Tuesday, 25 January 2011
I'm trying to resist the lure of too many Marvel Masterworks as I know it to be a path down which madness, and bankruptcy, lies. However, I've had my eye on the two Inhumans volumes since they were released a couple of years ago, and when Volume 1 popped up in the Forbidden Planet post-Christmas sale, I clicked on 'Add To Basket' as quickly as my mouse buttons would allow me.
It's a funny old volume though, as discussed in Mark Evanier's excellent introduction. It starts off with a load of Lee/Kirby backup strips from Thor. It's difficult for them to tell much of a story in 5 page instalments so instead, we get a series of short strips introducing a character at a time.
Following this is a one-off story featuring Medusa. The story is underwhelming but the combination of Gene Colan and Vince Colletta on art is terrible.
The Inhumans then got their own regular strip in a new title called 'Amazing Adventures' but Marvel didn't think they could carry the title on their own, so they had to share the limelight with the 'Black Widow', and an ever changing creative team.
The first 4 instalments are written and drawn by Kirby and they're as mad as you would expect, until he upped sticks off to DC. The next 4 issues, the highlight of the book are by Roy Thomas and Neal Adams. Although it seems a bit too reminiscent of Adams' social conscience episodes of Green Lantern, the dynamic art is a huge step up from the rest of the book. It's just a shame that after 4 issues they handed off to Gerry Conway and Mike Sekowsky. The DC artist isn't much of a match for Black Bolt and co, his cartoony impressions being a little too similar to the caricatures featured in Not Brand Echh, also included in this book.
Finally, the extended storyline wraps up in style, with an instalment of the Kree/Skull war from the Thomas/Adams Avengers team. It has a few pages of exposition in the middle that read as surplus in a collection like this, but, like their earlier stories, the confidence and vigour springs from the page.
It's probably the most underwhelming Masterwork that I've read, and had I paid full price for it, I would be a bit annoyed. But I wanted to read it, and so I'm happy enough with the £19.99 it cost me, particularly for those Neal Adams layouts in the middle of the book.