One of the most surefire ways to get people’s attentions is to put two simple words in the title: “Death of.” It’s a fail-proof marketing tactic that will guarantee that more people than usual will look at your work. But does that make it good? And will people care? Death of the Inhumans collects the miniseries by Donny Cates, Ariel Olivetti, and Jordan Bellaire. What does the eye catching title have to offer?
The deaths tend to not mean anything
This may seem like a silly complaint when the book is called Death of the Inhumans — it’s similar to being upset about there being too much water in a video game set on an island. However, it’s not a case of too many characters dying, but how the deaths are handled.
Unsurprisingly, the killings start early in Death of the Inhumans and last up until the very end. The problem is, many times they come off as unimportant. Even worse, there are killings in which the characters themselves do not seem to matter. It’s not uncommon for major characters to die off-panel. Other times, someone will be murdered and it will only be addressed in a passing comment. The title suggests this is a monumental event — Black Bolt treats it like one, and yet the seemingly most important parts of the story leave the least impact.
The story is very uneven
Any story involving the massacre of an entire population is going to involve vengeance and comeuppance. The question is not what is going to happen, but how? At times, Death of the Inhumans is a very difficult read. The constant killings of well known characters will be a dreary story no matter how familiar you are with them. The book can also be cynical, joyless, and depressing. This comes with the territory, but the problem is there is little to no hope. At times, it’s just reading the Royal Family go through a series of tortuous events.
The moments when Death of the Inhumans does allow itself to be something more than a funeral procession are great, however. The book does particularly well in showing the deep relationships between characters. The love between Black Bolt and Medusa are touchingly shown in a few panels. It’s a beautiful moment set against a grim background. An old friend of Lockjaw’s also plays a big role in the story. There are also some great action scenes to balance the constant death. The title lets readers know what they are in store for, but parts of the book show it could have been so much more.
Black Bolt and Medusa are severely downplayed
Cates does an excellent job showing the deep affection that the two Inhumans have for each other. Other than that, the two bring very little to the story. This is Black Bolt’s story. He is prominently featured on many of the covers and is the driving force behind much of the action. Still, he comes off as little more than a person with a powerful voice. There is not much depth to the character, which is sad since Death of the Inhumans is played up as their swan song.
It’s the exact opposite with Medusa. It is clear Bolt and Medusa are in love and it’s also apparent that she is very important to what is happening. Yet, she appears to be pushed to the background more often than not. She comes in for a pop in whenever she is needed, does little of any consequence, then disappears again until needed again. Once again, the grandiose title comes off as nothing more than a marketing ploy at the expense of another character.