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The Inhumans are a fictional race of superhumans, created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. This race appears in various comic book series published by Marvel Comics and exist in that company's shared universe, known as the Marvel Universe.

The comic book series of this name have usually focused more specifically on the adventures of the Inhuman Royal Family, and so many people associate the name "Inhumans" with this particular team of super-powered beings. (However, recent series have looked at the "new generation" of the Inhuman society.) The Inhumans first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 (December 1965), though members Medusa and Gorgon appeared in earlier issues of the series (#36 and #44, respectively). Their home, the city of Attilan, was first mentioned years earlier, in a "Tuk the Caveboy" story written and drawn by Jack Kirby that appeared in Captain America #1, 1941. The city was described as the home of a race that was evolutionarily advanced when human beings were still in the caveman era.

Fictional History

At the beginning of the Kree-Skrull War, millions of years ago in Earth time, the alien Kree established a station on the planet Uranus, a strategic position between the Kree and Skrull empires. Through their work at this station, they discovered that sentient life on nearby Earth had genetic potential invested in it by the alien Celestials. Intrigued, the Kree began to experiment on Earth's then-primitive Homo sapiens to produce the genetically advanced Inhuman race. Their goal was apparently twofold — to investigate possible ways of circumventing their own evolutionary stagnation, and to create a powerful mutant race of soldiers for use against the Skrulls. However, although their experiments were successful in creating a strain of humanity with extraordinary abilities, the Kree abandoned their experiment for reasons which are not yet clear.

Their test subjects, the Inhumans, went on to form a society of their own, which thrived in seclusion from the rest of humanity and developed advanced technology. Experiments with the mutagenic Terrigen Mist (a process known as Terrigenesis) gave them various powers, but also caused lasting genetic damage and deformities. This led to a long-term selective breeding program to try to mitigate the effects of these mutations. Attilan's society and culture are predicated on a conformist belief system which permits individuality as it applies to genetic development and physical and mental ability, but demands rigid conformity in that each member of society is assigned a place within that society according to those abilities following exposure to the Terrigen Mist. Once assigned, no Inhuman, no matter how great or powerful, can change their place within this rigid caste system. The Inhumans' culture also strictly prohibits miscegenation between Inhumans and other races. Although a member of the royal family, the Inhuman Crystal ignored this prohibition to wed the mutant Quicksilver .

The Inhumans are led by their king, Black Bolt, and his royal family, consisting of Medusa, Karnak, Gorgon, Triton, Crystal, Maximus the Mad, and the canine Lockjaw. Both Crystal and Medusa have been members of the Fantastic Four; Crystal has also been a member of the Avengers. Their city Attilan has frequently been relocated and, as of 2005 stories, rests in the oxygen-bearing Blue Area of the Moon.

The once-secret existence of the race has come to light among the general public as the Inhumans interact more often with many of Earth's superheroes — including the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men — whom they have aided against threats such as Doctor Doom ,Galactus , Ultron 7 , Magneto, and Apocalypse.

Inhuman society changed radically when Ronan the Accuser sought to use the Inhumans as an army to disrupt the Shi'ar control of the Kree after their defeat in the Kree-Shi'ar War. Appearing over the city of Attilan, Ronan seized control in a surprise attack and forced the Inhumans and their king, Black Bolt, to obey, or he would destroy their only home and everyone in it. During their time in forced servitude, Ronan revealed that the Inhumans had always been intended as weapons in service to the Kree. To this end, much of the genetic attributes that were encoded in them during the original experiments were meant to give them the abilities and appearances of various alien races. The idea being that these Inhuman slaves could be used to infiltrate alien worlds and races to conduct espionage or assassinations to weaken potential conquests. Ronan used the Inhumans in just this manner, disrupting treaties being negotiated by the Shi'ar, and launching attacks on ships and bases.

