A new age is dawning for Marvel’s Inhumans; latent Inhumans are being transformed into their birthright across the globe while the ruling Inhuman hierarchy is in shambles with the fall of Attilan and the apparent death of their king, Black Bolt. It all started with the explosion of the Inhumanity Bomb and continued in 2013’s Inhumanity #1; and now this week we’ll see how the queen of the Inhumans – and now their defacto ruler – Medusa deals with the weight of her race’s crown wears on her. Originally announced as Inhumanity: Medusa, the newly titled Inhumanity #2 was renamed after the scope of the issue was expanded past just being a solo Medusa story.
“As Matt Fraction worked on this issue, the scope got bigger than [the title] Inhumanity: Medusa would be appropriate to call it,” says Senior Editor Nick Lowe. “Medusa, as queen of the Inhumans, is still front and center, but with her kingdom shattered and her people’s population sky-rocketing a lot has changed.”
It all started in the opening salvo of last summer’s Infinity series, which saw the mad tyrant Thanos come to Earth to track down the illegitimate child he fathered with an Inhuman years ago. Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, refused to hand over Thanos’ offspring, which leads to a battle between the two that ends with Black Bolt assumed slain by his race. During the battle however, The Inhumans used a hereto unknown device known as an Inhumanity Bomb which weaponized the Terrigen Mists to unlock latent Inhuman DNA that had been imbued in humanity generations ago. But the explosion of the Inhumanity Bomb tore apart the Inhuman race as we once knew it, destroying their floating capital city and leaving the race without a home. And with Black Bolt out of the picture, his queen, Medusa, must step into the role.
“As far as everyone except for the Illuminati knows, Black Bolt and Maximus are dead. It’s impossibly hard for Medusa on many levels,” Lowe tells Newsarama. “First, her husband is dead! That is huge! The person she is closest to in the entire world died! So there’s that. Secondly, her kingdom is in shambles and she’s got a lot of soul-searching to do.”
When it came to artist-searching, Marvel didn’t have to look very far to find an artist to draw this Medusa-centric story. Animator-turned-cartoonist Nick Bradshaw is a long-time fan of the Inhumans, and after making a name for himself with Wolverine & The X-Men he was looking for platforms to expand his horizons. And given his animation background, the challenge of depicting Medusa’s hair-based powers was something he relished to do.
“With a character like Medusa, the hair is an extension of herself,” Bradshaw points out. “When I drew Doctor Octopus previously, I was able to use his arms to emote what he was doing as a part of him. With Medusa, I like the idea of using her hair to show her reactions; when she’s angry her hair might be scratching at the floor. When she’s panic, they might stand on end. I’m really excited to play around with that aspect, while also showing day-to-day when she’s out in the public trying to keep herself concealed and how her hair will react under clothing. I’m really looking forward to this.”
Bradshaw shared with Newsarama his deep knowledge of Inhuman stories in the Marvel Universe, ranging from the well-known Marvel Knights series by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee to Son of M and their earliest adventures in Avengers and Fantastic Four. When asked about the Inhumans’ place in the Marvel U, Bradshaw made a surprising but apt comparison between them and a far-flung colleague in Marvel parent company Disney’s family of characters.
“To me they’re always sort of the Boba Fett of the Marvel U; when they show up, they make you stop and pay attention,” Bradshaw explains. “I’m a big fan of the Inhumans, and I love Jack Kirby’s work with the squiggly lines, sharp edges and color. A Marvel book feels more like Marvel when the Inhumans turn up, and I’ve been jonesing to take a crack at them.”
Lowe describes Inhumanity and the forthcoming Inhuman series as the kickoff of the “next major Marvel era,” but Inhumanity #2 will also be the early end of an era for its writer. Fraction was hired by Marvel to plot and script Inhuman and Inhumanity, but his time was cut short after he and Marvel came to an empasse on exact story moving forward. With both sides unwilling to budge, Marvel hired the red-hot writer Charles Soule to step into Fraction’s place. In interviews, Fraction said he had re-written Inhumanity #2 to act as a transition point from his plans for this event into what Soule would do this April in Inhuman #1, and Lowe says it’s an ideal resolution to the unfortunate situation.
“I was incredibly lucky that Fraction made the transition work. He’s a terrific writer and a great guy,” Lowe says. “It took a little excising of some things that Matt had planned and some seed plantings for what Charles had started planning.”