BY JENNIFER M. CONTINO
Writer David Hine
tells us what it's like creating another new page in the history of Attilan's most famous residents, the Inhumans. With the Silent War
miniseries, he and artist Frazer Irving
are showing what happened to the captured Inhumans after Son of M
. We talked to Irving already about this project and now we've got Hine for even more inside information on this battle. THE PULSE: You've worked on a lot of different corners of the Marvel Universe, what draws you back to the world of the Inhumans?
The Inhumans are some of the greatest characters in the Marvel Universe. I've always been intrigued by Black Bolt in particular. This tragic figure, who spent the first sixteen years of his life isolated from the rest of his people because of the devastating effects of his sonic powers. He has had to learn absolute self-discipline. On the occasions when he has used his voice, he has caused the death of his own parents and the destruction of Attilan. That's a hell of a burden for him to carry. THE PULSE: What do you find the most intriguing about the residents of Attilan and their mixing with those from the Earth?
It's the degree to which their mutation alienates them from the rest of the world that makes them fascinating. There is Triton who can only function properly in water, Jolen who is repelled by the abuse of the natural world by humans. Even the atmosphere of Earth is so poisonous to them that they have to take pills to breathe the air.
What Roy Martinez captured so well in Son of M was the way the Inhumans' costumes, architecture and mannerisms set them apart from us. To all intents and purposes, the Inhumans are an alien race, which hardly seems to belong to Earth, although this has been their home. This makes for some highly charged relationships when they interact with humans. Crystal is the one who has tried hardest to adapt to the lifestyle of humans and there was a time when she was the happy-go-lucky teenybopper of the Inhumans' world (and this is so long ago that 'teenybopper' was part of the contemporary idiom). She couldn't wait to hit the nightspots and get her groove on with Johnny Storm.
That seems like a lifetime ago and the Inhumans have become increasingly insular. Now we're seeing the outbreak of full-scale war and even their oldest friends turn against them. THE PULSE: Which members of the Royal Family and others associated with the Inhumans are going to be featured in these six issues?
The series centers on Black Bolt and those closest to him. We'll be seeing events specifically from the perspectives of Medusa, Crystal, Luna, Gorgon and Maximus the Mad, but everything revolves around Black Bolt. There will be appearances from some of the younger Inhumans like Jolen and Nahrees and a couple of Inhumans will be making their debut appearance.
Madrox and Layla from X-Factor, The Fantastic Four and The Avengers will all be appearing too.THE PULSE: For those unfamiliar with one of the younger Inhumans, what powers does Luna have?
Luna's powers are still developing. Essentially she is able to read a person's aura a visible manifestation of their state of mind. So she is able to tell when a person is happy, depressed or about to attack her. She has demonstrated an increasing ability to read subtler indications so that she can predict a person's intentions. She can also influence a person's state of mind in various ways, to induce intense fear for instance. In Son of M Magneto realised that when Luna attempted to remove the 'sadness' from his mind, she was actually trying to effect a permanent change to the structure of his brain. Her repeated use of the Terrigen Mists may also have created a psychic link to the Mists themselves, which will have all sorts of repercussions. So Luna is very much a work in progress. We'll see what develops as she gets older.THE PULSE: With a title like Silent War, one might imagine this has a lot to do with Black Bolt ... would that assumption be true or is there another "silent" taking center stage here?
Black Bolt is indeed the major force that pushes this story forward but you are correct to anticipate a subplot that involves another subtler conflict taking place on a psychological level. It involves Maximus the Mad. You couldn't really have a major Inhumans' story like this without Mad Max getting his slimy tentacles into the plot.THE PULSE: How tough is it for you to relate to these characters that feel so much like outsiders?
Well, I used to be a punk and I spent several years getting spat on and beaten up regularly just for going out in public with dyed hair and make-up. I also lived in Paris for six months when I could hardly speak any French. Both those experiences made me feel pretty Inhuman.THE PULSE: Who is the mysterious group called the O*N*E featured in this story?
The Office of National Emergency, set up to monitor mutants. This initiative was set up before Civil War and centers on the use of a squad of re-vamped Sentinels to watch over the Xavier Estate and accompany the X-Men on their missions. They were recently instrumental in tracking and re-capturing the 198 after they broke out from the mutant re-location camp on the Xavier Estate.
To quote Presidential Executive Order No. 13386, the Office of National Emergency is to collect intelligence "to allow for the efficient response to the threat of superhuman attacks in the United States, authority over all extant intelligence relating to the remaining members of Homo Sapiens Superior (mutants), as compiled and evaluated by the Commission on Superhuman Activities."
