In the recently completed "Inhuman" series, writer Charles Soule and his collaborators set out to build a new home for Marvel Comics' Inhumans' Royal Family and their subjects as their ranks swelled thanks to a cloud of transformative mist that turned people with Inhuman ancestors and DNA into super powered "Nuhumans." That home, "New Attilan," was established on an island in New York's Hudson River, but building it and keeping it has proved to be a hard fought battle that pitted the Royal Family and several Nuhumans against a number of Inhuman factions both new and ancient bent on destroying or claiming it for themselves.
With their home established and the Terrigen Mist cloud traveling the globe, it's time for the Royal Family and their subjects to journey out into the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. That journey begins this October in Soule and artist Steve McNiven's new "Uncanny Inhumans" ongoing series which finds the titular characters dealing with new challenges, welcoming non-Inhuman cast members from established super teams, and dealing with some of the Marvel Universe's mightiest menaces.
CBR News spoke with Soule about his new cast, how they factor into the complex dynamic of the Inhuman Royal Family, the many Inhuman characters he'll spotlight as the series progresses and which major Avengers foe his cast will tangle with in the series' first arc.
CBR News: Earlier this year you gave us a hint of your "Inhumans" plans with "Uncanny Inhumans" #0 and your Free Comic Book Day tale. Now it looks like this fall you're kicking off the next "season" of your ongoing Inhumans epic, with "Uncanny Inhumans" #1. Is a new season an accurate description? How new reader friendly is "Uncanny Inhumans" and what does it have to offer readers who were following developments of the previous series?
Charles Soule: I would definitely call "Uncanny Inhumans" a continuation of some of the threads I laid down in "Inhuman," but it's also designed to be a great introduction for people who haven't read any of the Inhuman stories so far -- whether mine or anyone else's. Every new #1 is a chance to bring in new readers, and treating it any other way would be dumb.
On the other hand, if you have been reading the stories I've already done, especially that "Uncanny Inhumans" #0 issue Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, Justin Ponsor and I did in April, then this series will seem even cooler.
With this new series you're bringing in some new non-Inhuman cast members, like Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, who in your Free Comic Book Day story was revealed to be in a romantic relationship with Queen Medusa. This begs the question, how do Medusa's estranged husband Black Bolt and Johnny's former Inhuman flame Crystal feel about their relationship? Is that something you'll be addressing? re you interested in exploring love triangles or perhaps even rectangles in "Uncanny Inhumans?"
Let me start by saying that I wouldn't have pulled the trigger on Johnny and Medusa without considering how Crystal might react, and that's a story I'm looking forward to telling very much. At some point. Black Bolt's reaction is a big part of things too, and we hit that pretty early. I've seen that scene drawn, and it's a beauty.
I think some of the best superhero stories are sort of soap-opera-y, which isn't a knock on superheroes or soaps in any way. I think we want epic grandeur, melodrama, high emotional stakes -- and the Inhumans always deliver on that front. Among many other characters, we have a royal family in the mix, and we do love our stories about kings and queens and princes and princesses. Lots of potential for drama, and I'm exploring as much of that as I can in the space I have.
The other new non-Inhuman cast member you're introducing to the book is Beast. What made you want to bring him into the book? What kind of role will he have in the series?
I've always liked Beast, especially the way he's been made a bit more complex recently in the X-Men stories Brian Michael Bendis has been telling. Hank McCoy is a complicated dude, and he brings a point of view that will really benefit the series as a whole. His role is something like "wise scientist," but he has an agenda, too -- as Beast often does.
Your new characters will be coming into the Inhumans at a time of family turmoil when Black Bolt and Medusa are trying to find their missing son Ahura who, as we saw in "Uncanny Inhumans" #0, Black Bolt put in Kang the Conqueror's custody to try and protect him from the universal collapse that led to "Secret Wars." So how has Ahura's disappearance affected the dynamic between Black Bolt and Medusa when "Uncanny Inhumans" begins? Is Medusa aware of what her estranged husband did and why?
