The Eternals. The Defenders. The Champions. Alpha Flight. The Invaders. The Marauders. Power Pack. The Sinister Six. The Elementals. X-Force. Squadron Supreme. Guardians of the Galaxy. Cloak and Dagger. Power Man and Iron Fist. Marvel has had plenty of team-ups over the years besides The Avengers and The X-Men. But unless you read every issue of every Marvel monthly you may have missed some of the more obscure groups of superheroes. Which may explain how audiences have been in favor of familiar characters as they hit the big or small screen in movies for The Avengers or The X-Men, or even Daredevil. But Marvel has had a tougher time maneuvering the TV waters for its superheroes than DC Entertainment. One of the reasons for DC’s success may very well be the fact that its Justice League of America has for so long been the flagship title for the publisher and it incorporated so many supporting superheroes into its stories over the decades that even the general public can name several. So more of general audiences have heard of and accepted Green Arrow and Black Canary, The Flash, The Atom, and Supergirl when they emerged in our living rooms over the past five years. As for Marvel, unlike Marvel’s Luke Cage–Netflix’s excellent and loyal update to the classic comic book series–Marvel’s Iron Fist hasn’t garnered similar acclaim. Why? Because of the story? The production values? The character? The marketing? Marvel’s Luke Cage demonstrates an obscure superhero can succeed if it brings to audiences a compelling story, talented actors, and high production quality. Which brings us to the next new TV series from Marvel, Marvel’s Inhumans.
Marvel’s Inhumans is coming later this summer to ABC, from showrunner Scott Buck, the same creator that brought Marvel’s Iron Fist to Netflix. Most people haven’t heard of the Inhumans, and even long-time Marvel readers may not be familiar with the characters in the Royal Family of the Inhumans, including Medusa, Maximus, Karnak, Gorgon, Crystal, Triton, and Auran. So it makes sense that audiences witnessing the team for the first time don’t have enough to be excited about–yet. As for its general appearance Marvel’s Inhumans arguably looks like Marvel’s Iron Fist, but it also looks like Marvel’s Legion, a somewhat overlooked yet well-received X-Men series hidden in the 500-channel cable line-up on the FX Network earlier this year. So how will Marvel’s Inhumans fare?
The greatest challenge is one of story and character development. Black Bolt is now the King of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, who were superhumans descended from humans experimented on by the Kree in Marvel lore. Played in the new series by actor Anson Mount, Black Bolt doesn’t speak, or else he might bring forth a powerful shockwave that could level a city. So a difficulty of the first trailer released for the series is conveying that fact, while showing plenty of scenes with the actor who will be the male lead of the series. In the first show trailer we get a bunch of silent expressions by Mount just as his irritated (irritating?) brother Maximus (played by Iwan Rheon) does most of the talking. How long can an eight-episode series run with the lead keeping his mouth shut? It’s also difficult to immediately have any empathy toward royalty of any variety, especially those looking so formal and shown with a certain level of arrogance. Another current series, BBC’s Class, has had trouble gaining traction with viewers, and it also follows a lead male who is an alien royal who is troubled and arrogant.
On the other hand the universal response has been positive as to the presence of the giant Bulldog-inspired Inhuman Lockjaw, a CG character that is a staple of the team-up. A re-edited trailer could very well look like the first exciting trailer featuring Grant Gustin as Barry Allen in DC’s The Flash series, complete with a fish-out-of-water superhero dodging cars in the modern world. Do we simply need a better trailer? Or is the series going to be so slowly paced and a bit clunky?
Check out the first trailer for Marvel’s Inhumans:
The costumes are certainly interesting, bringing a unique look among the Marvel Cinematic Universe for this new group of superheroes. The series co-stars Serinda Swan, Eme Ikwuakor, Isabelle Cornish, Ken Leung, Ellen Woglom, Sonya Balmores, and Mike Moh.
Marvel’s Inhumans is scheduled to premiere in September 2017 on ABC, after the first two episodes are screened in IMAX theaters beginning September 1, 2017 for a projected two week run. This will be the first time a television series has premiered in IMAX.