Comic Book Review: All New Inhumans #7

Marvel has been trying very hard in the last few years to make The Inhumans a thing. There's a whole corporate politics angle to that and while Marvel won't admit it the circumstantial evidence is pretty strong. Marvel can't use the X-Men characters on screen and recent story developments have turned Inhumans into something that closely resembles Marvel's mutant characters.

The push has been a strong one and as well as their regular presence on TV in Agents of SHIELD, they are currently supporting not one but two monthly books. There's a problem with ramming things down the throats of comic book fans though. They are a rather conservative and curmudgeonly bunch who will quite possibly refuse to like something just because they think they're being encouraged to like it. And that, I think, is what is happening with the Inhumans. The online dislike is out of proportion with quality of the issues being produced.

All New Inhumans 7Because if you read the books, take the All New Inhumans #7 which came out this week, it's a solid bit of superhero storytelling. New characters are being built up, existing Marvel Universe characters are folded in. It is, at a minimum, competent stuff, though not without flaws. What it isn't, however, is the the classic Inhumans "family".

Yes, in this issue does feature Gorgon and previous issues have used Crystal as a central character, but the Inhuman Royal family is not prominent in this book, far more time is devoted to some of the new inhuman (or nu-man) characters that have been created in the last couple of years. Comic book readers often talk about wanting new characters rather than the same old ones, but statistics paint a different picture and I have to conclude that the majority of people reading Marvel or DC books mostly want the same old characters, so when they see a book called The Inhumans they want to see Medusa, Black Bolt, Karnak etc.

Inhumans #7 starts off a new storyline but it continues to expand the Inhuman world by introducing yet another isolated Inhuman enclave. It seems there are quite a lot of these scattered throughout the world. Not the most original writing gambit admittedly but it is an excellent source for culture clash and political intrigue which is exactly what this sets up.

Where, I think, the book does fail though is that the focal character for this storyline, Flint, doesn't seem to have a defined enough personality to hang everything on. The character has been around for a couple of years, but the cast of the book is so large that he's really not had that much time devoted to him and as a result it's a little hard to care about him reuniting with his mother or the fact he almost killed someone by accident in the previous issue.

The flaw here may well lie in this drive to turn Inhumans into X-Men 2.0. The X-Men had decades to build up their sprawling soap-opera cast while the Inhumans is trying to do it all in one go. Perhaps they need to dial it back a little and focus on a smaller number of characters at a time.

In which case, ironically, this issue is taking the right approach. They may just be doing it too late for most people to care.