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The Inhumans

Comic Book History

By Alexandrea CallaghanPublished 2 months ago 5 min read

We are back and talking more comic book history with the Inhumans. Now the Inhumans have gotten a few mentions in the MCU. But as a team, casual fans do not really know or understand who they are so here we go with the history of the Inhumans.

The comics center around the Inhuman Royal Family, this title is shortened to the Inhumans. They first appeared in the Fantastic Four #45 in 1965. Individual members of the family had made earlier appearances but Fantastic Four was the first time that they appeared as a team.

If you are an MCU fan you might remember Black Bolt from the Multiverse of Madness, well he was the leader of the original Inhumans team. What makes the Inhumans different as a team is though they are superpowered obviously it's not strictly supernatural. Like they aren’t magic based heroes, they have a singular enhanced human ability aka Inhuman. The Inhumans served as a back-up feature in Thor #146 in 1967 to issue #152 in 1968.

Their first on-going story was 6 issues long and it was written and penciled by Jack Kirby. Their own self-titled series started in 1975 and ran for 12 issues. The follow up to the ending of their series appeared in Captain Marvel #53 in 1977. After that the Inhumans were pretty absent from the pages of Marvel for most of the 80s until they got their own graphic novel in 1988. This graphic novel was written by Ann Nocenti who loved the team so much that she followed up by putting members Karnak and Gorgon in Daredevil from issue #272-#283.

We then have another 10 years or so of dead time before the team really appears again. And when they do, it's in a limited series written by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee that ran for 12 issues from ‘98-’99. Now if you want to start reading Inhumans stories this is the place to start. This story uses the Inhumans as an allegory for the US and there is a reason that it won an Eisner award. This is definitely one of the best uses of the team. Not only did this limited series win a prestigious award but it also changed the team's course. Until now the teams appearances had been sporadic at best and there were giant gaps in appearances but after ‘99 the team started having real consistent appearances. Getting another limited series of 4 issues in 2000 and a 12 issue volume in 2004. They’ve had many more limited series every couple of years, the last being in 2018 and we haven't really seen much of them since.

So do you remember when we talked about the Eternals and the Celestials? Okay so you remember how I said at the beginning of time the Kree started experimenting on the early human race? Well guess what those experiments became the Inhumans. Tuk the Caveboy was the first Inhuman. The Inhumans then went on to create a society of their own. They thrived in seclusion, and developed their own, advanced technology. This advanced technology led to experiments with Terrigen mist giving them various powers but it had a major drawback. These experiments led to genetic damage and deformities all of this basically led to Inhuman eugenics. Where they selectively breed in order to mitigate these side effects. This genetic screening worked but occasionally there were instances where an Inhuman exposed to the Terrigen Mists would devolve the Inhuman they would be evolutionarily primitive. These Inhumans became outcasts and eventually a slave race for the more “evolved” Inhumans.

This caste system is integral to the Inhumans storylines, the primitive subclass has tried to overthrow the other Inhumans but to no avail. It's a very conformist society where the only individual distinction is your power, your genetic mutation. So for every single one of these characters their power is who they are, it's their identity. And once you are assigned a spot in this caste system there is no escaping your place.

Black Bolt was king of the Inhumans but this title started to mean more or less depending on the storyline. For example when Medusa and Black Bolt had a child against the orders of the Genetic Council their child was taken from them and they decided to leave for earth. This was of course temporary and the council ended up using their child to entice Black Bolt into returning, he did but relinquished his crown. From then on the main Inhumans team really only returned home in times of need.

The next radical change that really affected the Inhumans society was when Ronan the Accuser came to their home and essentially threatened to destroy their home if our main team of Inhumans, led by Black Bolt, didn't agree to aid him in disrupting the Shi’ar’s control. This storyline reveals in fiction that the Inhumans were always meant to serve the Kree. This conflict came to a head when Black Bolt challenged Ronan to a one on one battle for the freedom of his people. The battle was brutal and Black Bolt won, forcing Ronan to leave. However spending so long as slaves and having repeated conflict with the outside world had caused a lot of turmoil among the Inhumans and as such they didn’t feel like Black Bolt and the royal family were fit to lead anymore. As such the royal family was exiled.

Another major storyline for the Inhumans is the Son of M storyline. Quicksilver stole Terrigen crystals in an attempt to cure all the depowered mutants from M-Day. The left led to an obvious conflict that culminated in Black Bolt declaring war on the U.S.

Inhumanity and the Inhumans vs the X-Men are probably the storylines that give the team the most depth and exploration. Death of the Inhumans is the most heavy. The Inhumans have always been a team where writers have explored the darker side of comics and social commentary but Death of the Inhumans is a not for beginners storyline. I would say that once you have a basic idea of who the characters are then go for it. But you’ll be missing a lot of the emotional weight and connection if you aren’t attached to the team or the individual characters.

The slave race we mentioned was deemed Alpha Primitives, then we had Bird people who were an offshoot of the Inhumans just with bird wings, and then we have the super Inhumans which were a sub race designed specifically by the Kree.

Now I haven't seen Agents of Shield but I’m willing to bet the adaptation of the team was light at best but I will get back to you with specifics.

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About the Creator

Alexandrea Callaghan

Certified nerd, super geek and very proud fangirl.

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Nice work

Very well written. Keep up the good work!

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  • Flamance @ lit.about a month ago

    Nice work it excellent

  • Ameer Bibi2 months ago

    Amazing 🤩🤩 welldone keep it up

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