Christopher Priest preps the Royals for the fight of their lives!

The time has come for the teenage royals to return home to Attilan.

In an attempt to clear their names of treason and retake their rightful places as Inhuman leaders, the team has made some unlikely alliances and built up their forces to prepare for a battle with the King himself!

On December 6, writer Christopher Priest and artist Phil Noto conclude INHUMANS: ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS with the climactic issue #5!

We caught up with Priest to get some hints about this electrifying finale!

Marvel.com: Can you give a brief summary of the series ahead of the last issue?

Christopher Priest: This will be part five of five parts, so a lot has gone on. I recommend everyone pick up the entire series (obviously) and enjoy the ride! Long story short: due to a series of misunderstandings, the teenage royals Black Bolt, Maximus the Not-So-Mad, and Medusa become convinced the Inhumans King (who now goes by the name Unspoken) wants to kill them.

Led by a mysterious new character, an enlightened Alpha Primitive who calls himself “Elisha,” the teenhumans flee the ancient city of Attilan and take refuge in New York City where they come under the tutelage of Benjamin Wittman, the brilliant inventor who later becomes known as the malevolent Wizard. At the start of this, our finale, the royals—now reunited with their cousins Triton and Karnak—have come to question much of the information they’ve been given, and have determined to return to Attilan and engage the King…who has the power to destroy them all.

Marvel.com: How have the team dynamics shifted over the course of the story?

Christopher Priest: Well, they’re not much of a team, actually. They’re family, to be sure, but they are kids; teenagers on a first big adventure away from home, guided by grown-ups with questionable motives.

All of this leads, of course, toward Black Bolt’s inevitable ascension to the throne—but is that the path the young monarch-in-waiting really wants to take? There’s an interesting dynamic between the impulsive and self-absorbed Maximus, who craves the throne, and Black Bolt, who’s had major responsibility thrust upon him since birth.

Marvel.com: How do each of the Royals feel about the prospect of returning to Attilan?

Christopher Priest: Well, they have conflicting emotions about returning home, considering no one knows for certain whether they will be welcomed home as family or fired upon as traitors and enemies. Stay tuned!

Marvel.com: Tell us a little more about Elisha.

Christopher Priest: Elisha the Alpha Primitive could be described as your typical liberal post-grad student—the kind that waits on line in the rain for the newest iPhone. He is mostly a product of his experience—the oppression suffered by the Alpha Primitives, a servant caste of the Inhumans. An Inhuman taught Elisha to read and got imprisoned for it. Now enlightened, and with postgrad degrees from M.I.T., Elisha remains a second or even third-class citizen due to his genetic disposition—which casts a pall upon the more “enlightened” Inhuman society.

His character theme is, therefore, about discrimination—especially among liberal free thinkers such as the Inhumans.

Marvel.com: How does Black Bolt differ at this stage of his life from the present day?

Christopher Priest: This Black Bolt has only been out of his isolation chamber for a few months, if that long. He is, literally, the boy in the plastic bubble who is only within these pages learning how to relate to and socialize with others. Thus, Black Bolt feels very sensitive to the plight of the Alpha Primitives and, in fact, challenges the King on that subject in our first issue. He tends to break a lot of social rules because he doesn’t really know about them.

Marvel.com: What proved to be the most challenging part of writing this series?

Christopher Priest: Reimagining characters I’ve grown up reading and finding something new to say about them. We all know these characters, but these are new voices and very different themes.

Marvel.com: Who became your favorite character to write?

Christopher Priest: Crystal, whom I just went my own way with and gave her a fairly precocious voice. She, above all of the Inhumans, has had a historically generic voice. But my editor, Will Moss, has allowed me to bend convention a little and give her an irascible personality…we presume she’ll grow out of it.

Christopher Priest and artist Phil Noto’s INHUMANS: ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #5 concludes the story on December 6!

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Christopher Priest discusses the Inhumans' trip to NYC!

