Charles Soule and Steve McNiven continue the saga of Medusa and company with All-New All-Different additions!
Writer Charles Soule and artist Steve McNiven add a new chapter to the saga of Marvel’s most unique heroes in the upcoming UNCANNY INHUMANS ongoing series, rolling out of the events of Secret Wars.
The creative team promises an all-new look at the Inhumans, their royal family, and their place in the world—one they share with a certain merry band of mutants.
Marvel.com: Charles, in what ways will UNCANNY INHUMANS turn the story upside down? What’s going to surprise readers the most?
Charles Soule: I’m not going to give away all the many twists and turns in the story, [but] I will say that we’re designing this as the next huge chapter in the new Inhumans story. It picks up many threads that were laid down in what I consider “Season One,” issues #1-14 plus the Annual of the INHUMAN series I did over the past year or so with Ryan Stegman, Joe Madureira, Pepe Larraz, and Andre Lima Araujo, as well as the rest of the amazing talent I worked with on that series. INHUMAN was a big, swirling story with a bunch of characters, some new, some old. It had a pretty specific ending, but many plot points were purposely left open.
UNCANNY INHUMANS will let us pick up on a bunch of those, as well as introduce new ideas. It’s huge-scale super hero storytelling at its most epic. New super-powered people with Inhuman DNA are still popping up all over the world, and the whole Marvel Universe continues to evolve in the face of that and other challenges. It’s a great time to be reading the stories.
Marvel.com: There’s romance in the air: what do Medusa and Johnny Storm see in each other? Is this a love that can last?
Charles Soule: We’ll have to wait and see; and the specifics of Medusa, Queen of the Inhumans, and Johnny Storm, aka the Human Torch, longtime member of the Fantastic Four, getting together will be teased out for a bit. All we really know is that they fulfill an emotional need for each other they weren’t getting anywhere else. They’re a pretty fun couple to write, honestly. Johnny’s a smooth talker; funny, lots of laughs, that sort of thing. Medusa’s a monarch: regal, and while I wouldn’t call her reserved, she definitely isn’t someone I’d call a party girl, either. They have more in common than you might think, though. Like I said, they’re a fun couple.
Marvel.com: Which leads us to the current rift between Medusa and Black Bolt. What caused it?
Charles Soule: A lot of this was covered in the INHUMAN series, particularly issues #9-12. Honestly, though, it’s been a long time coming. If you look back through Inhuman-related stories over the last five to 10 years, Black Bolt’s been one hell of a king, but sort of a crappy husband to Medusa. He married a ton of other ladies—which were all marriages of convenience, and Inhumans don’t run their society along the same lines we do, but you know that had to sting—he seemingly abandoned Medusa at her time of greatest need after the fall of the Inhuman city of Attilan during the big Infinity event a few years back, and left her to try to preserve its people and Inhuman culture, as well as dealing with all the new members of the Inhuman race popping up all over the planet.
So, a little while ago, when Black Bolt rolled into New Attilan—the new city founded by Medusa to serve as sanctuary for new and old Inhumans alike—and tried to take his throne back…it didn’t go well. Medusa and Black Bolt are currently very much estranged. We’ll see if they ever get back together, but right now they are, as they say, “on a break.”
Marvel.com: UNCANNY INHUMANS has an X-element to it; up until this point, what’s the relationship been like between mutants and the Inhumans?
Charles Soule: I would say it’s been fairly cordial, with the occasional hot spot, just the way most super hero relationships tend to work in the Marvel Universe. Inhumans and mutants have gotten along, more or less, but part of that has been due to the fact that until very recently, Inhumans were completely isolationist. They stayed up in their hidden city of Attilan, interacting with the “regular” world only rarely. That’s all been blown to hell recently, with Inhumans popping up over the globe. Their territory is expanding, so to speak, and it’s inevitable that they’re going to rub up against other heroes and villains, including the mutants.
When we pick up the story with UNCANNY INHUMANS, however, it seems like things have gone very wrong somehow. The specifics are yet to be revealed, but I would characterize it as sort of a cold war that occasionally goes hot. Medusa’s not thrilled about the situation—honestly, would you want the mutants mad at you? She’s trying to put her nation back together, and the idea of having this very powerful group mad at her is not ideal. We’ll just have to see how it all goes.
