The Inhumans have arrived on Earth, specifically San Diego, for their debut panel at Comic-Con. Marvel’s Jeph Loeb entered the Ballroom 20 stage on Thursday evening wearing a bad red wig while cracking wise about the reaction to Medusa’s hair, a source fan criticism since the first photos of the new ABC series emerged.
“What is it with you guys and the wig,” Loeb asked. But the joke only went over as well as the majority of the uneven footage we saw.
Inhumans is a visual upgrade for the ABC Marvel shows.
The best thing about Inhumans is that it looks like a serious upgrade for Marvel’s primetime network shows in terms of scope and production values. It’s an impressive step up from the occasionally stagey look of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Agent Carter.
They spent some money on this. And that’s a good thing since the first two episodes debut exclusively in IMAX theaters for a two-week window prior to the debut of the full series on ABC. Loeb revealed at the panel that the network TV premiere of the show will have brand new footage not shown during the IMAX run.
If you appreciate nuanced performances, Inhumans probably isn’t for you.
The scenes screened for fans included a “dinner scene” in which the Inhuman Royal Family debate the growing problem of Inhumans emerging on Earth. Black Bolt (Anson Mount) wants to aid them, while Maximus is more concerned with the plight of his people.
It’s a scene in which the actors perform their lines on while conjuring up as much sincerity as they can muster — for whatever reason, it’s not enough and the whole thing feels contrived.
The fact that Black Bolt communicates only through his own version of sign language which is translated exclusively by Medusa does not help. This choice is compensated for with overacting and a lot of lingering meaningful looks that ring false.
Another scene has Triton helping a human girl who has just gone through terrigenesis. She’s being chased by heavily armed men in the jungle when Triton appears to deliver some painfully expository dialogue about how she’s an Inhuman now. This is a typical pilot episode problem, however, so we can’t judge this too harshly. Still, it’s not great.
Ken Leung may steal the show as Karnak.
The fight choreography of Eme’s scene is better than anything you’ve seen on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., but the real standout is Ken Leung and visual effects used to bring his scene to life.
Karnak has the ability to visualize, in a very real sense, various outcomes of a situation. When he’s attacked, the initial version of the fight goes badly. But he’s only just thinking it through. The scene comes to life as linear designs of various colors appear and illustrate the alternative scenarios available to him. Karnak changes his plan and the outcome is much different.
Another hat-tip must be given to composer Sean Callery (Jessica Jones) who makes this scene feel so much bigger than it is with bold musical choices.
Overall, Inhumans feels like it may be a mixed bag. And the best thing about it is still Lockjaw — the dog.
What’s Inhumans about again? Besides the dog…
Inhumans explores the adventure of the Royal Family of Inhumans including Black Bolt, the enigmatic, commanding King of the Inhumans, with a voice so powerful that the slightest whisper can destroy a city.
After the Royal Family of Inhumans is splintered by a military coup, they barely escape to Hawaii where their surprising interactions with the lush world and humanity around them may prove to not only save them but Earth itself.