Marvel’s Next Big Thing – Matt Fraction Discusses Inhumanity

Marvel announced a conference call tonight with writer Matt Fraction and editor Nick Lowe, to discuss the upcoming ‘Inhumanity’ which will target the Marvel Universe later this year. Following Inhumanity #1 by Fraction and artist Oliver Coipel in December, the story will be followed next year with Inhuman #1 from Fraction and Joe Madureira, an ongoing series focusing on the Lunar Royals.

Read on for what the pair had to say about this new turning point in the Marvel Universe, starting with this teaser which pitches the series:

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As a first thing, Fraction talked about the general idea of the one-shot, and the following storyline. This is all very heavily tied-in to the current Infinity event by Jonathan Hickman – issue #3 of the event ended with the initial set-up for Inhumanity. But issue #4 also appeared to be a big part of Fraction’s future storylines with the characters, and a lot of the premise of Inhumanity isn’t being revealed until that issue is released.

The central focus of the one shot ‘Inhumanity’ will be Karnak, one of the Inhumans, as the characters try to work out what happened at the end of Infinity #3, when their home Attilan was destroyed. Fraction called them “space nomads”, who travel around the galaxy with their home – and now that home has been destroyed. An important part of this will be the destruction of Attilan, as it speaks to the long, bloody history of the Inhumans and their legacy.

inh

As well as being now homeless, the characters will also find they now have nowhere to go. As the above teaser suggests, people around the World will wake up to find that they’ve transformed and have become Inhumans themselves. A lot of the ongoing series will be based in that idea, with a ground-level approach to becoming an Inhuman, and what it means. He dubbed this “a super-humanitarian crisis”, which is pretty great.

Many conflicting voices will come into being once Inhumans start appearing, with some wanting to hurt them, some to help them – Marvel emphasised the idea of superheroes needing help. New characters will be created, with Fraction likening the first issue to when the Ultimate Universe was established. He’ll get to create new characters, power-sets, relationships, and so on.

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Art by Nick Bradshaw

When it came to press questions, I asked how they feel this idea of being an Inhuman compares to the idea of being an X-Men – especially for new readers. This was a bit of a difficult question to answer, it appeared, with Infinity #4 apparently revealing a lot of this detail. Axel Alonso spoke on this, saying that he couldn’t spoil Infinity #4, but he felt a large part of the differentiation would come from the legacy and past of the Inhumans. This was a pretty lengthy, interesting answer, actually.

He said that the history of the Inhumans is much different to the history of the X-Men, and mutantkind. The Inhumans were a failed experiment to redefine and improve humanity, and the characters have spent much of their history on the run, moving from place to place. They have a different legacy and ancestry, in other words – this isn’t like the X-Men, where anybody can suddenly become a mutant, but it doesn’t affect their past. If you find out you are an Inhuman, then you’ve just inherited a specific ancestral history you have to deal with.

We’ll have to see how Infinity #4 addresses this, and what new wrinkles it adds to define the Inhumans apart from the X-Men – but I thought Alonso gave a fair, considered response, given that he couldn’t spoil Jonathan Hickman’s current story.

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Art by Skottie Young

Elsewhere, press questions asked about how other heroes will react to the Inhumans – which will be dealt with largely in tie-ins, which include Avengers AI, Avengers Assemble, Uncanny X-Men, and Incredible Hulk. There will also be an as-yet unannounced one-shot from Fraction which ties into this new status quo.

Characters including Karnak and Maximus were asked about, as well as the three Inhumans who have appeared in Fraction’s FF series. Of these, he said that Karnak will be the focus of the Inhumanity one-shot, whilst Black Bolt and Medusa’s son Ahura would have an important role in the main series. Black Bolt’s four other wives will also make an appearance, appearing mainly to help accentuate the idea of otherworldliness which is important in Fraction’s view of the Inhumans as a race.

So it was an interesting call, although a lot now seems to rest on Infinity #4, and what Jonathan Hickman has up his sleeve. The idea of legacy was touched on several times, as well as the specific history of the Inhumans, and the idea of this being a sprawling, multi-character storyline.

Inhumanity #1 will be released in December. Inhumans starts January 2014.

