The Inhumans and how they fit into the MCU
On Oct. 28, 2014, Marvel Studios officially announced their plans to produce an Inhumans movie for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Although the crowd went wild at the official Comic Con announcement, most Marvel fans actually know very little about them. Its not surprising, up until the Infinity Crisis in the early 2000s, the inhumans were just slightly more popular than Guardians of the Galaxy. Both franchises are as underground in the Marvel universe as the Sandman comics are for DC... see you have no clue who I'm talking about.
Since the mid-season finale of the second season of Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., fans have received a taste as to what an inhuman is, but the series has only begun to scratch the surface.
What is an Inhuman?
If you've been watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., then Lady Sif's over simplified explanation as to what an Inhuman is, is right on point. Tens of thousands of years ago, millions according to the comics but that's not really possible so i took some liberties there, the Kree, the blue skinned alien race Ronan, from Guardians of the Galaxy, belongs to, were, and still are, at war with another race called the Skrulls, article for another time. It just so happened (wink wink), Uranus sits directly halfway between their two territories and was the perfect location for the Kree to build a military outpost.
After examining the sentient race of hunter gatherers located on the nearby blue planet, Earth, the Kree discovered that humans had an unlimited potential for mutation given to us by the Celestials, also another article for another time.
The Kree began to experiment on the early humans by infusing them with Eternal DNA, the same race Thanos belongs too. The resulting species was the Inhumans, or Homo Inhumanis.
The Kree were attempting to create a race of super soldiers to attack the Skrull Empire and were also trying to solve a larger crisis for their species. The Kree have been evolutionarily stagnant for millions of years and have been frantically searching for a way to jump start their own evolution, before they become infertile and ultimately extinct.
For some unknown reason, the Kree abandoned their research and the military outpost. The Inhumans then began their own civilization free of Kree influence.
Types of Inhumans.
There are actually two distinct groups of Inhumans living on Earth. Those watching Agents of SHIELD have been introduced to one of those groups already, Nuhumans, (New Inhumans).
Nuhumans is a term used to describe an Inhuman with human ancestry, Homo Sapian Inhumanis. In the comics, most Nuhumans are completely oblivious to the fact that in their genetic code is the potential to become a superhuman who could pound most of the X-Men into the pavement.
In the television series, Agent Skye unwittingly discovers she is a Nuhuman when she is exposed to the Terrigen Mists, the substance required for all Inhumans to trigger their unique gifts, and gains the ability to project vibrations. Her counterpart in the comics acquired her abilities from her genetically altered father, not as the result of being an Inhuman, but her new origin story was much better than in the comics, in my opinion.
Unlike the Nuhumans, true Inhumans have never had children outside of their race. As a matter a fact, doing so is a violation of their highest laws. The Inhumans living on Attilan, their city/ nation, are seclusionists with the exception of small outposts around the world tasked with finding Nuhumans, such as the ones on Agents of SHIELD. Furthermore, generations of experimenting with the Terrigen Mists has given the Inhumans incredible abilities, but has also caused genetic defects, which lead to deformities.
As a result, Inhuman pairings and the number of children each pairing is allowed to produce is strictly governed by the Inhuman Genetics Council in an attempt to mitigate deformities and increase the potential for creating powerful Inhumans.
Although the role of the council is a point of contention for the race, thousands of years of selective breeding has made each Inhuman stronger, faster, longer living and healthier than their human and Nuhuman cousins even before undergoing terragenesis.
The only negative side effect to their program and there isolationist philosophy, is that their immune systems are extremely susceptible to the man made pollutants in the atmosphere. This has forced the Inhumans to cover their city in an protective barrier and eventually leads to moving their entire city to the moon... yes the moon.
System of government.
As much as id love to jump right into the characters we can expect to see in the MCU's Inhumans movie, id be remiss if i didn't explain this crucial part about inhuman society first, because it plays a massive role in the Inuman comics and will most likely play into the movie as well.
After tens of thousands of years of governing themselves, the Inhumans have developed a system of government that is a monarchy, communist, oligarchy with a class system all meshed together into a single system of government.
While the genetics council's power is limited to the breeding program and enforcing violations of the breeding program, the Royal family's power is limited to the defense of their nation. Essentially the king operates as the commander in chief of their armed forces and his family functions as his generals and ambassadors.
Their king is a total monarch, however all important decisions, are voted on by the citizens of Attilan as a direct democracy and can veto any royal decree if they win the vote. Seems like the perfect system of government, as long as you like the spouse you are given.
