...and six returned..."
In the aftermath of Inhumans vs. X-Men, the Inhumans have undergone a massive shift. Queen Medusa has relinquished the royal throne, and Maximus the Mad has been imprisoned, but there's still a problem: with the Terrigen cloud destroyed, the Inhumans will no longer be able to use it to give themselves superpowers. Unless, of course, a good-looking, gunslinging Kree from an alternate dimension (Marvel Boy) just happens to know some secrets about Terrigen that even the Inhumans didn't, hidden somewhere out there in the universe. Of course, even if there were a group of superpowered beings up for an intergalactic road-trip, there's still dangers.
And 5,000 years in the future, the Last Inhuman recounts the story of the seven who sought the secret...but only six returned.
The series ended after twelve issues, with the plot being wrapped up in the one-shot, Inhumans: Judgement Day.
Royals contains examples of:
- Abusive Precursors: The Progenitors, who mutate entire races with Primagen just so they can later harvest them to facilitate their own reproduction.
- Amplifier Artifact: The skyspears, since they're made of primagen. Swain and Gorgon make good use of this. Maximus tries it himself in issue 12.
- Armor-Piercing Question: In Judgement Day, Black Bolt asks Medusa if she still loves him
- Arc Symbol: The tuning fork symbol showed up again in issue 11. It's the shape a major deposit of primagen takes.
- Arc Words: Finding "the meaning of love".
- The Atoner: Medusa herself is most willing to go on a quest for secrets of Inhuman heritage, even though it's likely to be a suicide mission, because she at least feels responsible for the royal family squandering their city and terrigen both.
- Badass Boast:
I am not your damned queen. What I am - is the commanding officer of this ship. And nobody has my permission to die today!
- From Medusa, in issue 2:
How do I plead? I don't plead, Ronan. I don't care how much you've puffed yourself up. It's just not how I was raised.
- Crystal, to Ronan, in issue 5:
- Bait-and-Switch: On first appearance, the way Noh talks to and about his Supreme Intelligence seed makes it seem like he's up to something sinister. Then it turns out nothing could be further from the truth.
- Big Damn Kiss: The end of issue 7 has one between Medusa and Gorgon.
- Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Progenitors see themselves as farmers, hurling skyspears made of primagen into the unknown for their own reasons, but the minute anyone goes near them or their spears, the Progenitors take offense and try to kill them.
- Body Horror: The Commander-class Progenitor. Dear gods, the Commander-class Progenitor. Formerly known as Black Bolt and Medusa. Making it worse, it's implied there's still a tiny bit of them somewhere in there.
- The Bus Came Back: The Universal Inhumans, and the Light Brigade, return in issue 5 after disappearing during Infinity. Turns out they left Earth when Thanos came a'calling and never returned. The end of the issue has the Snarks return as well.
- Cain and Abel: Outright invoked by Maximus, who even quotes the original version.
- Maximus' rant when imprisoned basically sums up his history since Secret Invasion, and the Heel–Face Revolving Door he'd been on.
- Noh-Varr's introduction to Crystal at the end of Inhumans: Prime mirrors his introduction to Wiccan and Hulking back in Young Avengers.
- His speech to the Inhumans in Issue 1 rattles off the basic points of his history (crashed ship, declared war on mankind, worked with Norman Osborn, and broke Kate Bishop's heart). It also includes a shot at the Inhumans for their behaviour from Inhumanity through to Inhumans Vs. X-Men.
- Ronan is still a little pissed at the Inhumans for leaving (and the dissolution of his marriage to Crystal).
- Noh-Varr resurrects Plex using the same method Ronan used to resurrect the Supreme Intelligence in Hickman's Fantastic Four (only without having to kill anyone to do it).
- The Snarks who capture Gorgon use the same powers as those the Power Pack demonstrated.
- Why doesn't Maximus touch the sky spears himself? He can't, thanks to Black Bolt removing his hands (something Maximus is understandably still pissed about).
- Issue 7 has narration mentioning that Maximus will never apologise for shoving Noh-Varr into a skyspear. In issue 12, after the Progenitor kills the future Noh, the Last Inhuman does finally apologise.
- Judgement Day has Black Bolt fill Medusa in on what he was up to over in his own series, with Crusher Creel.
- Chekhov's Gun:
- Maximus is shown studying the Sky-spears (the mysterious items from the short-lived All-New Inhumans), stating he knows what they are. At the end of issue five, it turns out they were made by the Progenitors.
- Noh-Varr's pocket battlefield, capable of momentarily warping reality. He uses it in issue 4 to stop the ship crashing, then again in issue 5 to escape Ronan's own pocket reality.
