DVD REVIEW: The Inhumans Motion Comic
Paul Jenkins' and Jae Lee's Eisner Award-Winning Series Comes To Life...
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If you're anything like me, you can't imagine what it'd be like to not speak. Or, if you're Black Bolt, the leader of the Marvel Comics' Inhumans, to speak and, with but a whisper, threaten the lives of everyone around you. I've always been fascinated by Marvel's Inhumans and their mighty king, Black Bolt, whose voice can shatter mountains and destroy planets. Responsible for an entire race made up of completely unique individuals, each with their own amazing power or ability, Black Bolt bears the burden of leadership and his own unique power as both a gift and a curse, cast in the role of king and unable to tell his family, friends and subjects how much he loves them, cares for them and despises their enemies. Thus begins one of the greatest limited series stories in Marvel Comic's long history: the Eisner-Award winning series The Inhumans by Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee. And now, thanks to Shout Factory and Marvel Knights, fans who might never pick up the printed comic can watch this engaging story unfold on-screen as an animated motion comic.
Originally created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, The Inhumans remain one of Marvel fandom's favorite oddities. Genetic outsiders and superior to humankind, the Inhumans live isolated from others on their island kingdom of Attilan (thought to be formerly the lost kingdom of Atlantis). The series on which this motion comic is based, originally released in 1998, originally came to life in a 12-issue series revealing an engaging tale of political power, deception, betrayal, leadership and the unique problems a leader like Black Bolt must face in order to save his race at the cost of his dearest friends and family members.
For fans of past motion comic presentations from Shout Factory - to including Thor & Loki: Blood Brothers and Iron Man: Extremis - this new addition to the series will be welcome. Unlike animated cartoons or CGI movies, the motion comic style features the original artwork by the original artist altered to provide slight movements and details which, when combined with a voice-over narrative and audio dialogue, brings the original artwork and story to life. However, as Lee's artwork is much darker than many artists, it doesn't lends itself as well to this motion comic medium as some. With Lee's dark, unique style, the panel work and layouts stay consistent with Jenkin's original words but their delivery seems oddly placed at times and the dynamic changes between settings and issues can be abrupt and somewhat odd. While this DVD attempts to bring to life the duo's original story in a new medium, it isn't nearly as impressive as the original work. That's not surprising as none of the motion comics can truly replace the original comics, but the two previously mentioned motion comics - Thor & Loki and Iron Man - are much better motion comic adaptations than this one.
As for special features, the DVD includes an interview with Paul Jenkins which, if you're a newbie to The Inhumans, is worth watching BEFORE you watch the story. It introduces the characters, the storyline, the history and more. This is a major benefit for those who aren't familiar with the comic series, creators or characters.
For die-hard fans of The Inhumans, picking up this classic story on DVD as a motion comic is well worth considering. While it'll never replace the award-winning comic, it's an interesting way to enjoy the series. Likewise, for fans of Marvel's motion comics, this is a welcome addition to the ever expanding library from Shout Factory and Marvel Knights. The producers continue to show they care about bringing fans a wide selection of award winners and fan-favorite series and stories from Marvel's large library. And no matter what type of fan you are, watching a motion comic with a friend may be a great way to introduce them to comics. I've always said there's a comic book out there for everyone; maybe some people simply have to watch theirs on DVD.
The Inhumans Motion Comic DVD is available now wherever fine home video is sold.
- Jess C. Horsley