REVIEW: “Inhumanity” #1

(Marvel Comics, 2013)

Review by Shawn Warner

Written by Matt Fraction
Artwork by Olivier Coipel
Inks by Mark Morales
Color Artwork by Laura Martin ‘DePuy’

With Infinity just wrapping up many of you may be reluctant to jump right back into another event but I caution you, please do not miss out on Inhumanity and the major repercussions that are sure to be felt throughout the Marvel Universe revealed in this story. The state of things in the comic book industry today seems to be predicated upon the “event story” but I remember a time in the not so distant past that events were something to be built up to throughout the year, crossing over and tying-in titles along the way, not so anymore. The new way of thinking seems to be to let one event immediately set up the next which works perfectly in this case but not always. Matt Fraction’s premise for Inhumanity does spin directly out of Jonathan Hickman’s brilliant Infinity story but you do not necessarily have to be a scholar of Hickman’s opus to follow, understand and enjoy Inhumanity. The release of the Terrigen Mist is the key element that you need to know from Infinity, beyond that this first issue of Inhumanity does a fantastic job of bringing you up to speed in the world of the Inhumans, most notably; Medusa, Black Bolt and Karnak. Readers of Fraction’s wonderfully quirky FF will recognize Medusa from that book even though Fraction handles her character in a somewhat more serious manner here.

I have always been somewhat mystified by the Inhumans, even as a very young comic book reader, they held a mystique for me that was not easily explained; they were a bit stranger than the X-Men and certainly more cosmic and ethereal than the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, so to my fledgling comic book brain, they were just about the coolest thing I had discovered and since none of my little friends had made the same discovery, I had my very own super-hero team to follow on these esoteric adventures. It was a magical time and Matt Fraction has brought some of that magic back to the world with Inhumanity.

The first issue picks up right after the events of Infinity; paramount among them to this narrative are, the destruction of the Inhuman home world of Attilan and the detonation of the Terrigen Bomb by the Inhuman King, Black Bolt. The subsequent release of Terrigen Mist sets a chain of events into motion that ultimately results in the hidden Inhumans living among us awakening to the dormant abilities they have unknowingly possessed all of their lives. The ramifications of such an unrestricted dispersal of Terrigen are sure to be catastrophic.

Matt Fraction does a remarkable job of incorporating the Inhuman’s back story with new material that progresses the narrative at an enticingly brisk pace. This is a definite page turner; the action is not over the top battles but it is intriguing character interaction enhanced by some fabulously authentic dialogue. We finally get a chance to see Fraction’s Hawkeye interact with his Avengers teammates which is a major highlight of this issue for me. The foundation for the future of the Marvel Universe is being set up and Fraction is playing a very big part in shaping that future with the events of Inhumanity. The next wave of Marvel Now is about to begin, as for what that means in terms of the status quo in the 616, you can bet a good deal of that is going to shake out of this story.

Olivier Coipel is one of my favorite artists, I don’t think you will find many who are better suited to the super hero genre than he is, however I have to say I found his work somewhat inconsistent on this issue. Of course there are stunning pages of dynamic panel designs and uncanny attention to details of anatomy and composition but there are some panels featuring the Avengers that look rushed and sketchy. Perhaps it’s Morales’ inking, whatever the reason I just found some of the work in this issue to be below Coipel’s extremely high standard. That being said, the book is still visually stunning for the most part and had it been just about anyone else’s work I would be praising it but Coipel is in that ultra-upper echelon of artists where perfection is expected and normally delivered.

Inhumanity #1 is a superb start to an anticipated event that will undoubtedly change the face of the Marvel Universe, the characters we know and love along with some we are meeting for the first time here will be impacted for the foreseeable future. Matt Fraction has masterfully woven an enthralling narrative full of emotion, intrigue, excitement and adventure brought to life visually by the hyper-detailed, dynamic and astoundingly innovative art of the extraordinary Olivier Coipel. An event like this is the reason we read comic books; all the elements that can never fully be captured by film or television are here clearly showing why comic books are the most direct route from the ether of imagination to the physical world of visual images. There are no obstacles to overcome like special effects or actors’ interpretations, there is only a story, a pencil and paper, the rest is the inspired work of God, Opus Dei. Matt Fraction and Olivier Coipel are doing God’s work in Inhumanity, telling a perfect story. (4.75/5) I highly recommend jumping on at the start of this one, if you left Inhumanity #1 off your list this week make a return visit to your local comic book shop and pick it up, trust me. So until next time, see you at the comic book store.

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Follow Shawn Warner on Twitter:  @shawnwarner629

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