No one wants me to complain any further about Marvel’s abortive attempts at elevating the Inhumans. I’m even sick of hearing my own rants on the topic. Things were looking up in the aftermath of Jason Aaron’s Infinity, but from the moment Inhumanity was introduced as a focal concept on ABC’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., we’ve endured a mediocre Inhuman title, two sputtering All-New All-Different launches, and a positively atrocious television mini-series. The latest flame-out came as Al Ewing’s once-promising Royals series drew to a close with issue #12. This week, in order to provide some semblance of closure to the Inhumans’ intergalactic quest for answers to new questions about their origins, Ewing is joined by Kevin Libranda and Mike del Mundo on the one-shot Inhumans: Judgment Day.
Despite knowing what this comic was going to be — a semi-rushed capper to a storyline that likely had been envisioned for a much deeper run — there are three distinct takeaways worth appreciating. The first is the fantastic art of Mike del Mundo. Even though he shares duties with Royals fill-in artist Libranda, any opportunity to see interior work by del Mundo is worth the price of admission. And in this issue we get not one, but two multi-page spreads.
Secondly, the best part about Royals, namely the Progenitors, are pulled back into focus. Javier Rodriguez, whose creativity had been on display in the alien hospital from Spider-Woman and throughout Sorcerers Supreme, gets credit for some of the most fascinating and ominous cosmic character designs since Kirby’s Celestials. The Inhumans themselves will undoubtedly experience some re-tooling, but hopefully those ancient ancestors from beyond the stars don’t get shelved for too long.
Lastly, Ewing effectively passes the torch, and the responsibility for keeping these characters relevant, to Saladin Ahmed and one of the best superhero books on the stands. Medusa and Black Bolt have been reunited, and the Inhuman king’s solo series figures to get a lot more interesting.