Spoilers are found in moon craters too!
Based on the Marvel comics race of the same name, Inhumans are a newer kind of mutation created with the Terrigenesis process, who share the MCU with other films and tv shows of a similar nature. The process, introduced widely to the world first through the sister show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., uses the naturally mutating Terrigan mist and crystals to transform inherent Inhuman biology, thereby turning anyone exposed to the gas into some manner of Inhuman – or killing them outright. Everyone with me so far? Okay good, it’s off to the moon we go!
I’m not even kidding either. Because apparently, yes, there’s already an Inhuman Royal Family, and they rule an entire city called Attilan, which is located on the moon, underground. On the moon. Underground. Still trying to wrap my brain around that one; we go on. There are enough Inhumans on the moon to be ruled by the Royal Family and create an entire caste system, which means inevitably the lowest caste workers, the miners and tunnel diggers, are oppressed and downtrodden.
The Royal Family consists of the King, Black Bolt (Anson Mount), who is so freaking powerful the merest breath of his speech can cause swathes of destruction, so he primarily communicates in sign language and occasional telepathy. Mount studied American Sign Language and orchestra conductors to prepare for the role, making up his own sign language for the character with some help from premiere director Roel Reine. Queen of Attilan Medusa (Serinda Swan) is of course known for her prehensile killing hair, and the actress had to endure wearing a 4 lb. wig and always act as if the hair were another creature or actor doing the character with her. Crystal (Isabelle Cornish) is Medusa’s sister and a Princess of the Royals, with her inherent ability to control the elements, and her giant dog Lockjaw, who happens to be the main teleportation method to Earth. King Black Bolt’s cousin Gorgon (Eme Ikwuakor) leads Attilan’s Royal Guard and can make seismic waves with his minotaur-like hooves. Karnak (Ken Leung) is another Royal cousin of Black Bolt, master strategist and advisor to the Family. And finally is Maximus (Iwan Rheon), the inevitable brother of Black Bolt, he who actually lost the Inhuman gene when he attempted Terrigenesis, and is now derided and tolerated on the fringes of Inhuman Royal society because of it.
Maximus’ anger over his lot in life is where we begin, after being introduced to all these characters here on the moon. The only reason he hasn’t been sent to work the moon mines with the rest of the outcasts is because Maximus is a Royal, but he resents even that, and tries to convince Black Bolt to move everything to Earth, where they would rule the planet with their Inhuman powers like they were always meant to do. Black Bolt, Medusa, even Crystal in her youth want nothing to do with taking over Earth and so blow Maximus off, which inevitably leads to a coup far sooner than any of them might have thought. Much to-ing and fro-ing and fighting and betrayal ends up with many of the Royals scattered and stuck on Earth, while Princess Crystal is left to deal with the insurrection Maximus began up there on the moon.
Okay, so, it’s not bad. A very comic-book-y way to begin a show that’s indeed based on a comic book series. I like Anson Mount’s portrayal of Black Bolt and the amount of effort he’s put into making the character as unique as possible, and the treacherous shearing of Medusa was showcased by Swan really well. It seems almost inevitable that Iwan Rheon ended up playing the greedy cunning Kings brother who attempts a coup, given his deliciously evil role of the bastard Ramsay Bolton on Game of Thrones. Not a whole ton of attention is paid to the details of moon city Attila and the complete CGI representation of Lockjaw is more than a little ridiculous, but it is a large and already-familiar storyline to try and work with, on a fairly restrained budget. Here’s hoping continual character development and good, interesting storylines will make up for any blank spaces on the show.
Watch Marvel’s Inhumans attempt to save their moon-blood, now available on Disney+!