Tag Archives: Inhumans

Ultraverse: Ragnarok

 

Hello, Legions of the Unspoken!  It’s been a bit since Ol’ Dean Compton has been able to celebrate the greatness of 90’s comics with y’all, but life has been getting in the way.  Hopefully things are starting to calm down and I can get here a lot more often.

One thing that doesn’t seem to be calming down anytime soon is the public’s hunger for superhero movies, especially Marvel movies.  The Cinematic Universe has excited the public in a way that very few other movie franchises seem to be doing these days.  Black Panther has taken the world by storm, and it’s very, very good!  The movie that preceded it, though, Thor: Ragnarok, had a very neato tidbit that’d get a 90’s comic book fan as excited as a puppy in a dog park.

One of the most beloved of the many universes, and maybe the most beloved, that popped up in the 90’s was the Ultraverse.  Malibu’s big swing for the fences wound up coming up short, but for a while prior to the Marvel purchase, the little company that could on the left coast was spitting out fascinating ideas faster than seeds at a watermelon eating contest.  One of those ideas seems to have shown up in Thor:  Ragnarok, and her name is Topaz.

 

topaz

While this Topaz looks decidedly different from the Ultraverse’s Topaz, the similarities are fairly shocking and vastly outweigh the differences.

topaz2
Yeah, the similarities don’t just jump out at you when you look at two pictures next to each other.

Topaz was an integral member of UltraForce who used a power staff to keep her enemies in line.  She is a warrior-queen from a matriarchal realm, and she’s pretty female supremacist.  Now I know that’s gonna float some boats for some fellas reading this, but it was also fun watching her attempt to learn how to integrate into a male-dominated society in UltraForce.  She used a power staff to deal with threats, and she got caught up in a big cosmic scuffle featuring The Avengers, Thor, and…The Grandmaster.  Sound like the Topaz from the movie a little.  TRY A LOT.

UltraForce & Avengers 01_au-01-00
Loki on this cover looks like a kid who just figured out how to steal some cookies without his parents knowing.
UltraForce & Avengers 02_ua-01-00
Loki being involved in this shindig with the Grandmaster, UltraForce, and the Avengers just further cements my belief that this Topaz is indeed the Topaz in Thor:  Ragnarok.   Also, these covers are awesome, but confusing.  They’re nowhere near as confusing as the actual story though, which is fucking saying something, amirite?

Topaz is one of the central characters in the UltraForce/Avengers crossover, which has a lot of dealings with The Grandmaster.  Sound familiar?  In the movie, she’s the right-hand woman of the Grandmaster, and she fights Thor.  In the UltraForce/Avengers crossover, she teams with Siren to take on Crystal and Black Widow as part of the game between Grandmaster and Loki.  There’s never a huge Avengers vs. UltraForce showdown, as the crossover mostly follows the “heroes meet, fight, realize they are on the same side/being manipulated, team up against the threat, and then look really cool doing it” template.

 

UltraForce & Avengers 02_ua-01-34
George Perez is the fucking man.

But the really important thing about Topaz right now isn’t her history, although as I said, she’s fun in UltraForce, and her debut in Giant-Size Mantra #1 is pretty awesome too.  It’s the fact that Ultraverse fans like myself have been waiting for Marvel and Disney to do something with this dormant universe for way too long.  The Ultraverse was full of fantastic ideas and amazing characters, and it was created by a group of some of the best writers in comic books.  The universe was shepherded well by Chris Ulm, Tom Mason, Dave Olbrich, and Scott Mitchell Rosenberg so that everything felt important and needed.  You never knew when something small would happen and it would balloon into something huge.  Until the Valiant relaunch, it was easily the best universe created since the Marvel Universe.

For about 20 years, Ultraverse fans waited and waited for any sign of life from the Ultraverse.  There would be rumors, rumors of rumors, and Joe Quesada flat out saying that these characters would never see the light of day again.  Ultraverse fans like myself finally have a ray of hope with Topaz showing up in this movie.  Will Prime return?  Hardcase?  Firearm?  The Solution?  Will they get their own comics back?  Maybe a Netflix show?  I know the 90’s kids who loved The Strangers and Sludge sure hope so!  Here’s to seeing a lot more Ultraverse characters in the comics, on TV, and in the Marvel Cinematic Universe very, very soon!

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Kingdom of Silence – Inhumans #1 by Angel Hayes

The X-Men awesome. The Doom Patrol? Even better. But what about not a team…but a Kingdom? A race? A civilization?

Allow me to introduce a people whom need no proper introduction

INHUMANS #1 By Marvel Knights 1998

This run has a foreword by the great Alex Ross himself. He gives his Kudos and says how excited he is for it. If Alex Ross doing your foreword isn’t a good sign I don’t know what is.

 Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 1

Look at that cover and try and convince me it’s not for a movie poster

The Inhumans, if you are unfamiliar, are a race of amazo mutants. Whom use the Terrigen Mists to alter themselves to their utmost genetic potential. Because their abijlites are geneic based The Inhumans exist in a weird kind of Genoarchy, where selective breeding, training, and exposure to the mists has created the most potential in their race…Anyway we’ll be covering a lot of it as we move on.

Let’s take a minute to appreciate that cover. LORD JESUS, that cover. Bold title space that expands over, great v formation of the subjects, making them look bold and heroic. Their uniqueness highlighted as well as it can be while staying in the confines of the cover. The light play is what really gets us. Showing us passing glimpses of our beautiful inhumans while tying together the cover as whole the shimmer from the title is the same kind of gleam that we see in different spots.

