Cover of Inhumans vol. 2 (July 2001), trade paperback collected edition. Art by Jae Lee.
|Species publication information|
|First appearance||Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965)|
|Created by||Stan Lee
|Place of origin||Blue Area of the Moon|
|Notable members||List of Inhumans
Inhuman Royal Family:
Maximus the Mad
|The Inhumans or Inhumans|
|Series publication information|
|Format||(vols. 1 & 4)
(vols. 2 & 3)
|Publication date||(vol. 1)
October 1975 – August 1977
November 1998 – October 1999
June – October 2000
June 2003 – June 2004
|Number of issues||(vols. 1, 2, & 4)
|Young Inhumans||ISBN 0-7851-3382-8|
|Part of the collection on|
The Inhumans are a fictional race of superhumans, created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. This race appears in various comic book series published by Marvel Comics and exists in that company's shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.
The comic book series of this name have usually focused more specifically on the adventures of the Inhuman Royal Family, and many people associate the name "Inhumans" with this particular team of super-powered beings.
The Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965), though members Medusa and Gorgon appeared in earlier issues of that series (#36 and #44, respectively). Their home, the city of Attilan, was first mentioned years earlier, in a Tuk the Caveboy story written and drawn by Jack Kirby that appeared in Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941). The city was described as the home of a race that was evolutionarily advanced when human beings were still in the Stone Age.
- 1 Publication history
- 2 Fictional history
- 3 Powers and abilities
- 4 Known Inhumans
- 5 Other versions
- 6 Collected editions
- 7 Awards
- 8 In other media
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965) and were created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby. The Inhumans appeared as a back-up feature in Thor #146 (Nov. 1967) to #152 (May 1968). They then starred in Amazing Adventures #1 (Aug. 1970) to #10 (Jan. 1972). The characters received their own self-titled series in October 1975. This ran for 12 issues and ended in August 1977. An Inhumans limited series by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee ran for 12 issues from November 1998-October 1999. A four-issue limited series by writers Carlos Pacheco and Rafael Marín and artist José Ladrönn was published in 2000. The fourth volume (2003-2004, 12 issues) concentrated largely on new characters within the Inhumans' society.
Following events in the Secret Invasion, the Inhumans appeared on one side of the War of Kings storyline, with Black Bolt being made king of the Kree, facing off against Vulcan, who is leading the Shi'ar.
At the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War, millions of years ago in Earth time, the alien Kree established a station on the planet Uranus, a strategic position between the Kree and Skrull empires. Through their work at this station, they discovered that sentient life on nearby Earth had genetic potential invested in it by the alien Celestials. Intrigued, the Kree began to experiment on Earth's then-primitive Homo sapiens to produce the genetically advanced Inhuman race. Their goal was apparently twofold—to investigate possible ways of circumventing their own evolutionary stagnation, and to create a powerful mutant race of soldiers for use against the Skrulls. Although their experiments were successful in creating a strain of humanity with extraordinary abilities, the Kree abandoned their experiment because a genetic prophecy had predicted that the experiments would eventually lead to an anomaly who would destroy the Kree Supreme Intelligence.
Their test subjects, the Inhumans, went on to form a society of their own, which thrived in seclusion from the rest of humanity and developed advanced technology. Experiments with the mutagenic Terrigen Mist (a process known as Terrigenesis) gave them various powers, but caused lasting genetic damage and deformities. This led to a long-term selective breeding program in an attempt to mitigate the effects of these mutations.
Attilan's society and culture are predicated on a conformist belief system which permits individuality as it applies to genetic development and physical and mental ability, but demands rigid conformity in that each member of society is assigned a place within that society according to those abilities following exposure to the Terrigen Mist. Once assigned, no Inhuman, no matter how great or powerful, can change their place within this rigid caste system. Although a member of the Royal Family, Crystal married outside the Inhuman race to the mutant Quicksilver.
The Inhumans are led by their king, Black Bolt, and his Royal Family, consisting of Medusa, Karnak, Gorgon, Triton, Crystal, Maximus the Mad, and the canine Lockjaw. Both Crystal and Medusa have been members of the Fantastic Four; Crystal has been a member of the Avengers as well.
