The Inhumans were pushed heavily throughout the comics and shows a few years back. Marvel did their best to try and use them as replacements for the X-Men although this plan failed and the mutants are back in business. This TV show came out during this interesting period and all it did was show why the Inhumans were never all that popular. They just aren’t likable characters.
The show starts off with showing us the Inhuman civilization on the Moon. Things may look peaceful from a distance, but the citizens are not happy as King Black Bolt has separated them into an outdated caste system. Depending on how you were born you were doomed to work in the mines or you can live above ground. Now you may recognize this system from many villain groups like the Soul Society, Skypiea, or even the world of Black Clover. Since you know the format then you know that Black Bolt is the main villain so an up and coming Inhuman will stop him right? Well that’s where Maximus comes in.
He realizes that the caste system is immoral and decides to quickly put a stop to it once and for all. He achieves a coup d’etat and usurps Black Bolt of his crown and banishes most of the royal family to Earth. Black Bolt swears revenge and that he will destroy Maximus when next they meet. Show’s over right? Well, Maximus is the main villain and Black Bolt is the hero…..just let that sink in for a little while.
Despite the summary Maximus is obviously a villain from the start. It’s just a shame because he is completely right about how Black Bolt has become a dictator and isn’t treating everyone equally. The show just wrote itself into a corner because this makes Black Bolt a total villain so Maximus goes over the top and starts murdering everyone while also trying for someone who is already married. Clearly the show was worried that Maximus was going to be the best character in the show otherwise. Naturally as a result of all this I am definitely not a Maximus fan. While he may be slightly sympathetic at first he completely goes nuts and loses whatever credibility he had. It’s a shame, but just having a sob story won’t be enough to get you anywhere.
Black Bolt is just as bad but he was never sympathetic. He can’t talk which is supposed to make you sympathetic I guess, but as he is king we can blame him for a lot of what is wrong with the society. He kept in the caste system and looks down on his own people. He is incredibly arrogant to the point where he doesn’t like anyone to make contact with him since he is so above them. He locked one guy in darkness for eternity which is certainly a cruel fate and even hid secrets away from his wife and inner cabal. This is because at his core, Black Bolt doesn’t trust anyone. The only part that I guess could be frustrating for Black Bolt is how Medusa is his interpreter, but she rarely repeats what he actually said and likes to come up with her own version. He definitely needs to find some way to talk through writing or electronically.
I also have to say that his abilities were not impressive in the slightest compared to what you would expect. The show spends the entire season building up his raw power but the big moment at the end where he finally lets loose only amounts to some rocks being broken and the metal cube not even getting a dent. All I’m saying is that I just didn’t find this impressive and the show could have done a whole lot better if you ask me. As a whole, the Inhumans just seem fairly weak and wouldn’t last long against the Avengers or the X-Men. They are all glass cannons with no real defense.
Karnak is a hand to hand fighter with the unique ability to see all of the angles. It is definitely a cool power to have since he can think things through so clearly that he can basically get a do over on any situation. While this ability isn’t as all encompassing as the famous Spider Sense as Karnak won’t know about attacks from behind, it’s good for any fight that he jumps into. Naturally since this ability would likely be too good, Karnak inexplicably trips and loses his ability for most of the season. That’s just annoying since of course now he is just a normal human who needs help from everybody. He also gets the worst subplot in the show as he goes to this place where they’re growing drugs. He helps for a while, but one of the guys goes crazy and starts murdering everybody. Karnak manages to escape with the girl and then they part ways, but the romance was absolutely brutal. This is mainly because Karnak is another one of those characters who doesn’t know much about social behavior and as such he has to be taught romance. It’s all very cringe worthy stuff.
Then we have Crystal and her subplot. She was taught that humans are all beneath her so she should not speak to her, but Lockjaw gets run over by a car for the edge factor so she has to find a vet. She meets up with a surfer dude, well he is the one who ran over her dog and he introduces her to his ex girlfriend who is a vet. The whole scenario is so absurd that it is almost funny. The guy gives her pretty bad advice the whole time as he says things like “your family can wait” as having a fun time at the beach is just a better way to spend the day. He isn’t a positive influence and the problem is that he’s supposed to be the person who gets Crystal to see that humans aren’t so bad. So much for that plan right? Crystal is also annoying because of how extremely powerful she is. She could destroy Maximus at any point in the show, but hesitated too much and loves firing warning shots. She could have saved quite a few people if she had actually made a move instead of waiting. Big mistake on her part if you ask me. So she isn’t a bad character but she is definitely an annoying one. I wanted her to take more initiative so having her become the Queen of the Inhumans would have worked really well.
We can’t forget the actual queen though. Medusa serves as the voice for Black Bolt but as she is basically a yes man for a while, her role barely matters. She does seem to have a little more humanity than Bolt though and at least gets him to be less strict on the corrupt rules that were in place. She can come off as rather mean at times and a little overdramatic when it came to her hair. Still, I have less faults with Medusa than the other characters. She is at least a character who tries to make a change in her situation.
