Charles Soule’s ‘Inhuman’ set to alter the landscape of the Marvel Universe

(CBR) Although Marvel Comics' “Inhuman” was delayed due to the a creative shift, the date of the rescheduled debut issue is fast approaching — and writer Charles Soule along with artist Joe Madureira are set to bring the age of Inhumans to the modern era. With the stage already set from the “Infinity” fallout, the Inhumans have started to feature across the Marvel Universe in a big way, and it's clear that both Soule and Madureira will have a lot of story to play with once the series debuts in April.
Charles Soule, alongside Marvel senior editor Nick Lowe, shed a little light on the upcoming series during a press conference call, which highlighted some of the new developments it brings to the Marvel Universe and what to expect from the aftermath of the massive terrigenesis. CBR is on hand LIVE, so stick around for up-to-the-minute developments.
After introductions by Marvel PR guru Christopher D'Lando, the call kicked off with an, which focuses in on the Inhuman royal family, now at the forefront of the Marvel U. Soule said that writing the series was like writing mythology, given their involvement in previous cosmic events and the royal aspect of the characters.
“The Inhumans have typically been seen in that vein, as a royal family that appears in big Marvel cosmic events, and this lets us do a lot more with the concept,” he said. “The idea that you're an ordinary person until you're exposed to this catalyst … it lets me play with both sides of the equation. Soule said he planned to deal with a “street-level” view as well as the royal view of the Inhumans.
Joe Madureira is doing “incredible work,” according to Soule. “I think Joe Mad is one of the best concept design guys in the business,” he said. “Being the writer working with him on this project still blows my mind that I get to do some of this stuff.”
Lowe said that Madureira doesn't draw just anything, and it has to be a special project. Marvel's next big focus will be the Inhumans, according to Lowe. “This isn't Charles' first Marvel work, but it's probably the biggest one to date. You're going to see a lot more coming from him,” he said. “The Inhumans are really big for us as a company.”
Medusa came out of both “Infinity” and “Inhumanity” with some major losses — including her whole kingdom and her husband, Black Bolt. At the start of “Inhuman,” the character is essentially a “queen in exile” according to Soule. “A large portion of the population of Attilan has vanished, and there are all these new threats that are popping up,” he said. “She is trying to pull together whatever little pieces of Attilan she can, find her husband Black Bolt and find out why the heck he released the Terrigen mists … she's got a lot on her plate. She's dealing with it with great skill and aplomb, [but it's difficult].”
The focus of the book is the “amplify the characters as superheroes,” but also as people on a very personal level, according to Lowe, which is somewhat epitomized by the approach to Medusa — especially as relates to her powers.. “Some of the coolest parts of this book are going to see Charles and Joe play with her power set,” said Lowe. “I don't think people are going to know what hit them when they read this book and see how cool she is.”
The new antagonist of the book is Lash, a hidden Inhuman that was unknown to the royal family. He lives in a city showcased in “Infinity” where Thane was revealed, and Soule has done a lot of development on the society, describing Terrigenesis as a “sacrament” previously on the planet. Now that anybody can become an Inhuman, Lash sees that as blasphemy. His powers allow him to change one form of energy into another. He travels around the world believing that Black Bolt was wrong to release the mists. Lowe described him as a “certified badass.”
There will be plenty of other new players, including Inferno — the character on the cover of “Inhuman” #1 — who has fire-based powers, but “he has no control over them. When he uses them, he's using the substance of his own body to generate the flame,” according to Soule. “Not to mention you can't live your life like that. He's forcibly inducted into Inhuman society from day one.” Many other characters will pop up, including a character that Lowe particularly likes: Reader, another Inhuman whose ability is to make anything he reads real. “If he reads the word fire, everything catches on fire,” Soule said. The society in which he lived blinded him, and the way he fights is to read words in braille. “He's super cool, he's like one of those blind samurais from the old movies. His story is to wander the Earth and look for new Inhumans,” he said.
“Half the point of us doing this was to develop new characters and a new side of the Marvel Universe that you haven't seen,” said Lowe, noting that he hoped there would be new characters from all around that world that could be “new Peter Parkers and new Reed Richards.” “People are going to be amazed by what these characters look like and what they're about. … We're opening up a whole new side of the Marvel Universe that we're so excited about.”
Since a lot of these characters are new, their destinies are pretty open which enables a new type of storytelling. “It's going to broaden the scope,” said Soule, and Lowe added that fans “won't be able to see” what he has coming.
Soule is bringing back a character he created called Lineage, who appeared in “Thunderbolts,” whose line of ancestry is present in his own body. “The way that works in practice is he has access to all the line of Inhuman knowledge from 40,000 years back. He's a one-man faction.” Other factions will also appear, including an old corporate-like entity that's been run by an Inhuman for generations. The head of the corporation has a very specific power set, and for the first time, someone with those powers has not appeared. “They're hoping to find a new head of their group in the new Inhumans that are popping up,” said Soule.
The biggest faction of all, though, is the new crop of Inhumans from Black Bolt's mass terrigenesis. “They're really the strongest power base,” said Soule. “It's all these groups bumping up against each other.”
Part of why the Inhumans played a big role in “Infinity” is due to the massive plans that Marvel has had for the group for a long time. “In 'Uncanny X-Men' #15, you saw AIM is collecting Inhumans. That's going to play a big role in 'Inhuman' and in X-Men,” said Lowe. “Once this first six issues come out, that's really going to be setting the board — who the Inhumans are and how they work — that's where we're going to see how they interact with these other characters.”
Madureira will take on art for “Inhuman” #1-3, after which another mystery artist will come onto the book, who Lowe said was excited to work with Madureira and Soule.
The Inhuman character that popped up around “Inhumanity” will also have the opportunity to show up, and as far as Soule is concerned, “everybody is on the board.” “My plans is to use every one of these thousands of Inhumans over the 600 issues this will run,” Soule joked.
In terms of bringing back some of the old scattered Inhumans, Soule said it was on Medusa's massive to-do list. “They're still her responsibility, but you'll see at the start of the series that things are dire,” said Soule. “Once things get a little more established, she can deal with that.”
Soule couldn't say much about Black Bolt's role — but he said it's likely the series will address most of the questions about him.
This is one of many comics that Soule is writing, and he said that “Inhuman” is more like a chess game series than any other book he's writing. “It's about long-range planning, it's about new character creation, it's about really trying to build to things,” Soule said. “It's not like it's going to be 15 issue arcs, but there will be big beats that I get to build to over time. I think the scope of this one where I'm essentially creating a new world … is something that is really fun and really refreshing.”
There will be appearances from other Marvel heroes and villains “that are based other places than the United States,” and Captain America appears in the first issue.
Much like the X-Men, public perception will play a role in “Inhuman.” “Mutants generally appear at a fairly predictable point in their life,” said Soule. “Terrigenesis, you could be 90 years old and realize you're Inhuman and your life could change. Not everybody sees it in the same way, and others see it as a possibility to see their life change.”
The book has a pretty large cast, and the focus will be “constantly evolving.” Soule likened the book to “Game of Thrones.” Hero focus will be on the royal family and a group of InHumans, while the villains will rotate. “Medusa is the axel on which the rest of the story turns, but the spokes leading off her lead to some interesting places,” he said.
“Inhuman” #1 launches April 2.