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Secret Invasion: Inhumans #3

Posted: Tuesday, October 14, 2008
By: Shawn Hill

Joe Pokaski
Tom Raney (p), Scott Hanna (i)
Marvel Comics
Plot: To get her man back (and the leader of her people), Medusa strikes a bargain with an old enemy. But will Blackagar Boltagon survive to witness his rescue?

Comments: I don't know much about Pokaski, but I'm sensing some novice writer ticks in this issue. Things were going so well with a surprisingly kick ass royal family, with Medusa and Crystal taking names and Gorgon and Karnak wiping out every last Skrull on the moon. They quickly commandeered an enemy ship and headed off into space. Even running to Ronan the Accuser for aid isn’t the worst idea ever.

But things suddenly veer widely off course after he shows up, as the tasks they need to fulfill for Ronan are a complex set of three Macguffins in unconnected locations around the universe. Is the third of four issues really the place to split up the just assembled strike team? Medusa and Crystal go back to Earth, to a compound established by Thundra. Gorgon and Karnak are suddenly on Rigel 3, fighting robots. While Triton conveniently finds his mission statement on an all water planet. Yes, Pokaski does the work needed to have an upgraded Lockjaw do all these unlikely sub-space maneuvers, but it’s all a horrible rush in the last four pages, none of it having much to do with Medusa avenging her man or the unlikely spectre of Crystal having to marry Ronan.

Let’s face it, the Inhumans have had a bit of a spotty career over the past 40 years. Sometimes they’ve lucked out with great art and writing (their inception in the first 100 of the FF, the now-classic Jenkins/Lee series), sometimes they’ve had decent art only (the 1970s series, the Ladronn series, Silent War), sometimes bearable writing and so-so art (a lot of their guest-spots, the Nocenti/Blevins trade) and a lot of the time more work has been spent getting them off-stage (Byrne’s FF) than keeping them in the spotlight.

This one may have fallen into the great art only category. Raney’s doing excellent work here. He and Hanna are seasoned pros, and it shows in the clarity of their storytelling. While he’s not really a quirky enough artist for the weirdness of the Inhumans, he has fun with Medusa’s mounds of hair and Crystal’s always been the most human of the group, anyway. Good thing, since the two sisters are the main players in this story.

Though the Skrull machinations are the best part of the book, isn’t it familiar that Blackbolt is again captured and being tortured to use as a weapon? You’d think he’d just slice out his vocal cords at this point and be done with it. The situations the heroes find themselves in are transparently simple, and the stock team book formula creaks under the strain.

The dialogue is still clever, though, with a few very wry jokes and a real sense of family for the over-burdened and sometimes dysfunctional Royals. I’m not sure what I’m hoping for the conclusion of this series: surprises rather than stock plot devices? Yes, that would be nice. Hopefully the narrative freshness of the first two Skrull-heavy issues can be recaptured.



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