Sin knows no bounds – not even to the vaunted spires of Attilan and the throne of the Inhuman race. In July 9, 2014’s Original Sins #3, Inhuman writer Charles Soule is following the secrets set about by Original Sin to track down the missing king of the Inhumans, Black Bolt, who was believed dead at the hands of Thanos in Infinity. As his fellow Inhumans enter a new era thanks to the detonation of the Terrigen bomb, the one-time ruler purposely kept himself out of action; and Soule is beginning to say why.
“This is the first time I'm getting to write Black Bolt, which is a real thrill,” Soule tells Newsarama. “It's funny - I'm a good way into the Inhuman series, and I've never written the character most identified with that group. Well, I have now, and it's awesome. This is a story involving Lineage, the information-broker-behind-the-scenes-power wielder of the Inhuman universe, and his discovery of what will end up being a very useful secret about Black Bolt.”
When asked for specifics about this “very useful secret” the Inhuman king keeps, the lawyer-turned-writer resisted saying too much, but did say it was important.
“Well, I'm not going to reveal [Black Bolt’s secret] here, but it ties into the some of the larger plans for the Inhuman franchise,” the writer says,” and a big story point I'm going to be unveiling in the months to come. It's important, though - so don't miss it, Inhuman fans!”
Make no mistake, however – this story in Original Sins #3 is brief – not even a full issue – but Soule promises a big reveal of an “old” adversary for the Inhumans returning “in a new way, and doing something… not very nice.”
Although Black Bolt is the most well-known of the Inhuman race, his appearances so far in Inhuman have amounted to a rare and brief flashback. Soule says that this story in the Original Sins anthology will “begin weaving” the once (and possibly future) Inhuman King back into his race’s story in a “meaningful, interesting way.”
As Soule told us earlier, he is thrilled to put pen to paper and write Black Bolt after so much time as Inhuman’s scribe, and has a keen and layered take on the man born Blackagar Boltagon.
“I think Black Bolt is fabulous - just a smart concept all around. A king with immense strength that he cannot safely wield, who can't speak? His entire "rule" must be conveyed through his actions, not his words. I love it,” Soule points out. “As far as redefining him, well, he's pretty sweet as-is, but I'd like to give him some additional complexity - we'll see him go to some interesting places as the story spins out.”
Newsarama asked Soule if there’s an inherent challenge for a writer using Black Bolt in a story, given the fact that the superhuman doesn’t speak. Soule says not so, thanks to the artists he works with.
“It's actually not as challenging as it might be, considering the artists I get to work with. Comics is a visual medium, so I can get a ton across with gestures and so on,” the New York-based writer tells us. “Plus, my artists as just so good... “
Speaking of artists, Soule will be joined on this story by God Hates Astronauts’ Ryan Browne in his Marvel debut. After working on Inhuman with the likes of Joe Madureira and Ryan Stegman, Browne is stepping into some big shoes but Soule says it’s been a long time coming.
“I've known Ryan for years, and I've always wanted to work with him,” says Soule. “I'm thrilled that we get to collaborate on something as cool as this story - his first time at bat, and he gets to draw Black Bolt? Lucky.”
Luck is one thing Black Bolt might need – in Infinity he was brutalized and presumed dead after a calamitous fight with Thanos, and his survival is something he purposely kept secret from everyone – even his wife, Medusa. In his absence, the Terrigen Bomb was detonated and a new crop of Inhumans – called Nuhumans by some – have emerged, pushing the Inhuman race into a new and unsteady era.
With Black Bolt keeping his survival from Thanos’ hand secret, in some ways he’s abdicated his throne. During an interview earlier this year, Soule described Inhuman as a chess game of sorts in terms of the characters at play. Newsarama pushed that analogy further in this subsequent conversation, asking if Black Bolt is still the King piece – or possibly something else?
“If Black Bolt is the king, he's off the board. Black Bolt isn't around in the main series right now - he's off doing... something,” Soule explains. “Bringing him back on the board will be a big deal, though - so stay tuned.”