- Comically Missing the Point: When Rynda tells Agon her sister in-law thought they shouldn't be experimenting on their own children, Agon doesn't get her.Agon: Well, who's children should we experiment on?
- Continuity Nod:
- In another flashback in the issue, Black Bolt is referred to as a "king at midnight". The "Midnight King" is a title Black Bolt has occasionally been referred to by.
- At the end of issue 5, the Last Inhuman mentions the Universal Inhumans, and their own catalysts.
- In issue 5, Plex tries identifying the reality he's been recreated in, and can only identify it as 1?, what with Marvel no longer referring to the regular Marvel universe as Earth-616.
- Dare to Be Badass: Medusa, to Flint, in issue 2. It manages to help him weaponise Pluto.
- The Dead Have Names: Issue 4 begins with Ronan prowling the destroyed remains of Hala, naming every corpse he finds.
- Deliberate Values Dissonance: Agon and Rynda, Black Bolt and Maximus' parents, are shown no getting why anyone would treat the Alpha Primitives like people.
- Did You Just Punch Out Cthulhu?:
- The team manage to kill a Progenitor, essentially the gods of their gods. The Progenitors are shocked and baffled as to what just happened, since they don't even know what death is.
- Judgement Day has Medusa kill three Progenitors in the act of regaining her power, as she swears to find and rescue Black Bolt, averting the bad future Maximus had seen, and utterly terrifying the ones remaining behind.
- Disease Bleach: By issue 9, Medusa's become so sick her remaining hair has turned white.
- Dissonant Serenity: Maximus takes the ship being shot down by Ronan in typical stride. He does at least have the excuse he knows he'll live.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: Kal Blackbane is unceremoniously murdered and turned into a pile of ash by the Snarks.
- Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Gorgon, powered up by a source of Primagen, destroys one of the Progenitor's moons with his hooves.
- Energy Weapon: The Progenitor guarding one of the moons uses these. Not so useful when you have someone who can manipulate the water in the air to make it refract.
- Fate Worse than Death: After everything with Ronan's ended, Medusa states there's no punishment they could inflict on him worse than the life he's already living.
- Future Badass: Future Flint is an impossibly powerful, immortal thing who no longer thinks or acts like a human being, with his skeleton suspended upside down in a crystalline body. In Judgement Day, Maximus clarifies that it's because Flint actually died, and the crystal remnants of his body just kept going.
- Go Mad from the Revelation: Maximus was driven insane by Black Bolt's scream because their powers work inversely on each other. Black Bolt can resist Maximus' control and Maximus' mind is expanded by Black Bolt's voice. His mind wasn't shattered, it was expanded to perceive every point in his timeline, past and future.
- Great Offscreen War:
- The Snarks are in the middle of a feud, which they've imaginatively called "Snarkwar".
- In the future, something happened on Earth which involved the Progenitors, which ended the Age of Heroes. New York was covered in a massive dome to try and keep out of it, but that didn't work. Also, the conclusion wound up with Flint stuck inside a skyspear. Issue 12 elaborates: The Progenitors came to Earth looking for the Inhumans to use as resources, and violently kicked their asses, taking Black Bolt and Medusa before leaving.
- Green-Skinned Space Babe: Swain's opinion of Dara Ko Eke, a Badoon member of the Universal Inhumans.
- Handwave: On how Flint and Gorgon can stand on the hull of a spaceship.Gorgon: A localised gravity-something is keeping us anchored. It has to do with the... warp envelope... thing. Noh-Varr explained it. I wasn't really listening!
- Heartbroken Badass: Ronan the Accuser is still upset over the end of his marriage to Crystal. That and the total destruction of his people's homeworld.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Gorgon stays behind to take out several Progenitors, and let the others get away.
- Humans Are Cthulhu: The Progenitors and their blue-orange mortality gets turned on its head in Judgement Day, when the narration declares if the Inhumans are caught, "it will crush them into something small enough for it to understand".
- Immortality Inducer: Primagen boosts an Inhuman's lifespan by millennia, which is why Noh-Varr, Flint and Maximus are still around fifty thousand years later.
- Insistent Terminology: Medusa's not a queen anymore. She occasionally has to remind everyone.
- Jerkass: Maximus, as usual, takes perverse delight in being a dick to everyone. In issue 6, Medusa gets fed up of it, and smashes his head against the nearest wall.
- Joker Immunity: Maximus the Mad is supposedly imprisoned in Inhumans: Prime, and banished forever. He returns in issue 2, when Medusa reveals he'd been impersonating Black Bolt since before his trial.
- Large Ham: Maximus, whenever he gets going.Maximus: God is dead, fellow Inhumans! God remains dead! And we have killed him! Is not the greatness of this deed too great even for us?
