Charles Soule & Marvel Open Up on the INHUMAN Evolution of Marvel Universe
After decades of being a secret race of superhumans operating in the shadows of the Marvel Universe, the April series Inhuman by Charles Soule and Joe Madureira promises to bring the Inhumans to the fore -- whether the rest of Earth's heroes and villains like it or not. And today, Marvel hosted a call-in press conference for media to learn more about the series from Soule and Senior Editor Nick Lowe, and ask the questions everyone wants to know the answer to.
The call begins a couple minutes past 3pm Eastern, with Marvel PR maven Chris D'Lando introducing Charles Soule to the assembled press, then describing the central conceit of Inhuman. They then move on by asking Soule about adding to the "rich mythology" of the Inhumans that begin back in the 1960s with Jack Kirby and Stan Lee in Fantastic Four.
"The Inhumans are almost a mythological creation unto themselves," Soule says. "They're royalty, and are always involved in Marvel's cosmic events. But with the explosion of the Terrigen bomb and these new Inhumans coming to light, it brings a new street level aspect to add to the royalty aspect. Now any normal human could possibly be an Inhuman inside waiting for the Terrigen Mists to bring that out. Mixing the royalty aspect with the street level nature we've introduced just recently, it gives me many opportunites as a writer."
Nick Lowe steps in to add how the creative team, between the veteran A-list illustrator Joe Madureira and "comics busiest writer" Charles Soule, brings a new level of attention to the Inhumans.
"Joe Mad doesn't just draw anything; it has to be something special, and Inhuman is that something special," Lowe says. "Every couple years at Marvel we try to put the focus and the attention on a new, lesser known aspect of the Marvel U. We did it years ago with Brian Michael Bendis and David Finch revitalixing Avengers, and now Inhuman is that for the Inhumans."
Lowe goes on to point out how Medusa takes a central role in Inhuman and for the Inhuman royal family.
"Medusa is a huge part of this book; she's a queen but also a warrior queen," Lowe says. "With this we want to amplify them as characters but also make them superheroes you can relate to. She's a woman dealing with ahuge amount of loss and expectations put on her."
D'Lando turns the conversation to new characters being introduced in Inhuman, including one named Lash that Soule says will be a primary antagonist for the series.
"Lash is an Inhuman," Soule says. "He is one of those hiden Inhumans not part of the royal family; not from Attilian, but emerging now with the explosion of the Inhumanity bomb."
According to Soule, Lash comes from one of the previous hidden splinter Inhuman community and considers the explosion of the Terrigen Mists bomb to be "heresy" by the Inhuman royal family. Soule says Lash is a "wily antagonist" who is very driven, and whos powers allow him to transform energy from one form to another.
Lowe adds that heroes are always measured by their villains, and Lash will bring out the best in Medusa.
Questions then turn to Inferno, a new Inhuman who's already been revealed in the cover to Inhuman #2.
"He's a regular guy until he's hit by the Terrigen Mists, and it changes him," Soule tells the group. "He has fire-based powers, but has no control over them. So when he uses his powers, it essentially burns part of his body. If he can't figure out how to control him, it could burn him until he's dead."
Inferno and Lash join a number of new characters Soule says he's introducing in Inhuman, including one that's already a favorite of Lowe called Reader.
"His Inhuman ability is that anything he reads he make real. If he reads the word 'fire,' he can make fire," Soule explains.
Reader's backstory is that when his powers first materializes, the larger Inhuman community thought his powers posed too much of a threat and blinded Reader. Soule says that Reader walks the globe now looking for other Inhumans to help, with long pieces of paper enscribed with words written in Braille for him to use to fuel his abilities.
Lowe says this emphasis on new characters is to add to the Marvel U, to create "new Reed Richards, new Peter Parkers, new T'Challas..." and create a entirely new "corner" of the Marvel Universe.
These will be parts of new factions of Inhumans springing up in the wake of the fall of Attilian, including a "one-man faction," says Soule, named Lineage who showed up earlier in Soule's Thunderbolts. His powers allow him full access to the full history of the Inhumans, making him a power broker of sorts in Inhuman society.
Lowe says once the first six issues of Inhuman are out, readers will be able to understand the basic shape of the modern Inhuman race. The editor goes on to say that after the first three issues, a new artist will join Inhuman on a rotating basis with Madureira, but they couldn't announce who "he" is yet.
CRAVE Online asks about the various Inhuman sects like the Alpha Primitives who were around before the Terrigen bomb, and Soule says that they're on Medusa's mind but "right now her focus is on the larger Inhuman race's survival."
Newsarama asks about Black Bolt, considering that despite being considered dead is very much alive as readers are aware.
"The fact we have an Inhuman series and Black Bolt isn't front and cetner, is a good question," Soule says. "It's a question we'll answer in time."
CBR asks about what "creative itch" Inhuman scratches given the large workload Soule already has.
"For Inhuman, it's a 'chess game' series. You have a lot of pieces moving different ways at once, and its ab out what they do on their own and what happens when they collide into one another," Soule says. "It's about long range planning, new character creation, and trying to really build things," Soule describes.
Soule says that Inhuman won't solely feature Inhumans, as several established heroes and villains will be showing up over the course of the series.
IGN asks about the public perception of Inhumans, given the negative opinoin the citizens of Earth have of mutants.
"It's angle I would foolish to ignore," the writer says. "As far as what public perception is, it depends on where you stand. Mutants sort of appear at puberty; a farily predictable point in your life. But with Inhuman, you could 90 years old and encounter Terrigen Mists and learn they're Inhuman. Some see it as a negative, or as possibility for change -- falling on their knees with their hands out hoping that they have Inhuman genes and will change."
Newsarama had the last question of the call, and asked if there was a character in this that might become a surprise fan-favorite, akin to Rocket Raccoon in Guardians of the Galaxy.
"Reader has a chance. I think Lash is pretty amazing," Soule reveals. "Some of the new Inhumans like a young Chinese girl is very funny, very cool, very relatable.
"They will allwill be Rocket Raccoon," the writer says jokingly, as they end the call.