This fall, The Inhumans will come to ABC as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show will focus on a group of Inhumans, the race of genetically-altered humans that were introduced into the MCU on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. The protagonist of the show, Black Bolt, will be played by Hell on Wheels star Anson Mount. Black Bolt is known in the Marvel Universe as the king of the Inhumans. He is respected not only for his royal blood but also for the power projected from his super-charged vocal chords. Black Bolt’s voice is so powerful that he can knock down the Hulk with a mere whisper.
Like all Inhumans, Black Bolt received his powers from the Terrigen Mist, but what sets him apart from the others is that he was exposed to the Mist while still in the womb, meaning that his powers were developing since before his birth.
Due to the destruction that Black Bolt’s voice is known to cause, it’s too dangerous for him to ever speak. This fact earned him the title of the Silent King. Though Black Bolt’s voice is one of the most feared forces in the Marvel Universe, this isn’t the Silent King’s only ability. The things he can accomplish both with and without his voice make him a force to be reckoned with. Let’s have a look at 15 Superpowers You Didn’t Know Black Bolt Has.
15. Black Bolt’s main power is to control electrons
Black Bolt is the son of Rynda and Agon, the chief geneticist of the Inhumans. Agon used his scientific expertise to alter Black Bolt’s genetic pattern, giving him a wide variety of superhuman abilities. Most important among these is his ability to affect the electrons in the air around him. He can use them to levitate himself and other objects. The fork-shaped antenna on his head was designed to help Black Bolt channel and direct those electrons. Electron manipulation is how Black Bolt manages to fly. This ability is largely responsible for most of Black Bolt’s powers, including his best known attribute: his voice. The speech center of his brain is directly linked to his electron-harnessing ability, which is the reason why his voice is able to emit enough to energy to level mountains. Black Bolt’s control over this power is so great that he could absorb enough electrons from the atmosphere itself to power Attilan for ten millennia.
14. Black Bolt has his own version of “Spider-Sense”
When Agon finished his experiments on the infant Black Bolt, he began a series of tests to see exactly what he was capable of. As soon as Agon unholstered his stun blaster, Black Bolt reacted without hesitation. He harnessed the electrons in the air and blasted the gun, destroying it instantly. As a newborn, Black Bolt had no way of knowing what a gun was or what its purpose was, yet somehow he was able to identify it as a threat and eliminate it.
Agon gave Black Bolt this ability intentionally. He wanted his son to have a lightning-fast protective instinct. Is there anyone better suited for such a power than a king? Agon knew that this ability to detect danger would become a valuable tool throughout Black Bolt’s reign. It helps him to avoid making decisions that would harm himself or his people, and it tips him off when treachery is afoot.
Black Bolt has no shortage of options when it comes to utilizing his electron manipulation power. One option involves channeling his energy into a single blast of energy called a force-blast. Black Bolt can project these force-blasts from his hands and from his tuning fork. The damage these force-blasts are capable of all depend on how much energy is focused into them. Black Bolt can use them to stun or injure an enemy, to break through walls of steel, or he can use them to accomplish something even more impressive, like vaporizing a truck.
If necessary, Black Bolt can use his force-blasts to drain the energy of his opponents. This ability was once used on the superhero Nova. Though it seemed Black Bolt was blasting him with energy, he was actually doing much more than that. He was sucking him dry of energy to the point where Nova collapsed, too weak to fight back.
12. Superhuman strength that can challenge the Hulk
One of the benefits of the Kree blood that runs through the Inhumans’ veins is that each of them possesses a degree of strength that far exceeds the strength of any normal human. Black Bolt’s strength, however, outclasses all Inhumans. By using the antennae on his head, Black Bolt can channel the electrons into his body, boosting his strength to an insane level. Black Bolt packs a mean punch, which is a fact many characters can testify to, including Namor the Sub-Mariner, the Thing, and the Hulk. Black Bolt has sent them all flying with the force of his blows.
Though Thor and Hercules would surely disagree, in terms of strength Black Bolt was once described as being a “close second” to the Hulk, who has a long-standing reputation as “the strongest one there is.” According to Spider-Man, Black Bolt’s maximum strength is closer to the level of Namor or Thing. Either way, Black Bolt is Marvel’s first major powerhouse to make it to the small screen.