Now that I’ve satisfied my terrible cover lust we can move forward.

Page 6 is an alternative cover that for this version is just an awesome splash page. And amazingly 90’s.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 6 Did Sonic Youth set BlackBolt on Fire?

BlackBolt is our stoic king. And with good reason. One of his whispers could destroy a planet. Simultaneously, he is the strongest most perfect mutant ever. Someone so trapped by their own gifts but given power for them. The king of an empire that expands outward beyond the stars can never do something as mundane as singing in the shower.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 7

I find that fact that the most powerful man in the universe can use his voice the least absolutely lovely.

Another amazing thing about BlackBolt is because of his lack of a voice so much more attention to his body language is given by the artist.

I don’t know if you noticed but I kinda have thing for art.

Next up we get to see some amazing views of Attilan (homeworld of the inhumans) as Blackbolt flies overhead. This is a world of purity. In addition, to the amazing diversity of it. Inhumans have had lots of trouble with the impurities found on Earth. They keep Attilan as perfect as they believe themselves to be.

Lots of awesome diverse Alien shots, lots of introspection on Blackbolt’s part. But what else can you do when the only voice you may speak is in your mind?

Blackbolt finally lands and we get our intro title splash page

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 10

 Also Butts.

Blackbolt has arrived at the Attilan Prison. To meet with his amazingly crazy Brother, Maximus.

 Maximus is crazy as can be and continues to berate his brother who looks upon him. He brings up things of the past. The death of their parents and how Maximus tried to side with the Kree. How he knows Blackbolt won’t ever say a word after accidentally killed their parents.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 14

And this is what happens when we argue, Brother. 

To stop his brother’s plans Blackbolt was forced to speak and in doing so cause much destruction including the death of his parents.

In these panels we see an amazing dynamic principle, it conveys the continual sonic energy through out it. Also the light shifts to match the rest of the destruction. Such a glorious page of fire, sound, and loss.

In the next beautiful page of shadows, Maximus accuses Blackbolt’s silence being an indication of his guilt. Blackbolt leaves his brother to his madness.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 15

 The losing sibling always slumps in the corner.

I cannot get over the shadows on Blackbolt. Darkness and silence merge together into panel of loneliness.

Maximus screaming his madness and we can see that his only view is of himself. The continual scourge of hate from his mouth and back through his reflection.The way the brothers are shown to stare at one another.

Through one another. It makes my heart ache.

We now take a drastic turn to show the current state of living from the Inhumans and how they view the earth and humanity in turn.

The barriers that protect the Inhumans from our pollution. The way they view our greed when it comes to natural resources. Our destruction of one another. But also how some are still noble. How we can be loyal beyond a fault. Our ignorance to what we do to each other.

And how close we are to their kingdom.

Another major shift and we find ourselves inside the royal court. Queen Medusa is talking to her handmaiden, Marista.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 18 Self-Braiding Hair = Amazing Super Power

Medusa worries for her husband and the fate of Inhumans.

The page is the first intense color we see in the whole comic. Bright hues and intense color contrasts make this feel so fantastical. I adore alien nature of it.

Queen Medusa continues to speak her thoughts onto the next page which is breathtaking.

 Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 19

 Queens keep it classy with slips.

The way they focus Blackbolt’s head into the center of the panels. His mind against the stars; He is the center of the universe. While he mediates it’s almost as though he is single-handedly realigning the very stars.

Over the next two pages we see the royal family blessing an inhuman infant. Blackbolt muses over all the things he wishes that could relay to the new life his race has created.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 20Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 21I couldn’t put into words what Blackbolt Couldn’t Either

These pages are beyond entrancing. The pull of focus by using washed shadows is just incredible. So beautifully subtle you don’t even feel the tug of the panels.

Also, Galactus. GAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLAAAAAACCCCCCCCCCTUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSS.

To see the one so beyond our comprehension, in the memories of one so beyond humanity, is just an amazing to me.

Moving on, we experience another shift this time to Kanark and his brother. Kanark is the adivser to the throne. His mutation allows him to see all weaknesses. To calculate all outcomes. Karnark in the past has been represented as haughty and outspoken. Here he is shown as more wise and introspective.

The art takes a bit of a dark cast here. Like subterfuge with red toned shadows.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 25

That’s how my family poses for a portrait.

Kanark seriously considers how his King appears to have no weakness. Years of not being able to predict what will happen next to him. For someone who’s gift is that of the breakdown of future events and current weaknesses never being able to find the current path for your commander…your friend…your family. Must be a terrible fate. To see all the strings but never find the knot.

Kanark’s musings will come back to us in time. Now it is time for dinner though.

The Royal Family meets and discusses the current state of affairs complete with bad joke from Gorgon.

Gorgon snidely says some things…Then Triton…Then Crystal and Suddenly it’s a real family meal complete with bickering.

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 27

SORRY NOT SORRY

And all this beautiful art. The soul filled narrative has lead to this one final page. The one pervading thought across this book is…

What Would Blackbolt say?

Inhumans V2 #1 - Page 28From the mindset of an undefeated King what else would you say to your subjects? 

I hope you’ve enjoyed this departure with me on one of my favorite lineups in all of comics.

See you past the mists,

Angel