by Matt Fraction (Writer), Nick Bradshaw, Todd Nauck (Artists), Antonio Fabella, Andres Mossa (Colorists)

The Story: The world begins to react to the massive terrigenesis as Medusa begins to act as the queen she needs to be.

The Review: However you approach it, there are some comics that are made for specific purposes. While entertainment will always be a factor in the production of serialized stories, there is always the matter of building up events, scenes and many other things in order to entice readers to check out what might come next. Some comics, of course, do it better than others.

This comic, sadly, has the task of setting up many elements for an eventual ongoing starring the inhumans, a whole franchise that might set itself more clearly in the Marvel universe. While the characters and concepts are sound, events from Infinity and the need to set up many elements in other places makes this issue kind of a chore in many aspects.

One of the main problem of this issue is the constant reminding of what just transpired, with some events that are unfortunately already known to the readers who were actually aware of much of what happens in the Marvel universe. While the way Medusa informs Captain America of what is happening and how she reacts to the disappearance of her husband and son does inform new readers, there is a certain lack of surprising reactions or actions from her part. There aren’t many twists and turns to what is shown here, which does make for some dull reading.

That’s not saying that there aren’t any, however. Matt Fraction does try, in some ways, to add some characters and potential problems to the ongoing narratives that is the emergence of inhumans. Factions, cults, new characters and hidden agendas are in this comic, providing some potential to the future stories that should be told from all of this. Where it fails a little, however, is that there isn’t that much context nor is there any explanation given to most of these things. While the arrival of a liberator of inhuman cocoons and the general research done on those newly affected beings does makes for some rather interesting story ideas, here it is used merely as a pretext for actions scenes and a few ominous lines at best.

Now, Fraction does seem to do its best with what must be shown to give some character insights and a certain direction to some of the cast. Not all of them are memorable, though, with Gorgon being angry and violent because of the apparent loss of his son, or how some of the servants are only there to provide exposition and a few attempts at comedy. The only character which seems to be as close as possible to an almost new role is Medusa, who now has to take actions on what is being done to some of her own people. It makes her a bit more active in terms of protagonist in this issue, but the exploration of her character and what she might do next does not really make for an enticing read nor does it mark the best start for what could be a new character arc. She does what she need to do, but barely anything else of merit.

The art, however, is not exactly the best aspect of this book as well. While Nick Bradshaw is a rather talented artist in his own right, he is not used to the best of his capacities here, with his rather bubbly and cartoony approach not adding much to the tale being told. His characters are expressive enough, some of his pages are rather smartly layered-out and he is able to use backgrounds and sceneries rather well for the context of the characters and for contrasts, but he never seems to go all the way to impress or to provide a reason why his style was the best match for the story.

Something else that doesn’t match up, however, is Todd Nauck. His general approach, while a bit befitting of the scene he is illustrating, lacks a certain refinement. It is a poor match to the style of Bradshaw and it seems to be a bit too elementary in terms of details, backgrounds and other precisions. There is a certain roughness to his lines and to what happens in his pages, with his character being rather stoic in their expressions and barely better in their poses and body language. They aren’t completely bad, though, as the basic message behind those pages is clear and concise, yet it is a poor fit to the rest of the issue.

The colorization, however, is rather sound. Antonio Fabella and Andres Mossa do try their best here and it shows, with some pages having really clear and rather expressive contrasts, such as the diluted first pages showing the dream of Medusa. There is, in a lot of pages, a certain subdued approach, with the inhumans characters appearing outlandish to the rest of the scenery, which fits the tone of the scenes in which they are in despite some of the visual chaos it causes. It may not be the best, yet the colors are rather well-done in a certain respect.

The Conclusion: This issue does its job, but unfortunately little else as a lot of the more interesting tidbits are left unexplored. A lot of setup, a bit of new concepts wrapped together with an uneven and rather unsatisfying art direction that results in a rather boring read altogether.

Grade: C-

Hugo Robberts Larivière