A good political drama really helps clear up the senses. It helps you escape from the real problems our nation faces. Fortunately, Marvel seems to have grasped this idea and attempts to re-imagine the origin of the Inhumans with INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1. Borrowing from the loftiness of stories like KING ARTHUR, INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1 by Christopher PriestRyan NorthPhil Noto, and Gustavo Duarte tells the Boltagon’s legacy. For how did Medusa come to rule the Inhumans? What made Maximus turn mad? All this and more shall be revealed in this new series.

Some Are Destined to Serve, Others to Rule

INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1 begins with Black Bolt and Maximus looking on at the budding kingdom of Attilan. They are led by their father, and he goes on to tell the young boys that those who labor in the city deserve their positions, for their lot in life shall always be inferior to the royal class’. While those who serve under the king are obviously enslaved, as Maximus points out, the king just waves such logic away since it does not suit his interests. Suddenly, a large group of alpha primitives (a supposed “subclass of human”) attack. They manage to tackle the king to the ground and nearly kill him but for the actions of Black Bolt. Yet while all may seem peaceful now; the king faces humiliation from his sons saving him. That cannot stand, even if he has to destroy his own sons to ensure his legacy.

INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

The relationship between Black Bolt and Maximus is one of love and friendship. While that might not be the case later, the writers do a fantastic job setting up their relationship in the present. I like how Maximus’ mental abilities allow him to speak for Black Bolt. Without Maximus, Black Bolt would have no way of interacting with the rest of the forces due to his damaging vocal power. They compliment each other well, truly appearing as brothers and allies. While readers know what happens down the line, it still gives the series the dramatic weight needed to make the tragedy of Maximus’ madness a good one.

Language and Imagery are Everything

What I find most striking about INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1 is how the characters speak. It’s almost like reading something out of a high fantasy novel. Each of the characters has such a lofty way of conversing. This might prove difficult for some younger readers, yet I found it helped set the tone of the comic quite well. The entire issue feels “larger than life.” Like the title it’s drawing from, this comic attempts to create a mythology, which I imagine is quite difficult. Yet this book does a good job setting up the family dynamic and inherent conflict: the younger generation of Inhumans wanting to upset the status quo while the established king wishes to remain in power.

READ: Ready for more INHUMANS? Get excited for the new ABC series coming out in the fall!

The Image of Gods

For such lofty ambitions as recreating the origins of these established characters, the art must rise above the normal “look” of comics. Personally, I think Phil Noto and Gustavo Duarte do a fantastic job penciling this issue. They choose to do away with thicker lines and instead give the characters a more faded appearance. I feel this helps give a sort of memory feel to it, as though an unknown character is recalling the events of the story. Consequentially, it doesn’t appear as structured as most other comics do. This style of imagery exists elsewhere, like in the movie ONLY YESTERDAY. It’s subtle, but I feel like it adds quite a bit to the narrative as a whole.

READ: Not everything with the INHUMANS has gone over well. Check out the problems with INHUMANS VS. X-MEN!

INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1
Image courtesy of Marvel Comics

All in all, INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1 sets up a promising story. It leans on a high-fantasy tone that suits the myth-making story it’s attempting to tell without overwhelming the reader too much. All of the characters are where they need to be by the end of the issue, with the promise of intrigue and danger to come. It’s safe to say Priest and North clearly have a lot planned for this series.

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INHUMANS ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #1 BY CHRIS PRIEST, RYAN NORTH, PHIL NOTO, AND GUSTAVO DUARTE
Art
Plot
Characterization
Summary
The comic evokes a mythical feel to it while remaining true to the Inhumans name. The often overlooked team might now get the attention it rightly deserves.
87 %
Deserves a Spot at the Roundtable

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