With the first two episodes of Marvel’s Inhumans playing in IMAX theaters ahead of the drama’s broadcast premiere, audiences have been introduced to a hidden city on the Moon populated by a superhuman race ruled by a Royal Family that’s torn apart by a military coup. Oh, and enormous, lovable teleporting bulldog. However, that’s only the beginning.
The Inhumans have a long and wonderfully weird history in Marvel Comics dating back more the five decades, to their 1965 debut in The Fantastic Four. Since then they’ve expanded well beyond Black Bolt, Medusa, Maximus, Lockjaw and Crystal, and well beyond the confines of Earth and the Moon, to include the likes of Ms. Marvel and Thane, and interstellar conflicts with Thanos and the alien Shi’ar Empire.
For those looking to brush up on the Inhumans’ comic book adventures, CBR has compiled a list of 14 recommended titles, from their earliest appearances to the present-day Marvel Universe.
Inhumans: By Right of Birth
King Black Bolt and Queen Medusa are no strangers to defying the norms of Inhumans society, most notably when they bore a child in defiance of the Genetic Council. Fearing the danger Black Bolt’s offspring might pose to Attilan, the council isolated and examined the child, later named Ahura, and prevented his parents from having any contact with him.
There’s little that can break the bond between Black Bolt and Medusa, but Inhumans: By Right of Birth, by writer Ann Nocenti and artists Bret Blevins and Richard Howell, certainly puts that notion to the test. The choice between a duty to their people and a love for their son continues to shape their relationship, underscoring that the most interesting element of the Inhumans is the push and pull between the needs of the many and the needs of the few.
Inhumans: Attilan Rising
Marvel Comics’ 2015 event Secret Wars featured numerous related miniseries set during Doctor Doom’s rule of Battleworld, formed from a patchwork of realities that remained following the destruction of the Multiverse. One such tie-in was Inhumans: Attilan Rising, by writer Charles Soule and artist John Timms, in which Medusa is the Baroness of New Attilan, loyal to Doom. That’s certainly bad enough, but then Medusa discovers the rebellion she’s been tasked to destroy is led by Blackagar Boltagon, aka Black Bolt.
Secret Wars’ Battleworld miniseries found freedom in multiple universes colliding, and in Attilan Rising the characters remain recognizable yet still different from those readers know; we’re left to wonder which side of the conflict between Doom and the rebels each Inhuman will take. And it turns out that by granting Black Bolt, long defined by his silence, the ability to speak helps to illustrate what a charismatic and inspiring leader he can be. His budding romance with Medusa goes through all the motions, but the history of their relationship is what sells it, and the final pages definitely make this miniseries one worth a re-read.
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- Thanos’ Son, a Terrigen Cloud & Universal Inhumans
- Social Allegory, Cosmic War & New Attilan
- Black Bolt’s Lounge, Ms. Marvel & Royals
- Black Bolt, Karnak & the Classics
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