Maximus: Yes. You're right! Why stop now? LET'S STEAL GOD'S CAR!
- Last of His Kind: The Last Inhuman, an elderly male living several thousand years into the future. Who is Maximus. As it turns out, he's not the only Inhuman left. Flint's still around as well. He's just not really human anymore. They're also joined by the Last Accuser, Noh-Varr.
- Love Cannot Overcome: Despite both parties still loving one another, Ronan cannot forgive himself for his many failures, and refuses to get back together with Crystal.
- Man on Fire: Noh-Varr gets roasted by a Progenitor. His cockroach DNA means it doesn't kill him.
- Meaningful Name:
Rynda: A little grandiose, perhaps...Agon: We don't want him feeling inferior, do we? Not if he's going to be able to compete with his brother...
- A flashback to Agon and Rynda naming Maximus has them discussing it.
- The Sky-Spears. So called because they lack propulsion technology, and had to be aimed and sent at a place, like an actual spear.
- Mind Rape: Ronan unleashes an attempt on the Inhumans (and Noh-Varr), summoning their guilt against them.
- Swain's powers cancel out Maximus' mind-control powers. Noh-Varr suggests his cockroach-based powers can cancel out her powers working on him. Maximus later reveals her powers don't work with his because of their clashing personalities - he's ego, she's id. Their powers can interact if they focus on the same goal. Maximus could've worked around them if he felt like it.
- Black Bolt's power is technically able to resist Maximus', unless he feels hesitation or uncertainty. And Maximus, like any sibling anywhere, is more than capable of getting under Black Bolt's skin.
- Ronan's guilt attack summons everyone's biggest source of guilt. Maximus just shrugs off the specters of his parents with a "pfft".
- Likewise, Medusa resists it because a queen cannot feel guilt.
- Ominous Message from the Future: The Last Inhuman gathers the Last Accuser and the Moon King so that he can grab a sample of primagenesis from the Progenitors when they come back to finish off the Earth, and get in touch with his past self so he can warn Maximus of what's about to happen.
- Power Crystal: Primagen, Progenitor technology that's essentially quantum processors, are explicitly stated by the Last Inhuman to be mere batteries to them.
- Power Parasite: The Snarks, who want to abduct the Inhumans for their variety of powers. Their leader succeeds with stealing Gorgon's. It does require that the Inhuman whose power they're stealing remain alive, though.
- Precursors: The Kree for the Inhumans, being the ones who created the idea of terrigenesis. And the Progenitors, the ones who created the Kree.
- Retcon: The Dire Wraith members of the Universal Inhumans are identified as the Direest Wraiths (due to the complicated legal issues with Rom properties and Marvel meaning they can't use the original name).
- The Reveal:
- Maximus can see every moment of his life. Every moment, including the ones that haven't happened yet.
- The Kree are a created species, the same as the Inhumans. Their experiments creating Inhumans in other races and their respective power catalysts were flawed attempts to rediscover their own power catalyst, Primagen, and undo their evolutionary stasis.
- The Progenitors experimented on the Kree in the first place to innovate advancements from their mutations. When the Kree became dead ends they were abandoned, so when the Inhumans invaded their world farm they brought attention to a viable resource.
- Rule of Symbolism: Since Medusa destroyed the terrigen cloud, symbolically rejecting terrigenesis itself, she's not only lost her powers, but she's start dying of symbolism itself.
- Self-Serving Memory: Ronan accuses the Inhumans of abandoning Hala and the Kree. Crystal tries pointing out there were other factors (like the Supreme Intelligence, whom Ronan himself resurrected), but the man's too angry to listen. It's heavily implied that Ronan's primary motivation was his heartbreak from Crystal leaving him after The Thanos Imperative.
- Spotting the Thread: Black Bolt's cold behaviour toward Medusa is not without precedent, but Black Bolt not helping to fight off an enemy? That's what clues Medusa in that he's really Maximus.
- Tarot Motifs: Flint's future self, the Moon King, has his skeleton visible within his crystalline body in the same position as the Hanged Man; upside down with one leg crossed at the knee over the other, arms spread wide.
- Technology Levels: The Progenitors per word of god are between the Kree and Celestials in terms of capability. They've modified their entire solar system to suit their needs, with a dyson sphere around their sun and planet orbits confined within tunnels, called the World Farm with quantum microtechnology and modify other species for experiments, but are described as being below traversing cosmic realms like the Celestials.
- Wham Shot: The last page of Judgement Day reveals Gorgon's alive.
- Your Head Asplode:
- Medusa takes out a Snark's head with a gun.
- Maximus and Swain getting their powers on the same page makes a Progenitor's head explode.