by Christos Gage (Writer), Stephanie Hans (Artist)

The Story: Otto helps some firemen in helping victims of the terrigen bomb by letting them receive medical care and other such necessities.

The Review: General events are always rather weird when it comes to their storytelling. Much like Dark Reign, Inhumanity seems to be the name of a transition event more than anything, with a few issues being released to say that it exists. With not exactly the same kind of scope as the Norman Osborn dictatorship from a few years back, there are a lesser amount of issues here to tell the story until the actual Inhuman title get launched.

With an issue focused on what Otto Octavius is doing right after the fall of Attilan and the release of the terrigen mist, it doesn’t seem like there is much to tell, unfortunately. Christos Gage, who is generally a good writer, does tell a story set in the aftermath of Infinity, yet many of the problems found in the setting and in the story could have easily been a result of something else entirely, leaving this story with a bare connection to the buildup toward the eventual title following the rise of the inhumans.

That is not to say that the story is completely pointless, of course. There is a certain message brought across in this story, even if it is delivered in a way that feels a bit obvious in some moments. The way Gage makes Otto participate in the search and rescue of people that suffered in the fallout of this tragedy does make for some rather nice moments, which are enhanced a bit by the action brought in the second half of the issue.

There is also the message and the context of ordinary citizens against metahumans, an angle that has been covered many times before, In this book, there is a certain lack in originality, yet it is nonetheless handled with enough care to feel like something rather touching at times, with Otto dealing with someone trying to help a loved one in a time of crisis. The dialogue between Otto and the culprit, in a way, shows the general problems of Otto in terms of diplomacy, which then leads to a resolution that is in fact quite good. A bit cliché, but of quality nonetheless.

Where Gage does a lot of good work, though, is with the character of Otto Octavius. Christos Gage is a writer that is generally very talented when it comes to handling characterization, which is apparent here as the arrogance, opportunism and willingness to prove something to everyone of Otto is shown on full display here. The way he treat his employees, the way he tries to help in ways that aren’t always the most humble and all make for something rather entertaining, yet not as much as the potential for growth that is also shown. There is a certain learning behaviour on display in this issue that shows just how Otto can actually become a better person, which is something rather fascinating to see.

Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of this issue, though, is the art of Stephanie Hans. To say that the book is able to have an unsettling atmosphere would be an understatement, as the scenery and backgrounds are highly evocative of disaster and destruction. The debris, the mist, the general lack of random characters and the like make for panels and pages that are impossibly beautiful in their depiction of a ravaged area. The panelling and the page layout are also quite efficient, telling the story aptly with a nice rhythm without being to stoic in some key areas. Where Hans lose a bit of her charm, however, is with the general lack of fluidity with her characters. While the characters themselves are expressive and correct in their style, the panel-to-panel movement for them is a bit rushed and jumbled at times, which doesn’t translate very well in some key aspects of the action scene. Still, comparing this problem to the rest of the issue, it is rather minor.

Stephanie Hans also does the colorization here, which is as nice as the rest of her work. The way she manipulates very few warm colors against a very high presence of cold and duller colors makes for a very efficient take on disaster and desolation. Hitting the tone of this issue right on the nose, there is a certain aspect of restraint in the colorization in terms of diversity which does wonders in terms of consistency. Despite all this, there is a lot of playing around with luminosity and brightness as well in this issue, providing for a lot of contrasts in the darker moments of the story.

The Conclusion: A stellar art direction and some nice character moments help make this issue a bit more than it really is, as the tie-in to Inhumanity is rather small. A nice read, yet hardly an essential one for fans of Otto and the Marvel universe in general.

Grade: B-

-Hugo Robberts Larivière