11. Master Blow
When Black Bolt first appeared in Fantastic Four #45, neither the heroes nor the readers knew anything about the Silent King or what he was capable of. One of the first characters to test him in combat was the Thing. Though the Thing was impressed with Black Bolt’s strength, he wasn’t outmatched by any means. When Black Bolt’s punches failed to bring the Thing down, he had to resort to more drastic measures. Channeling all of his energy, Black Bolt hit the Thing with his Master Blow. The punch staggered the Thing, leaving him barely able to stand. The Thing felt as if he had been beaten up by the Hulk. Another punch would have finished him for sure, but the Master Blow weakened Black Bolt too much to continue fighting.
As if supercharged vocal chords and superhuman strength weren’t enough, Black Bolt has also been showed to have limited telepathic abilities. Since he can’t speak, it often becomes necessary for him to enter into a “mind-meld” with Medusa. When this happens, Black Bolt and Medusa can communicate with each other directly, but only telepathically.
Black Bolt has other uses for his telepathic powers. When his brother, Maximus the Mad, was ranting and raving in his cell, Black Bolt sent a beam of energy through his tuning fork to touch Maximus’ mind. It worked in a rather hypotonic way, as it caused Maximus to stop yelling. Calmed by Black Bolt’s mental blast, Maximus was affected by the thought placed inside his mind. He walked away, returned to his bed, and went to sleep.
9. His voice can drive someone insane
Since Black Bolt became king, no one has opposed his rule more than his own brother, Maximus. Known as “Maximus the Mad,” he is a longtime enemy of the Inhumans, the Fantastic Four, and the Avengers. The character owes his title of “Maximus the Mad” to Black Bolt, whose scream is responsible for Maximus’ mental condition.
Black Bolt was present when Maximus betrayed the royal family to the Kree. Black Bolt’s defiant scream wrecked the Kree ship and killed his parents. Maximus, who stood only a few feet away, was blasted with the sonic waves from Black Bolt’s voice. The effect was so destructive that his brain was permanently damaged by the explosion of power. As the villain has never recovered, he remains to this day scarred by that one scream from the Silent King. Maximus’ insanity is a constant source of guilt that Black Bolt struggles to live with every day.
8. Superhuman Durability
The fact that Black Bolt has fought Hulk, the Thing, and Namor without having any bones broken is an expression of the Silent’s King’s superhuman durability. But Black Bolt has done more than just “survive” these colossal showdowns. During one of Black Bolt’s most fearsome battles with the Hulk, Black Bolt flew down from the sky in a ferocious dive-bomb attack. Most characters would have been killed by the sheer impact of such a collision, but not Black Bolt. This is not just a result of his physiology as an Inhuman—all Inhumans are more durable than humans, but none but the king can trade blows with the Hulk.
Black Bolt has withstood all kinds of bodily harm since his introduction in 1965, not all of which being physical. He has endured the extreme cold of outer space, the heat of re-entry, and the massive T-Bomb (a bomb of Terrigen Mist) which tore open a hole in the space-time continuum.
7. He can attract lightning
One of Black Bolt’s most powerful adversaries—if not the most powerful—is the Hulk, who consistently forces Black Bolt to rely on powers that he seldom uses. One of Black Bolt’s most famous displays of power was when he whispered a word to knock out the Hulk. But the Silent King doesn’t always have to use his voice to beat the emerald behemoth.
In Inhumans #12, a raging thunderstorm provided the backdrop for another old-fashioned throw-down between the Hulk and Black Bolt. Black Bolt created an electron field and used it to suspend Hulk in the air. After reversing the polarity of the electrons, the positive charges in the field attracted several bolts of lightning, with each of them converging on the Hulk at once. The simultaneous blasts of lightning contained enough electrical energy to momentarily lay out the Hulk, giving the Inhumans time to reason with him.
6. Cosmic Awareness
“Cosmic Awareness” is an important concept in Marvel Comics that was introduced in Captain Marvel #29 in 1973. The cosmic entity known as Eon gave Captain Mar-Vell the power of Cosmic Awareness to aid him in his fight against Thanos. Cosmic Awareness is designed by Eon to give the person who possesses it the ability to detect powerful threats to the universe. A person with Cosmic Awareness can feel it in their mind when the world is in danger. This helps them locate the threat and deal with it. Once given the power, Mar-Vell was dubbed the “Protector of the Universe.” After his death, the title as well the power that comes with it was passed down to other characters such as Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) and members of Mar-Vell’s family.
