The Terrigen Cloud circling the globe resulted in an explosion of new Inhumans as it transformed humans with dormant Inhuman DNA into super powered "Nuhumans." Entities like the powerful Ennilux corporation, itself comprised of Inhumans, and the Inhuman Royal Family have each inserted themselves into the heart of the Marvel U. The Inhumans established their capital city, New Attilan, in the Hudson River surrounding New York, and even stalwart Marvel heroes Human Torch and Beast now call it home. The former is both Queen Medusa's lover and her liaison with the human world, while the long-time X-Man is working with Inhuman scientists to cure the toxic effect of the Terrigen Cloud on mutants.
Given their increased number and prominence, it makes sense for the Inhumans to figure heavily into the line-wide "Civil War II" event. In fact, the schism between Iron Man and Captain Marvel at the core of Brian Michael Bendis & David Marquez's limited series revolves around how best to utilize the precognitive abilities of Ulysses, a Nuhuman. While the main series will take a look at how the conflict plays out across the larger Marvel Universe, "Uncanny Inhumans" writer Charles Soule and artist Carlos Pacheco will explore the direct impact it has on the Inhumans and the long form story he's been telling with the characters starting more than two years ago in the pages of "Inhuman."
CBR News spoke with Soule about recent events in "Uncanny Inhumans" -- like the Royal Prince, Ahura, becoming the head of the Ennilux Corporation and a special issue focusing on the blind Inhuman known as Reader -- and how it all leads into the outbreak of "Civil War II" which will test even the strongest Inhuman allegiances. And as if that weren't enough, he explains what the return of Maximus the Mad means for the book and the Marvel Universe.
CBR News: At the end of the previous arc, Black Bolt and Medusa's son Ahura was running for CEO of Ennilux. That announcement at the end of Issue #7 had some interesting visual clues sprinkled in: The first was the way the purple-skinned Ennilux member's eyes sort of glow and the way she says, "Hard to say." The other is Black Bolt's surprise at what his son is doing. Am I on to something there or am I misreading clues? And when might we see a follow up to the developments with Ahura and Ennilux?
Charles Soule: I like the close observation! I like to put a lot of little visual cues into the scripts, and the artists I'm lucky enough to work with do a great job of incorporating them into the story. That issue was drawn by Brandon Peterson and colored by Javier Tartaglia, and they're both great at the subtle stuff.
Black Bolt was definitely taken off guard by the fact that his teenage son was secretly attempting to take control of the second-largest Inhuman power base on the planet. Ahura, to put it mildly, was sick of being treated like a child, and decided he didn't need to wait for anyone to tell him it was okay to act. He just decided to act.
In my view, both Medusa and Black Bolt have been what you might call absentee parents. They love their son, but they are very, very busy people. We saw one possible way that might play out in the first arc in "Uncanny Inhumans," with a future version of Ahura becoming a world-killing despot responsible for the destruction of all of Inhuman society. You'd think Black Bolt and Medusa would have learned something from that, and would pay more attention to their kid -- but hey, they're busy people.
We'll tag up on this storyline in "Uncanny Inhumans" #12, where we'll see that Ahura did, in fact, win this election and is now the CEO of the Ennilux Corporation. What he does with all that new power -- wait and see!
Johnny Storm and Medusa may be closer than ever following "Uncanny Inhumans" #8-9. How would you characterize the dynamic between the two of them and Medusa's sister Crystal at the end of Issue #9? Their group hug at the end of the book suggests some of their issues may be resolved, or was it more that Crystal was just happy to see them alive?
Crystal is certainly a grownup, and she's lived a lot of life since she dated Johnny -- she got married, she had a child -- I didn't want to suggest that Crystal is totally hung up on Johnny Storm. It's more the breach of trust from her sister not telling her, not thinking she could handle it. That last beat is supposed to suggest that the strength of their bonds transcends day to day squabbling. Nevertheless, Medusa's choices certainly caused a rift between her and Crystal, which will continue to play out. In my view, Medusa is an amazing leader but not always so great with choices in her personal life -- I'm sure we all know people like that.
In "Uncanny Inhumans" #10 you follow up with Reader's investigation into the abduction of his dog, Forey. It feels like this could be a pretty emotional issue both for him and for readers. Can you tell us anything specific about what will transpire in the spotlight issue?