Comments

  1. Already starting to feel a bit of event whiplash from Marvel. Beginning to look back nostalgically on that time between Phase One of Marvel Now and Age of Ultron.

    I’m old.

  2. halapeno says:

    Inhumanity = bid to make Inhumans film-worthy (see: Guardians of the Galaxy).

  3. “As the above teaser suggests, people around the World will wake up to find that they’ve transformed and have become Inhumans themselves. A lot of the ongoing series will be based in that idea, with a ground-level approach to becoming an Inhuman, and what it means.”

    Marvel has been stressing that this won’t be like X-Men since the moment they started promoting the Inhumans, but it’s becoming hard to keep an open mind. This just sounds completely like mutants.

    The very thing that make the Inhumans interesting is that they’re this reclusive society with very strict traditions–the most important one being that they deliberately expose themselves to the mists that turn them into what other people would call freaks.

    I don’t care if your ancestors were Inhuman. If you “wake up to find you’ve transformed”? You’re a cheap imitation of a mutant.

  4. halapeno says:

    @ Niels – I agree completely. What’s hilarious is that if you try to flip the argument on Marvel and suggest that the Inhumans concept is too different, well take a look at what Tom Brevoort said in response to the following:

    “I find the Inhumans a little hard to accept as superheroes (They work wonderfully in the weird cosmic sci-fi role, though.). They’re a society of incestuous, inbred recluses who practice eugenics and only abolished slavery a few years ago, ruled by a polygamist. Don’t you think that sort of stuff is a little alienating for them be superheroes?”

    Brevoort: “You’re right, they DO sound like the X-Men!”

    And this is in response to a reader describing the pre-Inhumanity set-up which genuinely was different from their new “People are going to wake up transformed but this isn’t like X-Men.” approach.

  5. It doesn’t sound amazing, but I’m willing to wait and see if it’s just an X-Men rip off.

  6. Synsidar says:

    As a way of creating new paranormals, exposing people to the Terrigen Mist might not be terrible, but it’s certainly not inspired. What happens to the people who don’t want to be Inhumans? Given how scientists in the M.U. are manipulating genes to bestow or take away powers (blame or thank Bendis for that), reversing the transformations should be doable–and many people couldn’t handle the transformations. From a storytelling standpoint, it’s much easier to write about transforming people who want to be transformed.

    SRS

  7. Johnny Memeonic says:

    This theory is a little on the conspiracy side, but I can’t help but wonder if the Inhumans are being taken in a very obviously X-men direction for the purpose of Marvel Studios.

    They don’t expect to get those X-men film rights back for like a billion years, right? Simplest solution is to just turn another property that they DO own into the X-men.

  8. Synsidar – wouldn’t it be a better story that it DID feature characters who didn’t want to be Inhuman? Inherent conflict and drama right there, and more diversity in the viewpoints and characterisation as a result

  9. I dunno if this idea that the Inhumans can be subbed in for the X-Men makes much sense. It’s easy enough to give someone superpowers, and what makes the X-Men popular isn’t simply that they were born with their powers.

  10. Anyone who says that the Inhumans are being made into the X-Men is way off base.

    Sounds more like Bloodlines. :)

  11. Synsidar says:

    Synsidar – wouldn’t it be a better story that it DID feature characters who didn’t want to be Inhuman? Inherent conflict and drama right there, and more diversity in the viewpoints and characterisation as a result.

    I’d compare the situation to, say, a story that has some sleeper agents awakened. Their lives might be turned upside down by being activated–a few could even revolt and die for doing so–but the situation is pretty straightforward. Enough will be loyal for the plot to advance, obviously, or the writer could just use one who’s loyal from the start.

    Being changed into paranormals is comic bookish stuff in a negative sense, unless a lot of attention is paid to details, including the likelihood that many people who are transformed will hate having their lives turned upside down. Finding out that they have Inhuman genes wouldn’t change that; a typical reaction would be “Screw you and your fancy genes! I was happy as Johnny Doe and I want to go back to being Johnny Doe!” Forcing the people who are transformed to stay transformed creates messy complications and logic problems and highlights the obvious: that they won’t have anything to do with their powers unless they use them to fight.

