Marvel's Chales Soule explores the impact of the 'Inhuman' legacy
(CBR) While super heroes and villains weren't commonplace until the latter half of the 20th Century, super-powered people have been part of Earth's history for thousands of years -- at least, that's the case in the Marvel Universe. In the early days of their intergalactic war against the Skrulls, the alien race known as the Kree began experimenting on Earth's early Homo sapien population, their test subjects transformed into a highly advanced race of super-powered people that went onto form their own society.
This culture would be come to be known as the Inhumans, and at first glance, their culture appears to be an extremely insular one. But in "Infinity," readers learned that was not the case. Over the years, many Inhumans left their secret cities and interbred with humanity, so when the Inhuman king, Black Bolt, detonated a bomb that spread the super power-activating Terrigen Mist across the globe, thousands of people suddenly found themselves transformed into powerful, and often strange looking, individuals.
Of course, that explosion also robbed the Inhumans of their capital city, and several members of the royal family are missing and presumed dead. It's a time of turbulence and change for the ancient culture as they struggle to deal with their sudden population explosion and recover from the destruction of everything they knew. Writer Charles Soule and artist Joe Madureira begin to chronicle this time in April with the launch of the new ongoing series, "Inhuman."
CBR News: When we last talked about your impressive workload, you indicated that you had made a resolution that you wouldn't take on any new work unless it was really special. What is it about "Inhuman" that fits that bill? What sort of writing or genre muscles does it allow you to scratch that your other books don't?
Charles Soule: You raise a good point, and thank you for calling me out on that earlier resolution. The thing about promises like that (and I've learned not to make them anymore, even just to myself) is that you make them based on the situation as it is, right then. So, when I said "She-Hulk" was the last new thing for a little while, it was because I couldn't imagine getting offered another series that I would want to add to the workload, knowing what it would mean with respect to everything I already had on my plate. But that was before the Inhumans came calling, and so here we are.
I do love these characters, and have for a very long time. So, the opportunity to make them a bit more central, and expand their mythology and universe was very appealing. But as you point out, I'm not sure that by itself would have been enough -- I try to pick books that feel different from one another (to the extent I get to "pick" at all, which implies a situation that's not entirely accurate -- I don't get to roll up and stake a claim on anything, if you know what I mean.) So, "Thunderbolts" uses a different brain than "She-Hulk" does. It means that I don't cannibalize my own set of ideas, and it also means that I'm reaching the widest possible audience via all of the different books. That's the theory, anyway.
But to answer your question, "Inhuman" is an exercise for me in dense plotting with a ton of characters. It's a chance to create new characters and make them cool and interesting. It's got the whole "regal" angle, which is something I dig a lot. If anything, I'd say it has sort of an epic sci-fi fantasy tone, and that's a really cool space to put your brain for a while every month. I'm a planner. I like intricate stories with layered payoffs that are still really relatable -- and that's "Inhuman."
You're coming aboard "Inhuman" after Matt Fraction and Marvel were unable to find a take that they were both interested in pursuing. Were you given a mandate on what you needed to accomplish with your initial "Inhuman" stories? And important is this series to the larger stories Marvel has planned?
There is no company-owned series, at Marvel, DC, Humanoids, you name it, that doesn't come with a set of expectations from the people who own that series and characters. That's the job, but in some ways it's good, I think. It gives you a framework. I've never found (so far, anyway) that I couldn't put together a story I was happy with while working within whatever guidelines I'm given.
As far as where "Inhuman" fits into Marvel's larger plans, let me put it this way -- a significant chunk of real estate in their last big crossover event (the fabulous "Infinity," orchestrated by the fabulous Jonathan Hickman) was used to set up the status quo that launches the "Inhuman" series. Not only is it "important" to Marvel in whatever sense of the word you want to apply -- they're excited about it. I haven't been in the game that long, all things considered, but you can tell when a team feels like they're pushing product, as opposed to creating something they care about. This is very much the latter, and I think it makes a huge difference.
Will you have a core cast, or is this more of an anthology book where each story involves different Inhumans?
It's a huge cast, but we don't focus on all of them at once. We'll have a core cast that will be added to (and subtracted from) over time, who will interact with a number of cool characters new and old. The classic royal family, particularly Medusa, will be pretty central (she's awesome, particularly under Joe Mad's pen). We also have a number of new Inhumans who are appearing around the world as a result of the cloud of transformative Terrigen Mist released into Earth's atmosphere at the end of "Infinity," and some older Inhumans who have been around for a long time, just operating under the radar. It's a heady stew -- but again, relatable. I'm taking great care to make sure that this doesn't feel like you're being dropped in the deep end. If you read "Infinity," you're already going to know what's going on, who the players are and what they want.
What can you tell us about the shape and status of the Inhuman royal family when "Inhuman" begins? How are they viewed by the American government and the world at large? Could the place in New York they currently reside in be considered an embassy?
The royals have been decimated -- Black Bolt's missing and presumed dead, as is Maximus. Medusa, the Queen of the Inhumans, is in New York, trying to pull together the remains of her people (who were also scattered to the four winds during "Infinity"). Her home, the floating city of Attila, literally blew into a million pieces and fell over NYC -- it's a nice metaphor for her people as a whole. She's trying to build something new out of whatever she has left. Yes, the government is very aware of these incredibly powerful people setting up some kind of new empire or home within their territory, and we'll see some of the ways they respond. Everything on both sides (and actually, there are many sides, it's not just Inhumans and everyone else) is in a wait and see mode -- but that's the fun of it, for readers. It could go in almost any direction. And it will.
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