Soule Plots a Return of the Kings in "Inhuman"

Fri, September 5th, 2014 at 5:58am PDT

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Dave Richards, Staff Writer
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Like nearby New York City, the Hudson River of the Marvel Universe is full of breathtaking sights, including Ellis Island, Liberty Island and now, New Attilan, the home of Queen Medusa and her people, an ancient race of evolved super-powered beings. The newly-formed island city is home to both older Inhumans and Nuhumans, a name given to those Inhumans whose dormant genetic traits and superpowers were activated when former Inhuman king Black Bolt detonated a bomb, releasing a cloud of transformative mist into Earth's atmosphere.

RELATED: Soule Shepherds Marvel To The "Inhuman" Age

Between chronicling the "Death of Wolverine" and signing Marvel-exclusive contracts, "Inhuman," writer Charles Soule has been chronicling how Medusa and her people of New Attilan, and Inhumans across the globe, have dealt with the aftermath of the Terrigen Bomb's explosion. It's been a turbulent struggle, filled with revelations about why Black Bolt released the mist, the discovery of a number of Nuhumans and an encounter with Thor. Soule expands upon these event along with his plans for the series, which includes arcs dealing with the return of two former Inhuman kings -- the tyrannical, deposed monarch known as the Unspoken, and Black Bolt, who has not been seen by his people since before this series launched.

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CBR News: Lt's start with the big revelation of "Inhuman" #3, that the reason Black Bolt detonated the Terrigen Bomb was because he needed an army to deal with a looming threat. From what the Nuhuman known as Lineage says, it sounds like this is some sort of cosmic menace. Can you offer up any hints or comments about this looming menace?

EXCLUSIVE ART: Black Bolt and the Unspoken return in "Inhuman," further complicating Medusa's life

Charles Soule: You're right about the cosmic part, but I think it's a little early to start talking about the big threat in any detail -- we're a ways out, yet. Mostly, I wanted to stake a claim early, and tell readers that I have a plan. I know where everything's going, and I'm going to be building to that, not just in this title, but every corner of the Marvel Universe touched by Inhumans. And since Inhumans are everywhere now --

When I was building up the ideas for the series, I came across one sentence in my research that sparked an idea -- the kind of thing that could blow the entire Inhumans concept wide open, turn it on its head, pick your metaphor. The whole big endgame for this storyline popped into my head from that one sentence, and I've been running with it ever since.

According to Lineage, the Inhumans will need to have certain traits at their disposal when that endgame begins. Does this mean certain Nuhumans and missing Inhumans will be more valuable in the coming struggle than the others?

I would say that is accurate. Of course, plans can go awry. The truth is that Black Bolt knew basically what's coming, but he wasn't sure of every last detail. So he wanted to be as prepared as possible -- he wants as many tools in the toolbox as he can get. Of course, whether that was the right call, or whether it will work out even remotely in the way he thinks it will remains to be seen.

Lineage's prophecy made him an important character in the initial arc of "Inhuman," but the Nuhuman we got to learn the most about was Dante, AKA Inferno, who seemed like readers' POV character for this initial arc. Will we continue to spend time with Dante in the next story? Or will some of the other Nuhmans step into the spotlight?

The Nuhuman cast (and just the cast in general) is expanding rapidly. We met another newly born Inhuman in Issue #4, we'll meet another in Issue #5, etc. The idea is to bring in new concepts, characters and situations. Just because I show you someone doesn't mean they'll stick around very long, or that they'll stay how they are when they're first presented. I'm trying to do something that plays with superhero conventions a bit, and having a largely new cast lets me do that.

So, to answer your question, Inferno remains a big part of the cast, but Jason (who will get his Inhuman name very soon) will play a part, as well as other sweet new characters like Iso, Reader, Naja, Aura, Nur --

Reader made his debut in "Inhuman" #4, and he appeared to be a very powerful and mysterious character. What else can you tell us about Reader and his Inhuman abilities?

Reader -- love that guy. He's an Inhuman, but he's been around for a little while. He's sort of my Mad Max character. He wanders the world getting into adventures. He's also blind, and that ties into his power set in a neat way. Anything he reads becomes real, but his Inhuman community freaked out when he was a kid and put his eyes out, not wanting to deal with it. So he's learned to manifest his powers through Braille. He has a ring of little tin sheets on his belt, each stamped with a different word. When he "reads" one -- boom. Or whoosh. Or kzzak, depending on the word he chooses. He also has a great seeing-eye dog named Forey, which is short for Four-Eyes, the reason for which becomes apparent in the issue.

