Marvel’s Inhumans have walked a winding road over the last few years. Between their ups and downs on the live-action side of things – losing a movie and gaining a series – and their troubles in print, the Royal Family certainly experienced more than their fair share of headaches. Their recent exploits in the pages of Marvel found them fighting in the second Civil War thanks to their young ward Ulysses and fending off aggression from the existentially threatened X-Men. One thing's for sure, the Inhumans are probably ready for a little breather by this point.
Fortunately for them, an end to the Inhumans vs. X-Men conflict seems at hand. The following spring will bring a ResurreXion for both the X-Men and the Inhumans, and also put the spotlight on one of their most powerful members, Black Bolt.
Marvel announced today (via CBR) that the Inhumans leader will have his chance to "speak" next spring in Black Bolt #1. The ongoing series will be scripted by novelist Saladin Ahmed (The Crescent Moon Kingdoms) and make use of the ample artistic talents of Christian Ward (The Ultimates). The Inhumans' resurgence will also include a comic book run for the Royal Family as they head to the cosmos. Apparently, Black Bolt won’t be joining them for long, though, since he’ll be locked up in some sort of alien prison. Writer Ahmed spoke with io9, describing his interest in the curiously silent leader:
“[H]e’s a very compelling guy, because he can’t speak. He’s one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe, really. Although we rarely see his power unleashed. It’s not like the Hulk’s sort of massive beat downs on a regular basis… rarely does he get his powers demonstrated. Nobody knows quite how powerful he is. Which intrigues people. But has not really been explored deeply. Part of his story is that he’s always — him and the Inhumans are a real family. And he always has people speaking for him and, you know, we never get deep into his head. That was kind of one of the challenges of working on a solo title.”
Ahmed makes a good point. One of the tricks to the Inhuman patriarch, which makes writing a book centered on him a challenge, is his inability to speak without causing catastrophic damage. He may be sonically gifted, but his voice has rarely been heard, since Medusa or other members of the team often communicate for him by necessity. Exploring the somewhat underutilized character and his powers while incarcerated for an unknown reason should make for an interesting comic saga. The Black Bolt solo book will also bring back another fun character, the Absorbing Man. He gave io9 the inside scoop behind his concept and how he wound up on the book:
“I had a back pocket pitch about incarceration, and some other stuff that was missing a piece. And I knew that the co-star of this [pitch] book was Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man — it was a book about being locked up, basically. But I only had these very dim concept of this project, I didn’t know who the real star was. So when Marvel came to me and said, ‘Hey, would you consider doing a Black Bolt book?’, for plot reasons I can’t get into, it happened to sync up really well. This kind of nascent idea of a prison book I had. And they’re picking me for the Black Bolt book ended up linking really well for reasons that will only become apparent to the readers once we’re amidst the plotline.”
After the House of Ideas’ recent push to bring the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby-created team to the forefront, the Kree-seeded clan arrived on the small screen in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. At the same time, they were also bumped from their once-slated film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe – potentially due to Marvel infighting. Recently, Disney and Marvel announced the Inhumans would get a big screen debut after all, but rather as an IMAX preview of their TV series.
With the Royal Family about to get a major boost in the public eye, launching a new book featuring one of the Inhumans' major players is a great way to intrigue long-time readers before their small-screen debut, as well as catch new readers interested in digging deeper into the curious clan before they arrive. The trick to the series, as mentioned before, is creating a sweeping epic without a vocal lead character. Fortunately, sequential art plays well into visual needs required to tell Black Bolt's story. Taking advantage of Christian Ward’s evocative art and thought balloons to convey the Inhuman king’s thoughts and motivations should provide an interesting alternative the typically smack-talk heavy panels of the Marvel Universe.
Of course, if Crusher Creel co-stars, there ought to be plenty of colorful, one-sided dialogue in the book. As a novelist first and foremost, Ahmed is used to creating internal monologues with no visual assistance. It will be fascinating to watch these talented creators solve the inherent communication issues and to find out how (and if) Black Bolt’s latest adventures tie into Marvel’s spring ResurreXion.
Black Bolt #1 is slated for released in spring of 2017.