Who The Heck Are The Inhumans? A Non-Nerd Explainer.

The Inhumans are everywhere these days: They’re on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., on Vin Diesel’s Facebook timeline, and soon enough in their own movie. But who are the Inhumans, and how do they tie to the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe? Here’s a brief guide for non-nerds. It’ll also include a few spoilers for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., so you’ve been warned.

So I assume the Inhumans are not actually human?

No, they’re humans. They’re just humans that were genetically manipulated millions of years ago by aliens living on Uranus.

I’m going to avoid the obvious joke about Uranus and just have you tell me about the aliens.

They’re the Kree. You might know them better as “those blue guys” from Guardians of the Galaxy or “that blue guy who got his blood emptied in Coulson” on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Remember Ronan, the bad guy who didn’t do much in Guardians? He’s a Kree. They’re dicks.

So what happened?

Well, some of these cavemen formed their own society well away from the rest of humanity, founding the city of Attilan, which tends to move around a lot. They also discovered the Terrigen Mists, which depending on your genetics will either give you superpowers when you’re exposed to them or turn you into a deformed nightmare that would make the Elephant Man vomit in disgust. Everybody has to go into the Mists, though. It’s the Inhuman version of getting your driver’s license, and both Raina and Skye (or, rather, Daisy) were exposed to them in the most recent AoS episode.

Wait, so they basically play Russian roulette with their genetics?

No, according to the comics they’ve spent the last few million years following a strict eugenics program. Which is pretty weird since the guys who created the Inhumans are both Jewish and veterans of World War II. If that weren’t enough, there’s a rigid system in place where essentially you can excel mentally and physically, but if your powers best suit you to being the guy who scrubs the toilets, you are going to scrub the toilets and like it. Needless to say, as they’ve discovered that humans don’t have nearly as creepy a society, change has rocked Attilan.

So how will they be tied to the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

Quite a few ways, actually. First of all, they’re involved in both Marvel’s Earth-based superhero teams and with the cosmic end of things Guardians of the Galaxy just blew wide open in the movies. Obviously they’re not fans of the Kree, who will likely be appearing in other movies as things unfold. Thanos hates them, so that’s going to come up. And if that weren’t enough, both Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch will probably be Inhumans in Avengers: Age Of Ultron, since Marvel can’t call them mutants, and Marvel has been busy turning everybody other movie studios might try to claim for their flicks into Inhumans anyway.

Who are some of the Inhumans I should know?

There are a lot of them, but the most important ones are…

Black Bolt: King of Attilan, and somebody it is impossible to take seriously because of that tuning fork stuck in his head. Black Bolt is so powerful he literally can’t say anything; his very words can destroy planets. So he’s the strong silent type.

Medusa: Black Bolt’s cousin/wife. Yes, ew. They have a son, which is even more gross. She has superstrong prehensile hair, which would seem to be a fairly lame superpower, but was good enough to get her on the Fantastic Four for a while.

Crystal: Medusa’s sister, who controls the elements and yet is utterly useless anyway. Seriously, I read most of the ’60s Fantastic Four over and over as a kid, and until recently I had no idea she even had superpowers. She’s that ineffectual!

Her most notable personal connection is that she’s Quicksilver’s ex-wife and mother to his child, not that Pietro ever sends a child support check.

Karnak: The cousin of Black Bolt he isn’t married to, Karnak didn’t go into the Terrigen Mists. He has superpowers anyway, thanks to his martial arts training that let him find the weak point in literally anything.

Gorgon: Yet another cousin, who has bull legs and can cause earthquakes by stomping his hooves. Yeah, we’re probably not going to see him.

Lockjaw: An adorable giant dog who can teleport and whom we will definitely see, because Disney can make a plush toy out of him.

Maximus: The bad guy who wants to rule the Inhumans, although honestly, they’ve got a guy who bones his cousin and can’t talk as a king, so really, you’d think they’d view Maximus as trading up.

When will I see some Inhumans?

Their movie is scheduled for 2018, but expect to start seeing a lot more of them. Their city has been found by humans on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., and it seems unlikely we won’t start seeing at least hints of them sooner rather than later. Just, hopefully, without the whole eugenics thing. Or the “porking your cousin” thing. We could do without both.