John Timms is a young comic-book artist, who already worked for both DC comics and Marvel. He designed some Harley Quinn‘s issues for DC, and just finished his Secret Wars tie-in comic-book, Inhumans : Attilan rising. Once again, the author of this series is Charles Soule, the same who wrote the Inhuman series, and who’ll write both All New Inhumans and Uncanny Inhumans. Located just above the kingdom of Manhattan, New Attilan is the capital city of the Inhumans and the fortress in which throned their queen, Medusa. On the other side we find the Voice Unheard, a rebel group located in the Quiet Room, a high life social club, leaded by its owner Blackagar Boltagon. Like we left them on Inhuman, the series by Charles Soule and Ryan Stegman, Medusa and Black Bolt aren’t on speaking terms and are leaders of two rival clans. If Medusa is the baroness of God Doom, and therefore is faithful to his rules and his police, the Thors, Black Bolt tries to destroy New Attilan, which is a broadcasting station allowing Doom to control the inhabitants of Manhattan.
Black Bolt reunited a fine team, and not all are Inhumans, like Ghost Rider or Mega-Rad. Ghost-Rider is a well-known character, whereas Mega-Rad, a Hulk, is a new one created by Charles Soule and John Timms for the purposes of this series. Flint and Naja are both NuHumans, that we already met in the Inhuman series. Coming from a magical portal, Flint, Naja, Ghost and Mega-Rad are now in Greenland, the domain of the Hulks. See how, panel by panel, we come closer to the characters. On the third panel, we are at point-blank from Ghost Rider’s machine gun. Standing just a little under the characters, they appear taller, larger and more impressive. It can be surprising to see a group composed of a Ghost Rider, two NuHumans and a Hulk, even more after we learn what they are trying to do : destroying New Attilan. This shows us that no matter what their powers or their mutation comes from, they can be united in order to defeat the big bad, Doom.
Unfortunately, taking down Doom is a tiny bit more complicated than that : his police force, the Thors, is everywhere. Arrested, Ghost Rider is taken in front of Medusa to be interrogated. This page is the very first look that we have from New Attilan. Two flags are hanging : the first and higher might be Doom’s, the second Medusa’s. Compared to the other buildings surrounding the Inhumans’ city, New Attilan looks extremely technologically advanced, a little like an alien spaceship on a human city. Seated in her throne, Medusa is royal with her legs crossed and her hands on both the armrests. But what catches the eyes is her hair, spread around her body like a red aura. Her face is in the shadow, only her eyes are glowing, giving her the impassive look that fits the royals. The close-up on her face on the last panel is really beautiful. We can see the artist’s lines around Medusa’s body and hair, and the way he puts some sparkles inside her eyes.
Medusa is not just a queen, she’s a fighter too. But in the heat of the moment, she lets herself be surprise by her opponent, Black Bolt. He kicked in the most impressive move Gorgon, then seized Medusa’s hair to use her as a human shield. These powerful drawings don’t need any text to accompany them : only one onomatopoeia when Black Bolt kicks Gorgon is visible on this page. The time offset between the first and the second panel strengthens Black Bolt’s speed and agility. He’s already ready to strike whereas Gorgon is still falling. The next two panels, two close-up on Medusa’s hair, are amazingly designed. The most powerful weapon of the Inhumans is now between Black Bolt’s hands, and judging by his eyes he’s not ready to surrender himself. Like in Inhuman, Black Bolt and Medusa are fighting over some political quarrel.
Their quarrel doesn’t mean they don’t love each other anymore, at least in the Inhuman series. Maybe Black Bolt and Medusa are star-crossed lovers : in each and every realities, they’ll find they way back together. Rather than talk about their kissing scene (Inhumans : Attilan Rising #5 p.13), I’d prefer to present to you this page, my favorite of all. Black Bolt has finally been exposed to the terrigen mist and gain his extremely powerful power, which prevent him to even whisper without facing the risk of destroying everything. Unfortunately his first use of his deadly vocal cords blew up his enemies and Medusa herself with them. Despair, shock and incomprehension are readable on Black Bolt’s face. He already thought that the terrigen mist was the means Doom has invented to control the Inhumans, now he sees it like a curse : because of it, he’s just killed the woman he loved. Like the previous page we saw, this one does not need any text, the drawings speak for themselves.
After causing the death of Medusa, Black Bolt flew off to attack Doom’s fortress. But as powerful as he is, the new Inhuman could not have a confrontation with a God. With a solely snap of his fingers, Doom recreated New Attilan and switched Medusa’s and Black Bolt’s role. If the first is now in charge of the rebellion and the head of the social club previously known as the Quiet Room – now the Queen’s -, the second one is king of New Attilan and baron of Lord Doom. We find the same view of New Attilan with the two flags that we’ve already seen in the first issue. But this time, the second flag is Black Bolt’s, and not Medusa’s. Black Bolt finds his place back on the throne, forbidden to speak without blowing up everything around him. Dignified and royal, Black Bolt looks just like Medusa when she was on the throne.
This Secret Wars tie-in is just a fantasy, a game, in Doom’s godly hands. Black Bolt and Medusa are like puppets who think they are free and have free-will. But as soon as they try to rebel against Doom’s order, Doom erase all of their memories and recreate a more suitable world for him to play with. If the main series Secret Wars shows a dreamer Doom, his machiavellianism in this series towards Black Bolt and Medusa is despicable.
Charles Soule masters his Inhumans characters, and with the help of John Timms managed to create a very interesting series. If Charles Soule will be back this fall with Uncanny Inhuman and All New Inhuman, we don’t know yet if John Timms will be back on one post-Secret Wars series.