Their cast system is also far more modern than the medieval human version of it. Inhuman children, who look like regular human beings, spend their entire childhood mentally preparing themselves for terragenesis. Once they are exposed to mists at the age of 16 and become "who they are meant to be" their cast and purpose within their society is chosen based on the abilities they develop.
Inhumans who can fly or are given a destructive gift become members of the royal guard. Those with gifts fit for combat, become infantrymen and so on. Its also important to note that despite the occasional deformity or useless ability, Inhumans cherish diversity and whatever they leave the mists as is considered to be beautiful, unique and will have a purpose in their society. An unwanted mutation may spend his life as TV repairman out of obligation, but there is no poverty or homelessness and their right to vote is weighted equally regardless of class.
Now I'll break down who the Inhuman Royal Family is and we should all be excited to see them on the big screen.
King Black Bolt
Blackagar Boltagon is the King of the Inhumans. He is also listed as one of the 10 most powerful beings in the Marvel Universe.
Black Bolt is an example of everything the genetics council has strived to work toward for thousands of years. His parents, who were members of the genetics council, experimented on their unborn son by subjecting him to terragenesis while he was still his mother's womb. resulting in one of the most powerful beings their race had ever seen.
His ability in a nutshell is absorption and control of each electron in every molecule of his surrounding environment, which allows him to manipulate matter in virtually unlimited ways. He can transmute elements, by adding and removing electrons from materials, fly, increase his strength and durability, fire concussive bolts of energy, he's basically a god walking among men.
His most destructive ability of all is his voice. Black Bolt's abilities stem from an organ located in the speech center of his brain, the slightest whisper from his lips unleashes his full power, giving his voice the ability to level mountains.
This leads to one of the most interesting facts about the character, he cannot speak, which is problematic for a king. The silent king spent the majority of his childhood in a chamber designed to suppress his powers while he underwent extensive psychological training to ensure that he would never utter even the slightest sound unconsciously, such as when he sleeps or is in pain.
As a matter a fact, he was never supposed to assume the throne. Shortly after he was released from the chamber, as a young adult, the Unspoken, his uncle and the ruling monarch, stole a weapon from the inhuman people that branded him a traitor to their kind. Black Bolt faced his Uncle, who's powers were even more god like than his nephews, and defeated him. Black Bolt banished The Unspoken and assumed the throne.
Despite having to use his wife and cousins as his voice, Black Bolt is actually one of the most interesting and deeply complicated characters of all time. He is beloved by his people and feared by every leader in the known Marvel Universe. Although its only a rumor at this point, fans and Vin Diesal himself are interested in the Fast and Furious star playing the silent king.
Medusalith Amaquelin-Boltagon is Black Bolt's loving wife and queen of the Inhumans. Although many Marvel fans find it strange that they are cousins, incest is a common Inhuman practice to ensure certain abilities are inherited by future generations and does not negatively affect their gene pool in any way, because the process of terragenesis essentially rewrites their entire genetic code.
Due to Black Bolt's apocalyptic voice, Medusa often speaks for her husband and all royal decrees are communicated through her. Her devotion to her husband and his will as her king is so great that she obeyed her husband when she was ordered to lock their son in an asylum and never speak to him again, despite her own feelings.
She may be loyal, but she is not a pushover. Her strong will and temper is something all inhumans fear. Medusa's gift allows her to telekinetically manipulate and grow each strand of her hair. At first glance her powers seem to be... pretty lame, but its actually incredibly destructive.
Fighting Medusa is like fighting a man with thousand arms. she can extend each strand and use them to impale, slash or strangle her opponents. Its diamond hard thickness makes her hair virtually indestructible, and she can engulf herself with it to create a defensive cocoon.
Triton is Black Bolt's cousin and a prime example of the kind of genetic deformities the Inhuman Genetics Council tries to weed out of their gene-pool.
After seeing the outstanding results of Black Bolts terragenesis in the womb, Triton's parents exposed him to the mists when he was only a year old. His resulting mutations gave him an amphibious physiology; allowing him to breath underwater, swim at at about 45 knots per hour, lift up to 20 tons, survive the intense pressure of the ocean depths and made his eyes more sensitive to the green light spectrum, allowing to see in the pitch black of the ocean floor, but took away his ability to breath air, gave him a reptilian appearance and diminished his intelligence.
His parents eventually developed a machine allowing him to breathe on dry land, but he has to return to the water regularly or suffer symptoms of extreme dehydration.
