The Royal Family as they appeared in the comics in the 1960s: From left, Gorgon, Crystal, Black Bolt, Medusa, Karnak and Triton.
By Andrew A. Smith
Tribune Content Agency
The arrival of The Inhumans on the nation’s IMAX theaters Sept. 1 raises a lot of questions. Here to answer them, as ever, is Captain Comics:
Q: Why is there an Inhumans movie now, and an Inhumans TV show premiering on ABC Sept. 29?
A: They’re the same thing. The Inhumans movie is essentially the first two episodes of the TV show, which will be repeated Sept. 29 with additional footage. Six more episodes will follow, constituting the first season of The Inhumans.
Q: Where did The Inhumans come from?
A: If you mean in the real world, they were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, and introduced in Marvel Comics’ Fantastic Four in 1965.
The in-story origin is that the space-spanning Kree came to Earth 20,000 years ago and experimented on early humans. Some say it was to create genetically-enhanced soldiers for their endless wars of conquest. Some say it was in search of a way to restart their own dormant evolution.
What resulted was a branch of humanity separated from our caveman ancestors by superior health, a longer lifespan, an advanced society and alien technology. After the Kree lost interest and left, the self-named Inhumans walled themselves off from their savage cousins, creating a secret city named Attilan that could be moved should circumstances merit.
But the story didn’t end there. Thirteen thousand years ago, a leader named Randac learned that super-powers were latent in the Inhumans’ evolved DNA. They could be activated by a chemical trigger found in “Terrigen Crystals.” Each Inhuman responds differently to “Terrigenesis,” as the triggering process is called, developing not only unique super-powers, but unique physiology as well. So not only do Inhumans all have different super-powers, most of them don’t even look alike. Some don’t even look human, bearing more of similarity to animals, plants, mythological monsters or worse. But they still have a functional society, which make Inhumans the most inclusive and tolerant civilization on Earth.
Attilan, the “Great Refuge” where the Inhumans hid for thousands of years from the much more numerous and warlike human race, has moved about quite a bit. It was in the Himalayas in 1965 when a revolution forced the Royal Family to go on the lam in New York City, where they were discovered by the Fantastic Four. After Black Bolt was restored to the throne, they discovered that man’s pollution was making Earth uninhabitable for them, so they moved Attilan to the dark side of the Moon, where the Kree had left machinery 20,000 years ago that still created air in a pocket called “the Blue Area.”
Attilan has since been 1) moved to the Kree homeworld and back, 2) destroyed and 3) rebuilt. Dubbed “New Attilan,” it currently floats above the Hudson River between New York and New Jersey.
Q: Are these Inhumans connected to the Inhumans on Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.?
Australian actress Isabelle Cornish plays Crystal, and certainly looks the part.
A: Absolutely. The whole mythology is drawn from the pages of Marvel Comics, where some of the Inhumans on S.H.I.E.L.D. have appeared and where the Royal Family has been a staple since 1965.
Q: Who are members of the Royal Family?
A: I’m so glad you asked, as many will star in the TV show. They are:
* Blackagar “Black Bolt” Boltagon (Anson Mount): King, and the most powerful Inhuman ever born, as he underwent Terrigenesis in utero. His voice is so powerful that the slightest whisper can shatter mountains. Hence, he never speaks. He can assemble things from electrons in the air and augment his own strength, speed and endurance the same way. In the comics, he is no longer king.
Yes, electrons. It’s comic books. Just nod and smile.
* Medusallith “Medusa” Amaquelin Boltagon (Serinda Swan): Queen, and has powerful, prehensile hair. She was once a foe of the Fantastic Four, then a member, and now is dating Johnny “Human Torch” Storm of the Fantastic Four. (She and Black Bolt have had a falling out.) In the comics, she has abdicated and the Inhumans now hold elections.
* Crystallia “Crystal” Amaquelin Maximoff (Isabelle Cornish): Medusa’s younger sister. She has control over the elements. Dated Johnny Storm in the ‘60s, then abruptly married Pietro “Quicksilver” Maximoff, brother to the Scarlet Witch. Divorced from Quicksilver, she later married Ronan the Accuser, the Kree zealot in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” Can be quite a minx.
Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Maximus (Iwan Rheon) share a scene in Marvel’s The Inhumans. Maximus is undoubtedly trying to take over, because that’s what Maximus does.
* Agnus Magnar Maximus Boltagon (Iwan Rheon): Black Bolt’s younger brother, given to bouts of insanity that have given him the nickname Maximus the Mad. Genius intellect and come-and-go mind-control powers. Keeps trying to take over Attilan, and occasionally, if temporarily, succeeds.
* Lockjaw (CGI): A bulldog the size of a VW van with teleportation powers. When he grabs something with his jaws, nothing can make him let go. Adorable in a gigantic dog kind of way.
* Gorgon Petragon (Eme Ikwuakor): Black Bolt’s cousin, with hoof-like feet that can generate a “Sonic Stomp.” Really good at kick-fighting, too, as you’d expect.
* Karnak Mander-Azur (Ken Leung): Medusa’s cousin, a martial artist who can find the flaw in anything – people, things, systems, philosophies – and shatter it. Recent storylines indicate Karnak might not have undergone Terrigenesis and therefore earned his skills the hard way.
* Triton Mander-Azur (Mike Moh): Karnak’s older brother, one adapted to life under water.
* Agon (Micheal Buie) and Rynda (Tanya Clarke): Former king and queen, parents of Black Bolt and Maximus. Deceased.
* Auron (Sonya Balmores): Not a member of the Royal Family, but a player in the comics and now on TV. She’s in security, with “parabolic hearing,” able to locate any word she chooses wherever it is spoken.
Q. Are those all the important Inhumans?
A: No, there are several which aren’t listed as appearing in the first season of “Inhumans,” although we may see them later. For example:
* The Unspoken: A cousin of Black Bolt’s who took the throne after the death of King Agon – and was so terrible he has been erased from Inhuman history.
* Ahura Boltagon: Son of Black Bolt and Medusa, he is temperamentally more like his Uncle Maximus and has psychic powers. Not fond of his parents.
Who’s a good boy? Lockjaw’s a good boy!
* Luna Maximoff: Daughter of Crystal and Quicksilver. Named for the Moon, on which she was born. Has a variety of psychic powers. Currently attending Braddock Academy in England.
* Eldrac the Door: Turned into a giant, ornate portal by Terrigenesis, Eldrac can transport people and things to any time, place or dimension. Of course, it’s really up to him, and he doesn’t speak, so you make your request and take your chances.
* Alpha Primitives: Humans devolved into a barely sentient slave race to perform manual labor. A stain on Inhuman history.
Q: That all sounds so cool. Could I be an Inhuman?
A: Expose yourself to Terrigen Mist. If you don’t suddenly grow a cocoon, you probably shouldn’t quit your day job.
Find Captain Comics by email (firstname.lastname@example.org), on his website (captaincomics.ning.com), on Facebook (Captain Comics Round Table) or on Twitter (@CaptainComics).