Written by El Ewing
Penciler: Thony Silvas
Colorist: Jim Charalampidis and Jose Villarubia
Having reached Hala, the arrival of the Royals has been anything but welcome.
What you need to know: The party which consists of Medusa, Crystal, Maximus, Flint, Gorgon, Swain, and Marvel Boy have reached their destination. Hala a once flourishing Kree capital lies in ruins. Its sole guardian Ronan the Accuser has taken the Inhumans by surprise and with his newly enhanced comic powers has imprisoned his mortal enemies within a reality marble designed to break them with one of the most destructive means in his aresenal. The power of guilt.
What you’ll find out: Trapped inside of Ronan’s twisted tribunal, each Inhuman confronts the sins of their past. The most effective quality of Ronan’s power is the ability to convince perception that their current environment is entirely real. Marvel Boy begins to sense character flaws within his former lover. Using his own technical devices to create a localized virtual battlefield rooted in rewriting the laws of physics cancels out Ronan’s hold and releases him from captivity.
Unlike her companions, Crystal faces her former spouse personally and Ronan is furious. The heated exchange retells Ronan’s account of the Inhumans apathy resulting in the abandonment of Hala and Crystal’s subsequent betrayal in which she leaves her husband, breaking their vow of marriage. Crystal rejects Ronan’s account which has been twisted in nearly every aspect by his madness but nonetheless falls into tears reliving pain of the heartbreaking memories.
The next to realize something is amiss is the forlorn queen Medusa. Having been subjected to numerous imposters posing as Black Bolt, a head-butt to the pretender releases her from confinement. Upon her realignment in reality she is joined by Marvel Boy and Maximus who rejected his own trial because of his inherent temperament which makes it accountability for any action impossible, the three confer and Marvel Boy reveals that he has a means to release the others as well as other intentions relating to the objective of their mission to save the Inhuman race.
Ronan experiences a backlash with each released hostage. Sensing an opportunity in his weakness, Crystal presses Ronan and forces the truth upon him. While distracted, Marvel Boy explains to Medusa and Maximus that having obtained the Supremor Seed, their mutual goals in saving the Inhumans from extinction and resurrecting the Kree supreme intelligence can be achieved. Despite Medusa’s reservations, Noh-Varr initiates the resurgent process. Meanwhile Crystal forces reality upon Ronan recounting his choice to abandon his duty as the last viable ruler as the Inhumans could no longer remain. The truth is too much and Ronan makes an attempt at suicide. His action is thwarted as his former wife realizes his intent and utilizes her command over the elements to hurl him across the room and detain him in rock. His struggle is ended by the revived Plex Intelligence, the one who holds the key to survival of one race and the renewal of another.
As it has in the first pages of the book and many times before in the series, the scene flashes forward 5000 years in the future to Maximus and Noh-Varr who with help from the madman recalls a fatal flaw in their actions so many years ago which will bring about the return of the mysterious cosmic entities, the Progenitors.
What just happened? Unknown to many Marvel readers, it looks like Royals may have a significant hand in introducing major new figures and elements to the vastly changing Marvel universe. In the wake of Secret Empire wrapping up, it’s unknown what level of impact the continuation of Royals tale ultimately will be. Ewing delivers the “coup de grâce” of his cumulative story thus far by weaving the underlying plot together in which returning to the old and what once was will beget new life and future events. I applaud the well laid out efforts of Ewing to traverse new content while mutually nodding to the Inhuman’s larger history. I have found Royals to be a smart book which delivers a story instead of action shots and witty banter and makes me more invested as its clear that Ewing has decided to deliver a tale forged in the manner normally found in the format of a book or larger volume versus limited brief arcs.
My only criticism lie in only two points. I would like to see a bit more action in terms of actual fighting. So far much of the book has been deliberately executed through narrative means and I am ready to see the Inhumans in a conflict which gives us some dramatic battle scenes. Additionally, there were portions of the art that felt disconnected and rushed on the part of Silvas which I have largely enjoyed through the series as a whole.
Final thought: Where many of Marvel’s current titles are attempting recapture the excitement of fans through nostalgic methods by revisiting old themes and characters, Royals diverges and does the contrary by moving forward and exploring new terrain that Ewing proposes will having major and lasting influence on Marvel throughout continuity for more than just the Inhumans. I would invite those invested in the franchise overall and interested in those ramifications to begin paying attention to Royals as consequences are said to have a long reaching effect that may well play into your favorite comic book. Only time will tell.