Written by El Ewing
Penciler: Thony Silvas
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis
With their voyage well underway the Inhumans reach Hala, the former Kree home world only to find an ancient enemy lying in wait and eager to exact certain vengeance.
What You Need to Know: The Inhumans have left earth to return to Hala in search of a means to save the future of their race. Their journey has already provided two surprises. Medusa’s health is failing rapidly and she will soon succumb to her terminal fate. Subsequently after departure an unexpected guest arrives. Maximus, the kings immoral elder brother, has escaped incarceration and secretly secured passage on the vessel. Once revealed, the party has no choice but to continue to Hala with the madman in tow.
What You’ll Find Out: Hala, once the thriving heart of the Kree empire is now nothing more than a desolate necropolis. Only one survivor roams the lands, Ronan the Accuser, formerly the supreme among the Accuser Corps is now the lone caretaker of the mass graveyard in which his only duty left is to look upon the bones of the dead and recall the names of all of those who fell during its destruction. Suddenly alerted to the arrival of the Inhumans, Ronan flies into rage and attacks the starship causing critical damage. Marvel Boy uses anti-gravity to guide the ship to the ground without casualties. After emerging from the wreck, the Inhumans are confronted by The Accuser who during his solidarity has sank into lunacy and pledges cold justice. Before a defense can be assembled, Ronan taps into his cosmically enhanced power granted to him through submission to the Black Vortex and unleashes a reality marble, a terrible power that grants him the ability to construct a localized world fully under his command. Trapped within, each of the prisoners is confronted by individual accusations of failure in which each will stand Judgement, beginning with Crystal.
What Just Happened? The creative team behind Royals consisting of Al Ewing, Thony Silas, and Jim Charalampidis delivers each new issue stronger than the last. Issue #4 boasts great visuals both narratively and visually in which the reader is taken on an expedition through new stories rooted in past events. I think its important to give extra credit to both Thony and Charalampidis for straying from Marvel’s current trend which emphasizes dark and gritty illustrations and instead charges in with bright, bold, and vivid energy which is a stark contrast from its peers and gives the series a clear unique voice among a sea of other titles and offerings.
Though it is not essential to have prior knowledge of any of the tales subjects to understand the current story, there is a lot of subtext at play here which involves a much larger series of history to which I had to research to gain a more comprehensive understanding. As I am new to the Inhuman franchise after years of trepidation, the setting makes more sense after examining contributing elements as to how and why Hala was destroyed, why Ronan is alone at the onset, and the significance of Crystal, being his estranged wife, is to be the first to stand trial at the end. For those like me who like to make all the pieces fit, you would be well served to revisit previous storylines that provide foundation for the current setting such as Guardians of the Galaxy and the X-Men: Black Vortex and War of Kings.
Final thought: Royals is quickly becoming one of my favorite books and I really look forward to each new release. The art is strong, the story is entirely new, and old players are given fresh new looks and perspectives so much so that there are times that I forget that the Inhumans have been around for over 50 years. Then again, isn’t that Marvel’s true intention?