Whenever the Inhumans find themselves in The City That Never Sleeps, they just can’t seem to keep themselves out of trouble.

And on November 1, writer Christopher Priest and artist Phil Noto unleash the gang on NYC once again in INHUMANS: ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #4!

The Royals hit the streets—and battle Spider-Man—in a wild tale that weaves in The Wizard, The Seeker, and all the local dangers of the city. With the wrath of Attilan on their tail, how will the Inhumans respond?

We caught up with Priest to find out.

Marvel.com: Tell us a little bit about the events leading up to this story…

Christopher Priest: This storyline has been based on a series of misunderstandings and misinterpretations of observed actions. The young Royals believe the King (whose name is now Unspoken) intends to kill them. He does not. Medusa believes the King wants to force her into marrying him. He does not. Some of these misunderstandings relate to their biases—for example, an Alpha Primitive develops his inaccurate assumptions as a result of the Inhumans’ caste system and how his people have been oppressed for generations.

But with all of that going on, it comes as no surprise when, at the climax of issue #3, a young Black Bolt mistakes a Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man for one of the King’s agents and presumes the Alpha Primitive’s incorrect assumption—that the King wants to kill them—to be correct.

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017) #1

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017) #1

Marvel.com: How did it feel to write Spider-Man again? You two have a bit of history!

Christopher Priest: I began my career way back in the 1900s as the Spider-Man Editor at Marvel—and later went on to write the character in a couple of series. My bigger struggle here became keeping him from sounding too much like Deadpool, whom I have also written! (Of course, Deadpool’s speech pattern is largely derivative of Spider-Man’s, so it could be a little tough.)

Marvel.com: Did it prove difficult to imagine these characters so far back in their own personal histories? How do the Royals differ here from how we see them as adults?

Christopher Priest: Well, I want to be careful because I have so much admiration and respect for the writers handling the current series. I personally have always thought the Inhumans have been handled with just a bit too much reverence—a bit stiff, taken too seriously—and that the characters became too far removed from what Stan Lee called “The World Outside My Window.” I’ve had similar problems with Asgard and Wakanda! These can be great places to explore, but in terms of my personal interest, I prefer my super heroes grounded in as much reality as we can muster—so that the fantastic elements “pop” from the world we actually know.

I thought, and Marvel agreed, that their adolescent selves might be a lot more flexible and knowable, with universal conflicts and coming-of-age stories present. That’s the big difference between Teenhumans and the current-day version: we allow ourselves to treat the characters a little less like glass and drop much of the formality. They’re kids. They look like kids, they act like kids, they make mistakes the way kids do. We have copious amounts of humor and warmth, which can be much harder to do with the, at times, way-too-serious adult versions of these characters.

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017) #2

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017) #2

Marvel.com: How does this origin story stand as unique from others that have been told?

Christopher Priest: We’re just kind of filling in the blanks and, at times, walking in-between known events of the early Marvel Universe. Some outright changes needed to be made only because of the inevitable knots in Marvel continuity over the years. I also believe that a lot of the origin stuff—specifically as presented in back-up stories or one-off features—emerged without a lot of consideration for “canon,” or the big picture.

In those days, Stan, Roy Thomas, and others just winged it. Now we have to be accountable to decisions made on the fly 40 years ago and somehow make it all fit! We tried hard to respect that work, but, inevitably, some choices had to be made.

Marvel.com: Tell us about Bentley Wittman, A.K.A. The Wizard. What has his presence done to the dynamic of the group?

Christopher Priest: Well, as most every fan knows, Medusa ultimately joins Wittman’s Frightful Four villains group—which could be the subject of a sequel if this series finds an audience… I thought engaging The Wizard without ever actually calling him that felt consistent with Marvel’s cinematic and Netflix universe approaches—and I think it works really well here; playing off of things the audience already knows about that character and history. The fact that one of the first humans the young Royals encounter turns out to be a menace adds to the Inhumans versus humans paranoia we see later on.