The director of the O*N*E, General Demetrius Lazer, was recently discovered to have his own agenda to eliminate mutants completely. He was removed from his post and died shortly afterwards at the hands of the mutant John Dee. He has since been replaced as director by Valerie Cooper.
In the Son of M series, the O*N*E seized the Mists of Terrigen from Quicksilver and have since taken them to their secure laboratories beneath the Pentagon, where they are currently conducting experiments to test the extent of their potential as Weapons of Mass Destruction.THE PULSE: How did they capture some of the Inhumans?
This happens in the first part of Silent War when an attack on the USA by the Inhumans goes disastrously wrong.THE PULSE: What type of experiments are they doing on those captured?
For the answer to that one you'll have to read the first issue of the series.THE PULSE: Tease! What are your goals with this story?
I want to re-establish the Inhumans as the most interesting group of mutants in Marvel Universe. The X-Men have traditionally represented the group that is hated and feared by human society but the Inhumans are the ones who really do represent a threat to all human life. They would prefer to be left alone to follow their own destiny as a culture, unique and separate from the human race, but because of Quicksilver's theft of the Terrigen Mists, that is no longer an option. I'll also be exploring the enigma of Black Bolt. Each of the six books in this series will be told from the perspective of a different character and each will give us a different interpretation of Black Bolt. The one inner voice we never hear is Black Bolt's own, so the character is only ever understood in an oblique and imperfect way.
The series explores the gradual disintegration of Black Bolt's personality as he comes under the stress of conducting all-out war. In doing so, I'm using Black Bolt as an iconic personification of the Inhuman race as a whole. Attilan stands or falls with Black Bolt.THE PULSE: Who or what are some of the things influencing your work in these pages?
The original appearances in the Fantastic Four by Lee and Kirby set all the groundwork of course. The first 100 issues of the FF were the most fertile source of characters in Marvel's history. Everyone from the Black Panther to the Silver Surfer made their debut during this period and I doubt if we'll ever see anything comparable to it again. But there have been two recent Inhumans series that have really defined the Inhumans for me. The first was the Paul Jenkins/Jae Lee series and then the recent Inhumans monthly by Sean McKeever. These established the Inhumans as a noble alternative culture with their own rules of behaviour and a belief system centred on genetic diversity as the basis for their entire way of life.THE PULSE: What's it like working with artist Frazer Irving? He's done a lot of interesting projects in recent years ....
I've known Frazer for a few years now. It's good to be working alongside someone I've done some serious social drinking with. Frazer carries on the tradition of most of the British writers and artists who end up working in the American comics industry, developing his skills in the pages of 2000AD. He has been getting more exposure recently with Klarion the Witchboy written by Grant Morrison for Vertigo and an Iron man series with Joe Casey earlier this year. His last outing for Marvel was for Civil War Frontline. Silent War will showcase the next step in the evolution of Frazer's unique digitally painted art. The first page he did for this series was a beautiful splash of Gorgon looking meaner and scarier than ever before. Like Jae Lee and Roy Martinez, Frazer is putting his stamp on the Inhumans. I'm hoping that we can push the Inhumans back into the spotlight as a major force in the Marvel Universe. THE PULSE: What's coming up in some of your other works?
I've just put the finishing touches to the last part of the Spawn Armageddon arc. I'm well into the following story, which will be taking the book in a new direction with some intense psychological (and visceral) horror. We're looking to scare the pants off of our readers in the coming year.
Hanzo Steinback has drawn layouts for the first volume of Poison Candy for Tokyopop and has just sent me the first 70-odd pages of the finished pencils. I'm really excited about this one. I'm a huge fan of Manga and I'm hoping this will work as a crossover book, pulling in some of my readers from the Marvel books and Spawn. I get the impression that there is currently a division between fans of 'mainstream' comics and Manga, and it's time the barriers came down. Poison Candy has the look and the pacing of Manga, but the characterisation, dialogue and narrative development are probably closer to Western comics. This is the comic book I always wanted to read when I was a teenager. It has kids with paranormal powers, it has love and sex and hard core rock 'n' roll.
I've also just drawn a couple of new covers for the color version of Strange Embrace, previously available only in black and white. That should be coming out next year in eight monthly installments from Image.
There is another project that I can't talk about yet. If it goes ahead I'll get to work with one of the best artists out there. I've been wanting to work with this guy for years and if it comes off it will be a killer book. The pitch is sitting on the desk of a certain editor right now so my fingers are firmly crossed that he will be giving it the go-ahead.
You can learn more about Silent War in an interview with artist Frazer Irving here: http://www.comicon.com/cgi-bin/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=get_topic;f=36;t=005775