Black Bolt has guided the Inhumans through some of the most turbulent times in their history, including several attempts by Maximus to usurp the throne, revolts by the worker class (with their eventual emancipation), attacks by human renegades, the kidnapping of Medusa, the destruction and rebuilding of Attilan, and the revelation of the Inhumans' existence to humanity.
His role as king of the Inhumans has been tumultuous. The first major crisis occurred when he and Medusa conceived a child. Medusa bore the child in defiance of the Genetic Council, who felt that Black Bolt's bloodline was too dangerous to pass on. The Council nonetheless took the child to examine, and forbade parental contact. Black Bolt was torn between his love of family and his duty to respect the Genetic Council, and it was only when the Council was revealed to be using his son in a plot against him that he finally turned against the Council. With that, he gave up the crown as king of the Inhumans. For a while, they lived away from Attilan, but returned in times of need.
The once-secret existence of the race has come to light among the general public as the Inhumans interact more often with many of Earth's superheroes — including the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men — whom they have aided against threats such as Doctor Doom, Ultron 7, Magneto, and Apocalypse.
Inhuman society changed radically when Ronan the Accuser sought to use the Inhumans as an army to disrupt the Shi'ar control of the Kree after their defeat in the Kree-Shi'ar War. Appearing over the city of Attilan, Ronan seized control in a surprise attack and forced the Inhumans and their king, Black Bolt, to obey, or he would destroy their only home and everyone in it. During their time in forced servitude, Ronan revealed that the Inhumans had always been intended as weapons in service to the Kree. To this end, much of the genetic attributes that were encoded in them during the original experiments were meant to give them the abilities and appearances of various alien races, the idea being that these Inhuman slaves could be used to infiltrate alien worlds and races to conduct espionage or assassinations to weaken potential conquests. Ronan used the Inhumans in just this manner, disrupting treaties being negotiated by the Shi'ar, and launching attacks on ships and bases.
Eventually, Black Bolt sought to free his people by challenging Ronan to a personal battle. If Ronan won, the Inhumans would continue to serve him. If the king won, the Inhumans would go free. After a terrible battle, Black Bolt won and Ronan, demonstrating that the Kree still had honor, kept his word and left the Inhumans. All was not over, as the Inhumans were not willing to just follow Black Bolt back to Earth. Pressure had been building in the closed society of Attilan since open contact with the outside world had been made. During their enslavement by Ronan, the Inhumans had wished for their freedom, but had developed a sense of pride in their power and a belief in their own destiny. They no longer believed that Black Bolt or the Royal Family was fit to lead them in the new life they wanted, and they exiled the Royal Family from Attilan. The Royal Family returned to Earth to find their destiny. After suffering bigotry while living in Latveria, they returned to Attilan, which was located on the Blue Area of the Moon. The Inhumans began to foster better relations with Earth by sending students to a Wisconsin university.
Son of M
In the events of Son of M, Quicksilver stole the Terrigen Crystals in an attempt to regain his powers and cure the de-powered mutants from M-Day. The theft led to a conflict on Genosha between the re-powered mutants (whose powers came back as too powerful for their own good causing their eventual surrender), the Inhumans, and the U.S. Office of National Emergency. The conflict ended with the O.N.E. confiscating the Terrigen Crystals, an act that incited Black Bolt to verbally declare war on the United States.
In January 2007, the mini-series Silent War began, with Gorgon launching a first strike on New York. Although the Inhumans do manage to recover the crystals, the episode ends with Maximus again taking control of Attilan.
New Avengers: Illuminati
It has been revealed that Black Bolt has been replaced by a Skrull impostor, in a time frame after Silent War, but before World War Hulk. The impostor revealed himself to the Illuminati and was killed. Both the sudden rift between Medusa and Black Bolt apparent in Silent War and Black Bolt's later defeat at the hands of Hulk in World War Hulk could be attributed to this development, for it is uncertain just when Black Bolt might have been replaced by his Skrull duplicate.
Secret Invasion: Inhumans
Written by Heroes writer Joe Pokaski, this story digs into how the Inhuman Royal Family deals with the news that the Black Bolt had been replaced by a Skrull imposter. The Skrulls attack Attilan while Black Bolt is revealed to be a prisoner of the Skrulls, who intend to use his voice as a weapon of mass destruction. The Inhuman Royal Family defeated several Skrulls soldiers and took a Skrull ship with the point of taking the war to the Skrulls and save Black Bolt. With some help from the Kree, they rescue Black Bolt and return to Attilan.
