Oh, the INHUMANITY - Fraction & Lowe Break Down Marvel's New Status Quo
CREDIT: Marvel Comics
Inhumanity is coming. That's never been more apparent than at the end of Infinity #3, which hit stores this week. If you know what's coming, as Marvel announced a couple of months ago, the Inhuman family is about to grow by leaps and bounds, with new Inhumans having powers activated all over the world.
It's a new status quo for the Marvel Universe, with a new series, Inhuman, launching from Matt Fraction and Joe Madureira in January, and a banner of "Inhumanity" going across several books across the line. It all starts, however, in Inhumanity #1, a special one-shot in December, also written by Fraction, that will launch the concept with a look at just what it is Black Bolt and Maximus have done, and the immediate impact on the Marvel Universe.
For more, Marvel Comics has set up a conference call with Fraction and editor Nick Lowe to talk about the special, the series, and the growth of the Inhuman nation.
Marvel's new PR maven Chris D'Lando introduced the call and offered up the first set of questions to the writer and editor. He mentioned the "explosive ending" of Infinity #3, which Fraction joked "woah, woah, I haven't read it yet!"
"The fall of Attilan is going to be one of those moments where the status quo for a big chunk of the Marvel Universe changes. you can plant a flag, and other stuff comes after. Inhumanity deals with the ramifications for the royal family, and what it means to Inhumans all around the world," Fraction started.
As to what both new and longtime readers should expect, Fraction said, "Axel Alonso has described them as Space Hippies before, and if that's the case, then San Francisco has been destroyed. This hidden race doesn't get to hide anymore, and there are a lot more inhumans than we could imagine.
"It's not a book just about the royal family. This had to be what Bendis and Millar were feeling when they were cooking up the Ultimate universe back in the day, having the freedom to do all kinds of crazy stuff with both new and old characters. The gist of it is there was a secret superhero city and the kingdom blew up, and now all hell breaks loose."
Marvel explained that it's important to note there's not just people getting powers - they're learning that they're connected to something.
"It's a storied lineage," said the writer, "And the Marvel Universe will discover the inhumans while the readers do."
Lowe hinted that Infinity #4 has "huge events" that will help all of this take place, and Inhumanity "will affect every walk of life in the Marvel Universe," the mutants, the other heroes, and more importantly "the average person walking around."
Press questions start with Marvel.com: "How will humanity react to this new race of superbeings - will it be like mutants?"
Fraction replied, "You'll see a lot of different reactions, you'll see people who are amazed, people who are terrified. Bad guys who want to horde them, good guys who want to protect them. It's a superhuman crisis. You'll get all sorts of perspectives, from ground level all the way out to big space stuff. You'll get all kinds of reactions, and it will build. How do these powers change your life, what if someone kicks your door in, what if a superhero comes and says they need your help?"
Kiel Phegley of CBR was next. He asked about Fraction and Lowe's first interactions with the inhumans as a reader.
"Mine was probably reading Marvel Saga," Fraction replied. "They were a reader's digest version of Marvel history. As a kid I got caught up on Marvel history really quickly." He then read the romance between Johnny Storm and Crystal and loved that.
Lowe's first "meaningful" interaction was the Inhumans mini-series from this century by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee.
Next from us: How many "group" reactions will we see in the Inhumanity special?
Fraction said the "Inhumanity special is very much about the fragments of the royal family and Karnak trying to figure out what has happened. The tie-ins will deal with the other reactions. My parts of Inhumanity will deal with the royal family, the people know and love as Inhumans, then Inhuman will start in a completely different place."
Lowe expanded that we'll see the Avengers reaction in Avengers, Avengers AI, there will be tie-ins in Uncanny X-Men, Indestructible Hulk. "From Jump Street, Mark Waid jumped right in," Fraction interrupted, and Lowe said it's focused on Banner.
"As writers and artists and editors have been working on this they've been sending it to me and it's really fun to see how different people and characters approach the issues."
Fraction added, "And by design. it's supposed to be a cohesive universe. Part of the fun is leaving as much red meat out there as possible and letting Mark Waid run with the ball, letting Kelly Sue and Warren Ellis do it. It's giving a problem to solve and seeing all these different solutions."
Steve from ComicsBeat asked how Fraction is approaching this to make it considerably different from the X-Men.
The writer said he can't reveal too much because of Infinity #4.
Lowe said, "the history is a huge part of it."
Fraction then added, "Yeah, the history is wildly different, the circumstances are wildly different," and that makes the allegory different.
"There's an existential F-You at the core of their existence," due to their initial creation by the Kree.
Jesse from IGN was next, asking if there would be any significant visual changes to the characters and the world around them.
Fraction said, "I've been all for letting two of the best designers at Marvel Comics (Coipel and Joe Mad) kind of go at it. If they want to add a modern coat of polish to it, I'm not going to object much! I like the idea of Joe Mad taking a crack at what wartime Inhumans look like, what they look like when they're on the run."
Lowe said in their early talks with Joe, he was concerned about "attacking characters with a little less established history. The Inhumans have had just a few remarkable influences, Jack Kirby and Jae Lee. That was something that actually drew Matt to this project, but Joe Mad said, 'Aw, shit, this guy's going to really make me work!'"
Fraction said that "the best writer Joe Mad has worked with is Joe Mad! I told him he's the one who put 16 panels on a page in Battle Chasers."
John from Wordballoon asked about the teases we've seen in FF with Medusa's involvement there.
Fraction said it was "deliberate putting Medusa, Maximus, and Uhura in a room together" there, and people may want to look back at that.
Marvel.com asked about his storytelling style on this book.
"It's all new to me, it's something I've never done before," said Fraction. "It's out of safety, out of familiar territory, it's as close to a novel as anything I've done, with the structure, and how far out we've gone. It's the kind of book where we're writing the last page before writing the first page almost. It's a challenge, and it's the reason I wanted to do it. It's exciting, fun, and strange."
CBR asked why he gravitated to Karnak for the special.
Fraction said, "I needed somebody who could put puzzles together. He sees the flaws in things. I needed the rest of the cast to put together what the hell Black Bolt and Maximus were up to. It's a way for everyone to puzzle it out with Karnak as he's putting it together. It's a way we can get into the story that's informative but sort of backwards."
We asked about Maximus's continued involvement with the royal family, and Fraction unfortunately couldn't answer much. "You're assuming he survived Infinity #3, we'll have to see after Inifinity #4."
ComicsBeat asked about specific stylistic influences, and Fraction said "nothing comes to mind specifically. Just big sprawling multigenerational science fiction things. Not necessarily Space Opera in a Star Wars way, just more of a big, sprawling political novel."
IGN asked about the other queens besides Medusa, and if they'd be a focus in these stories.
Fraction said, "about 13%. Sorry, I don't know how to quantify it, but yeah, they'll be present. The thing they'll get us immediately is the whif of the cosmic, the other-wordly. They're very important, even if it takes us awhile to get to them."
Lowe finished off the call saying he "just can't wait for people to see this."
Inhumanity #1 is on sale in December, Inhuman #1 in January, and "another awesome one-shot Matt is writing" in January as well.