Review: INHUMAN #4

Inhuman_4_CoverINHUMAN #4
Written by Charles Soule
Art by Ryan Stegman
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: August 27, 2014

Inhuman #4 is split into two plotlines. The first plotline is that of Looker, a new Inhuman character that takes it upon himself to collect the Nuhumans but for what purpose remains to be unseen. Looker does so in a fashion reminiscent of Cyclops during Uncanny X-Men. The second plotline follows Medusa and Thor as they tour the city of New Attilan. Thor (on behalf of Avengers and the rest of Earth) is curious about the structure of the city and how Medusa is running operations. Fitting, considering Thor brought Asgard to Earth for a brief moment of time, a fact that he himself mentions.

Charles Soule delivers some insightful interactions and dialogue which is primarily between Thor and Medusa. The conversation between them not only provides insight into the inner workings of New Attilan, but provides some necessary exposition for the uninitiated reader Inhuman #4 is trying to reach. Inhuman #4 feels like a #1 issue despite being a part 4 in a storyline. This is great given the steam Inhuman has lost due to the delays. Inhuman does a solid job of explaining why there are Nuhumans and why Attilan is on Earth. The exposition may be off-putting to those reading the title currently but the new readers Marvel is trying to lure to the book with the creative change are going to appreciate the effort.

Soule’s primary flaw comes from the pacing of the issue. The plotlines are currently exclusive of each other (with inclusion likely to happen in the near future) but the transitions between the A and B plot are stilted. It feels like there are two separate comics in this issue and the constant cuts back and forth do not serve to help the book’s pacing. It isn’t enough to make the book unreadable but the rough transitions are noticeable, which shouldn’t be the case.

The big draw for Inhuman #4 is the new artist, Ryan Stegman of Superior Spider-Man and Wolverine fame. He is one of the new up and coming artists that Marvel has been touting and he does not disappoint. Stegman has a style that is highly energetic and dynamic. He is the ideal artist to follow Joe Madureira’s bombastic style. It will help the book in trade format by avoiding the style disparities that often occur during a creative change. It will also help retain readers who were familiar to Madureira.

Stegman’s best trait is his energetic flow. He makes the scenes in New Attilan lively and interesting to look at. The talking head scenes are not just talking heads but characters acting out their lines in emotive ways. Characters carry emotion not only in the dialog but in body language. The layouts are fun and innovative at times which bring in more energy to the book. The position of the camera and presentation of the material makes a tremendous difference in a dull book and one that is fun to read. These skills are what makes Stegman an artist to keep on the lookout.

Stegman delivers a solid performance as the new artist on the book. There is a desire for more action sequences to help showcase Stegman’s style but that may be a product of the pacing of the book. There are action sequences that are great but become stilted by the composition of the book. That is not the fault of the artist. Stegman’s bold inks help set the characters apart and make them jump off the page.

The use of color by Gracia is well done. Besides no coloring errors, the world looks vibrant and aesthetically pleasing.  Mood is set by the colors and the brightness of the palate gives Inhuman #4 a light feel to it. There are tone shifts and accompany the tonal shifts in the story—excellent. The coloring serves the story well and makes it unique.

Overall, Inhuman #4 tries to help regain the momentum of the event. Whether or not it does is still up in the air, yet, as of #4, it is on its way back to the top. Soule delivers a solid job on writing but could use work on the pacing. Stegman is a great follow up and will help the title regain its strength. Inhumans are the next big thing for Marvel and they aren’t going away. Inhuman #4 is a good starting point for any reader interested in them. It reestablishes the narrative and doesn’t hamper itself in the process. There are mystery components and revelations that make the book interesting and worth a pick up.

The Verdict: 7.5/10


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