A wild new story arc begins here from the creative team of writer, Charles Soule, artists, Adriano Di Benedetto and R.B. Silva, along with colorist, Java Tartaglia.
The tale is all about Auran, the intrepid chief of security who was initially introduced in the pages of the first post-Inhumanity book, ‘Inhuman.’ Auran was a very neat character who captured fans’ interests and attention right away. Her special powers entailed a specific type of echolocation: with her large elf-like ears, she could track down any sound, utterance, or given word within an uncanny range… it helped make her one of the best detectives of all of Attilan and she was tapped by Medusa to head up internal security during the foundation of New Attilan.
Auran sought out the new Inhuman, Frank McGee, to act as her lieutenant. McGee had been a NYPD detective in his earlier life and Auran was able to coax him to return to the job as a part of his new life as an Inhuman.
McGee was having an especially difficult time adjusting to all that had changed for him. Becoming an Inhuman was difficult; he lost his job, his wife had left him, he was lost and adrift. Auran gave him purpose. They were kindred spirits and they became terrific partners and fast friends.
Auran ultimately sacrificed her life in order to save Frank. With her dying breath she pleased with Frank to look after her two daughters. Aura’s twin teenage daughters, Treste and Irelle (we still do not know who or what has become of their father), have proven a handful for Frank, but they’re good kids and Frank has been a good guardian for them.
Treste and Irelle have been working on a secret project over the last several months. They have been collecting stories about their mother, interviewing everyone who had ever knew her, anyone who interacted with her, tales that have been told about her. At first Frank assumed that the girls were just trying their best to cope with their grief over their mother’s death, but they actually have a much more intricate and potentially dangerous plot afoot.
At some point down the line, one of the sister learned about the Inhuman from Orolan named Redaer. Reader is an especially powerful Inhuman, a reality-manipulator who can make real anything that he reads. The old zealot monks of Orolan feared this power so they had Reader blinded, cutting his eyes out from his head… yet Reader learned to traverse this obstacle by teaching himself to read brail.
Treste and Irelle have taken this massive amount of research and transcribed it all in into a large book, published in brail. Their plan is to convince Reader to read this book and in so doing regenerate their mother and bring Auran back to life.
The girls seek out Reader in the Quiet Room, Black Bolt’s nightclub in the heart of Manhattan. Reader has been spending a lot of time there, flirting with women and running up a sizable bar bill.
Treste and Irelle make their proposition to Reader, but he refuses outright. What they are asking him to do is remarkably dangerous. He might succeed, he could bring Auran back to the land of the living, but she surely wouldn’t be the same. She would be merely be a collective of memories and stories, not the true soul that her daughters had known… all of her secrets and untold tales will not be there and who knows how or if these crucial spaces will be filled were she to be actually manifested back into a living being.
The girl are not easily dissuaded, the plead with Reader, demand that he help them. Treste had once helped Reader save his dog and best friend, Foray, and she holds it over his head… he owes them.
The thing about Reader… for all of his power and understanding of the great responsibility that comes with this power, he is actually kind of a push-over. He had lost his own parents when he first manifested his powers and he knows the twins’ grieve quite well. Against his better judgement, Reader is ultimately convinced to help them. Reader takes the book that the girl have made and reads it.
Meanwhile, Frank has become wise to what the girls are up to. He discovers the brail-printer they had used and realizes exactly what the two are up to. Understanding just how dangerous their endeavor may be, he rushes off to the Quiet Room to try to put a stop to it.
By the time Frank arrives it is too late. Reader has finished the book. His powers have surged and Auran’s being is manifested back into reality. But who exactly is this Auran? Is she the kind mother and dutiful detective that they all knew, or someone/something entirely different? We’ll all have to wait to find out in that the issue ends on this cliffhanger with the promise of being continued in the next installment.
Death in superhero comics has lost a lot of its weight and consequence over the years. When a main character dies in the pages of a story it can be sad and tragic (or sometimes a relief), yet above all else it is most often temporary.
I can think of few central characters who have died who haven’t subsequently returned sooner or later. The Inhumans have been no different… Black Bolt, Maximus, and Karnak have all died and all have ultimately returned to the land of the living. And while I’m certainly glad that these specific characters returned, I also think that the revolving door of death in comics is a problematic thing.
In many respects, death is the driving principle of our lives. The fact that life is finite, that there is an end, drives us and provides a motivation to do things and succeed and get things done before our time runs out. Take death away and you also take away motivation… it takes away meaning.
I realize that all these Inhuman are fictional characters, but when characters who die are routinely returned to life, the sense of peril and excitement (and meaning) of the tales begins to wane. This is something that I feel the entire superhero comic business needs to address. This constant flow of resurrections is watering down the emotional weight and meaning of the stories.
But I digress. I quite like Auran and (my objection to resurrecting characters notwithstanding) I’m happy to see her come back. And Soule and company have come up with a novel and intriguing method for facilitating this resurrection. Reader’s powers are just endlessly fascinating and I’m absolutely intrigued to find out exactly this quasi-resurrection has effected her.
The art by Di Benedetto and Silva is pretty cool. I’m not a huge fan of how they depict the central characters, but that is merely a matter of personal preference. They do an excellent job of compressing a lot of information onto the page. The ways in which they illustrate Attilan and the confines of The Quiet Room has a very ‘Star Wars’ feel to it – a lived-in, alien setting populated by all matter of strange creatures who don’t seem out of place despite their weirdness.
It’s a very fun issue, although I must point out that I have one chief complaint: where is Black Bolt?
Black Bolt’s marginalization and frequent absence in the pages of Uncanny Inhumans is starting to reach critical mass. Perhaps theres a method to this madness but I am becoming increasingly confused over the decision to keep The Inhumans’ most popular and recognizable character on the sidelines. In the immortal words of Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, “if you’re going to ride in the Kentucky derby, you don’t leave your prized stallion in the stable.”
With an increasingly oversaturated comic book marketplace, Uncanny Inhumans has been slipping dangerously low in the sale department. Rectifying this is easy: we need more Black Bolt.
This aside, Uncanny 15 is still a very fun read and definitely recommended. Three out of Five Lockjaws!