The Inhumans are the largest and most important faction of the Marvel universe that you’ve probably never heard of. The announcement that the studio was moving a proposed movie series to television in 2017, when Marvel's Inhumans will hit ABC and IMAX theaters, left a certain section of the fanbase thrilled, and the rest thinking “who are the Inhumans?” In short, they’re going to be Marvel’s stand-ins for the mutant race (since their rights are owned by Fox), but in actuality they’re much more interesting and complex than that.
The Inhumans were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the fathers of the Marvel universe. They've been around for a long, long time. They first showed up as ancillary characters in Fantastic Four stories, often moving their secretive society of Attilan around to avoid interacting with the rest of humanity. See, the Inhumans are descended from a group of ordinary humans who were genetically experimented upon by an alien race. Now, they can gain fantastic powers by interacting with a substance called Terrigen.
The Inhumans have stepped into the spotlight since the mid-2000s, spurred on both by in-continuity events and a real-world desire of Marvel to promote a product they actually own the rights to. Let's get to know this unheralded and underrated group of superheroes.
Crystal is about to become another in a long line of Disney princesses (since Disney owns Marvel), and she may have a legitimate claim to being the most badass. The sister of Medusa and cousin of Black Bolt, Crystal is a member of the Inhuman royal family. While she's not part of the regency, she still acts as an important leader for the group. Crystal often takes the lead on military excursions, and she uses her considerable superpowers to great effect.
Crystal is imbued with elemental powers that give her control over wind, earth, water, and fire. Early in her character history, she had a long-term relationship with the Human Torch, and she later married the Avenger Quicksilver. Crystal has already been cast for Inhumans, and will be played by Isabelle Cornish.
Of all the diverse and dangerous characters that make up the Inhumans, Karnak may be the most lethal. The kicker? He’s one of the few without superpowers. Karnak refused the Terrigen process after it left his brother, Triton, as a hideous fish monster, and decided instead to hone his body with more natural methods.
Karnak developed the uncanny ability to see the weaknesses and flaws in all things, making him a match for any opponent in martial combat. He can look at a wall and know exactly where to strike it in order to make it crumble, and that skill applies to human bodies, too. Karnak’s ruthless logic extends into his cold and calculating personality, making him the Inhumans most cantankerous member. Karnak has already been cast for Inhumans, and will be played by Ken Leung.
Black Bolt, whose proper name is (ridiculously) Blackagar Boltagon, is the King of the Inhumans and undoubtedly their most famous member. His superpowers are both a blessing and a curse, as his destructive voice makes him one of the most powerful beings on the planet, but also renders him mute for most of his life.
Black Bolt has a deep fear of using his sonic powers, thanks to a childhood incident that cost many innocent lives and left his brother, Maximus, insane. In addition to this double-edged sword, the King of the Inhumans has a bevy of other powers, including super-strength and flight. Black Bolt is married to his cousin, Queen Medusa, who acts as his chief interpreter. He has already been cast for Inhumans, and will be played by Anson Mount.
Ms. Marvel is one of the newer Inhumans out there, but she is already challenging Black Bolt for the status of most popular member. Ms. Marvel’s solo comic has been a smash success, in large part thanks to the sheer resonance present in the story of a young Muslim American female hero.
Ms. Marvel’s powers are unrealted to the last person to use that moniker (Carol Danvers), and instead she is able to “embiggen” parts of her body to whatever size she needs. Ms. Marvel has befriended the Inhuman royal family, but she’s also spent time with the Avengers and has started her own team of teen heroes, The Champions.