After reading Inhuman, how can I not talk about Joe Madureira (1974 -) and his fantastic job on this new series? Madureira began his work in the comic books industry as an intern in Marvel, and about his 20th birthday he became the regular artist of Uncanny X-Men, the flagship book of the X-Men franchise. For three years, Madureira took care of the X-Men, from the costumes’ design for Age of Apocalypse (1995-1996) to Uncanny X-Men after Onslaught (1996). He brought the Uncanny X-Men into the modern age by adding manga-inspired features and attitudes to his characters. After 11 years, Joe Madureira came back to Marvel for Ultimate 3 (2008) a prelude to Ultimatum, in order to draw the first five issues. His participation to the series’ artistic teams, like Avenging Spiderman (2011-2013) or Savage Wolverine (2012-2014), is precious, because he drew only a few issues, generally three or five. The same goes for the Inhuman‘s series.
Speaking of which, let’s talk about Madureira‘s drawings for Inhuman. His particular style is unforgettable. Lash, a character he created with Charles Soule and Matt Fraction for the purposes of Inhuman, is an icon for his graphic style. Each of his muscles are clearly identifiable from the others, thanks to the light and shadow effects. The amazing close-up on Lash’s face shows his disappointment and his growing concern about the Inhuman’s future. His frowning eyebrows and pouting mouth let Madureira draw some expressive wrinkles, making Lash a more compassionate character than he actually is. But the most impressive panel is the last one, depicting Lash sitting on the rocks in front of the sunrise, while the smoke of the unholy dead NuHuman vanishes in the wind.
Joe Madureira‘s talent reaches his climax when drawing battle scenes, like the one on page 14. Lash is confronted to a NuHuman human torch, Dante Pertuz. The flames are surrounding Dante’s body. The first panel on top of the layout is the center of the action, in which the three other panels take place. The panels aren’t regularly set, and their borders are not right. Instead, they are slanting, which increases the dynamism of the depicted action. The two last panels represent the turning point of the action : in the first one, Lash seems ready to fight back in order to capture Dante, but in the second one, a bright light is blinding him, as we can say from his raised hand in front of his face. Is Dante’s attack more powerful than expected ? Or is this light the sign of someone else’s arrival ? Joe Madureira maintains the mystery about the source of the light, which we’ll discover on the next page.
The mystery intruder was Medusa, the queen of the Inhuman and Black Bolt’s wife. She rescued the NuHuman and his pregnant sister Gabrielle. Undoubtedly the finest drawing of this layout is the third panel, in which a kneeling Dante takes Medusa’s hand, like in an oath ceremony. The seems-to-be speechless Dante looks at Medusa – his future queen ? – like she was a messiah. The astonishment on his face is easily understandable : probably for the first time is in life, he meets an Inhuman, furthermore their Queen. Medusa’s hair in the first panel is smothering Dante’s flames, but in the third, it’s surrounding him like the soothing cape of a hero protecting him. Her hair is no longer a weapon, but a comforting element.
The last layout I’ll speak about will not be a black and white drawing, but a page from the Inhuman‘s comic book itself, in order to look at the fourth panel. It represents Captain America and Medusa at sundown, both in black and white. The black Joe Madureira used is not a simple solid black like we see on many other comic books pages. Instead, the artist “colored” his figures with his pencils, given them a more realistic and less flat aspect. I suppose this takes more time to the artist than to apply a solid-colour ith his computer, and I salute him for that effort.
Joe Madureira‘s work for Marvel is too rare not to enjoy every page of it. The Inhuman comic book is no exception. Unfortunately, I think Joe Madureira‘ll not be working on a new Post Secret Wars comic book series, so make sure to enjoy till the last drop of the Inhuman.