War of Kings
Finally deciding they will no longer be used and abused by other races, the Inhumans take drastic action to ensure their survival as a race. To that end, they activate a series of long dormant machines beneath the city of Attilan, transforming it into a gigantic starship, powered by Black Bolt's voice. Breaking free from its resting place on the Moon, Attilan enters hyperspace and tracks down the remnants of the Skrull Armada, completely eradicating it. As Attilan enters Shi'ar space, it attracts the attention of three Shi'ar warships, who order them to depart or they will open fire. They too are destroyed without mercy.
Attilan reaches the planet Hala, destroying the protective shield that guards their weakened empire and enter the planet itself. The Royal Family confronts Ronan the Accuser, who is serving as king. He admitted he felt that he was just holding the spot of ruler for their true king, Black Bolt (like the Celestials, the Kree experimented on the humans to create the perfect weapons and the Inhumans were created, but Black Bolt declined the seat of king, then).
The Inhuman Royal Family confronts the Unspoken, a cousin of Black Bolt.
War of Kings
The Inhumans seized control of the Kree Empire, with the promise of jump-starting the Kree's stagnant genetic makeup. As part of the arrangement, Crystal marries the Kree leader Ronan the Accuser. During the wedding, Vulcan with the Shi'ar attempts to seize control of the Kree Empire. After severe casualties on both sides, Black Bolt and Vulcan are seemingly killed in single combat. The resulting energy creates "The Fault" and destroys most of the Shi'ar fleet. Without their fleet and with their rulers dead, the Shi'ar surrender.
Realm of Kings
The T-Bomb has killed Black Bolt, leaving leadership to Queen Medusa. The Inhuman royal family struggles to maintain their grip on the Kree empire. The Alpha Primitives revolt, Maximus tries to take the throne, the Kree aristocracy revolts rise up, which erodes the Inhuman's rule.
Back on Earth, the Fantastic Four encounter an interstellar group of Inhumans formed from the Centaurians, the Dire Wraiths, the Kymellians, and the Badoons. These new Inhumans reveal that the Kree experimented on other interstellar races, aside from humans, and used methods other than the Terrigen Mists. The resulting Universal Inhumans have banded together and traveled to Earth in search of Black Bolt, who they believe will lead their collective people in an eventual takeover of Earth. When Black Bolt returned, the Universal Inhumans arrive on Earth's moon where a prophecy revolving around the four cities is revealed. Together they go to Earth to defeat the four Reeds from the Interdimensional Council.
Meanwhile, the resurrected Supreme Intelligence orders the Kree to launch an attack to destroy the Earth and the Inhumans in a bid to prevent the genetic prophecy from occurring. They are repelled with the Inhumans in pursuit.
During the events of Infinity, Thanos and his forces attack Attilan and offer to spare the city in exchange for a tribute: the deaths of all Inhumans between the ages of 16 and 22. Black Bolt surmises that the offering is a ruse to hide the fact that Thanos actually desires the death of Thane, a half-Inhuman youth he had fathered years earlier. The search for Thane eventually reveals that secret Inhuman tribes have existed on Earth for years and mated with its population, producing a number of seemingly-normal humans who possess dormant Inhuman genes. In response to Thanos' threat, Black Bolt and Maximus evacuate Attilan before destroying it as a show of defiance. The destruction of the city activates the Terrigenisis Bomb, a creation of Maximus, which spreads the Terrigen Mist across the globe and activates special abilities within numerous unsuspecting humans who were Inhuman descendants.
During the Inhumanity storyline, Karnak was left mentally scarred by said events and begun tearing up the upper west side of Manhattan, babbling and sobbing uncontrollably. He had to be put in custody by the Avengers. In Stark Tower, Karnak explained to the Avengers what happened during their fight with Thanos and what meant for the Inhumans. When he was questioning himself for the reason for Black Bolt to spread the Terrigen Mists and what would happen next, Karnak had an epiphany in which he finally saw "the fault in all things." He told Medusa (who was present during his interrogation) that she needed to forget everything she thought she knew, ignore the instincts, and forget the past. Otherwise, all would be lost. Following this revelation in which he stated it was too late for him to unlearn a lifetime of error, Karnak shattered the window from his containment cell and jumped out of the Stark Tower killing himself.
