DVD Review: InHumans

Marvel is on a major hot streak when it comes to turning their superheroes into major motion pictures. Between The Avengers and Iron Man 3, they’re printing more money than comic books. Every title in their catalog is under cinematic development thanks to their recent purchase by Disney. Which brings us to InHumans. This mutant society has been around since they popped up in 1965 as allies of The Fantastic Four. They were created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. After guest starring, they finally landed their own comic book series in ’70s, but their original namesake title lasted only a dozen issues. They had a strong enough following that writer Paul Jenkins and artist Jae Lee revived the series for another 12 issues in 1998. They are being developed as an alternate X-Men movie series. But why wait for a movie when Jenkins and Lee’s exploration of the the isolated Attilan citizens is given the Marvel Knights animation treatment?

While the InHumans are mutants, they are not born that way. “Sonic Youth” features the ritual where the normal teenagers of Attilan are exposed to the Terrigen Mist. After a dosing, they kids are given a mutation that can either turn them into a superhero, a monster or a corpse. It’s rather random outcome. But the new power helps the society within the dome. They have no need for outside civilization although a few do leave in order to fight with the Fantastic Four. They are led by Black Bolt, a winged superhero who has a voice that destroys. While the story seems focused on a new crop of kids going through the transformation. It’s a bit of a puberty story. But there is a change coming for all of Attilan. A foreign country wants to attack the once impenetrable dome. Even worse is a fight under the dome between Black Bolt and his brother Maximus the Mad. This civilization can no longer remain neutral when everything about them is under attack.

InHumans gets deep into this outlier society. When the invasion and palace coup happen, the most casual of comic book readers can follow the action. You won’t have to constantly go online to figure out characters and their abilities. InHumans is an amazingly dynamic transformation from a comic book to an animated feature film told in 12 segments.

The video is 1.78:1 anamorphic. The transfer brings out the details in Jae Lee’s original artwork. The audio is Dolby Digital stereo. The mix allows you to hear all of Paul Jenkins’ words without losing the impact of the attack.

The (In)Human Experience: Looking Back At InHumans (29:18) reflects on how this group is like a cult version of X-Men.

InHumans brings to motion the comic book series about another set of mutants. While the InHumans weren’t a popular set of heroes, the DVD proves they deserve to be elevated in the Marvel Universe. Don’t wait for the live action movie.

Shout! Factory and Marvel Knights Animation present InHumans. Written by: Paul Jenkins. Illustrated by: Jae Lee. Running Time: 132 minutes. Released: April 23, 2013. Available at Amazon.com.

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