"Your subjects are powder kegs of genetic potential, primed to detonate upon exposure to the Terrigen mists. Each of them is truly unique - a subspecies of one.
— Inhumans #1: Sonic Youth
are a secret race
of superhumans within the Marvel Universe
. Although at first just background characters for the Fantastic Four
, they've since become involved with other characters and have even starred in their own series occasionally. Originally a single Inhuman, Medusa, was introduced as a villain in Fantastic Four
#36 (March, 1965). Then her cousin Gorgon turned up in #44 (November, 1965), and the rest of the family in #45 (December, 1965).
Created by Stan Lee
and Jack Kirby
, the Inhumans were once primitive humans, though experiments performed on them long ago by the extraterrestrial Kree race (the same race that Captain Mar-Vell
belongs to) gave them advanced intelligence. With time, The Kree forgot about their creations and they where left alone to form their own civilization, located on Attilan aka "The Great Refuge", a walled city on an island in the Atlantic sea. Eventually, they discovered a substance called "terrigen"
that either gave people superpowers, a bizarre appearance, or both. They ended up basing their very culture on its use (and Genetic Engineering
However, the Inhumans are very xenophobic, and went as far as moving their entire city
(with help from The Eternals, another hidden race) to the Himalayas to avoid being discovered by humans. They were found there by the Fantastic Four, and convinced to reveal themselves publicly, though their history of relations with the rest of the world is spotty. Later the city was moved to the "Blue Area of the Moon" (also created by the Kree) which has a breathable atmosphere.
The Inhumans are a monarchy
whose Royal Family tends to be among their most powerful members; they also go out and kick butt
when necessary. Their king is Black Bolt, who besides being a Flying Brick
with electrical powers
also has a voice that can literally destroy cities; he is thus forced to remain silent, communicating only by sign language (his wife, Medusa, often translates for him). Bolt's brother, Maximus, hates him out of envy
and has tried to usurp the crown many times. At one point their cousin Crystal had a romantic relationship with Johnny Storm (the Human Torch of the Fantastic Four) and has even been a member of that group and of The Avengers
. However she ended up marrying the mutant hero Quicksilver
instead. They had a daughter, Luna, who has often been a target of villainous plans, what with being related not just to the Royal Inhumans but also to the X-Men
's foe Magneto
Other Royal family members include Karnak, a martial artist; Triton, a fish-man
; and the satyr-like Gorgon, who can stomp really, really hard. They also have Lockjaw, a bulldog the size of a bull
who has teleportation
powers and who may or may not be of human intelligence.
After the events of the Secret Invasion
, the Inhumans renewed their ties with a weakened Kree Empire
and lead the Kree Empire forces against the Shi'ar Empire in the War of Kings
miniseries. After the events of that series they have become a dominant power within the galaxy.
Some time after the events of The Thanos Imperative
, a group called the Universal Inhumans was discovered based on four other races, Kymellians
, Dire Wraiths
, Centaurians and Badoons
. They too were products of Kree experiments with their people but were brought together under the prophecy that Blackbolt would lead them. Blackbolt would eventually led his Inhumans to assimilate with this new faction and leave the Kree empire and its people in Kree control. Although bad blood still existing between the Inhumans and Kree.
During the Infinity Crisis Crossover
, it is revealed that hidden tribes of Inhumans have lived around the world for a number of years, and mated with the general population. It is discovered that a number of seemingly-normal humans across the globe actually have dormant Inhuman genes, which can be activated by Terrigen Mists and as a result of destruction of the Inhuman capital in the event, clouds of Terrigen Mists began spreading across the globe doing so. This becomes the central plot of the Inhumanity
crossover, producing new super human characters throughout the Marvel Universe and a new ongoing series titled Inhuman
about the surviving Inhumans and newly discovered ones dealing with the fallout.
Not related to Inhuman
, Inhumanable Alien Rights
, Inhuman Human
or Inhuman Resources
The Inhumans provides examples of the following tropes:
- Animal Superheroes: Lockjaw, who even leads the Pet Avengers (in their own series!)
- Armed with Canon: The debate over whether Lockjaw is an inhuman or a mutated dog.
- Authority Equals Asskicking: Black Bolt.
- Badass Normal: Karnak never underwent the Terrigen process, after those in charge saw how drastic his brother Triton's mutation was, they didn't want to risk it a second time. Instead, he was trained in Inhuman martial arts and uses his high intellect to find the weak points in people and objects. Many people who don't know better assume this is a superpower from the Mists. Althought it should be noted that Karnak is still an Inhuman and has natural abilities such as being slightly stronger than humans or being able to survive on the Moon unaided, so he could be considered a borderline case.
- Badass Grandpa: In one comic, the Avengers are aged so that they will be no threat to their enemy. Unfortunately for the villain, Crystal is an Inhuman, and her powers actually intensify as a result of age.
- Because Destiny Says So: Part of the reason the Inhumans and the Universal Inhumans developed the way they did is because the Supreme Intelligence believe an anomaly (Blackbolt's birth) in their genetics program would lead to its destruction.
