Inhuman royalty has definitely seen better times. Black Bolt is in prison and Medusa abdicated the throne, leaving the position of power empty. Without Medusa and Black Bolt as their rulers, and, more precisely, without a real goal, Inhumanity is struggling. 

Recent comics, including INHUMANS: JUDGMENT DAY, have hinted at a better future for the Inhumans by giving back some of Medusa’s characteristic confidence, but there’s still a long way to go. While things may be a little rocky right now for Medusa and Black Bolt, their relationship — and friendship — is one of the oldest in Marvel comics and it isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. But, until they meet again in the physical world (and not in the astral plane), let’s go through some of the royal couple’s best moments.

The Wrath of Lash is Unleashed in BLACK BOLT #10!

Love and Politics in FANTASTIC FOUR #600

Medusa and Black Bolt
FANTASTIC FOUR #600 / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Medusa and Black Bolt are definitely not the most conventional couple in comics. At a glance, their romance seems slightly inauthentic since their royal parents arranged their marriage. But, I think their love is quite genuine — it’s just a lot different than the love modern readers are familiar with.

Unlike most people, Black Bolt and Medusa’s marriage is intertwined with their jobs as Inhuman royalty. They do love one another — and they’re willing to sacrifice a lot for their marriage — but their roles as king and queen are also really important. While they don’t always succeed, they’re usually pretty good at balancing the two sides of their relationship.

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In FANTASTIC FOUR #600, Medusa confronts Black Bolt about his recent marriage to four other women. Comics are strange but this arc, written by Jonathon Hickman and illustrated by the talented Ming Doyle, was one of the stranger ones. Black Bolt was more or less forced to marry the five queens of the Universal Inhumans in order to fulfill a prophecy. Obviously, Medusa isn’t too happy with this arrangement — even if it is political. In order to talk, they go to a telepathic astral plane where Black Bolt can speak freely. Black Bolt reminds Medusa that he can’t choose where the throne sends him and neither can she. But, he goes on to say that no matter what, she’ll always be the one to speak for him.

Fortunately, not too long after that issue, Black Bolt annuls his extra marriages. Still, the impact of their conversation is important. Medusa and Black Bolt work so well together because they come from the same royal world and understand (most of the time) the impact that world has on their relationship.

The Heart is Mute in I ♥ MARVEL: MARVEL AI

Medusa and Black Bolt
I ♥ MARVEL: MARVEL AI / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Relationships rely on communication. Usually, this means talking to the other person, but in most cases, that isn’t possible for Medusa and Black Bolt. Because Black Bolt is mute, his relationship with Medusa involves a connection that is deeper than words. As kids, they developed a secret unspoken language, but in recent comics, their ways of communicating have been varied. Sometimes, they have an otherworldly telepathic connection (as in FANTASTIC FOUR #600) but at other times, their nonverbal communication stems from being around each other for so long and knowing the other person extremely well.

In I ♥ MARVEL: MARVEL AI, Medusa shares some of her feelings on the topic of having a mute husband. She admits that her intense love for Black Bolt, paired with her need to hear his voice, is sometimes stifling. While this issue is a little depressing, it still manages to show just how devoted Medusa is to her husband. She very rarely gets to hear Black Bolt’s physical voice and yet she’s still fiercely in love with him. Their connection allows her to communicate with Black Bolt easily — she just wants to hear his voice. This complaint might sound distant for normal couples, but I actually think this moment is relatable. Every relationship has its hurdles. What makes a relationship solid is being able to overcome those hurdles and still love the other person, as Medusa does in this issue.

Marital Bliss in THE INHUMANS

Medusa and Black Bolt
THE INHUMANS / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

On top of having to face uncontrollable difficulties, Medusa and Black Bolt’s relationship mirrors normal relationships in a lot of other ways, too. In the 1988 Marvel graphic novel THE INHUMANS, Medusa becomes pregnant — even though she isn’t supposed to. She keeps the revelation hidden from Black Bolt for a little while until her excitement gives way. For a little while, they’re really happy. It’s a brief scene, but in it, Medusa reveals her pregnancy and Black Bolt — though silent as always — is clearly joyful. The panels could have been taken out of a romance novel.

For any other couple, this scene wouldn’t really be that important. It’s generic domestic bliss that a lot of readers probably just roll their eyes at. But for Medusa and Black Bolt, this scene means a lot more. As we saw in the past two Black Bolt and Medusa moments, the royal couple rarely gets the opportunity to just be happy and in love. Special events, like the announcement of Medusa’s pregnancy, definitely require Black Bolt and Medusa to separate themselves from their role as leaders for a little while.

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The reality of this moment is saddening, though, because it’s so short lived. Medusa and Black Bolt’s lives aren’t easy and their relationship reflects that. Medusa flees to Earth to give birth in safety and Black Bolt, as the king of Attilan, can’t come with her. As always, things work out for the royal couple, but the rarity of sweet moments like this one does prove just how difficult it is being Inhuman royalty. They may balance their two lives as lovers and royals well, but it’s nice to see them just being a passionate couple.

Nothing to Lose in INHUMANS: JUDGMENT DAY

Medusa and Black Bolt
INHUMANS: JUDGMENT DAY / Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment

Recent comics have tried to separate Medusa and Black Bolt in the hopes of showing each character as an individual instead of as part of a unit. Black Bolt’s solo series, BLACK BOLT, has fleshed out his character and made him more than just a scary guy who sits on a throne all day. Similarly, the series ROYALS made Medusa into a character who was more than just the Queen of the Inhumans. The loss of her Inhuman power showed a vulnerable side of Medusa’s character that’s never been seen before.

Although modern Inhumans comics have done interesting things with Medusa and Black Bolt as separate characters, the two haven’t had a lot of panel time together. When they are together, they’re usually just finding creative ways to yell at one another. But, thankfully the writer of INHUMANS: JUDGMENT DAY, Al Ewing, changes that pattern. In this pivotal issue, Medusa and Black Bolt meet for the first time after a long separation. Their marriage has crumbled, their royal ties to Attilan are gone, and they’ve pretty much hit rock bottom. While their meeting does take place in the non-physical astral plane, a lot still happens in their short conversation. Both Medusa and Black Bolt admit they’ve missed each other. Although things have changed, they still need one another.

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Medusa and Black Bolt’s Second Beginning

It’s not exactly an intensely romantic moment in INHUMANS: JUDGEMENT DAY, but I think it does a good job summing up their relationship’s history. They’ve lost everything they used to have: royalty, love, and passion. But, the one thing they haven’t lost is their dedication to one another. After everything they’ve been through together, they still really need each other. Maybe even more important is the fact that they still want a future together. Whether or not they become lovers again in the future is up to Marvel writers, but I think they will. The Marvel relaunch promises “A Fresh Start” beginning in May of 2018. Let’s just hope Medusa and Black Bolt’s romantic relationship gets the fresh start it deserves.

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