Marvel.com: What’s Hank McCoy’s role in the book?
Charles Soule: Hank McCoy, aka Beast, is living with the Inhumans on New Attilan when we pick up in issue #1. He’s sort of a liaison between mutantkind and the Inhumans, working towards mutual understanding. Of course, it’s more complex and awesome than that, but let’s just say that Beast has a very particular reason for “breaking” with the rest of the mutants and hanging out with Medusa and crew, and we’ll find out pretty early what that is—although as I said, it’s more complex than perhaps it seems at first glance.
Marvel.com: And what kind of new Inhumans will we see take lead roles?
Charles Soule: Reader—blind guy who makes anything he reads via Braille tabs on his belt real, with a cool seeing-eye dog named Forey—has a huge part in the first arc, and Iso is very vital as well. I have big plans for a new Inhuman character I introduced in the Free Comic Book Day story named Grid, a guy from India who can see and manipulate electromagnetic fields. They’re all part of the ongoing story, though: Inferno, Flint, Naja and of course, good old Frank McGee.
Marvel. Com: How does Kang fit into the saga?
Charles Soule: As we saw in the UNCANNY INHUMANS #0 issue, Black Bolt gave his son Ahura to Kang the Conqueror for safekeeping when he realized that the Secret Wars Incursions would destroy the world. It was a desperate move; Kang is clearly a bad, bad guy, but his time-travel abilities would allow him to take Ahura back to the past, thus keeping him alive even as the rest of the Marvel Universe was destroyed. Black Bolt was trying to be a good father, but as tends to happen in comics, things got complicated. As far as we know, Kang still has Ahura when we open in issue #1, and Black Bolt’s not the kind of guy who would let his son be raised by a time-traveling despot if he has anything to say about it.
And he does. He does have something to say about it. Which, considering the fact that Black Bolt creates something like a nuclear blast every time he speaks, might not be all that great for Kang. On the other hand, Kang’s weapon is time itself. I think it’s fair to say that literally everything is at stake for the Inhumans in the first arc of UNCANNY INHUMANS.
Marvel.com: Lastly, why is Steve McNiven, in your opinion, the perfect artist for this book?
Charles Soule: Steve is the perfect artist for every book. He excels at giving a sense of reality to even the most exotic super hero action, and I think a lot of that is in the faces. It’s very clear in every panel what each character is thinking and feeling; Steve is an excellent “actor,” so to speak. In a title like UNCANNY INHUMANS, where we have family drama and royal intrigue mixed up with characters from vastly different backgrounds working and fighting together, alongside massive super hero action, I suspect it could all easily go off the rails. Steve never lets things teeter, though; it’s all locked down and incredible, and I hope I get to keep working with him forever.
Marvel.com: Steve, your turn: What’s it like working with Charles as a collaborator? What does he do that as an artist you love?
Steve McNiven: Working with Charles? In a word: fantastic! The guy is the real deal, a writer who can do it all, and loves to collaborate. His scripts are pitch-perfect, and allow you to really exploit his storytelling, making you look much better than you actually are. What more could you ask for? How about speed? I have never waited for a script from him, and often get two or three ahead of time. If you are an artist and you get a chance to work with him I guarantee you’ll agree with everything I’m saying here.
Marvel.com: So far, which of the series cast members might present the greatest artistic challenge for you? And which are just joys to draw?
Steve McNiven: I’d probably say Black Bolt presents the greatest artistic challenge for me as he can’t talk. Or rather he could talk but it would vaporize everything around him. So it’s all physical acting with him and that’s a bit of a challenge, but one that’s so much fun to attack. But Medusa’s the one character I love to draw because I just have such a good time drawing her hair!
Marvel.com: And what do you like drawing better, human-looking humans, or the monsters and creatures?
Steve McNiven: I have been known to love drawing old people, as it is so much easier to exaggerate their expressions than it is with the stereotypically good looking superheroes. Same goes for the creatures and monsters. You can get across a wide range of emotions when you get to exaggerate expressions, something that is a bit more difficult to do when you are known as a “realistic” artist.
UNCANNY INHUMANS by Charles Soule and Steve McNiven sets Medusa, Black Bolt, Kang, and more on a collision course later this year! Look for the latest All-New All-Different Marvel news here on Marvel.com and via our social channels!