INHUMANS: ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #2
Writer: Christopher Priest
Penciller: Phil Noto
Colorist: Phil Noto
Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino
Release Date: 9/6/17
The Inhumans have long been a staple of the Marvel universe. Finding out how these Royals came to be is something that has yet to be explored. At a time when the Inhumans are getting their own show and a major push toward the future of the Inhumans by the company, Inhumans: Once and Future Kings dives into their past and explores how they came to be in power. It was a story many fans are anxious to read, and now the plot thickens with the second issue in the series.
Plot: The second book of Inhumans: Once and Future Kings begins with the King and Kadlec the Seeker arguing over the intentions of Maximus, Black Bolt, and Medusa. Kadlec believes them to be in league with the attackers from last issue, but the King will hear none of it and sends Novice with Karnak to look for the future King, instructing Kadlec to inform them that they will be welcomed back with open arms. The story then moves to a flashback of Maximus receiving medication for his madness, reliving the death of his parents, starting to blame himself, and then blaming Blackagar for their death. Then the flashback combines with Medusa’s complaining of the smell in New York City, and the book opens with the cast of Inhumans: Once and Future Kings sitting at the coffee shop, agreeing that they cannot go back without some weapon because they humiliated the King, but Maximus says that they must wait for Black Bolt.
Inhumans: Once and Future Kings moves back and forth a lot, using flashbacks for the individual characters as a way of telling different portions of the story. The book then flashes back to when Black Bolt used his power to quell the rebellion. When they find the lone survivor, a ringleader, Maximus sends out a telepathic blast that stops his heart, but that isn’t enough for him and so he stabs him. The flashback then cuts to the present with a cop busting them for having Lockjaw off a leash. Just as she is about to write them up, Black Bolt interferes with a crane falling in the middle of New York. He flies into action and uses his vocal powers on the crane, to destroy it, while someone with a moustache looks on. The moustached man then flies down to meet Black Bolt, Maximus uses his power on the cop like a Jedi Mind Trick. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings then moves to Gorgon getting beaten down in what seems to be a fighting challenge.
Gorgon is told to yield, but he gets up, uses his hoof to knock everyone out, and then jumps on the leader, beating him until the King tells him to stop. Gorgon has earned the right to stand by the side of the King, filling in for Kadlec while he is off searching for the Sons of Agon. The King asks Gorgon if he has any idea why his cousins — Black Bolt and Maxiumus — fled. Gorgon states that he has no clue and the King tells him to believe half of what he sees and none of what he hears. The King tells Gorgon that he doubts Kadlec’s story about Medusa attacking him and believes that he was the author of his own fate with the girl. He believes Black Bolt has been led astray. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings then flashes back to the man in the moustache and the Royal Family.
The man, Bentley Wittman, leads the group to one of his labs. Elisha and Maximus argue along the way. As they arrive, Bentley hands Blackagar an inhibitor so he can speak. Maximus scans his mind and tells Bolt that Bentley is telling the truth as he believes it and Black Bolt puts it on. Black Bolt confronts him about arming the rebel uprising and threatens to take back Bentley to answer for his deeds, but Bentley tells him that it would be a poor idea with a ton of risk and begins to tell them the story of Inhumans: Once and Future Kings’ newest protagonist, Elisha.
Elisha was taught to read and those that taught him are rotting in a tower for having done so. Elisha escaped Attilan and graduated from Empire State University a decade later. He tells Black Bolt that his people are ignorant slave-drivers. The Slave Engine turns humans into Alpha Primatives. War is inevitable between the two races and Bentley will stop at nothing to protect Earth, so he asks Black Bolt if he wants to reason together? Then the book cuts to the Viceroy and Karnak traveling on the New York subway together with Viceroy demeaning Karnak every chance he gets, reminding the boy that he is nothing. As he is being demeaned and told that he’s nothing by the Seeker for not having undergone terragenesis, Karnak highlights his armor’s weakest point and launches him through a subway window, escapes onto the subway platform, and announces that he is coming for his brother. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings then flashes to scientists working on trying to communicate with an alien who just happens to be Triton.
Story: Inhumans: Once and Future Kings goes back and forth quite a bit. It isn’t distracting, as most of the storylines are easy to follow, but it would be pretty darn impossible for someone to join the series at any other point than the beginning. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings is really well written, Christopher Priest does a good job, but hopefully the storytelling is contained and they don’t venture off onto too many storylines, making Inhumans: Once and Future Kings hard to keep up with over the long haul.
The second issue of Inhumans: Once and Future Kings is well told. The explanation of why the humans had interfered with Inhuman politics was really well done. It made sense and integrated the humans in a unique and fun way. Maximus’s story in this issue felt a little out of place, but it also felt like it was put there to showcase his personality. The integration of Karnak and Gorgon was done rather seamlessly and it will be fun to watch Karnak navigate New York City in Inhumans: Once and Future Kings.
Art: Phil Noto introduces a very unique art style in Inhumans: Once and Future Kings. Much of the background are muted pastels with the foreground using definitive lines and colors, especially on the main characters. The artwork is very simple. Even the faces are relatively plain, but not without detail. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings does a very good job of incorporating distinctive features with a very passive art style.
The art works, even the fight scenes. Each page has a dedicated palette of color tones. One page can have an green effect while the next page can have a purple effect. While other colors are not excluding in these palettes, it makes for a more interesting visual effect. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings uses art to tell the story. The distinctive art styles follow along with the various storylines, allowing readers to use visual cues to recall old storylines. It’s pleasant to have a book successfully incorporate art into the narrative, Inhumans: Once and Future Kings does a great job of doing just this.
Verdict: Inhumans: Once and Future Kings is an extremely fun ride. It’s important to have a backstory for characters as historic as these. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings tells that story in a compelling and interesting way. Right now the Unspoken is anything but the villain we’re told about in the comics. It will be interesting to see how they turn him from a decent king into a despot. Inhumans: Once and Future Kings is a story that you can’t miss, but it is a story worth collecting if you’re looking to add a book to your library. — JW
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars