Note: contains SPOILERS for Inhumans vs. X-Men, Uncanny Inhumans #20, and Inhumans Prime #1.
The latest chapter of the Inhumans' saga started out with a big bang. When Thanos came looking for his Inhuman-born son, Thane, he came first to the kingdom of Attilan. After clearing out his subjects, King Black Bolt made the difficult choice to detonate a Terrigen bomb, defeating the Mad Titan and leveling the former kingdom. His decision changed everything, as the eerie green mists traveled the glove, awaking dormant Kree genetic manipulation in the otherwise unaware human populace. Hundreds if not thousands of new Inhumans, or Nuhumans, were born, creating a renaissance for the meta-human group.
But life wasn’t all roses. As the Inhumans experienced revitalization, mutants across the globe began to suffer from a mysterious plague, named the M-Pox. After a disturbing trip to Muir Island, X-Men leaders Cyclops and Emma Frost discover the true source of the mutant-debilitating disease: Terrigen. Striking against the Terrigen clouds in the Death of X saga, Emma and her band manage to destroy one of the globetrotting clouds, before Black Bolt killed Cyclops.
Months and months of dedicated research and uneasy peace finally broke down, launching the two groups into a pitched battle for survival. But from the ravages of Inhumans vs. X-Men also comes the hope of “ResurrXion.”
A War of Attrition
The stakes grew ever higher once Beast revealed to the assembled X-Men that Terrigen levels in the atmosphere were about to reach cataclysmic levels, making the Earth uninhabitable for mutant kind. The X-Men, under the cunning guidance of Emma Frost, devised a sneak attack designed to take out the Inhumans most powerful members, the Royal Family, so they could neutralize the remaining cloud. After kidnapping Black Bolt, Crystal, Gorgon, Karnak, and other major players, mutant forces moved on New Attilan, capturing the city and placing Medusa in Limbo with other Royals. But the X-Men didn’t count on the resourcefulness of the NuHumans.
They managed to destroy the mutants’ Terrigen eater and rally Inhuman forces around Earth to the cause. With the last Terrigen cloud at stake, Medusa and her bunch broke out of the X-Men’s energy field, rescuing Black Bolt from X-Haven, and escaping Limbo thanks to Lockjaw. Meanwhile, Karnak defeated the Stepford Cuckoos and Jean Grey’s psychic prison, and escaped The World (Weapon X’s pocket dimension) despite the efforts of Fantomex.
Now free, the Inhumans met the X-Men in Iceland for a final showdown. After a brief battle, members of their wayward colony, the Ennilux – led by Medusa’s son Ahura Boltagon – arrived along with a group of cooperative X-Men and NuHumans. They tipped off Medusa to the plight of mutants, allowing her the option of continuing their fight or destroying their last remaining Terrigen cloud to save mutant-kind. Naturally, she chose to end their war and spare the X-Men.
Is the End of Terrigen the End of the Inhumans?
Life at the moment remains uncertain for the Inhumans. Their source of life, Terrigen, has now been utterly destroyed. The pages of Uncanny Inhumans #20 explored Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus the Mad, and his quest to recreate the life giving crystals. Despite digging into the history of the mysterious crystals and uncovering a possible recipe, he chose to play fast and loose with the details (a good means for the anti-hero to stay alive), rather than acting as a savior to his people. As a result, in Inhumans Prime, Maximus and his odd band wind up confronted by the Royal family, as well as the younger generation.
Returning from their errant quest, a brawl broke out between the Unspoken – a former king of Attilan before Black Bolt given incredible powers by ingesting Terrigen – and the Inhuman clan. Maximus uses his mental telepathy to turn the Nuhumans against their elders. After a brief if brutal skirmish, Swain uses her psychic abilities to negate his powers and end the battle, with the Royal family locking away Maximus and his collaborators.
From his prison cell, the thorn in the Royal’s side is visited by his brother. Black Bolt listens with growing irritation as his brother continues his self-aggrandized rants. However, the Maximus piques his interest when he offers to reveal the true reason for his mad quest, his attack on the Royal Family, and allowing himself to be captured. After confessing his “little secret,” Black Bolt leaves the jail in a hurry. Although clearly disturbed, he refuses to tell his wife Medusa the truth behind Maximus’ words, and thus deepening the mystery going forward into the Inhumans' "ResurrXion."
The Nuhumans Take Control
In the wake of Inhumans vs. X-Men, as well as Maximus the Mad's last ditch assault, the Inhumans begin to radically restructure their lives. Without Terrigen to catalyze their genetic structure, the future of their species is uncertain at best. Medusa gathers her subjects to address both Maximus and his crimes against his own kind, as well as what happens next for their group. In a not-so-stunner, revealed in the epilogue of IvX, Medusa and the Royals abdicate their throne, leaving Iso in charge of setting up an interim government and modernizing New Attilan. She also condemns Maximus to his fate – as an outcast from their family to be locked up in an interstellar prison.
Iso also takes a cue from Medusa, detailing the Nuhumans move to normalize relations with the human world and its laws, as well as presumably continuing to patch things up with the X-Men and mutant-kind. In the wake of the Royals stepping down, she also details plans to step away from their secretive existence and plan for the future. Of course, without the ability to create new generations of Inhumans, the future is a true mystery.
As Swain and the former princess Crystal prepare for what may come, they get a surprise visit from the Kree, or at least one member of the alien empire. As set up in the beginning of the book, Noh-Varr, aka Marvel Boy (from an alternate universe) has been orbiting the Earth, listening to a news broadcast detailing Medusa and Storm's efforts to recreate the Terrigen crystals. He realizes that the Inhumans are missing a vital piece of the puzzle; they don’t know what Terrigen actually is.
The epilogue to Inhumans Prime offers yet another mystery, one which will set up their “ResurrXion.” Marvel Boy’s visit will kick off Medusa and the Royal's trip to the stars. The forthcoming ongoing series, Royals, sees them return home to the Kree Empire, to sort out the past in an attempt to secure their future.
The Secret and Secret Warriors
Of course, not every former Royal is heading in the same cosmic direction. Medusa, Crystal, and Gorgon, among others, may find themselves headed to cree, but Black Bolt will discover his own destiny along different lines. Likely chasing the secret whispered by Maximus – one which pushed the former king to sedate and muzzle his brother during his trial – the former King will be heading to prison. Perhaps the secret incriminates him and the Mad Royal, or perhaps he “allows” himself to go undercover, either way the Black Bolt ongoing finds him detained alongside the Absorbing Man (Crusher Creel, who can transform into anything he touches) and should prove an interesting new look at one of the Inhumans’ most enigmatic characters.
In addition, Royal family member Karnak will remain on terra firma, continuing his own adventures alongside one of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s most dedicated undercover teams, the Secret Warriors. Inhuman agent Quake will lead a team consisting of Karnak, as well as NuHumans Ms. Marvel, Inferno, and Moon Girl (and of course, Devil Dinosaur). It sounds as tough they’ll already have their hands busy with Captain America’s “Secret Empire,” in addition to being torn between Quake’s covert operations and Kamala Kahn’s do-gooder intents.
While the future of the Inhumans is uncertain, their ongoing adventures will unravel a number of intriguing mysteries. What secrets does Noh-Varr hold about Terrigen that Earth’s Kree-empowered Inhumans don’t? Also, what will Maximus’ secret mean to Black Bolt, his Royal family's prodigal son, and the family in general? With three exciting new series, as well as a forthcoming TV show, the Inhumans have a bright and fascinating future within the Marvel Universe.
Inhumans Prime #1 is currently available. The Inhumans ResurrXion kicks off with Royals #1 on April 5, 2017.