The Death of the Inhumans: How Marvel Killed Off the Cosmic Heroes

Marvel's Inhumans, which were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in 1965, have been one of the publishers more divisive families. Engineered by the Kree from human DNA, they were intended to be weapons, only to rebel and set themselves up as a species onto themselves on Attilan on the moon. Led by Black Bolt and the Royal Family, they were largely viewed as a relatively isolationist kingdom filled with superpowered individuals, albeit ones who desire peace.

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Black Bolt's people played major roles in cosmic events such as Annihilation, War of Kings and Realm of Kings, as well as Infinity and Inhumans vs. X-Men in a period where they received a major promotional push from the publisher. With Black Bolt battling the Hulk as well in the likes of World War Hulk, and sharing in the collective bad decisions of the Illuminati, Black Bolt and his Queen Medusa led the Inhumans through a period of upheaval that saw their numbers surge and eventually saw them move to a base called New Arctilan. However, the five-issue miniseries, Death of the Inhumans, everything drastically changed for these Kree experiments and their way of life.

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Writer Donny Cates and artist Ariel Olivetti focused on the Kree coming for the Inhumans following the fall of the former's empire in 2015's The Black Vortex, a crossover which included the X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy. Hala was rebuilding in the wake of the Supreme Intelligence and Ronan's defeat, and a new breed of aggressive generals wanted to restore glory to the empire and rule the galaxy, using a secret army of Super-Inhumans. Their main asset was Vox, a masked warrior who wore a similar costume to Black Bolt.

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Vox had the powers of several members of Black Bolt's family, including the king himself, and took this new Kree militia to exact revenge on what they saw as traitors. They wiped out all other Inhuman tribes just to send a message to Black Bolt, which was further compounded by the destruction of New Arctilan which resulted in thousands of lives perishing in cold blood. This was an unforgiving purge as the Kree made it clear other Inhumans on Earth -- or anywhere in the galaxy really -- would meet the same genocidal fate.


An enraged Black Bolt went on the offensive, only to get taken prisoner and have his throat cut on Hala. He escaped and found a dying Ronan, which left him no choice but to perform a mercy killing. A few members of his Inhuman Royal Family, Medusa, a wounded Karnak, Gorgon and Crystal recruited Beta Ray Bill after they thought Vox killed Lockjaw, one of Bill's best friends.

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They'd march on Hala, with Black Bolt using the last of his screaming abilities to murder his enemies. The shocking twist was that there was no one Vox; the Inhumans weren't disintegrated by his voice but were merely transported to science cells where these victims were then changed into a Vox themselves. Luckily, the Inhuman king destroyed the facility, freeing Crystal and Lockjaw, but there were major casualties as Triton died along with the others converted into Vox-doppelgängers.


In addition to Triton, one of the Vox warriors Karnak killed was Maximus the Mad, something they realized only after the fight ended. It was a dark day because Black Bolt had to eviscerate the others, meaning most of the Inhuman population was gone. The king, Medusa, Crystal, Karnak, Gorgon and Lockjaw departed in angst, heading somewhere safe for refuge. The book didn't specify where, but some light has now been shed thanks to the current Guardians of the Galaxy book.

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With Peter Quill and Co. stranded on a mysterious planet trying to stop the Dark Guardians from killing Gamora in the "Final Gauntlet," since they believe Thanos will be reborn using her form, Bill summons Lockjaw to act as a ride out. Ironically, the dog would stick around and help them out, acting as their transport as well later in the crossover where Gamora ended up killing the Mad Titan's true vessel in Starfox. Lockjaw returned to his people, with Bill calling their new home "a fine choice," but that's all we know about the current whereabouts. For the moment, Marvel wants to keep it a mystery and it looks like we'll have to wait a while before finding out what  a depowered Black Bolt and his Royal Family will do in a galaxy that's never content to just let them exist.

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