The Avengers A.I. encountered an elderly widower named Doris who turned to attorney Matt Murdock for help after her bank foreclosed on her home. After being exposed to the Terrigen Mist, she transformed into an octopus-like creature with masses of tentacles in place of arms. She attacked the Avengers A.I. before being persuaded to stop by Doombot. Doris then took off for parts unknown with Medusa.
Powers and abilities
Even without using the Terrigen Mist, the Kree modifications, combined with centuries of selective breeding, have given all Inhumans certain advantages. Their average lifespan is 150 years and an Inhuman in good physical condition possesses strength, reaction time, speed, and endurance greater than the finest of human athletes. Karnak and other normal Inhumans who are in excellent physical shape can lift one ton and are physically slightly superior to the peak of normal human physical achievement. Exposure to the Terrigen Mist can both enhance and in some cases reduce these physical capabilities. Most Inhumans are used to living in a pollution-free, germ-free environment and have difficulty tolerating Earth's current level of air and water pollution for any length of time.
The Alpha Primitives were a slave race created by the Inhumans, first appearing in Fantastic Four #47 (February 1966). Because of the Inhumans' low population, they created a labor force of hominids bred to be strong, but of limited intelligence. They were also rendered unable to breed, being produced only by cloning. They were used by Maximus the Mad in several schemes, resulting in their being freed from servitude by Black Bolt; they would no longer be cloned, and those already made would be allowed to live out their lives in a preserve under the city proper. After some time though it was understood that the Alphas could not live on their own, and the previous arrangement was reversed.
The former king of the Inhumans, The Unspoken, recently revealed that Alpha Primitives are actually humans who have been exposed to gas created from Xerogen Crystals, a substance created by the Kree as a weapon for the Inhumans to use against their human enemies.
In this alternate reality created by Franklin Richards, the Inhumans are mostly the same. They live on Earth, in Attilan. The biggest difference is the reverence they hold, shown in statues, for Galactus and the multitude of heralds who operate for him simultaneously. The Terrigen Mists are not completely under their control, coming from a crack in the ground. Their ultimate origins are unknown, but Maximus the Mad escapes in the caverns deep beneath the city to locate it. Here, it is discovered their city holds connections to other areas of the world, such as Mole Man's Monster Isle.
House of M
The Inhumans made their debut in the Ultimate Marvel Universe in Ultimate Fantastic Four Annual #1 (2005). It begins with two mountain climbers reached the walls of their city, Atillan, in the Himalayas when they are turned back with their memories erased. The Inhumans made themselves known to the Fantastic Four when a member of their royalty, Crystal, fled to New York after being ordered to marry Black Bolt's brother, Maximus. Johnny came across Crystal and attempted to save her from two royal guards from Atillan who were trying to capture her. Beaten, Crystal took him back to the Baxter Building, and revealed herself to the Fantastic Four. She left behind her dog Lockjaw, who had the ability to teleport the Fantastic Four to Atillan. Once their presence was discovered, the city was stripped of its advanced technology and destroyed by Black Bolt, and the Inhumans, including Crystal, relocated. They are hinted to have relocated to the Moon.
The Ultimate Attilan is quite different in appearance from the Marvel Universe version, like a giant wasp's nest crossed with a Gothic cathedral. Ultimate Crystal, Lockjaw, and Black Bolt are similar to their counterparts; Medusa is depicted as having actual snakes for hair, like her mythical namesake. Gorgon is female, Karnak projects energy blasts (though he can still sense weaknesses and pressure points), Triton has a more squid-like appearance, and Maximus is a somewhat effete courtier, whom Crystal describes as "preening" and a "peacock". Other Inhumans shown include Tri-clops, with clairvoyant vision (including the power to see the invisible), Densitor (Maximus' flunky, who can presumably increase his strength, durability and mass, enough to become fireproof) and an unnamed Inhuman who can produce a swarm of insect-like flying creatures from his body. They claimed that their city had remained secret for 10,000 years, which makes their ancestors contemporaries with Ultimate Marvel's Atlantis.
