You’ve seen the trailer! (No? Oh, okay, here you go):
Okay. Now, you’ve seen the trailer! You’re intrigued by the dog!
Get to know the Inhuman royal family!
First Apperance: Fantastic Four #45 (1965)
Creators: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Home World: Creepy Kree Genetics Lab on Uranus
Bases of Operation: Blue Area of the Moon, Attilan, the Himalayas
The Inhumans were created during the Kree-Skrull War when the Kree, working from their base on Uranus, discovered humans had hidden genetic potential coded into their DNA by the Celestials. Hoping to discover a way to circumvent their own evolutionary stagnation, and to create some useful super soldiers (because who doesn’t want some of those) in the bargain, the Kree began experimenting on early Cro-Magnons, attempting to activate the Celestial’s gift by splicing Eternals DNA into human’s more primitive code. The Kree were successful in their endeavors, but abandoned their experiments for unspecified reasons (read: EDITORIAL HANDWAVING WHEN THE STORYLINE STAGNATED LIKE KREE DNA) leaving their creations to fend for themselves.
Said creations didn’t suffer from their alien overlords’ dismissals and merrily went about forming their own society, intentionally isolated from the remainder of humanity in the geographically non-specific city of Attilan. Learning nothing about how shady screwing around with the building blocks of advanced life is from the Kree, the technologically advanced Inhumans (see what they did there?) decided to have happy hour with something called Terrigen Mist; the combination of additionally realized genetics and the Mist gave the Inhumans super-cool powers and also caused permanent damage to their double helix ladders, resulting in fish heads, scales, goat hooves, and other… variations.
How, you may be asking yourself, are the Inhumans different than the X-Men? Well, the X-Men’s fish heads, scales, hooves, blue fur, and finger sparkles are the result of natural mutation and evolution while the Inhumans are a science fair project executed by children with very, very fancy toys who then entered themselves into another science fair by experimenting on themselves with chemicals.
The older, more traditional branch of the Inhuman family remains set apart from the majority of Earth’s population, making contact only when absolutely necessary for reasons I’ll explain a little further down. This family tree branch is ruled by a royal family consisting of a king (Black Bolt), a queen (Medusa), their trusted advisors (Karnak, Gorgon, Triton, Crystal, and everyone’s favorite teleporting dog, Lockjaw). The royal family is often opposed by Black Bolt’s brother, Maximus the Mad (mad in this case being both psychotic and angry). Inhuman society is one of contradictions in which all citizens are urged to embrace all sorts of genetic expression and physical/mental abilities but which also demands conformity to a strict caste system; once assigned, an Inhuman cannot change her station and intermarriage between castes is expressly forbidden (an exception was made for Crystal, who was at one point married to Quicksilver, but she’s a member of the royal family so… well, let’s just say her getting what she wants is actually pretty true to reality despite the otherwise pretty much impossible comic scenario).
The Inhumans have had some contact with humanity which was, in the early days, limited primarily to other enhanced humans such as The Fantastic Four (Medusa and Crystal have both been members), the X-Men, and the Avengers (Crystals was also an Avenger). Attempts to coexist with humanity’s less altered members have gone, for the most part, extremely badly, governed either by the latter’s fear of the Other and/or a desire to tear the Inhumans apart to see how they tick and then use the discoveries to create super soldiers who will slaughter one another until the planet is pretty much empty (see Marvel Knights: Inhumans by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee).
One can see why the Inhumans have decided to remain apart in Attilan with the ability to move the entire city when needs drive.
A second group of Inhumans has cropped up in the last five years or so, composed of individuals like Ms. Marvel and Moon Girl, children of “normal” humans who carried the genetic potential of the Inhumans but who weren’t aware of their status until exposed to Terrigen Mist. Upon manifesting their powers, each member of this new generation was invited to Attilan by Queen Medusa and offered a place in the larger Inhuman society; most of them declined and continued to live with their families, working with various other super heroes and super teams (The Avengers, Champions, Agent of GIRL) as protectors of their human brethren. A recent Daredevil arc saw some of the new Inhumans (none we know by name) murdered and used in gory set pieces by a mysterious villain while Kamala Khan, whose brother Amir also possesses the genetic potential implanted by the Celestials and enhanced by the Kree, was recently kidnapped by a hate group on the basis of the short time during which his Inhuman potential was activated.