Friday, April 10, 2009

Off the Shelf

I recently finished reading "Inhumans" by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. This seems to be a rather obscure, yet much enjoyed series amongst comic fans. Having come highly recommended from the brothers Matt and Karl Kindt, I was excited to find the trade 50% off at the recent Comic Relief sale.

The story centers around the Inhuman Maximus who begins a coup while imprisoned in Attilan. He enlists the aid of several military forces. These forces break through several barriers which keep the Inhumans secure from the outside world. All the while, Black Bolt must weigh the safety of his people against instigating further conflict with forces around the world. Jenkins cast the Inhumans perfectly as outsiders, both to humans and denizens of Atlantis, which resides just below the Inhuman city of Attilan.

While not the central figure of the story, Black Bolt is greatly expanded upon by Jenkins. Here we see BB as the true "strong but silent type." He meditates before sleeping so as not to utter a word while dreaming. He is incapable of verbally expressing how much he loves his wife, Medussa. He cannot convey how disappointed he is in his brother, Maximus. He keeps it all bottled up, but always remains calm.

The art is striking and Lee's style lends perfectly to the disjointed, disconnected world of the Inhumans. Lee's pencils' are dark and moody, which creates the perfect environment for these characters. I've always enjoyed his work, especially his subsequent collaboration with Jenkins on the Sentry.

Prior to reading this trade, I didn't know much about the Inhumans aside from BB's destructive voice, Medusa's hair, occasional interactions with the Fantastic Four, and some confusion as to whether or not Inhumans were mutants. This trade does a great job to clear most of that up and it gives the Inhumans much needed time in the spotlight. I would recommend this trade to anyone who is curious about the Inhumans, enjoys an unconventional "superhero" story, or is a fan of either Paul Jenkins or Jae Lee.

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