Despite his odd way of speaking, Triton serves an integral role in the royal family as the Inhuman ambassador to their Atlantean cousins, an aquatic offshoot species of humanity.
Karnak is Triton's younger brother and the only Attilanian citizen known to have never gone through terigin mists.
After seeing what the mists did to his older brother, Karnak's parents pleaded with the genetics council make and exception fearing his mutation would be similar to Tritons. Instead Karnak was raised in the Tower of Wisdom where he essentially learned how to be a warrior monk.
Despite being the only adult Inhuman to have never undergone terrigenesis, Karnack has developed a plethora of abilities as a result of his training. He can control all of the autonomic functions in his body, such as heart beat, blood pressure and breathing. He is an expert martial artist and he has trained his body to the peak of Inhuman condition allowing him to lift up to one ton.
Karnak is also gifted with a sharp mind, which he has honed to the point that he can subconsciously detect the flaws in any opponent or structure. He is a master strategist and can even predict the future based on the information he perceives and processes.
Karnak is not just Black Bolt's cousin, he is his closest friend and most trusted royal advisor.
Gorgon is Black Bolt's cousin and serves as general to the Royal Inhuman Guard.
There is virtually no information about his past in the comic books. He is known for his temper, love of drinking and is harsh military commander who does not accept any excuses. Despite his abrasive personality, Gorgon is very loyal to his family, but believes his most sacred duty is to his people and his nation. His philosophy oftens puts him at odds with his king, but he has never disobeyed him.
Gorgon's physical mutation gives him the appearance of satyr, the legs of a goat and the torso of a man, but his true gift is his incredibly strong legs, which allow him to shatter concrete walls with a single kick and create shockwaves by stomping his hooves. At his physical peak, and under the right conditions, Gorgon can generate 9.5 magnitude earthquakes by stomping.
Crystalia Amaquelin is Medusa's younger sister and Black Bolt's Cousin. Crystal may very well be the second most powerful Inhuman and one of the most powerful Inhumans to have ever lived.
Like her sister and cousins, Crystal was exposed to the terrigen mists when she was an infant. Her physical mutation may have been unimpressive, a black circle-like pattern on her long hair, but the rest of her abilities make her one of the most powerful psychics in the world. Crystal is a pyrokinetic, hydrokinetic, aerokinetic and terrakinetic. If you've ever watched Nickelodeon's The Legend of Korra, you have an idea as to what she she can do, if you multiply Korra's destructive abilities 100 times.
Luckily, Crystal has a gentle woman with a deep respect for life, which may be as a result of her connection to the elements. Crystal doesn't simply manipulate the four elements, she is tied into them as if she is a part of the Earth. She can sense seismic activity and weather patterns similarly to how the X-Woman Storm can. She often describes the elements as if they are living things that she can have a conversation with.
Although she does not have an official title as an inhuman royal, she does fit the mold of the family rebel. Crystal has defied the genetics council on several occasions. In the comics she has dated Johnny Storm, joined the Fantastic Four against her king's wishes, dated Black Knight, eventually marries Quicksilver and gives birth to the first mutant/ Inhuman hybrid in history.
Although Lockjaw is not technically a member of the royal family they do regard him as the official consort of the royal family, aka their pet.
Lockjaw's history is a mystery. All that is known is that he is the result of a genetics council experiment. Whether he was once a person or just a dog spliced with Inhuman DNA is unknown, but he was subjected to terragenesis.
Lockjaw possess teleportation, limited human speech and his jaws are strong enough to crush steel. He is fiercely loyal to all of the royal family, but is particularly fond of crystal and her daughter.
Maximus the Mad
Maximus is Black Bolt's brother and if i was a betting man, I'd say he is most likely going to be the main antagonist of the Inhumans movie.
Maximus's gift is selective mind control. His abilities vary between being able to completely take control of someone's thoughts or simply incapacitating them by severing a mind's link to its body. When Black Bolt destroyed a Kree ship, Maximus was too close to his brother's destructive voice, the attack left Maximus brain damaged and insane.
Black Bolt, believing he was responsible for his brother's condition, had Maximus institutionalized rather than executing him for conspiring with the Kree. Black Bolt's terrible judgment whenever his brother is concerned, results in Maximus continuously attempting to usurp the throne.
Maximus, from time to time, manages to escape his prison and wreak devastation on the Inhuman population. He has kidnapped Medusa, who he is madly in love with, at least twice, freed Inhuman murderers and has actually manged to assume the the throne a few times before his big brother defeats him and puts him back in the box.
