Who are the Inhumans?

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With the announcement of an Inhumans movie as part of Marvel Studio’s Phase 3 you might be thinking “who are the Inhumans?” While they have been around since the 60s, they have floated under the radar – gaining a cult following. If you can’t wait until 2018 to discover who the Inhumans are and what they are all about this article is for you. I’ll go into a bit about their backstory, where they live, the prominent characters and even some reading recommendations.

Inhumans introduction. Words by Stan Lee. Art by Jack Kirby.

A Brief History of the Inhumans

Created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 in 1965. They are a strain of humans that were genetically altered and experimented on by aliens millions of years ago. Due to their differences to regular humans they formed their own society in the hidden city of Attlian, until they were discovered by accident by the Fantastic Four. Ever since, they have taken place in the wider Marvel Universe helping The Avengers, Fantastic Four and X-Men fight villains and save the world.

In recent times Marvel has given the franchise a big push by giving the Inhumans a larger prominence in the wider Marvel Universe. Not only does this include the group having their own title, but also appearances on Avengers teams and slew of new characters.

Where do they Live?

As mentioned earlier, the Inhumans live in a city known as Attlian. Originally it was located on a remote island in the middle of the North Atlantic ocean, but has been relocated on multiple occasions including in the Andes and the Blue Area of the Moon. More recently, Attlian was destroyed and the remains are situated in New York City.

What is the Terrigen Mist?

It would not be a post about the Inhumans if i didn’t mention the Terrigen Mist. Essentially this is a mysterious mist that activates genetic powers and gifts when it comes into contact with them. Not all Inhumans come in contact with the Terrigen Mist, with only the most privileged allowed to come in contact with it.

Major Characters

Black bolt sketch by Matteo Scalera. Who are the Inhumans?

Black Bolt

Black Bolt is not only the leader of the Inhumans, but the king of the Inhuman Royal Family. Exposed to the Terrigen Mist while still in the womb, Black Bolt has the powerful and devastating ability to level everything around him with simply his voice. As a result, Black Bolt has taken a vow of silence only talking when his powers are necessary. He appears regularly in New Avengers and is a part of the Marvel Universe’s Illuminati.

FF #3 Medusa variant cover by Mike Allred. Who are the Inhumans?

Medusa

Married to Black Bolt, Medusa is the Queen of the Inhumans. She has the ability control her extremely long red hair to her bidding, using it an additional and useful appendage. Due to Black bolt’s inability to talk, otherwise destroying everything around him, Medusa acts as his interpreter. While she was originally an antagonist for the Fantastic Four, she eventually joined the team and filled in for Sue for a period of time.

Karnak by Leinil Francis Yu. Who are the Inhumans?

Karnak

Karnak is Black Bolt’s cousin and highly skilled in martial arts. His Inhuman ability to find the weak point in any person, plan or object make him a skilled tactician.

Crystal by Bruce Timm. Who are the Inhumans?

Crystal

Crystal is the younger sister of Medusa and has the ability to manipulate the elements of air, water, fire and earth. She was originally the girlfriend of the Human Torch, but went on to marry the mutant Quicksilver. In her time she has been a member of both the Fantastic Four and the Avengers.

Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 cover by Stjepan Sejic.

Maximus

Maximus is Black Bolt’s brother and has regularly acted as an antagonist for the Inhumans. Through his mind control abilities and genius intellect, he has continuously attempted to take the Inhuman throne from Black Bolt.

Lockjaw by Jamie McKelvie. Ms Marvel #8. Who are the Inhumans?

Lockjaw

Even though he resembles a giant bulldog, Lockjaw is a member of the Inhuman Royal Family. He is primarily used as a teleporter, transporting humans and Inhumans back and forth from Attilian.

Ms Marvel #1 preview page 2 by Adrian Alphona. Written by G. Willow Wilson. All-New Marvel NOW!

Ms. Marvel

While Ms. Marvel is not affiliated with any team or the Inhuman Royal family, she is a recently awoken Inhuman from the results of Terrigen Mist that covers the Earth (see Inhumanity/Inhumans below). She has ability of shape-shifting and elasticity.

Inhuman Reading Recommendations

Now that you know a bit about the Inhumans here are some great new reader friendly reading recommendations.

Fantastic Four #45 cover by Jack Kirby.

Fantastic Four #45-#47

Written by Stan Lee. Art by Jack Kirby.

Beginning as a simple boy meets girls scenario, this story becomes much more when the Fantastic Four come into conflict with the Inhumans. The conflict gets interesting with the arrival of The Seeker, a Inhuman who wants to take the group back to their homeland, causing the Inhumans flee. The Fantastic four get thrown into the middle of a political power struggle as Black Bolt attempts to regain the Inhuman Royal throne from his corrupt brother.

While Medusa and Gorgon had appeared earlier, this story introduces the concept of the Inhumans to readers and begins an ongoing saga between them and the Fantastic Four.

This story can be read in Marvel Masterworks volume 5, in black and white as part of Essential Fantastic Four volume 3.

Inhumans tpb cover by Jae Lee. Who are the Inhumans?

Marvel Knights: Inhumans

Written by Paul Jenkins. Art Jae Lee.

In Attlian’s greatest conflict with the outside world it is discovered that the greatest threat is actually from within. Marvel Knights: Inhumans is 12 issue series full of political intrigue and rich character development which brings their world to the forefront to create a place full of life and rich in culture. Through a political struggle which fans of Game of Throne would love, Jenkins explores the theme of genetic segregation without the use of any physical conflict.

If you only read one story about the Inhumans make it this one. Marvel Knight: Inhumans is available in trade paperback and digitally.

Inhumanity #1 cover by Olivier Coipel. Who are the Inhumans?

Inhumanity/Inhumans

Written by Matt Fraction and Charles Soule. Art by various.

As a result of events of events in Infinity, a thick cloud of Terrigen Mist has covered sections of the Earth and has gifted those with the Inhuman lineage with powers. Although, not everyone who has received these gifts has used them for good. While this series is relitively young, it has hinted that it will bring the Inhumans into the front and centre of the Marvel Universe and offer big changes.

You can either start with the Humanity hardcover or jump right into the Inhumans ongoing series.

Have Your Say

Have you found this helpful? Does this make you want to read some of the recommended Inhuman stories or are you going to wait until 2018 for the movie? Share your thoughts in the comments below or via Facebook or Twitter.

Trevor Van As is the founder of How to Love Comics and has loved comics all his life. When he’s not reading or talking about comics he can be found eating frozen yogurt and dancing like no one is watching.

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2 Comments on "Who are the Inhumans?"

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mitsu
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After just finishing the most recent “Ms. Marvel”, I stumbled upon this site for info about The Inhumans. Thanks for this informative article! Looking forward to the new movie Marvel will be releasing about these characters!

As a female comic book fan it’s been hard to find fellow women who enjoy comics, but it’s nice to see communities like this to inform people new/old to comics.

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