Marvel's Death of the Inhumans launches this Wednesday - and series writer Donny Cates thinks readers don't understand how literal - and how serious - the the title will be.
Coming four years after Marvel Comics' big push to make the Inhumans a major pillar of its comic book universe, Cates' Death of the Inhumans with artist Ariel Olivetti positions itself as a death knell and finale for the Inhuman royal family as fans know it.
In what Cates tells Newsarama is "a sort of serendepitious move," the Kree - who created the Inhumans through genetic engineering eons ago - is now calling in their "lost fleet of would-be soldiers" in a last-ditch effort to save the empire. It's concription at the point of a scythe - wielded by a mysterious new character called Vox.
Newsarama spoke with Cates about the five-issue series as it prepares to debut this Wednesday. Cates is tight-lipped about the series, but gives some insight into the shape of things to come.
Newsarama: Donny, Thanos proved you’ve got the guts to shed some blood in the Marvel Universe. How serious are you when you say this is the ‘Death of the Inhumans’?
Donny Cates: In what will be an increasingly frustrating theme to this interview, I’m afraid I really can’t say much. I’ll say that the word ‘Death’ in the title isn’t meant to be metaphorical though. The Royal Family has a very hard day coming.
Nrama: Who are the major players in Death of the Inhumans – Black Bolt and Medusa of course, but who else?
Cates: I wanted to keep this story as simple and easy to digest as humanly possible. A lot of times the Inhumans can feel very alien and cold and big, so really, it’s just the core family for the majority of the series:. Black Bolt, Medusa, Crystal, Gorgon, Triton and lockjaw. And… maybe one or two surprise cameos.
Nrama: How did –
Cates: Oh, and Vox.
Nrama: That’s Vox, the new character that looks like a demonic version of Black Bolt.
Now that you’re writing the Inhumans, is there a particular member of the Royal Family you’ve grown particularly attached to?
Cates: I’m trying to not get too attached to anyone in this book, honestly. But I have a soft spot for Crystal, and perhaps more obviously, for Black Bolt.
I’m a person who stutters, so I’m quite familiar with having to overthink and pay very close attention to the words that come out of my mouth every single second of every day. There’s a whole sequence in the first issue where I examine how Blackagar chooses the words he says, that was very therapeutic for me to write.
Nrama: Is there an Inhuman you can’t wait to kill? Sub-question – will any Inhumans survive, or are you cruel enough to kill even Lockjaw?
Cates: No comment.
Nrama: Ariel Olivetti is drawing Death of the Inhumans, and the previews portend a bit of a change of styles for him. What’s your favorite thing he’s drawn for the series so far?
Cates: Oh, that’s a very well-timed question, because that sequence I was just talking about where we see how Black Bolt finds the right words is way up there. How he chooses the word and the how he executes the speaking of that word is among my favorite things Ariel has drawn in the series.
Nrama: How did the Inhumans get to this point, where it seems their end is in sight?
Cates: Well, in a sort of serendipitous move, their end somewhat circles back around to their beginning. The Kree have had a rough go of it lately, and with their back up against the wall, their calling in their lost fleet of would-be soldiers.
That in of itself is scary enough. But when you add the mysterious, and incredibly deadly, Vox to the equation… well, it’s about to get very, very bad.
Nrama: On that note, would you classify this series as an ending for the Inhumans? Or is that reading too much into the title?
Cates: If anything, I think people aren’t taking the title serious enough….
Nrama: You’ve got five issues to tell this story. Are there any cosmic cameos you’re planning to fit in there?
Cates: [Laughs] Yeah. There’s one big one that you’ll be hard pressed to miss. It’s a character I’ve wanted to put my hands on for some time.
Nrama: What can you tell us about Death of the Inhumans that nobody knows yet?
Cates: The Prophecy of the Midnight King may not be the whole story…
Nrama: What do you have to say the fans of the Inhumans who may be wary of how ominous this title seems for the denizens of Attilan?
Cates: I’m sorry for the things I’m about to do.