We’re continuing our series on The Inhumans today with Karnak Mandur Azur, chief counselor to Medusa. While we’re a long way away from Ken Leung’s portrayal of the master puzzle solver and martial arts expert, the character of Karnak has a long and varied history beginning with the origins of the Marvel Universe itself. From being a core member of the Inhumans to getting his own solo series in 2015 to remaining behind while the Inhumans leave earth in Marvel’s Royals series, one of the smartest men in Attlian is a notable character and a fascinating addition to the MCU at large.
Who is Karnak however? What powers does he possess? What is he capable of and where can we expect to see him head in the MCU? Let’s take a look.
Karnak “sees the flaws” in things
Karnak’s first appearance in Fantastic Four #45 makes him one of the founding members of the Marvel continuity as it currently stands. While he’s undergone many changes and had multiple runs through various comic writers, we’re choosing to focus on his most recent story beginning with Matt Fraction. Karnak is the narrator of Inhumanity #1, a choice made by powerhouse comics author Matt Fraction.
I needed somebody who could put puzzles together. He sees the flaws in things. I needed the rest of the cast to put together what the hell Black Bolt and Maximus were up to. It’s a way for everyone to puzzle it out with Karnak as he’s putting it together. It’s a way we can get into the story that’s informative but sort of backwards.
This is an obvious choice. Karnak has never been exposed to the terrigen mists, therefore he doesn’t have any different or odd abilities or disfigurements like the rest of the inhumans. Instead he sees the flaws in humanity naturally and has an instinctual gift for puzzles. He literally sees the flaws in everything from his opponents moves on everything from a micro to a macro scale to death itself.
Yes, author Charles Soule brought Karnak back from death to continue helping the inhuman family.
Karnak is just such a unique, weird (in a good way) character. His power is the ability to see weakness and stress points in anything around him, which he then exploits either physically through his amazing kung fu-esque fighting skills, or mentally/strategically in his role as one of Queen Medusa’s chief counselors. He tends to have a fascinating perspective on events, and adding his voice back into the mix of the “Inhuman” cast will open up some great new possibilities.
Brother of Triton, Karnak’s parents were so horrified by the extreme mutations of his brother Triton (played by Mike Moh in the series) that they begged that Karnak be allowed to live his life without using the terrigen mists. He was instead sent to a monestary called The Tower of Wisdom where his natural powers of perception were enhanced to the point that he could return from death itself.
Karnak and The Marvel Universe
Karnak’s loyalty first and foremost is to the inhumans themselves. Much like Medusa, he’s spent the past few years helping to round up and train anyone with nuhuman philosophy who were revealed by Black Bolt’s Terrigen bomb. Serving with distinction in the Kree Skrull War, Karnak counts among his allies people like The Thing, Human Torch, and Black Panther himself. He’s served with the Avengers and took the inhuman Ulysseus side during the second Civil War event in Marvel comics.
However, Karnak’s loyalty first and foremost is to his brother and sister inhumans. While he teams up with people like daredevil to work against maximus and has fought on the side of earth, he dose not forego his inhumanity. It’s a mark of respect that he plans on remaining behind during the brand new Secret Warriors storyline to advise characters like Daisy Johnson and Kamala Khan.
He currently has a solo series, Karnak written by famous comic book writer Warren Ellis. When asked what drew him to the series Ellis offered a number of points about what makes Karnak such an intriguing character.
he’s not an Inhuman. He never took the mutagenic terrigen mists like the other Inhumans. He’s a dementedly intense philosopher who can see the flaw in anything — objects, systems, ideas, people — and strike that flaw in order to destroy it.
His parents refused to allow him to become an Inhuman, and instead he studied at the Tower Of Wisdom until his natural powers of perception became so phenomenally strong that he could annihilate anything by touching it. He is the Inhuman who made himself inhuman by sheer force of will. He extends the work of the Tower Of Wisdom by both teaching and extending aid to people damaged (as he sees it) by the Terrigen mists that cause Inhumanity. It was all right there. In this new Marvel Universe situation, where all kinds of people have been mutated by Terrigen, there’s an endless number of plot launches there
What can we Expect in The Inhumans, and what do we hope to see?
Ken Leung’s performances are varied and nuanced which makes his casting as Karnak perfect. Seeing how Karnak reacts to Mike Moh’s Triton and the “Extreme inhumanity” will be fascinating. A philosopher who can see the flaw in all things will be a perfect catalyst to awesome inhuman behavior.
Karnak’s comics deal with the intensity of the way he thinks, and seeing how that reacts with inhumanity’s first real contact with humans will also be fascinating. Seeing someone who isn’t technically an inhuman interact with humans will also be interesting. Will he continue to think that inhumans are superior or will he be a means for some humanity to break through? Most likely not. Still his appearance offers many varied possibilities.
That’s Karnak. A powerful character with a fascinating history. Are you as excited as we are to see him in The Inhumans? Tell us what you think in the comments below.
The Inhumans is set to premiere September 26th 2017 in IMAX with it’s first 2 episodes. The rest will follow tuesdays on ABC.