For reasons that have yet to be made perfectly clear, Black Bolt has recently acquired Cosmic Awareness. A future version of Franklin Richards sensed the change in Black Bolt and helped him learn how to use it.
5. Superhuman Agility
Black Bolt is one Inhuman who could give Spider-Man and Black Panther a run for their money in a contest of agility, a fact that surprises other Marvel superheroes on numerous occasions. This is understandable, considering that Black Bolt’s superhuman agility is overshadowed by his vocal chords, super strength and electron manipulation. Black Bolt’s coordination, balance and agility are even superior to that of the perfect human: Captain America.
Black Bolt’s agility was showcased in his first encounter with the Thing, the same fight that saw the introduction of many of Black Bolt’s bizarre powers. The Thing had a hard time landing blows on Black Bolt, who the Thing described as a “silent Daredevil” with his acrobatic flips.
When facing other powerhouses whose punches Black Bolt would rather avoid, Black Bolt’s fighting style is complimented by a great deal of jumping. This technique of jumping and flipping around the area of combat is a tactic he often likes to employ against foes like the Hulk.
4. He can deflect projectiles with an electron field
Using the antennae on his head, Black Bolt can mentally direct electrons to form an electron field around his body. With the electron field, Black Bolt can easily deflect any projectile. When battling the Omega-level mutant Vulcan, Vulcan attacked Black Bolt with a powerful blast of energy. In an impressive show of Black Bolt’s mastery over his powers, Black Bolt effortlessly deflected the blast with a simple wave of his hand, and countered with a force-blast of his own that crushed Vulcan.
If there’s a limit to what Black Bolt can hold with his electron field, it’s yet to be determined. During the 1970s, the Inhumans were returning to Earth in a Kree spacecraft. Upon entering the atmosphere, the ship became unstable and was about to crash when Black Bolt flew out of the ship and surrounded it an electron field. The electron field was able to slow their descent just enough for the Inhumans to survive the crash.
3. Superhuman Speed
Black Bolt doesn’t have to use his voice to wreak some serious havoc on his enemies. Though Black Bolt’s strength can never equal the Hulk’s, his speed can give him an advantage that other Marvel powerhouses lack.
When Black Bolt swooped down from the skies at full speed and struck the Hulk from mid-jump, the green-skinned brute had no idea what happened. Delivered at such a high speed, the blow was devastating. Though a punch from the Thing or Thor might have floored Hulk, this one shot Hulk straight through the side of a mountain, burying him inside the earth. Black Bolt often uses his super speed and ability to fly to get the full use of his strength.
2. Matter Manipulation
Matter manipulation is a powerful ability that allows the user to control the molecules of objects, reshaping it into whatever they please. This power is a characteristic of the god-like race known as the Eternals, and is not one of the abilities shared by the Inhumans. However, as with many of his abilities, Black Bolt is the lone exception. Black Bolt doesn’t use this power much, so it’s hard to say what the limits are.
Manipulation of matter was actually the first ability Black Bolt ever used. In his origin story, featured in Thor #148, Black Bolt was still in his crib when he created toys out of thin air to the amazement of his parents. Later in life, he began using the power as a weapon. Black Bolt manipulated the molecular structure of water to launch a stream of water up into the air to douse the Human Torch. He can also turn water into ice.
1. His voice can tear a hole in reality
Along with Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Professor Xavier, and Dr. Strange, Black Bolt was a member of the Illuminati, a group of some of the most important and intelligent men in the Marvel Universe who had given themselves the task of protecting the world, but their work was to remain a secret from everyone else. One of their secret projects was to find and safeguard the Infinity Gems. Reed Richards had come up with an idea that he believed would allow them to find the Reality Gem, which was located at “the edge of reality.”
After placing Black Bolt in a soundproof chamber, Richards asked Black Bolt to speak. As the experiment began, even Iron Man was in awe at Black Bolt’s power input. Amplified by Richards’ equipment, the energy in Black Bolt’s voice managed to rip a hole in the fabric of reality, giving Iron Man a chance to retrieve the gem. Even the Hulk can’t punch a hole through reality.