If you watch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but don’t read Marvel Comics, you’re probably aware of the concept of Inhumans. On S.H.I.E.L.D., the Earth’s water supply was infected with terrigen that awakens a human’s latent Inhuman powers. Marvel’s Inhumans focuses on the royal family of the Inhumans in their home city, Attilan, located (and hidden) on Earth’s moon.
Attilan is ruled by the royal family: king and queen, Black Bolt (Anson Mount) and Medusa (Serrinda Swan); Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor), the head of the Royal Guard; Karnak (Ken Leung), Medusa’s sister Crystal (Isabelle Cornish); and Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus (Iwan Rheon).
Limited space and resources mean that those who go through terrigenesis and revealed to have no powers are sent to work in the mines. Maximus is not an Inhuman, but his relationship to the king spares him that fate. Still, he has the ear of the people and pushes for the Inhumans to relocate to Earth where they all can live better lives. Black Bolt resists this, believing it will only lead to war. He doesn’t actually speak because his voice emits an energy burst capable of disintegrating people, which is how he accidentally killed their parents when he was a young boy.
The royal family learn Black Bolt has been sending another member of the royal council, Triton (Mike Moh), to Earth in order to retrieve new Inhumans struggling to find acceptance. When Triton is presumed dead after running afoul of a team of commandos, Black Bolt sends Gorgon to his last known location — Hawaii — to find him. Maximus uses this to once again push his agenda, and when it fails, he stages an all-out coup. He’s managed to turn the Royal Guard to his side, kills the head of the Genetic Council, and orders the rest of the royal family be killed or captured.
Thanks to Crystal’s giant teleporting dog, Lockjaw, Medusa, Karnak, and Black Bolt are dropped off in Hawaii — albeit in scattered locations and not where Gorgon was deposited — but Crystal is captured and Medusa only gets away after Maximus has her head shaved, taking away her powers.
The second hour, “Those Who Would Destroy Us” sets up the separated family’s current predicaments and hints as to how they might be reunited. Gorgon finds some pretty chill and understanding local men who share their beer and believe his story. They’re more than willing to help him fight after he purposely reveals his location to Maximus. Karnak, isn’t so lucky and ends up alone with his powers behaving oddly. Black Bolt lands in the middle of traffic and after a run-in with — and running from — the police, ends up in jail. Medusa knows he’s close and vows to find him, but first she faces off with an Inhuman, Auran (Sonya Balmores), sent by Maximus to find her.
Early reviews of the series — which I’ve not read — were reportedly unkind. Inhumans isn’t perfect, but I can’t imagine what issues were taken to match the level of hate I’ve seen in headlines and social media conversations. The biggest issue, I found, was some of the acting delivered by a few of the supporting cast. The most egregious being Crystal, a character that is pretty one-note and annoying. The dialogue is a little clunky, but that feels par for the course with many of the superhero/comic book series currently on TV. Finally, the fight choreography could be better.
Hopefully, the story will tighten up sooner than later. How Black Bolt didn’t know his brother was planning treason is hard to swallow considering at least three people warned him of it in the first hour alone, and Maximus did everything short of wearing a shirt that read I’m Gonna Betray the Fuck Outta My Brother Real Soon to telegraph his actions. And we really need an explanation as to why Lockjaw is so bad at his job. He just dropped folks off all willy-nilly.
Black Bolt’s stranger in a strange land was fine, but one has to wonder why he’s so damn bad at blending in. Yeah, appearing in the middle of the street with a giant dog couldn’t be helped, but he doesn’t know how shopping and money works? They have all these means of monitoring Earth that it’s hard to believe he’s so clueless.
Overall, the premiere was an enjoyable two hours. Rheon is playing Maximus with just a dash of Ramsay Snow (Game of Thrones) and a bit of Simon’s from Misfits early creepiness. I’ve seen some take issue with bits of his Wales accent peeking through, but I didn’t notice it enough to bother me or take me out of a scene.
Some interesting bits to watch for:
Any explanation as to why Lockjaw scattered the royal family would be appreciated.
A member of a government space program surveilling the moon noticed one of Gorgon’s hooves when he encountered one of their robots. How will she play into the main story?
Maximus has spun Black Bolt’s absence and seems to have the people firmly under his thumb. How does he plan on winning a war with Earth in order to fulfill his promises to his followers?