To be revealed! But to speak to some of the things I said in the previous answer, I'm trying to wring maximum drama out of the series, and it sounds like Medusa finding out that her estranged husband gave their only son to a time-traveling despot for "safe-keeping" might be one hell of a scene.
You are correct, though, that Black Bolt's deal with Kang is the central focus of the first arc. The whole story's done, and I'm really happy with the way it's coming together. The emotional core here is quite strong, and that's when you know you (hopefully) have something that works.
Beyond your new characters and Black Bolt and Medusa, you're juggling a large cast that includes both the other members of the Inhuman Royal Family and several Nuhumans. Who can readers expect to see in the spotlight in the early issues of "Uncanny Inhumans?" The "All-New, All-Different Marvel" Teasers suggest both Karnak and Inferno may play significant roles in the series.
Well, I like Reader a lot, and so I'll shoehorn him in wherever I can. Iso has a big role in the first arc, too. We see other characters as well -- Inferno, Flint, and another character I have big plans for, who was introduced in the Free Comic Book Day story. His name is Grid, and he was born in Mumbai, India. He came out of Terrigenesis with the ability to see and manipulate electromagnetic fields, which is a pretty impressive power -- if he can figure out how to use it.
It's a really big cast, though, and so I think each arc will shift the focus a bit from character to character, just so everyone gets their screen time. Frank McGee, the ex-NYPD cop turned Inhuman Head of Security, will certainly get his moments to shine.
What sort of threats are you interested in pitting the Inhumans against in this new series? It seems like many of the antagonists they faced in the previous "Inhuman" series were sort of insular and involved other Inhumans while "Uncanny Inhumans" will have your cast coming up against larger Marvel Universe threats like Kang and Hydra. Is that a fair characterization? What's it like bouncing the Inhumans off the villains of the larger Marvel Universe?
You're completely right. The idea is to bring Inhumanity out into the Marvel Universe in a larger way. The first arc involves Kang, and as things continue we'll see plenty of other new threats emerge. Some will be from the Inhuman camp, but plenty will be from "outside," and some will be completely new. That's part of the fun of the title -- anything goes. Part of the enjoyment comes from new combinations that haven't happened before, and I'll do as much of that as I can.
You've worked with Steve McNiven on shorter tales like "Death of Wolverine" and "Uncanny Inhumans" #0, but what's it like launching a new ongoing with him? Issue #0 suggested he's perfect for this series in that it was both wildly imaginative and featured acting and character expressions that made the story deeply poignant and personal.
You are correct! He is perfect for this series, and every other series. I've been lucky enough to hang out with Steve a bunch at conventions and so on, and we've talked story a lot. He likes big, emotional moments. If it's just a bunch of fighting, he's not as interested (and neither am I, really). So, knowing what he's capable of, I try to give him stories that really work to his strengths -- which tend to be stories that I really dig myself. Maybe we just bring out the best in each other's work. I'd love to do as many books with him as I can.
Finally, "Uncanny Inhumans" features at least one mutant character, but are you interested in exploring mutant and Inhuman relations on a larger level? It seems like the emergence of the Nuhumans would have some interesting impact on the way mutants and Inhumans view each other and the way the citizens of the Marvel Universe at large view both.
Absolutely. Mutants, Inhumans and how they feel about each other will be a big part of the "Uncanny Inhumans" story going forward. I wouldn't even say they're pals, to be honest. On the other hand, Beast is hanging out in New Attilan now -- so how bad could things be? Answer: plenty bad, but you'll have to wait to find out the whys and wherefores.
"Uncanny" is the flagship title for the Inhumans corner of the MU, and we're treating it that way. Big stories with real stakes that will come to involve the entire Marvel Universe. It's pretty great, and I hope everyone enjoys it.
"Uncanny Inhumans" #1 is scheduled for release in October.