Seeing as Black Bolt eventually becomes the King of the Kree Empire in the comics, i'd be surprised if Maximus leading an army of Kree against the Inhuman Royal Family isn't the plot of the movie slated for 2018.
Children of the Royal Family
Its pretty unlikely that we will see any of the following characters in the MCU, but just in case and for the sake of a complete list of royal family members, here are their children to date in the comic books.
Ahura Boltagon is Black Bolt and Medusa's son. The crown prince of Inhumanity was born without permission from the genetics council, which would normally mean the death of the child, but being royalty has its advantages. Ahura, who was subjected to terragenesis while in his mother's womb, was born with a devastating scream similar to his father's powers. Intime Ahura learned how to control what was ultimately a psionic ability, not a molecular one like his father's, and transformed it into a kind of evil eye. basically, he can kill you by looking at you. Unfortunately he also developed psychic abilities identical to his uncle, which caused his mind to fracture and he was ultimately thrown into an insane asylum for the rest of his life.
Luna Maximoff is the child of Quicksilver and Crystal. She is the first Inhuman born on the moon, thus her name, and the first mutant/ Inhuman hybrid, Home Superior Inhumanis.
Luna was conceived without the consent the genetics council and by knowingly breeding outside of her species should have spelled serious consequences for Crystal, but yet again... its good to be royal.
Apparently mutant/ Inhuman genetics cancel each other out and Luna was born a baseline human, she didn't even inherit the enhanced strength and longevity of all inhumans. As a result, the genetics council forbade her from undergoing terragenesis. Quicksilver was outraged, believing they were denying Luna's birthright as a mutant, so he stole terragen crystals and exposed his daughter to the mist.
That act of fatherly love cost Quicksilver his marriage and got him tossed out of Attilan, but Luna was left with the ability to see peoples emotions as an aura surrounding their bodies. After mastering her powers, Luna is now a full empath capable of manipulating peoples emotions.
Alecto is Gorgon's daughter and she only briefly makes an appearance in any of the comic books. Whether her hair style is a choice or a physical mutation is unknown, but her only known ability is her pair of vestigial retractable wings, that she can retract at will, allowing her to fly.
Apparently, Alecto is a bit of a rebel herself. She fled attilan with her Alpha Primitive lover, which is a thousand times worse than sleeping with a human. Alpha Primitives are a slave race created by the Inhumans. They are bred to work and have little to know motivation to do anything else. What she did, genetically speaking, was the equivalent of sleeping with a worm in the eyes of the Inhumans.
Petras is the son of Gorgon. Even less is known about him than his sister.
Apparently Petras was an incredibly handsome young man before undergoing terragenesis. When he came out the other end, he was a four-foot-tall minotaur looking creature with a head that seemed far to large for his body and a green glow surrounding his hands.
What the extent of his powers are is unknown.
How they fit into the MCU
The Inhumans solve a huge problem for Marvel going forward. As long as 20th Century Fox keeps its vice grip on the X-Men franchise, Marvel has to come up with elaborate origin stories for random characters in the Marvelverse who are listed as mutants in the comics but don't belong to the X-Men Franchise.
Stan Lee himself has said in several interviews that the best part about having mutants in his universe is that they can just say, "they were born that way."
Incorporating the Inhumans into the MCU allows them to do just that, re-stamp any new characters as Inhumans, which is exactly what they have done on Agents of SHIELD. On this weeks episode alone they introduced two super powered characters who are Inhumans. it allows them to press forward without having to dramatically change the origins of their characters.
More importantly, i think the inhumans are a perfect fit given the events of the world today. Marvel has always been very good about reflecting societies problems in the comic books. Captain America was invented to give soldiers something to read during World War II. North Star, the first gay superhero ever, was introduced to the comics when gay rights first became a major issue.
As much as i love the X-Men, they were created as a message that its ok to be different and that discrimination is wrong during a time when discrimination was a rampant problem around the U.S. Do those issues of equality still exist today, absolutely, but as a majority of Americans are tolerant.
I feel that the Inhumans represent society far more accurately today than the X-Men do. They are a society, who like us today, embrace individuality. They struggle with issues such as population control, at what point does genetics research go to far, how to sustain a balance with natural resources, how to reduce pollution. The fact is that the themes of Inhuman comics were ahead of their time.
It also opens the doors for a slew of possible MCU movies associated with them, such as The Illuminati, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion.
The X-Men will always be popular, but this may be the time for the Inhumans comics to become as popular as Spiderman comics.
Come back soon. I will listing my top choices for Marvel Phase 4.