“Marvel’s Inhumans,” about a super race on the moon, faces a difficult landing on ABC.
The latest expansion of the comic-book empire’s screen universe has already faced criticism from fans, mostly based on an incomplete first episode that was available for television critics in the summer.
The new series premieres with two full episodes on Friday that give a fuller picture of the story. The best way to explain these new super-beings is to place them somewhere between Marvel’s more terrestrial superheroes like Captain America, the Hulk and Iron Man, and the more cosmic ones, like Guardians of the Galaxy or The Fantastic Four, in whose comic book the Inhumans first appeared.
In the series, the superspecies live in the city of Attilan, which is on the Moon. It is ruled by a royal family. Their king is called Black Bolt, whose voice is so powerful he rarely speaks unless it is to let off a destructive concussive blast.
“It was the only way that they were going to let a redneck play a superhero,” jokes Anson Mount, who plays Black Bolt. The actor, who grew up in Tennessee, played the taciturn Southerner Cullen Bohannon for five seasons on AMC’s post-Civil War Western “Hell on Wheels.”
The character communicates by signing, and Mount even developed his own version based initially on the American Sign Language dictionary.
Serinda Swan plays Queen Medusa, who can manipulate her own hair into powerful tendrils. “There were definitely days on the shoot with a four pound, red wig down to my shins that felt like a very warm cat snuggling my head,” says the actress (“Graceland,” “Ballers”) about her costume.
The Inhumans are a bit like another Marvel franchise, X-Men, in that they have super powers, except that they are not mutants. They were created when a race of extraterrestrials experimented with a group of humans millions of years ago.
Eventually, most of the Inhumans migrated to the moon, although a few were accidentally were left behind. However, their individual superpowers are only activated when exposed to a certain type of mist.
Those who don’t transform and develop a superpower are cruelly sent to the mines to work. Black Bolt’s younger brother, Maximus, was spared that fate when nothing materialized for him. Instead, he was protected by his older brother, who kept the crafty Maximus as an adviser.
Iwan Rheon, best known as the sadistic and rebellious Ramsay…