Secret Invasion: Inhumans #4

Story by
Art by
Scott Hanna, Tom Raney
Colors by
Letters by
Cory Petit
Cover by
Marvel Comics

Between his work on this series and his debut as the scribe of "Ultimate Fantastic Four," "Heroes" writer Joe Pokaski has proven himself to be a top-notch Marvel writer. Like Paul Cornell, he's made the shift from television writing to comic book scripting with nary a falter, and in this final issue of "Secret Invasion: Inhumans," Pokaski affirms the importance of the Inhumans within the Marvel Universe and gives the dysfunctional superhero royal family a solid foundation upon which to build.

Which is nice, because the final issue isn't really the end of the story, since it apparently continues in something called "Secret Invasion: War of the Kings."

But the plot Pokaski started in issue #1 of this series does come to an end here, even if the larger Skrull threat remains at large. (Yeah, there's this gigantic "Secret Invasion" crossover event that's been quietly taking place in a couple of Marvel comics. You may have missed it.) In the first issue, Black Bolt was abducted by the Skrulls, who used his devastating voice to power a super-weapon. Kind of a Death Star slash megaphone in space combo. So it's no surprise that the resolution of that plot would involve the rescue of Black Bolt, and the inevitable family reunion, but Pokaski tells that story really well. How it happens is the interesting part, since we all know what's going to happen as soon as Black Bolt gets abducted in the first place.

Removing Black Bolt from the story, and having him strapped up to a Skrull contraption for most of the four issues, is kind of a genius way to explore the family dynamic within the Inhumans. I think one of the problems with the Inhumans, as a concept, is that Black Bolt's presence in any Inhumans story tends to be a life-sucking void. Black Bolt is a great character -- a great visual presence -- but since he cannot speak, we usually get scenes where the rest of the Inhumans defer to Black Bolt, and then...silence. By removing Black Bolt from the center of attention, the Inhumans all become more inherently interesting, and Pokaski gives Medusa some amazingly powerful scenes in this issue.

Tom Raney provides the art on this series, and although I'm not particularly a fan of his figure work (which is all twister sinews and mouths agape), he's an efficient storyteller who whisks us through this climactic issue with grace and speed. He's able to provide some very emotionally human moments for these Inhumans, and then give the characters the majesty they need for the royal conclusion.

As "Secret Invasion" proper comes to a close, and after having read every single "Secret Invasion" crossover and spin-off, I can safely say that Joe Pokaski and Tom Raney have produced the best spin-off of all. They've tied their tale into the Skrull invasion, but it has been a story about all the things that make the Inhumans such a fascinating part of the Marvel Universe. This is good stuff.

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