Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1

After "War of Kings," I remember thinking how great it would be to see a real follow-up on the political instability created by the event, and how the Inhumans ruling the Kree was a story goldmine waiting to happen. Clearly I was not the only one who felt that way, since that's more or less what "Realm of Kings: Inhumans" #1 delivers. Medusa is still Queen, not only of the Inhumans but the entire Kree Empire. Crystal and Ronan are still married, the political union that become loving in spite of itself. Maximus clearly still wants the crown. But that's really just the beginning of everything to come.

It's great to see Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning treat the Inhumans as a royal family, with all that entails. Never mind their strange appearances, or their fantastical powers. This is the real potential of the Inhumans, and all the drama that should spawn around them accordingly. Abnett and Lanning are already setting up several potential claimants to the throne, some obvious and others not so much. At the same time, they're continuing their characterization of Medusa from "War of Kings" as someone devoted to the empire and ready to do what is best for it, regardless of the consequences. It's the proverbial immovable object beset by the unstoppable force, and the question ultimately becomes which will crumble first.

Pablo Raimondi's art feels a little stronger here than it did on his "X-Factor" run; maybe it's the oddness of the characters that's inspiring him, or perhaps he's just more jazzed by the subject material. Either way, it's a nice step up from Raimondi. I like the little touches from Raimondi, like how Ronan places a hand on Crystal's shoulder as the two walk through the Concourse of Ancestors, or the yearning in Maximus' eyes. Raimondi's showing a lot of strength with faces and expressions here, and it's really punching up the intensity in a script that is primarily about people rather than fights.

That said, I am a tiny bit worried about the end of the first issue, with no less than two different groups invading. I hope the rest of "Realm of Kings: Inhumans" continues to be about political machinations rather than more huge fight scenes. There's a lot of potential to be had in this set-up, and with any luck we'll get that follow through. For now, though, it's a solid start.

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