INHUMANS #1-12 (1998-1999)

I’m blockposting these 12 issues because they’re one long story, not because I wanted to rush through reading them. This is a GREAT series.

It’s just hard to write about issue-by-issue because so much of it is character and politics–not “so and so fought such and such.”

Black Bolt is the focus of the first story–and as we know, he doesn’t speak. In fact, we learn in this series that Black Bolt killed his own parents when, as a child, he tattletaled on his evil brother Maximus, who was inciting war with the Kree.

Look at Maximus in that last panel. In this series, rather than simply be a Loki clone, he’s a deranged, almost deformed creature of evil.

When the story starts, a group of human soldiers united from several countries are attacking Attilan. Black Bolt does not retaliate, and it’s unclear whether his decision is based on a purely rational leadership decision or the impact that the death of his parents had on him as a kid. And writer Paul Jenkins is smart and talented enough to let us, the readers, guess.

Maximus, of course, tries to distort Black Bolt’s image and sow the seeds of revolt.

Other members of the Royal Family get the spotlight in subsequent issues.

In the end, we are shown Black Bolt’s rationale for not going to war, and how the complexity of the decision weighs on him. I won’t give away the whole thing, but the ending is tragic and surprisingly quiet. The whole comic threatens and forebodes a war that never comes.

This book was issued under the Marvel Knights imprint–which produced some of the best Marvel comics of this time period.

A bunch of new Inhumans are introduced. Many are not worth mentioning, but a few are. First, the teenager Tonaja, who worries what the Terrigen mists will do to her the way most girls worry about acne–and it turns her green with wings.

She is part of a group of Inhuman kids who are selected to go to a human High School. Along with her are Nahrees and a few others who never appear outside of this maxi-series.

The creepy Carthus also debuts. He is the keeper of the Terrigen Mists. When Dewoz is exposed to the mists, he becomes freakishly ugly (according to Carthus), and is given to the underclass of Alpha Primitives.

And finally, a non-Inhuman makes her first appearance in issue #5:

The evil Maximus makes a weapons deal with the Russians, and Yelena Belova–then calling herself Black Widow, later becoming White Widow–handles the transfer.

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