- Bigfoot, Sasquatch and Yeti: One Abominable Snowman (among several found in the Marvel Universe) turned out to be an Inhuman.
- Big Friendly Dog: Lockjaw
- Big "NO!": Black Bolt lets out one during "War of the Kings". The results were not pretty.
- Blessed with Suck: Black Bolt (only about his voice powers, however).
- Charles Atlas Superpower: Karnak, is able to find the "weaknesses" in nearly all objects or organisms not because of any Inhuman terrigen mist mutation power but just because of dedication to a discipline he learned being raised at an Inhuman seminary.
- City in a Bottle: The Inhuman capital Attilan at one point.
- Cool Starship: The Inhuman capital Attilan as of the end of the Secret Invasion.
- Culture Clash: A one point, an exchange program was set up for Inhuman students to attend a US college. This ends as can be expected given the situation.
- Dogs Are Dumb: Lockjaw has acted both intelligent or just like a normal dog at different times, Depending on the Writer.
- Elemental Powers: Crystal has the four main ones.
- Fiery Redhead: Medusa, who has Prehensile Hair.
- Goo Goo Godlike: Black Bolt's cries destroyed half his city when he was born.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Luna, being half Inhuman and half Mutant. Curiously, the result was a normal human. Until the Son of M mini, where exposure to the terrigen mist turn her to an empath.
- Hannibal Lecture: Maximus is this or a Cloudcuckoolander, or both, it really depends on his mood today.
- Heel-Face Revolving Door: Maximus, though he seems to have been on the Face side of the door for the most part since Secret Invasion.
- He Who Must Not Be Heard: Guess who.
- Humans Are the Real Monsters: Part of the reason for the "Silent War" between the Earth Inhumans and the US government was that the US confiscated the terrigen mist crystals that were stolen in Son of M, refused to return them and attempted to use them to make weapons.
- Intelligible Unintelligible: Bolt, thanks to Medusa.
- Interspecies Romance: Crystal and Johnny, then Crystal and Quicksilver, then Crystal and Ronan. More strangely in the Crystal/Quicksilver example, they have a mundane child (non-mutant, non-Inhuman).
- Kissing Cousins: Bolt and Medusa are cousins. Though they may just be using the older form, which just meant "distant family member", since most Inhumans address each other as "cousin".
- Make Me Wanna Shout: Black Bolt's power. His scream isn't destructive just because of simple sound waves, but because it releases particles that break down matter on the sub-atomic level. This is because the part of his brain that controls speech also controls his matter-manipulating powers.
- Mr. Exposition: All of the Inhumans (besides Black Bolt, of course). They just love to talk. This probably arose because for a long time, the early Fantastic Four issues would cut back to the Inhumans trapped in their city for a brief update, and there had to be a dialogue recap for new readers... and the idea that redundant exposition is the Inhumans' hat just stuck.
- Muggle Born of Mages: Luna, though she later was given powers with terrigen.
- Non-Human Sidekick: Lockjaw... maybe.
- Person of Mass Destruction: Black Bolt
- Power Incontinence: Black Bolt's whispers could easily destroy a city. He has gone through severe mental training so he never utters a word without choosing to do so, even in his sleep.
- Many of the hybrid Inhumans introduced in Infinity initially find themselves unable to control their newfound abilities. For example, a Sizeshifter named Alice accidentally grows her husband to a gigantic size, and then shrinks herself (and two of her neighbors) down to subatomic proportions.
- Prehensile Hair: Medusa
- Secret Legacy: The big Reveal in Infinity is that as a result of early Inhuman tribes mating with outsiders, thousands of humans across the planet secretly possess dormant Inhuman abilities.
- Servant Race: The Alpha Primitives
- Shockwave Stomp: Gorgon's chief ability
- The Silent Bob: Black Bolt for safety reasons.
- Steven Ulysses Perhero: Black Bolt's full name is Blackagar Boltagon.
- Super Empowering
- Via Terrigen Mists.
- Other Inhumans use differing methods; Badoon's Amphogenesis injection, Centaurian's Isogenesis injection, Kymellian's Antigenesis consumption and Dire Wraiths Exogenesis spice inhalation.
- Suspiciously Similar Substitute: A number of people (including Chris Claremont) have pointed out that the concept of the hybrid Inhumans from Infinity seems very similar to the existing concept of Mutants. It has been speculated that this is being done for the sake of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which can't use mutants since the X-Men's film rights are owned by Fox.
- This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Triton will sometimes get a mission or so that involves his swimming. Including his part during the Secret Invasion mini. During the War of Kings, he and other aquatic Inhumans played the role of shock troopers in battle since their lifetime of undersea combat training was useful in zero-g environments.
- Ultraterrestrials: The Earth-based Inhumans, though they don't live on Earth anymore.
- Veganopia: Nahrees first learns that humans eat meat when she attends a human university.
- What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: The Inhumans prize unique appearances and abilities. When one girl gets nothing but a slightly lengthened right hand, she disappoints her family and is ostracized by her friends. Another Inhuman who wound up with the power to change people's skin color was ostracized by his parents and ended up living in Attilan's poor Darkward district.