Ryan Stegman's "Inhuman" art

Reader's great, and he's emblematic of the care Joe Madureira, Ryan Stegman and I are putting into populating this new corner of the MU with interesting people.

"Inhuman" #4 also featured Thor, an established Marvel character who certainly has some empathy with the Inhumans and their situation on new Attilan, given what happened to his people.

I absolutely acknowledge the fact that Thor might have a specific point of view towards the Inhumans based on his own experiences bringing Asgardians to Earth. The Thor scenes in #4 were a blast to write, and I know Ryan Stegman enjoyed getting to draw the God of Thunder. For me, it was partly about making sure the Inhumans, and their specific presence and role in the MU, was highlighted a bit. They have a huge new island right off the edge of Manhattan, after all. People are going to be wondering what they'll do next.

Ryan made his "Inhuman" debut with issue #4, and I know from talking with him in the past, he loves drawing strange and weird characters. Seems like "Inhuman" would be right up his alley.

Yes, Ryan brings a lot of enthusiasm to the book, which is such a nice thing. Ryan is into this book -- we both are -- and that's a fun thing. Plus, he's from Michigan, where I grew up for a while, so we have all kinds of weird Michigander things in common. I liked Ryan immensely and hope he's on "Inhuman" for a long time to come.

"Inhuman" #5 kicks off a new story arc involving the return of the deposed and tyrannical former Inhuman monarch, the Unspoken. What do you find most interesting about the Unspoken as an antagonist?

I think the "royals" aspect of the Inhuman story is one of the coolest things about it. The idea that you have this incredibly powerful group of people who are ruled is neat to me. And, of course, the Unspoken was that ruler before Black Bolt. He screwed up and was deposed, and now he's trying to worm his way back into power now that Black Bolt has vanished.

At the end of #4, we learn that the Unspoken's latest plot involves a marriage proposal to Medusa. What else can you tell us about his scheme to gain control of the Inhumans?

Well, Medusa is running New Attilan while Black Bolt's--wherever he is. So the Unspoken sees an opportunity. He thinks that perhaps she's weak, and he can find a way to take control over what remains of the broken Inhuman nation and twist it to his own ends. Of course, Medusa is not weak, and so he'll have one hell of a challenge on his hands.

It's a fun arc -- intrigue, cool powers, getting the Nuhumans involved, giving Lineage a few great beats -- I dig it.

EXCLUSIVE ART: Soule plans to add a number of new characters to the Marvel U in the pages of "Inhuman"

The Unspoken story runs through "Inhuman" #6, and "Inhuman" #7 is a story that brings the Boltagon brothers, Maximus and Black Bolt, to the book. What's your sense of these characters, given all they went through together in "Infinity" and "New Avengers?"

The idea here is to bring two of the Inhuman flagship characters back into the mix, and to explain, in a way, where they've been the whole time. I mean, Medusa's sort of been out in the wind here -- but we've seen Black Bolt in "New Avengers," so we know he's not dead. The point of these issues is to fill in those blanks, and tell a cool, creepy Maximus story at the same time. I see Maximus as what I call a "charming maniac." He's fun -- you'd love to go out drinking with him. The question is whether you'd survive the night.

Artist Pepe Larraz is drawing #7-8, and his body of work includes a wide variety of titles and characters, from Thor and the X-Men to Deadpool.

From what I've seen so far, he has a great sense of atmosphere. This is a pretty dark story, both literally and figuratively, and the pages have lots of shadows and heavy blacks -- appropriate for a story about two brothers working through some serious issues.

Finally what can you offer up about your plans for "Inhuman" for the remainder of the year? Medusa appears to a big player in "Avengers & X-Men: AXIS," so will you be tying into that event?

After our two-part Black Bolt story, we have a very cool story with Ryan Stegman back on art duties that revolves around the introduction of another new faction of hidden Inhumans called Ennilux. It's basically an ancient clan of Inhumans that's been pulling strings from behind the scenes for hundreds of years, influencing human history in all sorts of ways. They're very cool, and they'll tie into the larger story in an interesting way. These two issues also tie in with the big "AXIS" event, so we'll see some interesting fallout in this title. Medusa is utterly, ridiculously tough here. There's a moment in #9 that I cannot wait to see drawn.

"Inhuman" a really fun series, which is trying to do some new, interesting things with superhero storytelling. The scope is global, the impact on the Marvel U is significant, and anything can happen. I mean it. I'm putting in weird left turns all over the place. With the double-shipping in August and September, we'll have as many issues out as would have been released if the book had hit monthly from April.

Mostly, "Inhuman" can surprise you, all the time, and who doesn't want that?

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TAGS:  marvel comics, inhuman, charles soule, ryan stegman

 
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