Eventually, Black Bolt sought to free his people by challenging Ronan to a personal battle. If Ronan won, the Inhumans would continue to serve him. If the king won, the Inhumans would go free. After a terrible battle, Black Bolt won and Ronan, demonstrating that the Kree still had honor, kept his word and left the Inhumans. All was not over however, as the Inhumans were not willing to just follow Black Bolt back to Earth. Pressure had been building in the closed society of Attilan since open contact with the outside world had been made. During their enslavement by Ronan, the Inhumans had wished for their freedom, but had also developed a sense of pride in their power and a belief in their own destiny. They no longer believed that Black Bolt or the royal family was fit to lead them in the new life they wanted, and they exiled the royal family from Attilan.

The royal family returned to Earth to find their destiny. After suffering bigotry while living in Latveria, they returned to Attilan which was located on the Blue Area of the Moon. The Inhumans began to foster better relations with Earth by sending students to a Wisconsin University.

Son Of M

In the events of Son of M, Quicksilver stole the Terrigen Crystals in an attempt to regain his powers and cure the de-powered mutants from M-Day. The theft led to a conflict on Genosha between the re-powered mutants (whose powers came back as too powerful for their own good, causing their eventual surrender), the Inhumans, and the U.S. Office of National Emergency. The conflict ended with the O.N.E. confiscating the Terrigen Crystals, an act that incited Black Bolt to verbally declare war on the United States.

Silent War

In January 2007, the mini-series Silent War begins, with Gorgon launching a first strike on New York. Although the Inhumans do manage to recover the crystals, the episode ends with Maximus again taking control of Attilan.

New Avengers: Illuminati

It has recently been revealed that Black Bolt has been replaced by a Skrull impostor for an unknown amount of time. The impostor revealed himself to the Illuminati and was killed. It remains to be seen whether Medusa is aware of the Skrull plot and what her part will be, if any, in the Secret Invasion storyline. Both the sudden rift between Medusa and Black Bolt apparent in Silent War and Black Bolt's later defeat at the hands of Hulk in World War Hulk could be attributed to this development, for it is uncertain just when Black Bolt might have been replaced by his Skrull duplicate.

Secret Invasion: Inhumans

This upcoming story by Heroes writer Joe Pokaski digs into how the Inhuman Royal Family deals with the news that the Black Bolt they knew was a Skrull impostor. The Skrulls attack Attilan while Black Bolt is revealed to be a prisoner of the Skrulls, who intend to use his voice as a weapon of mass destruction. The Inhuman Royal Family defeated several Skrulls soldiers and took a Skrull ship with the point of take the war to the Skrulls and save Black Bolt.

War of Kings

Marvel has announced that the Inhumans will play a large role in the upcoming War of Kings storyline, which also features Vulcan, The Starjammers, Nova and The Guardians of the Galaxy.

Powers and Abilities

Even without using the Terrigen Mist, the Kree modifications, combined with centuries of selective breeding, have given all Inhumans certain advantages. Their average lifespan is 150 years and an Inhuman in good physical condition possesses strength, reaction time, speed, and endurance greater than the finest of human athletes. Karnak and other normal Inhumans who are in excellent physical shape can lift one ton and are physically slightly superior to the peak of normal human physical achievement. However, most Inhumans are used to living in a pollution-free, germ-free environment and have difficulty tolerating Earth's current level of air and water pollution for any length of time. Exposure to the Terrigen Mist can both enhance and in some cases reduce these physical capabilities.

Members of The Inhuman Race

Other Versions

Heroes Reborn

  • In this alternate reality created by Franklin Richards, the Inhumans are mostly the same. They live on earth, in Attilan. The biggest difference is the reverence they hold, shown in statues, for Galactus and the multitude of heralds who operate for him simultaneously. The Terrigen Mists are not completely under their control, coming from a crack in the ground. Their ultimate origins are unknown but Maximus the Mad escapes in the caverns deep beneath the city to locate it. Here it is discovered their city also holds connections to other areas of the world, such as Mole Man's Monster Island.

