Thanks to the Terrigen Mist, Black Bolt, the former king of the Marvel Universe's super powered Inhumans, has a voice that can crack mountains. To compensate, his actions have to literally speak louder than his words, and for years they did just that. Black Bolt was known for making a number of bold, decisive moves in the interest his people's survival including his recent act of surrendering his crown, which also involved blowing up the Inhumans' capital city and unleashing a cloud of Terrigen Mist that transformed scores of people across the world into new Inhumans complete with super powers.
In the pages of "Inhuman," writer Charles Soule chronicles how Black Bolt's wife and current Inhuman ruler Medusa is handling her crown and the newly created Inhumans. This April, the writer teams with his "Death of Wolverine" collaborator Steve McNiven for a new sister series, "Uncanny Inhumans," which details Black Bolt's role in the continuing saga of his super powered people and kicks off with a special #0 issue. CBR News spoke with Soule about which aspects of Black Bolt he's looking to explore in the new series, how it connects to "Inhuman," and what role the Avengers' time traveling arch-enemy Kang the Conqueror will play.
CBR News: Charles, "Uncanny Inhumans" is not a replacement book for "Inhuman," but rather a companion piece sort of like "New Avengers" is to "Avengers," correct? What made you want to pick up a second book featuring the Inhumans characters? How connected will your two Inhuman titles be?
Charles Soule: Very connected. The point of "Uncanny" is just to focus on a slightly different corner of the Inhuman world. What we've learned while doing "Inhuman" is that we have stories for miles. The cast is getting bigger, and in order to give each of them the room they deserve, it just seemed like it was time for a second title. Plus, of course, there's a major part of the Inhuman mythology that hasn't been focused on all that much in the current series -- the king, Black Bolt.
That's been by design -- we wanted to make sure that Queen Medusa could really shine as the book's lead, and including Black Bolt too much ran the risk of not letting her do everything her own way. Black Bolt and Medusa will have some very interesting things going on in the next few issues of "Inhuman," which will lead directly into "Uncanny." As you'll see!
As you mentioned, the lead character of "Uncanny Inhumans" is Black Bolt. Let's talk about his current role now that he's surrendered his crown. Based on his appearances in "Inhuman" and the hints you dropped in the first arc, Black Bolt has seemingly transitioned from being a king to a general preparing for war. Is that a fair description?
I wouldn't say it's unfair. Being a king is, in some ways, a state of mind -- and kings certainly prepare for war just as generals do. But I will say that part of the point of "Uncanny" is to show Black Bolt in a new way -- away from Attilan and the cast we're used to seeing with him. For one thing, Medusa is not really in "Uncanny" all that much, as currently planned. It's Black Bolt's book.
I like the idea of taking any character out of their comfort zone, because that's where the great stories come from. In "Uncanny," we see Black Bolt going after something very precious to him, with no backup. It's him, out on a limb, against a very, very powerful villain. I think it will make Black Bolt relatable in a way that his "stoic king" persona doesn't always allow him to be. (And I loooove the stoic king thing, for the record.)
I'm also curious if you'll be exploring Black Bolt's role as a father in "Uncanny Inhumans." His son Ahura has been missing in recent months. Do you have plans for Ahura in this book?
Yes, I do -- again, the idea is to make Black Bolt accessible, and I think most people can relate to the idea of fathers and sons. Also, Ahura's a teenager, which puts him at a very interesting time in his life if you know much about Inhuman tradition -- and also puts him in a place where he might be interested in seeing what else the world has to offer beyond just his family.
Will "Uncanny Inhumans" be primarily a solo title focusing on Black Bolt and his activities or will he have associates helping him? If the book will feature other characters, will they service in more of a supporting role or will this eventually be more of an Inhumans ensemble series?
