats, and haggled over the decision to launch the Hulk into space. The demands of safeguarding their own people and the challenge of their weakness to pollution means Inhumans cannot always stay with these teams, but they quickly and frequently make their presence known among the best of them.
2. Royal Intrigue
Black Bolt may be a powerful king, but he frequently must contend with his brother, Maximus the Mad, who connives to usurp the throne and harbors a desire for Medusa. Maximus has a habit of manipulating the Alpha Primitives, a slave race that serves the Inhumans, in his various attempts to seize power.
Lording over the Alpha Primitives, which does conflict with the Inhumans’ desire to not be dominated by outsiders, is not the only blemish on the image of the royal family. Despite his current heroic presence, Black Bolt is no angel. In his youth, he stole the throne of the Inhumans from a beloved ruler (whose name was stricken from all records and is now only referred to as The Unspoken) in order to get his hands on a superweapon deemed too dangerous.
Crystal, who has the power to manipulate the elements, seems to have great sway over people’s hearts as well. Her level-headedness and compassion often lead her to be the voice of reason and a poised leader in the midst of conflict. During their war with the Sh’iar, Crystal paid a visit to wounded Kree warriors. This act cemented her place among the Kree, who embraced her as their princess.
1. Unlimited Live-Action Potential
Despite their inclusion in the “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” television series, the mainstream audience has had little exposure to the Inhumans. The television depiction of the Inhumans did not include any members of the royal family, nor were they mentioned. However, the Inhumans’ connection to the Kree, the Terrigen Crystals, and the Inhuman known as Lash did make it onscreen.
An Inhumans movie was scheduled to debut in 2019 in theaters as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but those plans have since changed. Whether or not that big-screen project will be revisited remains questionable as Marvel Studios doubles-down on some of its other properties, but it doesn’t mean we won’t see them on the silver screen in some fashion, because they’ve recently announced an Inhumans TV series whose debut will also be shown in IMAX theaters.
Whatever else Marvel decides to do with the Inhumans, there is still plenty of material waiting to be tapped for use across all medias.
Anything else about the Inhumans you feel is amazing? Let us know in the comments!
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