Ultimate Inhumans

  • The Inhumans made their debut in the Ultimate Marvel Universe during the Ultimate Fantastic Four issue Annual 1: Inhuman. It begins with two mountain climbers reached the walls of their city, Atillan, in the Himalayas when they are turned back with their memories erased. The Inhumans made themselves known to the Fantastic Four when a member of their royalty, Crystal, fled to New York after being ordered to marry Black Bolt's brother. Johnny came across Crystal and attempted to save her from two royal guards from Atillan who were trying to capture her. Beaten, Crystal took him back to the Baxter Building, and revealed herself to the Fantastic Four. She left behind her dog Lockjaw, who had the ability to teleport the Fantastic Four to Atillan. Once their presence was discovered, the city was stripped of its advanced technology and destroyed by Black Bolt, and the Inhumans, including Crystal, relocated. They are hinted to have relocated to the Moon.
  • The Ultimate Attilan is quite different in appearance from the Marvel Universe version, like a giant wasp's nest crossed with a gothic cathedral. Ultimate Crystal, Lockjaw and Black Bolt are similar to their counterparts; Medusa is depicted as having actual snakes for hair, like her mythical namesake. Gorgon is female, Karnak projects energy blasts (though he can still sense weaknesses and pressure points), Triton has a more squid-like appearance, and Maximus is a somewhat effete courtier, whom Crystal describes as "preening" and a "peacock". Other Inhumans shown include Tri-clops, with clairvoyant vision (including the power to see the invisible), Densitor (Maximus' flunky, who can presumably increase his strength, durability and mass, enough to become fireproof) and an unnamed Inhuman who can produce a swarm of insect-like flying creatures from his body.
  • They claimed that their city had remained secret for 10,000 years, which makes their ancestors contemporaries with Ultimate Marvel Atlantis.

Other Media


Video Games

  • The Inhumans appear in cameos and offer the heroes Atillan as a temporary headquarters in the video game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance. After Medusa is corrupted by Doctor Doom, Triton, Crystal and Gorgon go to Earth to fight Doctor Doom and are not heard from in the rest of the game, although Vision mentions that they may have been "inducted into Doom's army."


Title Material collected Date Released ISBN
Inhumans (Paperback) Inhumans vol. 2 #1-12 (1998-1999) August 2000 ISBN 0-7851-0753-3
Fantastic Four/Inhumans Inhumans vol. 3 #1-4 (2000) and Fantastic Four #51-54 July 2007 ISBN 0785127038
Inhumans: Culture Shock Inhumans vol. 4 #1-6 (2003-2004) March 2005 ISBN 0785117555
Young Inhumans Inhumans vol. 4 #1-12 (2003-2004) September 2008 ISBN 0785133828
Decimation: Son of M TPB Son of M #1–6 September 2006 ISBN 0-7851-1970-1
Silent War TPB Silent War #1–6 October 2007 ISBN 0-7851-2425-X



  • The Mighty Thor #146-152 (back-up stories) (1967-1968)
  • Amazing Adventures #1-10, (August 1970 - January 1972)
  • Inhumans vol. 1 #1-12, (October 1975 - August 1977)
  • What If #29-30 (back-up stories) (1981)
  • Inhumans Graphic Novel (1988)
  • Inhumans Special (aka Inhumans: The Untold Saga) #1 (Marvel Comics, April 1990)
  • Marvel Comics Presents #168 (Marvel Comics, 1994)
  • Inhumans: The Great Refuge #1 (Marvel Comics, 1995)
  • Alpha Flight/Inhumans Annual ’98 (1998)
  • Inhumans vol. 2 #1-12 (1998-1999)
  • Inhumans vol. 3 #1-4 (2000)
  • Inhumans vol. 4 #1-12 (2003-2004)
  • Son of M #1-6 (2006)
  • Silent War #1-6 (2007)

See also

External links

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