This issue is one of my favorite comics I've ever done. This is another one of those really complex, subtle scripts, and I put Kev Walker through the wringer with it. Reader's powers allow him to make anything he reads real, and even though he's blind and has to read via Braille, the implications of that power are enormous. "Uncanny" #10 is the first time I've really gone ahead and explored Reader and what he can do in detail, and I think it's pretty big stuff.
It's also the story of a man trying to rescue his kidnapped best friend, who happens to be his seeing eye dog. Reader will do anything to get him back. It gets intense.
What's it like working with artist Kev Walker, who is especially great with action and emotional moments? What do you enjoy most about his style on this series?
Kev is a phenomenal storyteller. He also really digs hard into the scripts and thinks about ways to make the beats work as strongly as possible -- we have a really good back and forth process as the issues go from script to page. It feels like a true collaboration, and he's doing a hell of a job. He's actually on issues #8-10, and then another big story focusing on Grid down the road. I'm trying to do spotlight stories on the various Inhumans we've created for the series in between some of the larger, action-based arcs, and it's been a lot of fun.
"Uncanny Inhumans" #11 kicks off your book's "Civil War II" tie-in, and from what I've seen and read in solicits it sounds like much of your cast falls in line behind Captain Marvel. Will all of your cast have such an easy choice in the ideological schism of "Civil War II" or will we see some of them stand behind Iron Man? What issues will your NuHuman and Royal Family characters be wrestling with when it comes to who to side with?
They are all on the Inhumans' side, which is a third major faction in the story. More or less, that group is against Tony [Stark] due to some choices he makes in the main "CWII" event, and we'll really get to see what it means to have an entire nation of super-powered people as your enemies. The ending of the first part of the story in "Uncanny Inhumans" #11 is enormous, and I can't believe I get to do it. Major landmark moment for the MU.â€¨
Maximus will also make his return in the midst of all the "Civil War II" chaos. What's it like writing him against this backdrop and how much does he figure into the event?
While most Inhumans will side with Captain Marvel, the choice won't be so black-and-white for others
As always, Maximus is both behind the scenes pulling strings and completely central to everything. I haven't written him since "Inhuman" #7-8, which was honestly quite a while ago. I've missed him -- he's like the Inhumans' Joker, and tends to liven up every scene in which he appears. He thrives on chaos, and so "Civil War II" is basically his dream situation.
What does "Civil War II" mean for your non-Inhuman cast members like Johnny Storm and the Beast? Will they have parts to play in your book or might they be busy elsewhere?
They're definitely around. This story involves the Inhumans doing things that are pretty beyond the pale, and while Beast and the Torch are currently aligned with the Inhumans, they are very much not Inhumans, and there's a certain element of, "Wait, you guys are doing what now?" I'll get some really great scenes out of that tension, I think.
It seems fitting that veteran super hero artist Carlos Pacheco, who as far as I can tell has drawn the vast majority of Marvel and DC's iconic characters, will be illustrating your "Civil War II" tie-in arc, especially considering the number of heroes that will be in play. What is it like collaborating with him on this?
Well, you pretty much hit it on the head -- the story here has a massive cast (actually, a lot of the big Inhuman-related stories have a big cast, but this one really has a big cast.) Carlos is known for a bunch of work with the other massive group of characters in the Marvel Universe, like the X-Men, and I think the skills he has from those stories will serve him well here. I'm not an artist, but I suspect that balancing a panel with a zillion characters is tricky as hell, and there's a lot of that in these stories. I'm lucky to have him.
Finally "Civil War II" is a chapter in the long form story you're telling with Marvel's Inhumans. How does the event affect the larger story you're telling with Medusa and Black Bolt?
Well, I don't want to spoil the ending, of course, but this is definitely the next big step in the master plan. Medusa, Black Bolt and the rest of the crew will be significantly repositioned at the end of the "CWII" story (as will other significant Marvel Universe characters, ahem, Tony Stark). The idea is to make this one count.
It's been really gratifying to see the way people have been embracing so many new characters alongside the old. I hear a lot on social media and at shows about people giving the Inhumans a chance even if they haven't read their stories before, and it's been very fun to see people getting so wrapped up in the storylines. I've been writing Inhuman stories for almost two and a half years at this point -- it's a very cool opportunity, which I wouldn't have if people weren't enjoying the things we're doing. So, thank you!
"Uncanny Inhumans" #10 is slated for release June 15 from Marvel Comics.