By Marc Strom
And one war leads to another.
The Inhuman Royal Family makes their final play to rescue their captive king, Black Bolt, in SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS #4 on November 12, and in the process set up the events which will lead towards next year's cosmic epic, the War of Kings!
The previous three issues of the series have seen Medusa, the Inhumans' queen, make some harsh decisions in order to bring her husband home, including giving her sister Crystal's hand in marriage to Ronan, the Kree's ruler.
According to series writer Joe Pokaski, who took time from his busy schedule as a staff writer for NBC's "Heroes" to talk with Marvel.com about the limited series' conclusion, Medusa has a number of reasons for making these desperate choices.
"First and foremost, he's her husband and the love of her life," Pokaski reminds us. "Black Bolt and Medusa are one of the more stable and reliable romances in the Marvel Universe. The fact that she communicated with him while he was in lock-up [when they were teenagers], and that she serves as his mouthpiece, [means] there is an awesome intimacy there.
"Then on top of that foundation is the guilt. She claimed to be his soul mate but could not detect a Skrull imposter. In fact, she probably slept with him. And when you take all of that and put the weight of the crown on her head, I imagine she'd do just about anything."
Pokaski says fans can expect the red-headed queen's uneasy alliance with the Kree Empire to continue past the current limited series.
"[Their alliance will play out] mostly in War of Kings," the writer explains. "Ronan keeps to his side of the bargain, and the promise of Crystal will stay in place. So the alliance has two ways to go: Easier, or more uneasy."
And Pokaski will certainly have his hands full in those final 22 pages as he works to bring all the various subplots that have simmered for three issues to their respective conclusions. The scribe tells us that balancing all the characters' storylines proved a slight challenge.
WAR OF KINGS
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"I wish I had six issues to explore them, for starters," Pokaski laments. "I still regret not having a good little Lockjaw sub-story. It was tough to juggle, but the characters are so distinct [so it's] fun. There's nothing that makes writing easier than having distinct voices established for all of your characters. Then they just talk to each other in your head and you write it down.
"I have [writers] Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, David Hine, Paul Jenkins and the many others who have fallen in love with the Inhuman before me to thank for that."
While SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS had to pull double duty, tying into both Secret Invasion and the forthcoming War of Kings, Pokaski enjoyed working within the larger stories.
"It's been amazing," Pokaski says of setting the Royal Family up for their role in the War of Kings. "I knew the end-mark in general terms when I started this, so I'm so excited to see where this big event takes the Inhumans."
Speaking more specifically, Pokaski teases what fans can expect from certain characters as their stories continue:
"Triton gets an upgrade of sorts that really puts him in play for a space battle— so now the often obsolete cousin becomes arguably the most powerful. And I imagine
Black Bolt's [point of view] will change from the harsh trauma of military captivity. Black Bolt and Maximus will be in an interesting place as brothers. And let's not forget that we should still be saving the date for a wedding."
Finally, the author brings things full circle in the final issue, reaffirming the major changes which this series will bring to the Inhumans.
"All I can say—or should say—is that the first page of the first issue established the importance of the history of the Inhumans, [while] the last page of this last issue will make it very clear that we are witnessing history in the making."
SECRET INVASION: INHUMANS #4, by Pokaski and artist Tom Raney, hits stores on November 12. To learn more about the history of the Inhumans, visit Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.
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