The Inhumans comic books definitive issue-by-issue collecting guide and trade reading order for omnibus, hardcover, and trade paperback collections. Find every issue and appearance of all of the Inhumans Royal Family – like Black Bolt and Medusa – plus newer characters like Ms. Marvel and Mosaic! Part of Crushing Krisis’s Crushing Comics. Last updated August 2016 with titles scheduled for release through April 2017.
The Inhumans were a creation of the Stan Lee and Jack Kirby run on Fantastic Four, yet another uncanny spin on a common sci-fi tropes. They’ve stuck around for over 50 years due to the power of love, a well-timed re-launch, and an unparalleled space epic all paving the way for them to become one of Marvel’s marquee franchises.
In their initial arc of Fantastic Four #45-48, the Inhuman Royal Family were presented as deposed rulers of a secret nation, currently resided in New York. That explained why their queen, Medusa, was a collaborator in The Frightful Four!
The family’s true home was hidden in the depths of the Andes Mountains, where they had perfected the art of genetic engineering to grant superpowers to every member of their society. In contrast to this evolved race, their despotic current king Maximus employed a fleet of Alpha Primitives – a sort of devolved neanderthal – against the Royal Family.
That could have been the end of the Inhumans’ story – especially because the end of their arc happened to be the debut of Silver Surfer, a prohibitive Silver Age classic that could easily eclipse other solid stories.
Yet, the Inhumans hung on, largely due to their female cast members. Crystal became a love interest of Human Torch and a replacement member of the FF when Sue Storm was pregnant with Franklin. Medusa also continued to appear, as both friend and foe.
The Inhumans were a particular passion of Jack Kirby’s; he would return to both write and illustrate them in the anthology series Amazing Adventures in 1970. They even merited their own series in 1975, written by Doug Moench (of Moon Knight fame).
Past that, the Inhumans were relegated to guest star status – mostly with the Fantastic Four – through the 90s. Crystal became their breakout character, graduating from the FF and dating Human Torch to The Avengers and marrying Quicksilver.
The modern era of The Inhumans began in 1998 with a stellar 12-issue maxi-series from Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. This series presaged the darker tone of early-2000s Marvel Knights titles, and focused on every aspect of the race’s embattled society. The series acted as a soft reboot of the Inhumans, who would star in a pair of additional mini-series through 2003. However, outside those series, their appearances were still scant.
That all changed in 2006 thanks to two developments.
First, Brian Bendis’s inclusion of Inhuman King Black Bolt in The Illuminati, would permanently raise the character’s profile and make him an essential tool for writer Jonathan Hickman in his run on Fantastic Four and Avengers from 2009-2015.
Second, the Inhumans’ Silent War during Civil War launched them onto a path that would intersect members of the X-Men and the Annihilation story that launched the modern Guardians of the Galaxy. The intersection, called War of Kings, is a seamlessly executed space epic that combines superheroes, palace intrigue, and massive space battles unlike anything else in Marvel’s history.
As a result of the combination of those eight years of developments, The Inhumans were perfectly poised as a new franchise for Marvel in the wake of their Infinity event. In 2014, they received their own mini-event, “Inhumanity,” as well as their first ongoing series, Inhuman, and their first standalone spinoff hero, the new Ms. Marvel – Kamala Khan. Plus, Inhumans were highlighted in TV’s Agents of SHIELD, culminating in a major arc in 2015.
In the wake of Hickman’s Secret Wars in 2015 their influence in the Marvel line expanded even further, with multiple books and a strong influence on major events in the Marvel Universe.
The tricky thing about the Inhumans is that from their introduction in 1965 through 1998 they only had their own ongoing title two times (both in the 70s) plus a handful of one-shots. Their mythology frequently moved forward during their various guest appearances, especially in Fantastic Four.
This guide tracks the appearances of the Inhuman Royal Family from their introduction in 1965 through the beginnings of War of Kings in 2007. From 2007 on, it continues to track all major limited and ongoing Inhumans titles.
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