Warning: SPOILERS for Death of Inhumans #1
Marvel's latest Inhumans comic, Death of Inhumans reveals just how important the characters could be to the future of the comic book universe. It's also highlighted, once and for all, just what kind of major role they could also have played in the MCU - had Marvel Studios not passed on their original plans for a movie.
Back in 2014, Marvel took the unprecedented step of announcing their entire Phase 3 film slate. To the surprise and excitement of audiences, it included an Inhumans movie. Plans changed, though, and Inhumans was dropped after Marvel made a deal with Sony that brought Spider-Man into the MCU. With the studio no longer interested in the property, Marvel Television picked up the franchise, and last year launched the Inhumans TV show.
Unfortunately, the series was viewed as disappointing by both critics and viewers, and ABC canceled it after just one season. While the concept of the Inhumans will remain key to Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., it's otherwise been shelved.
Over in the comics, Marvel has launched its latest event, Death of Inhumans. The comics have been strongly focused on the Inhumans since 2013, and writer Charles Soule has taken the comic book franchise from strength to strength. Still, Soule has moved on, and sales aren't great. As a result, Marvel appears to be bringing the story of the Inhumans to a dramatic conclusion.
Ironically, doing so has revealed just how much potential the franchise could have added to the MCU.
The Inhumans were created by an alien race known as the Kree, who performed genetic experiments on humans in ancient times in order to create super-powered warriors. Building on a concept from Jonathan Hickman's Fantastic Four run, Death of Inhumans reveals that these experiments were ended when the Kree learned of a prophecy: that an Inhuman known as the "Midnight King" would lead to "the annihilation of the Kree species."
That title is associated with Black Bolt, and thus it seems Black Bolt's ultimate destiny will be to bring an end to the Kree race once and for all. In Death of Inhumans, the Kree - who've forgotten that vision over the course of millennia - attempt to force Black Bolt into subservience, launching a devastating attack on the Inhumans. Beloved heroes are slaughtered at their hands, members of the Royal Family are killed, and while the Kree don't know it, they've just given Black Bolt all the motivation he needs to retaliate. The first issue seems to launch the Kree and the Inhumans on a path of mutually assured destruction.
This one story alone underscores just how much potential the Inhumans franchise really had as part of the MCU. The success of Guardians of the Galaxy has led Marvel to embrace the cosmic, and a crucial step along that road is next year's Captain Marvel. This film will bring the Kree into the spotlight, with Carol Danvers and Nick Fury getting caught up in the Kree-Skrull War. The Kree race are clearly important to the future of the MCU, but the idea of a Death of Inhumans film - one that brings the two races into head-on collision - is breathtaking. In just one issue, Marvel Comics has demonstrated why Marvel Studios should have been interested in the Inhumans.
For now, that ship has sailed. Marvel Studios passed on the opportunity to use the Inhumans, and the TV series was hardly a success. Marvel Studios is unlikely to want anything to do with that damaged franchise for quite some time; and when they do, it's most likely there'll be a simple reboot, with the Inhumans TV series erased from continuity.
Death of Inhumans #1 is on sale now from Marvel Comics.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019