Death of The Inhumans #1

Writer: Donny Cates
Artist: Ariel Olivetti
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Artist: Kaare Andrews
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Review by Nico Sprezzatura

Lockjaw better not be dead. Lockjaw better not be fucking dead. That’s my review of Death of The Inhumans #1! Goodnight!

Alright, I’ll backtrack a bit…

After a non-starter attempt to raise their profile in comics, this week’s (ominously titled) Death of The Inhumans #1 is the start of a limited series that’s shaping up to be the franchise’s death knell… of a sort. While Marvel isn’t likely to get rid of all the Inhumans outright—not when Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl are among them, anyway— this issue doesn’t make a very compelling case otherwise.

If you haven’t been reading any Inhumans titles recently, and statistics suggest you probably haven’t, then here’s the gist: after losing their war against the X-Men (it’s a long story) and heading off back into space, it seems like someone by the name of Vox has really got it out for the Inhuman race as a whole. Naturally, the Royal Family takes it upon themselves to save their kind, or face likely extinction.

As someone who actually enjoys the Inhumans as characters, but not necessarily been a fan of Marvel’s push for them in recent years, I struggled with Death of The Inhumans #1. Not that I was expecting it to be a joyful celebration of their legacy or anything, but this book already feels more punishing than diverting.

I’m not even saying that because of Lockjaw’s unfavorable fate, which is left a cliffhanger at the end of the issue, but it’s just so bleak. Everybody’s miserable, even the reunited supercouple of Black Bolt and Medusa. Of all people, you would think they’re the ones who have something to be happy about, but our glimpses of their interaction here don’t indicate as much.

In general, it seems like a lot of recent developments regarding the Inhumans have either been ignored or forgotten.  For example, did you know Gorgon straight-up died and came back to life not so long ago? It’s not referenced at all here, which is weird considering the stakes at play. That’s only one instance that comes to mind.

Donny Cates is a rising name at Marvel at the moment, but I’m not sure I’d regard Death of The Inhumans as emblematic of what he can do in the Marvel sandbox. I haven’t read his well-received Thanos run, but I did check out his Doctor Strange (pre-Waid) and enjoyed it. To be fair, a premise like kind of seems like an unwinnable task, and someone had to be saddled with it. It’s possible that it’ll improve (and maybe even subvert expectations) moving forward, but that’s tough to say.

I also have really mixed views on the art, handled here by Ariel Olivetti and Jordie Bellaire. While I’m usually a fan of both their work, I don’t think they’re a great match for one another. Olivetti, who usually draws and colors his stuff, specializes in grandiose, heavy art, while Bellaire’s colors are a bit muted and somewhat flat.

Though they’re both great creators in their own ways, I think their collaboration here never quite lands for me. I assume Olivetti is working with an outside colorist to help keep the book’s production on time, but I kind of wish I could see what a full-Olivetti Death of The Inhumans looks like.

The Verdict: Wait and see.

While it could shape up into something poignant, Death of the Inhumans #1 is a bit too dark to find much enjoyment in — unless you really hate them.

Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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