What I've normally liked about Marvel's various outer-space comics is that they're wildly unpredictable. Half the cast gets killed off in the blink of an eye, with surprise villains, twists, and turns everywhere. So when "Realm of Kings: Inhumans" has settled into a predictable plotline, it can't help but be a tiny bit disappointing.
It's not a bad comic, but Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning's script is going exactly where you'd suspect it would. Medusa is still relishing her role as Queen of the Kree, Crystal and Ronan's romance is starting to get nauseatingly sweet, the Black Bolt-related cliffhanger from the previous issue is resolved exactly as you'd expect, and the surprise bad guy isn't much of a surprise at all.
The one plus that Abnett and Lanning bring to the book is that while you see the events of this issue coming a mile (or should that be a month?) away, it's still told well. So the journey might be going over overly familiar territory, but it's at least semi-entertaining the process. Still, things need to be kicked up several notches in the remaining two issues, because what started out promising is threatening to end up boring instead.
Wellinton Alves (who drew the "War of Kings: Ascension" mini-series last year) steps in to pinch-hit the pencils this month, and he does a solid job. His pencils are more and more reminding me of artists like Alan Davis these days; his opening pages of Gorgon attacking Kree war machines actually had me double-checking the credits page to make sure it wasn't Davis, and Medusa looks fairly lovely and regal even as she strides around an Inhumans control room. It's a huge jump forward from his "Ascension" work last year, and if Marvel hasn't signed him to an ongoing series yet they need to do so. I can only imagine what his art is going to look like in another year, at this rate of improvement.
"Realm of Kings: Inhumans" was the title that I had the highest hopes for in "Realm of Kings" and it's the one that is starting to disappoint. Let's have more political maneuvering and less standard super-hero drama, please.