Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel’s Inhumanity #1 might as well be called, “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Inhumans But Were Afraid to Ask.” Serving as both an epilogue to the recent end of Marvel’s Infinity event as well as a prologue to the upcoming Inhumans series (also helmed by Fraction), this one-shot issue is a thorough if not often overly-wordy delineation of the Inhumans, their floating home world of Attilan, and the conflict between Thanos and Black Bolt, the King of the Inhumans, among other bullet points. It is absolutely a necessary read for anyone that knows next to nothing about the Inhumans and wants to be in the know when it comes time for Marvel’s next big thing. To recommend plucking down the $3.99 cover price to someone with an established rapport with these characters and this rich history, however, is not as much of a certainty.
For one thing, Inhumanity #1 is an extremely talkative issue and is definitely tailored more toward stragglers than those already onboard for the ride. Even as I read it, knowing just above nothing about the Inhumans, I could feel the narrative bow in toward the middle of the issue under the weight of the constant monologue from the issue’s main character, Karnak. Fraction breaks up what could have easily become incessant voiceover with interjections from the Avengers (most notably Hawkguy) as their interrogation of this surviving member of the Inhuman royal family reveals the correlation between Attilan’s fall and the crop of new Inhumans sprouting up all around the world. All of it, the history, the rise and fall of Attilan, the Thanos invasion, it’s all engaging and informative, especially for someone like me that hasn’t been reading along for decades.
But the problem is that the issue meanders to points that are interesting though not entirely necessary to see the big picture that Fraction is attempting to set up. There’s a detour made to Petras Petragon, Karnak’s best friend’s son, that while touching on the origin of terrigen gas, could have be summed up with, “it’s this gas that exposes all the Inhumans hiding on earth.” Likewise, the introduction of Medusa into this issue is not integral to the plot, as her dialogue is limited to confirming Karnak’s expounding monologue and occasionally defending her royal house. I’m sure Medusa’s involvement will serve better in next month’s Inhumanity: Medusa #1, another one-shot written by Fraction that’s advertised at the end of this issue along with a slew of tie-in issues that may or may not be necessary themselves.
Olivier Coipel provides stunning artwork for the majority of the issue, though there are detours to other artists in flashback sequences but on the whole it’s hardly a noticeable change. Coipel shows a lot more linework in his renderings than he did in something like the first arc of Brian Wood’s X-Men, but considering the rough and tumble Avengers we’re dealing with, it’s a fitting look for this title. Just as fitting are Laura Martin’s colors, which paint this post-Infinity Marvel universe with a much more darkened and muted brush. Now that Fraction and his artists have devised an Inhuman inhabited world, it’s time to take us forward and leave the past behind us. We’re all caught up now.
GNN Comics Grade: VERY GOOD (7.5/10)