As mentioned, "Uncanny" starts as a Black Bolt story -- but let's face it, the guy doesn't talk. While part of me relishes the challenge involved in making every issue a 'Nuff Said story, I think that would be a tightrope walk that might get a little tricky after a while. So, yes, other characters will gather around Black Bolt. I have plans for a number of supporting characters -- Inhumans from the old days, some of the sweet NuHumans (guys like Reader or Lineage, although it's not a given that they'll be in "Uncanny") and even at least one guy from another corner of the Marvel U. It's a nice mix.
I understand Kang the Conqueror will be playing a significant role in "Uncanny Inhumans," but given that he's one of the Avengers arch-foes I'm going to assume he and Black Bolt will be antagonists. Is that a incorrect assumption? What does Kang bring to "Uncanny Inhumans?"
It's complicated, as you'll see. I've always liked the idea that Inhumans occupy sort of an ambiguous spot in the Marvel U. They aren't straight up superheroes -- they have more going on. So it's possible that the way Kang fits into the story could be more complex than you might think. In part, I like the idea that Kang is a time traveler, and the Inhumans have been on Earth for about twenty thousand years. That means there's a lot of unexplored history there we can play with -- and maybe we will!
Black Bolt and the other characters in "Uncanny Inhuman" will be drawn by your "Death of Wolverine" collaborator Steve McNiven. How does it feel to be working with Steve again?
I think we had a great time on "Death of Wolverine" (I know I did, anyway, and I'm pretty sure he did too), and I think he just liked the story we're telling here. It's a chance to do some really interesting things that will fit right into what I think is Steve's wheelhouse. He's told me repeatedly that he likes stories with a strong emotional core, where characters aren't just spinning their wheels because the plot tells them too. "Uncanny" is that, no doubt about it. The art I've seen so far is incredible, and I think the whole book will look amazing.
Let's start to wrap up by talking a little more about your initial story plans for "Uncanny Inhumans." The series kicks off with a #0 issue. Where is Black Bolt and what's he up to when that issue begins? Is #0 more of a standalone or does it kick off the initial arc?
Black Bolt is in Brazil when the story opens. He's doing what he can to protect the newly emerging Inhuman nation from those who would prey on it, and it is a pretty killer scene, if I do say so myself. Right from the start, we'll see what he's capable of -- and he doesn't open his mouth even once.
The #0 is a kickoff to the initial arc, but it's also a fully self-contained story in and of itself, in the best tradition of zero issues. You can pick that up and get a full story -- but you'll also really, really want to keep reading. Basically, Black Bolt is set on a quest, and things happen. Unexpected things. Uncanny things.
Finally, the Inhuman community was isolationist at one time and Black Bolt is still very secretive, but he does have ties to the larger Marvel Universe especially through his Illuminati brethren. How connected will this series be to the mainstream Marvel Universe? What kind of role will the heroes, villains, aliens and entities of the larger Marvel U play in "Uncanny Inhumans?"
I think the Inhumans are more interconnected than they like to pretend, especially these days. I mean, New Attilan (the island where Queen Medusa is building a new home for the Inhuman race) is about a half a mile from Manhattan, right in the Hudson River! We've already seen her interacting with Steve Rogers, Thor and Spider-Man, and she was just involved in the "AXIS" event. The Inhumans are around, for sure, and I think we'll see more of that as time goes on.
But back to "Uncanny" -- Black Bolt will go up against one of the biggest villains in the Marvel U, a fellow who has tangled with the Avengers many times: Kang the Conqueror. When you see what we're setting up in the story, it will become apparent why Kang is a great foil for Black Bolt. In particular, they're both rulers, with all the native confidence (arrogance?) that goes along with that position. Plus, Kang is a time traveler, which means he can do things and go places that Black Bolt can't. The Inhumans have a very long history on this planet, and we'll get to see some of that. I can't wait.
Black Bolt is one of the coolest guys in the Marvel Universe, in my opinion, but there are so many situations we've never been able to see him in. He never (or essentially never) gets to interact with the regular world. Well, in this story, he's gonna, whether he likes it or not -- and it'll be something indeed.
"Uncanny Inhumans" begins this April with #0 from Marvel Comics.