Marvel's super-powered Inhumans were born on Earth, but the culture and means that created them were extraterrestrial in nature. So when things become untenable for them on Earth, it’s only natural they would seek answers off-planet; first at the fallen homeworld of the galactic empire that created them, the Kree, and then further out into this galaxy and adjacent ones.
That’s the basic set-up for writer Al Ewing and artist Jonboy Meyers April-launching “ResurrXion” title, “Royals,” which sends the Inhuman royal family out into the cosmos of the Marvel Universe on a mission of utmost importance. But just how far out into space will they have to go? Which non Inhuman former Avenger is accompanying them on their journey and why? What sort of vessel will ferry them out into space? And what initial antagonists will be waiting to oppose them? For the answers to these questions and more, we spoke with Ewing about “Royals.”
CBR: For the past few years, the Inhuman Royal family has been pursuing an Earth-based agenda to advance and protect their people, but in "Royals," they head out into space. What can you tell us about their mission? How critical is it to the survival of their people?
Al Ewing: Well, there's a limit to what I can tell you without spoiling the in-progress “IvX” books, so get ready for a lot of cryptic answers... but I will say that the mission is pretty critical. It's a quest to find answers - some lost secrets vital to the Inhumans - and it's going to take them out further than any Marvel space-farers have gone before, to my knowledge. Hala - the dead, ruined world that was once the centre of the Kree Empire - is the first stop, but it's a long way from being the last.
At the forefront of the mission is former Inhuman king Black Bolt and current Inhuman queen Medusa, who have been working together in recent years, though they've been living separate lives. How will living and working together initially impact the formerly married couple's dynamic? What does it mean for the rest of the cast to have Medusa and Black Bolt on this mission together?
Black Bolt and Medusa are closer than they were in some ways, but there are still things driving them apart. There's a secret between them – as hinted in “Inhumans: Prime,” which I think is out the month before – that might end up putting more distance than ever between the two of them. Can the relationship be saved at this point? Should it be? Are Black Bolt and Medusa too far apart from each other now to reconcile? We'll have to see, but I can tell you that when the truth comes out, the rest of the cast will definitely get involved.
Your other two cast members of the Inhuman Royal family are Crystal and Gorgon. What's your sense of these characters?
Crystal is there as one of the key Royals, and she's proven her credentials over the past couple of years as a leader. There's an interesting dynamic somewhere in there, with her sister Medusa as the regal, mythical Queen figure, and Crystal as a more down-to-earth leader-type who gets her hands dirty with the day-to-day. And we're going to be getting some romantic drama from her as well, as her great lost love, Ronan the Accuser, is out in space and very much in the Royals' way.
Gorgon was recently healed from a spinal injury by the Inhuman healer Panacea, so he can walk again - but it wasn't a magical reset button by any means. He has bad days and some serious pain issues. But the Inhumans need him, and Medusa needs him, and he's not going to hesitate for a second before throwing himself back into the fight.
The two Nuhumans in "Royals," Flint and Swain, had a pretty tumultuous journey with Crystal and Gorgon over in “All-New Inhumans.” Which of these characters' traits do you find especially interesting? What kinds of roles will they play in the book?
Flint's going out there because he owes the Royals and because he needs to prove something to himself, and he's still working out what – sometimes people do things and work out the "why" of it later, and we're not going to get into it for an issue or two. His foster family dying of Terrigen is an element of it, and what he feels he owes the Royals is part of it. I feel like there's a lot of complexity in him that I'd like to explore, and it just made sense that out of all the best-known NuHumans, he'd be the one to feel the tug of the quest. He's searching for something, and out there might be where he finds it.
Swain is more driven by duty. She's the Captain - you can't have a starship without a captain - and she's got a responsibility to Crystal and the other Royals that she won't abandon. And she's fun, which I hope I can capture in all this space questing. There's the tug of space there, but the tug of change, as well, the need to shake things up, for her and Flint both. I'm a big fan of the "call of the stars" idea, and there's a little bit of that at work.
