“The Flaw in All Things, part 1” (20 pages)
Writer: Warren Ellis
Artist: Gerardo Zaffino
Color Artist: Dan Brown
Letters & Production: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Covers by: Gerardo Zaffino; Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor; Skottie Young; Eric Powell; Kaare Andrews, W. Scott Forbes
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Judo chop!! With the gentle (or not) touch of his finger, he will make you fall apart. That’s no exaggeration!! Karnak epitomizes the strong, silent type. Why waste words when actions speak for themselves?
Karnak’s simplistic life of peace, tranquility, and enlightenment is disrupted when he is called by S.H.I.E.L.D. to assist in an Inhuman-related matter. The dichotomy between the two worlds is unmistakable. The Magister of the Tower of Wisdom sees futility in interacting with the human race and his students loathe modern-day technology. The co-existence cannot be ignored nor denied. Agent Phil Coulson debriefs him on a boy whose very recent exposure to those pesky Terrigen Mists have unhinged him. The kicker is that, aside from the physical and psychological trauma, he has been snatched by a former splinter faction of A.I.M.
Karnak comes off strong and rubs the wrong way but he is the best candidate for the mission. His ability to see imperfections is ambivalent. He has embraced this ability, uses it effectively, may not always appreciate it, and cannot discard it. Karnak is no fool. He demands compensation for his services – not for himself, but for his monastery. Additionally, he wants the boy’s parents to give him the thing they hold most dear – something they must tear from their emotional core.
The poor hermit philosopher, as he so sarcastically states, needs more convincing to perform the task. Coulson mentions bogus bureaucracy and loony loopholes. Karnak critiques the folly of the rigmarole. Coulson needs to count his lucky stars. Upon accepting the mission, Karnak points out [literally] a traitorous S.H.I.E.L.D. agent!! Not coincidentally, he is part of the I.D.I.C. Coulson is stunned at this revelation. Karnak divulges that the man smiled, which is a major insult for the Magister. After roughing up the weasel, the man blurts the location of the terrorist cell – Berlin, Germany. Karnak finds the abandoned building easily enough and begins to kick butt.
More human than human: Homo sapiens inhumanis. Brand new classification!! I’m pretty sure this is the first time the term is used.
Spare the sentimentality: “Love is for less disciplined minds that need to believe in a softer world.” Ouch! Shot through the heart!!
Bearing the burden: “My curse is that I see the flaw in all things. Systems. Philosophies. Structures. People. Everything.”
Don’t sugarcoat it! “The bullet you fired at me was flawed simply by the act of being fired. You were flawed by being born.” This guy doesn’t hold back!
The push to thrust the Inhumans in the spotlight is one of Marvel’s main directives. The fact that a D-list perhaps even E-list character has been greenlit to star in an on-going with a multiple-award-winning writer guiding the journey is a major coup. The importance of philosophy in Karnak’s way-of-life makes perfect sense and allows him to be much more multi-layered. Warren Ellis’ major body of work is chock-full of sociocultural evolution commentary. He also focuses on transhumanist themes, specifically human enhancement. Very apropos for this title.
The inclusion of Phil Coulson is to emphasize the disparity between the two sides. Phil’s humanity, even as a stalwart spy, allows for vulnerability and inefficiency. Coulson respects Karnak’s traditions and addresses him properly upon arrival but becomes irate when he believes the Magister is exploiting and debasing the parents of the Nuhuman. Karnak accepts the greeting but mocks Coulson by smiling. He also scoffs at Coulson’s concern when he stresses medical attention for the enemy agent. Karnak refuses to engage in emotional attachments since they are the greatest weakness. They prevent an individual from tapping into his/her full potential. It is completely understandable that the Zen-like Buddhist lifestyle be foreign to those immersed in civilization. I definitely cannot wrap my head around that nor would I be willing to give up the conveniences of modern living. Karnak is correct!! I am weak!
Hey!! I just noticed this! Karnak is drawn like Mr. Ellis. Deliberately!! See the resemblance?
Gerardo Zaffino has a small bibliography but he has been on the scene for at least six years. His pencils are tight. He uses harsh lines to bring out ruggedness. He favors the bearded look. This is a definite make-over for the Inhuman stress detector! I especially like how Karnak’s face remains concealed. Even when he removes his hood and is brought to light, his features remain somewhat indistinguishable. It is as if one is not meant to actually take in his countenance.
I’ve never observed a bullet drawn in atypical fashion. It appears more as a pebble. The blurred effect when Karnak uses his wrappings shows his super-speed and precision. One tiny point of contention: Gemma Simmons looks manly when escorting the parents out of the facility. I had to flip back a few pages to make sure there weren’t any tertiary characters.
Dan Brown (not the author of The Da Vinci Code) focuses on the dark – grey, brown, black. The only bright colour is the green sported by the ‘moody’ Magister. There’s an air of gravitas in every panel.
Clayton Cowles’ captions are squished. The font seems elongated and elevated. The whispers between Coulson and Simmons are legible but almost in need of a magnifying glass. Mr. Cowles’ produced a superb title page. I’m not sure if he designed the logo for the series since he is credited with production but it has a cracked 60’s vibe to it.
So much more can be said about this breakout character!! Get it? Check out Karnie’s full power-set. I predict that this will be one of the unexpected best-sellers for mighty Marvel. I will continue to read this series with vested interest. There are 108 pressure points in the human body: 10 of them are the deadliest. I give this book 92 out of 108 p.pts. [85.1%]
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Tags: All-new All-different Marvel, Inhumans, Karnak