The Monday Morning Quarter-Bin – The Inhumans #4 (1976)

In the interest of full disclosure,  I did not find this issue in the quarter bin. In fact, it was mailed to me for free when the order I had for another comic from somewhere online was delayed. I didn’t really notice the delay, so this free issue was just a happy surprise. Moreover, with a 25-cent cover price, it totally counts for the MMQB.

The Inhumans are a race, mostly of cousins, who each semi-evolve to their next stage of being from exposure to Terigan mist, which, sadly, isn’t a fragrance available from Irish Spring. Yet. They first appeared in Fantastic Four, and have gone on to be important characters in the Marvel Universe, though usually somewhat in the background.

This issue, #4 of their bi-monthly run from 1975 – 1977, features the menace known as Shatterstar. No, not that Shatterstar. This is a Kree warrior, and he kind of looks like a leftover Green Lantern villain with this rainbow color wheel on his chest. Either way, the cover is a bright mishmash of blues, yellows, and reds, and to me screams “comic book”. The art is by George Perez, and over the course of the book it’s all pretty good. Our story follows Shatterstar, as he battles the silent Black Bolt. Throughout this issue, because of Black Bolt’s inability to speak, there’s a more pronounced reliance on the narrator, and it tends to lend the story a little bit of gravitas, as if this is a tale being recounted to the reader, rather than characters driving their own exposition. In the end, another Kree, friendly to the Inhumans, tells them Shatterstar is his son, taken away from him at a young age to be experimented upon and turned into a heartless warrior who ends up killing his own mother. The battle between Black Bolt and Shatterstar takes place in New York City, drawing the ire of the “normal” humans below. In the end, when Black Bolt shows Shatterstar and his father mercy, the humans remark that they could stand to act a bit more like the Inhumans, more…human.

Black Bolt always looks like a badass in battle, with no quips or silly dialogue, just silent determination and the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders. Moreover, the small attempt at displaying “this is an opportunity to learn a lesson” with the citizens below first chastising the Inhumans then praising them could be too much, but it’s so brief that it only gives the illusion of depth and at least doesn’t get too heavy handed. So for a free random back issue, I’d say…not bad, and has me intrigued about other issues from the Inhumans’ series.

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