In the 2004 Marvel Knights 2099: Inhumans one-shot written by Robert Kirkman, which took place in the future on an alternate world (Earth-2992) that was not identical to the alternate Marvel Universe on Earth-928 featured in the 1990s Marvel 2099 books, the Inhumans leave Earth's moon and are forced to live aboard a spaceship after the Mutant Registration Act is passed. After leaving, Black Bolt places himself and his closest confidants (Triton, Gorgon, Karnak, Crystal, and Medusa) in cryogenic stasis and, in his absence, his brother Maximus takes over as leader of the Inhumans living aboard the spacecraft. While in control, Maximus kills Black Bolt's confidants in their sleep. Fifty years later, Black Bolt is released from cryogenic stasis to find that Maximus has killed those closest to him. In retaliation, he breaks his vow of silence and destroys the Inhumans' spacecraft killing all aboard including himself.
|Title||Material collected||Publication date||ISBN|
|Inhumans||Inhumans vol. 2, #1–12||August 2000||0-7851-0753-3|
|Fantastic Four/Inhumans||Inhumans vol. 3, #1–4; Fantastic Four vol. 3, #51–54||July 2007||0-7851-2703-8|
|Inhumans: Culture Shock||Inhumans vol. 4, #1–6||March 2005||0-7851-1755-5|
|Young Inhumans||Inhumans vol. 4, #1–12||September 2008||0-7851-3382-8|
|Decimation: Son of M||Son of M #1–6||September 2006||0-7851-1970-1|
|Silent War||Silent War #1–6||October 2007||0-7851-2425-X|
|Secret Invasion: Inhumans||Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1–4; Thor #146–147||March 2009||0-7851-3248-1|
|War of Kings: Road to War of Kings||Secret Invasion: War of Kings; War of Kings Saga; X-Men: Divided We Stand #2; X-Men: Kingbreaker #1–4||May 2009||0-7851-3967-2|
|War of Kings||War of Kings #1–6||November 2009||0-7851-3542-1|
|Title||Material collected||Publication date||ISBN|
|Marvel Masterworks: Inhumans, Vol. 1||Thor #146–152; Amazing Adventures #1–10; Avengers #95; Marvel Super-Heroes #15||October 2009||978-0-7851-4141-9|
|Marvel Masterworks: Inhumans, Vol. 2||Inhumans #1–12; Captain Marvel #52–53; Fantastic Four Annual #12; Marvel Fanfare #14; What If? #29–30; Thor Annual #12||April 2010||978-0-7851-4151-8|
|Inhumans by Paul Jenkins & Jae Lee||Inhumans Vol. 2 #1-12||September 2013||978-0785184744|
In other media
- The Inhumans were featured in the 1978 Fantastic Four animated series episode "Medusa and the Inhumans". In this continuity, Medusa is the leader instead of Black Bolt. Black Bolt does make a brief appearance as an unnamed Inhuman.
- The Inhumans were featured in the 1994 Fantastic Four animated series, where they appeared in a three part story, before becoming a sub-plot for the rest of the season.
- A trade report in March 2011 said Marvel Entertainment is developing an Inhumans film. It describes the film as being "in the vein of X-Men about aliens who were put on Earth as a sleeper cell to eventually call back their race to take over the planet." In November 2012, Stan Lee reported that the film is in development.
- The Inhumans appear in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. They offer the heroes Atillan (the version that is located in the Blue Area of the Moon) as a temporary headquarters. After Medusa is corrupted by Doctor Doom, Triton, Crystal, and Gorgon go to Earth to fight Doctor Doom and are not heard from for the rest of the game. Vision later mentions that they may have been "inducted into Doom's army."
- In his book Kiss and Make-Up, Gene Simmons writes that his make-up was taken from the bat wings of Black Bolt.
- DeFalco, Tom; Gilbert, Laura, ed. (2008). "1960s". Marvel Chronicle A Year by Year History. Dorling Kindersley. p. 111. ISBN 978-0756641238. "The Inhumans, a lost race that diverged from humankind 25,000 years ago and became genetically enhanced."
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- Sanderson, Peter "1970s" in Gilbert (2008), p. 146: "As Marvel was expanding its line of comics, the company decided to introduce two new 'split' books...Amazing Adventures and Astonishing Tales. Amazing Adventures contained a series about the genetically enhanced Inhumans and a series about intelligence agent the Black Widow."
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- Inhumans vol. 3 at the Grand Comics Database
- Inhumans vol. 4 at the Grand Comics Database
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