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017) #3

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings (2017) #3

Marvel.com: Phil Noto—what a wonderful artist. How does his distinct style add to the tone of the story you set out to tell? By the way, aren’t you an artist yourself?

Christopher Priest: Nah, I’m a pretty good visual storyteller but way too lazy to draw my own thumbnail layouts the way Keith Giffen does. Inker Josef Rubinstein advised me kindly to stick to writing—I believe “you suck” were the words.

Phil Noto, on the other hand, is a revolutionary artist; a kinder, gentler Moebius. His work here presents a clear break from the typical Marvel house style, which may require some small adjustment from readers expecting Jim Lee-style dynamics. Noto’s stuff looks more like fine art—which it absolutely is; it feels very grounded in reality. Every page has been unexpected but wonderful—he delivers exactly what I asked for but not what I expected. His storytelling lands on-point and he breathes an amazing humanity into his characters’ expressions, drilling right into their eyes. I could not be more thrilled by this choice of artist and eagerly look forward to another project we can tackle together.

Marvel.com: How do you manage the stakes of a prequel story? Considering readers might already know the characters’ future.

Christopher Priest: Well, there’s more to personal conflict than life and death, and even knowing the end of the story doesn’t prevent the piece from being suspenseful. In the case of ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS, it has always been all about the journey—a fresh look at these characters and their history, while unearthing new conflicts and new possibilities along the way.

It’s been great fun—way more than I ever could have expected! And I believe there remains a lot more to say with these characters set in this exciting time of their lives.

INHUMANS: ONCE AND FUTURE KINGS #4, by Christopher Priest and artist Phil Noto, heads to the Big Apple on November 1!

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Getting inside the brilliant but troubled mind who guides the Frightful Four.

This file is nearing its digitize and destruction date as we have had it in storage for the required length of time. Just sending it on to you to make sure there are no existing legal concerns or outstanding issues with the client that would necessitate us not to moving forward. Please review and get back to me immediately.

Bentley Wittman is an adult male who appears to be in average physical health. He admits to being a career super criminal who goes by the alias of The Wizard. He recently became known as the leader of the Frightful Four, a villainous team that includes Medusa, one of the so-called “Inhumans” who news reports indicate have arrived in New York City and begun to sow chaos. While the Wizard refused to indicate his involvement or lack thereof in their presence, his presentation bordered on prideful delight.

The client has been required to attend sessions as part of a super villain deferment program the current administration is pilot testing. He arrives on time and is well dressed for each appointment and indicates his displeasure if previous clients run long or anything occurs that pulls focus from him during the course of session. He clearly enjoys talking about himself to this therapist although he rarely says anything of substance unless it is to set up a story about he triumphed over adversity.

Between the requirement he attend therapy and his own barely hidden contempt for anyone and everyone around him, it is hard to see helpful results coming from these sessions. He believes all are inferior to him, therefore almost no insight or observation is taken in or pondered. On the rare occasion something does manage to pierce his inflated sense of self, he often reintroduces it moments later as though he had thought of it, without any stated recognition of where the idea had come from.

Inhumans: Once and Future Kings #3

His diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder seems without question. He does possesses qualities associated with Antisocial Personality Disorder but most of his criminal activities seem to extend from a sense of superiority, not a lack of morality. However, given the scope of the incidents he has been involved in, it does feel important to continue to monitor for the possibility of anti-sociability.

In accordance with the court and government’s request this writer will continue to work with this client, but does urge his placement is reconsidered. The program itself may still well prove useful but it is my assertion that Bentley is a uniquely bad choice for it.

In deciding whether or not to move forward with the process of digitizing and destruction of this record, please refer also to Doctors Christopher Priest and Phil Noto’s work with him. Those records are available in the file INHUMANS: ONCE FUTURE KINGS #3 which will also be up for similar review on October 11.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Staff Therapist and likes flashing back to earlier days because oh how pretty he used to be.

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