Rounding out the cast is your non Inhuman character, the extradimensional Kree and former Young Avenger known as Marvel Boy. What made you want to bring him into the book? What does he add to the overall dynamic?
We were interested in having a "non-Inhuman" on the crew, and when Wil Moss suggested Marvel Boy as a possibility, I was right on board. He's got that connection to the Kree - the ruined world of Hala is one of the first places we'll be going - but with his other-dimensional origins, he's also got a different viewpoint to most characters in the Marvel Universe, which puts him in a prime spot to see things other people miss. The Kree on his world had knowledge the Kree on ours didn't - is that just from standard deviation between universes, or has a great secret been buried... maybe literally?
I realize that's about the third or fourth "secret" in this interview so far - all of which is in aid of keeping my secrets from the readers more than anything. Not to mention the secrets of “IvX,” still ongoing. I did say I was going to be cryptic...
[Laughs] Fair enough! What can you tell us about the vessel the cast of "Royals" will be traveling on? Will it have a support staff of reoccurring characters, "Star Trek"-style?
It's called the Astarion - named for a hero of Inhuman legend who may or may not have been a distant ancestor of Gorgon, and the inspiration for the Minotaur. That story's one for, "if we have time." It's probably closer to the Millennium Falcon - it's big, big as a building, big enough to comfortably house seven, but it's not the Enterprise. There's most of everything you might need - a medbay, weapons systems, what-have-you – and there's a bridge that we'll probably end up spending some time on, but there isn't a support staff. I felt the mythical nature of the journey was best served by having everyone on the ship be a central part of the cast.
In the aftermath of recent events like the "Black Vortex," and with the Guardians of the Galaxy currently stranded on Earth, the cosmic corner of the Marvel Universe is a pretty crazy, wide-open place. What threats will your cast will run afoul of?
First stop is the dead world of Hala, once the homeworld of the Kree -heading there, and finding the secret buried within it, is what takes us through the first arc. On the way, they'll encounter a couple of other enemies, some new-ish - like the rampaging Chitauri horde – some considerably older and more personal. Funny you should mention the “Black Vortex” - we haven't seen much of Crystal's ex-husband Ronan The Accuser since that story, or how his cosmic powers have developed.
From there, we're heading out - to the edges of the Marvel Universe, and into uncharted territory. We've only seen a small part of the myriad galaxies in Marvel Space, and one thing I'm planning to do with this series - something I try to do with every book I'm given - is push the boundaries out a little further, both in terms of space--and time.
Oh, one more thing - remember the Universal Inhumans [from Jonathan Hickman's “Fantastic Four” run]? I do.
Jonboy Meyers, who's recently worked on a number of DC books is your collaborator on "Royals." I'm not super familiar with his work, but it looks like it has a fun almost animated quality to it. What do you enjoy most about his work?
"Animated" is a good word! It's wild, energized stuff, leaping off the page. He's good when it comes to the design element, too - his ideas for the ship, and for the Royals' "space" outfits and variations on them for different planets and environments, have been fascinating, and they've given me a bunch of ideas. Seeing what he's doing with some of the bigger, weirder ideas I'm throwing at him, I'm interested to see more in the line - I think it'll have a lot of visual punch.
Finally, going back to what you said earlier, it sounds like “Royals” will allow you to play with a number of Marvel's established intergalactic characters and concepts as well as create a number of new ones. Can you talk anymore about some of the new things you'll be introducing?
If my plans come together, this is going to add one absolutely huge new thing to the Marvel Universe that at least has the potential to change the entire scope and history of the whole shebang. Fans of Marvel Space, as well as Inhumans fans, would be wise to give this a look. We're going all the way out to the far side of everything, and we're coming back with cosmic secrets that'll hopefully blow everything wide open.
I'll conclude with a "thank you" to everyone following my work, and everyone who's asking their local comic shop to put a copy of “Royals,” and a copy of the big "state of the Inhumans" one-off “Inhumans: Prime,” aside when they come out. That helps retailers gauge demand. Aside from that – stay safe, be kind to each other, and good luck in everything you do.