Every single one of the “Secret Wars” tie-ins and spinoffs is certain to read better in collected form but, from the first issue through to “Inhumans: Attilan Rising” #4, each installment of this particular series has been complete enough to satisfy while adding density to the overall tale of “Secret Wars.” Written by Charles Soule, drawn by John Timms, inked by Roberto Poggi, colored by Frank D’Armata and lettered by Clayton Cowles, this comic spends time above Manhattan in New Attilan, in the Northern Sea and on an unidentified gamma-radiated portion of Battleworld with a most unexpected guest.
Soule provides plenty of surprises and moments to hone the characters in this issue, even throwing in a few fan-satisfying cameos, both of which involve green-skinned characters. The scenario Soule prescribes for Triton and crew feels as heavy as the interrogation drama that unfolds between Medusa and Black Bolt, but decidedly less intimate and definitely less revelatory.
Through Black Bolt, Soule gives readers a quick rundown of Battleworld and Timms revels in it all. A deceptively simple double-page spread affords Timms the chance to draw Hydra and fighter jets, the Killesium and Doom himself superimposed over the Manhattan skyline. That single image of Doom may evoke thoughts of Mike Wieringo, as Timms and inker Poggi give readers a clean, sharp image of Battleworld’s master with line work that is varied and crisp, not overly burdened but less simple than it appears at first glance. Like Wieringo, Timms fills his characters’ eyes with life experience, making the characters identifiable by that single characteristic thereafter. In other parts of the issue, Timms’ characters get a bit pinched or elongated, enhancing the animated essence present throughout his work. D’Armata’s colors are bright and unapologetic throughout, with the Inhuman telepath Sterilon commanding purple hues, the Northern Sea casting teal upon iy characters and Medusa’s brilliant red hair flowing throughout the issue. Cowles keeps the art clean and the story rhythmic, delivering an occasional sharp location marker or dynamic sound effect, proving to be a fine match to round out the visuals for this comic.
While “Inhumans: Attilan Rising” #4 could be considered a transitional issue, it is just as invigorating as the opening of this series. This issue ends with an unexpected (but not overly surprising) appearance from a fan-favorite character. Black Bolt has stood for the resistance to Doom’s rule throughout this series (and well before the narrative begins) and his tenacity has provided great drama. I’m unsure how many more issues are left in this tale, but Soule, Timms, Poggi, D’Armata and Cowles can take as long as they want, so long as the exploration of Battleworld continues to unfold in such an entertaining and enjoyable manner.