    If the reason for the transformation is only to create new paranormals who look neat and have neat powers, then using the Inhumans as a mechanism is unnecessarily complicated and won’t attract readers who have been disappointed by Inhumans stories before. I won’t be buying the series. BTW, the current Marvel approach to basing powers on gene manipulation means that Bruce Banner could stop becoming the Hulk any time he wishes. The same could be said of any biologically transformed paranormal who wants to be normal again.

    SRS

  12. It’s the House of M but reversed. Instead of a whole bunch of Mutants suddenly becoming human, its a whole bunch of humans suddenly becoming Mut..uh..INHUMANS. So they thinned out Mutants cause there was “too many” and now they are over populating the earth with Inhumans

  13. Synsidar says:

    One big reason I won’t be following INHUMANITY is Maximus. He, the old Loki, and characters like them shouldn’t exist. The only reason, with rare exceptions, that they do exist is to cause trouble, giving a writer a pretext for a story when he can’t think of anything else.

    As it is, in INFINITY, Thanos is looking for a son he had in order to kill him–but he already killed a son of his in AVENGERS: CELESTIAL QUEST. They couldn’t think of anything else for story material?!

    SRS

  14. Dan Ahn says:

    Synsidar: Maybe you don’t realize this since your calendar still says 1980 and only things that Jim Stalin wrote count as continuity for you, but Thanos has been shown to have had MANY children by now.

    Regarding the Inhumans movie, I don’t know if it’s Marvel trying to find a “replacement X-Men” in its main film franchise conglomeration. Rather, I think that they basically see the potential to make Inhumans bigger in that movie universe simply because X-Men isn’t available to them there. If X-Men is off the table for them, it leaves a void in the universe that the Inhumans can fill. Doesn’t mean the Inhumans are going to open up a school, or that MLK/Malcolm X parallels and giant government sponsored robots are in the offing. But: a ancient secret group of super powered beings? Yeah, without the X-Men there, that concept can work fairly well for a dumbed-down/simplified movie-verse.

    And, yeah, I think this is obviously being done to test out the concepts in preparation for an Inhumans movie several years from now.

    But really, maybe it’s just me, but I never saw any incarnation of the Inhumans as all that interesting. They’re okay cameo characters, I guess. Between the New Gods, the Eternals, and the Inhumans (“whoa man, Kirby had so many different ideas…”), the Inhumans are definitely the least exciting and original.

  15. Synsidar says:

    Synsidar: Maybe you don’t realize this since your calendar still says 1980 and only things that Jim Stalin wrote count as continuity for you, but Thanos has been shown to have had MANY children by now.

    Prior to THANOS RISING, Thanos had one child, Rot–the one he and Death killed in AVENGERS: CELESTIAL QUEST–which Starlin tried to retcon out of existence.

    THANOS RISING seems to have been written for the purpose of setting up a connection between the Inhumans and Thanos, which makes taking Thanos’s role in INFINITY seriously very difficult.

    SRS

  16. Torsten Adair says:

    I thought Attilan was destroyed in Silent War, when the U. S. government, refusing to return a religious relic (the Terrigen Crystals), nuked Attilan by using genetically engineered suicide bombers.

    As for the whole Inhuman/Mutant similarities…
    Mutants were GMO’d by the Celestials, Way Back When. (This also happened to the Kree and Skrulls.)

    Then the Kree did some GMO experiments with humans, and created the Inhumans.

    The Inhumans are just another group of mutates in the Marvel Universe. Instead of some radioactive mcguffin, it’s the Terrigen mist.

    S.S., different storyline.

    Basically, it’s the gene bomb from DC’s Invasion!

    IMHO, Marvel missed a great opportunity during Civil War:
    Attilan becomes a refuge for super-powered refugees.
    The influx of immigrants then upsets the (heh) heterogeneous society of the Inhumans. As well as lots of political tension with the U. S. (and the U. N.). What was the international reaction to the U. S. registering superpowers? How would the Germans react, for example? Or the sansei?

Trackbacks

  1. [...] on a Marvel Comics conference call, the writer and editor Nick Lowe revealed that the story will kick off in the Inhumanity #1 [...]

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  3. […] several months ago about the difference between the idea of being an inhuman and being a mutant, Marvel struggled a little to provide an answer. This first issue doesn’t have an answer either, and so ignores mutants entirely for the time […]

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