With Infinity over, it’s time for Inhumanity to begin, and whilst the momentum for this little mini-event has faltered with the announcement that the ongoing ‘Inhuman’ series has been delayed until February (insert your own hacky joke about Joe Mad getting a PS4 here), this one-shot is still very cool, as Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel not only set the stage for what’s to come for the Inhumans, but also provide a helpful explanation of their relevant history, which I certainly found useful.
The issue begins with the explosion of Attilan from Infinity, and the Terrigenisis that followed it across the world, and from then on, the focus is on Karnak, the Inhuman who can see the flaw in anything and kung-fu chop it right there to destroy it. He is found in the wreckage of Attilan by the Avengers, muttering ‘extinct’ under his breath and arrange the skulls of Dire Wolves (an allusion to Game Of Thrones I’m guessing, and one that makes sense given this story) into the shape of Black Bolt’s tuning fork thing. Bruce Banner tries to talk to him, but Karnak flips out, taking down both Black Widow and Iron Man before Hawkeye nails him with an electric arrow. It was cool to see Fraction writing Hawkeye in more of a superhero setting like this comic, and how that book’s tone and take on Clint Barton carried across. But that’s a digression, this comic isn’t about Hawkeye, it’s about the Inhumans!
The Avengers lock Karnak up in their most secure cell and Hawkeye asks him what the heck has been going on. Karnak explains, and he goes waay back to the beginning, explaining the origins of the inhumans, how they were the result of Kree experiments on Cavemen and how Randac founded Attilan and invented Terrigenesis, which is explained in a very tragic and creepy scene where, during the attack from Thanos, Gorgon rushes his son into it, and he is transformed into a freak with a massive bull-head. This scene was very effective, and shows how Terrigenesis is not necessarily going to turn out well for everyone.
After this, we see what happened to some of the Inhumans when they went through that teleport door in Infinity that sent them ‘where they needed to go’. Where the likes of Medusa and Crystal needed to go was a skyscraper with a view of Attilan, just in time for Black Bolt to blow it up. Medusa then shows up in Avengers tower to talk to Karnak, and ask him if Black Bolt is alive, Karnak doesn’t know, but here, he realizes that Black Bolt must have been behind the explosion, that it can’t have been Maximus, because Maximus wanted to sit on the throne, not destroy it, and that Black Bolt knew about the various Inhumans scattered across the world and planned this to make it harder for Thanos to find his son. We already know all of this is true, so it was a little repetitive to see Karnak figure it all out, but it was great to get an explanation all in one place, and for Fraction to tie a lot of stuff together.
Karnak then starts drawing Black Bolt’s tuning fork onto the window (which is supposed to be unbreakable) and again, is muttering to himself, and, here, Fraction sets up a lot of plots that I imagine will be important in Inhumanity as a whole, the fact that Black Bolt and Maximus are presumed dead, the location of Black Bolt’s son, Ahura, Thane, the new Inhumans and more. Then, strangely, Karnak believes he has seen the flaw in everything, and that it is him. He smashes the window and tells Medusa that she has to unlearn everything she thought she knew, and leaps out of the window to his death. Yep, Karnak commits suicide. Karnak’s words in this issue were very intriguing, but it did feel very much like Fraction trying to write like Hickman, which I suppose makes sense, this is all spinning out of Hickman’s crossover, but it was a bit frustrating. Why is Karnak the fault in all things? Why did he need to kill himself? It’s frustrating that we’ll have to wait so long to find out, but that frustration is a good thing, in that I am interested in the Inhumans for the first time in a long while. Marvel are trying to make these characters a big deal in the Marvel Universe, and with this one-shot, I think they have succeeded.
This was a very enjoyable read that, as I said, filled in the gaps in my Inhumans lore, and set stuff up very nicely for the future. Olivier Coipel’s artwork was wonderful as ever, and the use of flashback artists was good too, Leinil Yu handled the ancient flashbacks, and Dustin Weaver drew the scenes that took place during Infinity, which of course worked, seeing as he drew Infinity. I was wary about Inhumanity at first, especially because it meant Fraction left the Fantastic Four to write what is essentially a spin-off, but now, I’m on board. This may all just be because the Marvel Movies can’t use Mutants, but even so, it’s making for some good comics, and real change in the Marvel Universe, which is all we can really ask for.