Then we also have Gorgon with his strong stomps. I guess he is super human when it comes to physical abilities but they definitely aren’t at a particularly high level. He is the tough member of the group, but always seems rather outmatched in the various fights that he is in. You never really expect him to win although he does look good when going up against the humans. I guess we will give him some credit for that. There is a big decision that has to be made involving whether they should try to bring him back or not. All I can say is that the group’s bickering and indecision is another reason why they will never be as good as the others. Karnak was Bolt’s most trusted adviser and even he ended up defying him. Considering that Bolt was going to destroy him for this one choice I can definitely say that Karnak made the right move.
There is also a human scientist thrown into the mix who looks like someone out of the Supergirl show. Louise serves as the general audience character who does her best to help and even defies her bosses when she really wants to pursue a story. She doesn’t add a whole lot to the story if we are being honest and just works as a plot device to help the Inhumans secure cars and other necessities in order to reform the team. She could have definitely been worse, but I wasn’t really a fan of the character.
The best character in the film is certainly the regenerating assassin who serves Maximus. Having excellent hand to hand skills in addition to a healing factor is certainly crucial to have at the ready and it’s a shame that her boss was so crazy. Auran definitely was hoping that Maximus was going to be a just ruler, but it simply wasn’t to be. Auran ended up making the right calls by the end and is someone you can trust to keep her word. Being honorable is always a good trait for a protagonist or an antagonist. It shows that he or she has confidence in winning a battle with anyone. If you have to cheat or resort to sneak attacks, then you clearly aren’t as tough as you thought you were. It’s even worse if the villain is one of those people talking about survival of the fittest. So much for that right?
Mordis is one of the other big villains and he gets a ton of hype. Everyone fears him including Black Bolt. The thing is, he’s basically just a weaker Cyclops. He completely relies on his eye blasts and is otherwise a normal mortal. His constant joking around is a nice change of pace from all of the ultra serious Inhumans, but he really couldn’t live up to the hype. He ends up going down pretty quickly when the adventure actually gets tough.
The pacing is fairly good at least since this is basically just an extended movie turned into a short show. Either way, something is always happening and it doesn’t have time to be all that drawn out. Certainly a good thing. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the show thanks to its lackluster cast and it not striving to have quality writing instead of random romances, at least it didn’t keep in going and going for too long. It knew to end before going too far off the deep end.
The show isn’t all that violent which is a good thing. It never gets quite as intense as the Agents of Shield or anything like that. We have a regenerative character and we see her heal from a wound but it’s nothing too crazy. There is also the animal violence of the dog being run over. If he had died or something then the show would have really done down the tubes. It’s definitely good that the show avoided that land mine.
I suppose I’ll give the show’s scenery and costumes some props. I thought they did a good job with Black Bolt and Crystal’s costumes. They seemed to be pretty comic accurate. They weren’t really trying with Medusa since most of the plot revolved around her losing the hair anyway, but I suppose the actual costume was on point. The suits may have a hard time translating into live action for many heroes since they just feel like cosplay at times, but as long as the look is right then it’s fine if it looks rather fragile. That’s a very slight stretch of disbelief to imagine that the fabric is just really tough.
The fight scenes may have been scarce but we still got a few good ones like Medusa vs Auran. Lets face it though, Auran should have absolutely clobbered her. Medusa is tough because of her hair, but Auran is an advanced master of hand to hand combat. Throw in the regeneration and this is absolutely no contest. If they said beforehand that Medusa was also known as one of the best fighters or that she had super strength then maybe it would be believable, but otherwise I just couldn’t take the fight’s outcome seriously. Too bad we didn’t get more hand to hand fights like that, but the show at least did give us a lot of posturing between…well everybody. Every character here has a huge ego and they are intact by the end so if we get a sequel prepare for a lot of “I told you so” remarks and smirks. I really don’t see this show getting a sequel anytime soon though.
The best part of the show is probably when the villains and heroes have their first major encounter in the forest. The heroes spend a lot of that time running away and surprisingly there isn’t actually much of a fight but I was done with the whole “Heroes scattered in an unknown town” plot. The actual confrontations are what we came here for after all. Black Bolt did appear to be incredibly naive when he met with Maximus for the first hostage exchange though. In what world would Maximus actually release control back to Black Bolt in exchange for his life when he could just destroy Bolt where he stands? Maximus went as far as to betray his whole family and risk being assassinated to become the ruler. A few words wasn’t going to switch that at any point. Naturally this just causes Black Bolt to fume a little more, but I don’t see how he became the King with those tactician skills. Oh right…he was born into the crown, Bolt didn’t actually earn it. That’s the whole premise of the show.
Overall, Inhumans was a failed experiment of Marvel’s which likely won’t be remembered all that much in the future. It wasn’t a terrible attempt, but it just didn’t have enough good fundamentals to stand on its own. Some guest stars would have really gone a long way into making this a better show. Even if it had to be human guest stars like throwing the Agents of Shield in. That would have worked for me.