by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven
In case you didn’t know, I have a fondness for the Inhumans. Aside from the name, I think they’re a great cast of characters that haven’t had alot to do except for recent developments. You also may not know I have a soft spot for father/son stories, and so it was sort of inevitable I would pick this as TWF.
I mentioned that I’m fond of the Inhumans, but that only goes as far as them actually having the story be about them. Not unlike Namor the Sub-mariner (“The First Mutant!”, “Atlantis is gone”, “He flooded Wakanda!”, “Atlantis is gone again?!”), it seems hard to get stories about the main group of the Inhuman royal family without some odd extra element.
I know from Infinity that Black Bolt blew up Attilan after Thanos’ attack and released Terrigen mists throughout the world to save his species. The why is something I haven’t figured out yet, but that’s not important. What is important is that this book is about the next step for Black Bolt with new Inhumans around the world.
The story begins with him stopping some opportunistic thugs from abducting Inhumans during their cocoon transformation, and grabbing a sample of Terrigen mist. He then goes to see his wife Medusa, informing her of his mission to find their missing son. After getting some help from Eldrac, Black Bolt appears in front of a sprawling castle with Medieval archers and huge battle turrets. Black Bolt dispatches them quickly and meets the master of the castle, Kang the Conqueror. Kang has been watching over Black Bolt’s son all along, while his son has grown to resent his father. Black Bolt tries to salvage their relationship with a surprise mind-meld and impromptu Terrigenisis. He then asks Kang to take his son away from the danger that threatens the current timeline, which Kang agrees to with the caveat that he will now be the boy’s father.
Charles Soule’s script reminds me of two other father/son stories: Hook and Stephen King’s Storm of the Century. Hook in how the villain turns the son against his father, and the latter because of the sacrifice a father makes not just of himself but the life of his child. Black Bolt has always been somewhat of a tragic character, in how he could never explain the reasons for his actions or share his feelings of love for his wife Medusa. With him facing the consequences of his work with the Illuminati, and his fall from grace in the eyes of his wife and subjects, losing his son again adds an interesting wrinkle to his story. With these seeds planted, there is plenty for Soule to use over the course of the series.
Steve McNiven, one of my favorite Marvel artists, turns in a impressive array of pages. His action is dynamic, his facial expressions are arresting, and the way he depicts the Inhumans themselves feels fresh. He nails the body language of a super being that can’t speak without destroying his surroundings, or an angry wife with living hair. I love the way he depicts Black Bolt’s strength and resolve.
I’m pleased to see such top notch creators on an Inhumans book, and surpass my expectations right out of the gate. Soule has managed to craft a Shakespeare-like drama just from Medusa and Blackagar Boltagan, and I can’t wait to see what he does with the rest of the Royal family. Hopefully McNiven will illustrate more of these stories for as long as possible.