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Marvel gave the Inhumans their own series more than once over the years. The Inhumans first had their own series in 1975 with author Doug Moench leading the charge. Moench used several devices which have formed the core of many Inhumans stories to come later: the destruction of their home Attilan, being at odds with the rest of Marvel’s characters, and Jack Kirby’s device of Maximus the Mad throwing a monkey wrench into every situation.

Gil Kane crafted the covers and provided some of the interior art. But the art of George Perez got this series off the ground. Here, Perez develops what would soon become the distinctive style of his Teen Titans at DC Comics.

The pages of many of these early Inhumans stories seem cramped. Perhaps Moench’s scripts were so jam-packed with information that Kane and Perez had trouble finding room on the pages to tell the whole story. Perez would later find a way to put just as much detail on the page without seeming pressed for breathing room.

The Inhumans shine in science-fiction tales like issues #7-8, where they get involved in a inter-species battle on another planet. The insect-shaped ship where people have lived for centuries shows Moench’s sci-fi genius at work. Too often, the Inhumans succumb to well-worn superhero tropes such as fighting costumed bad guys who refer to themselves in the third person. At those times, they’re just another ho-hum Bronze Age bore. Based on some of the daring plot moves he makes, we suspect Moench wanted to really re-invigorate and re-imagine the Inhumans but got stuck in the rut of trying to sell a superhero book.

That’s less than our typically enthusiastic exuberance, so let’s just say that half of this series rocks and half of it doesn’t. If Moench and Perez had just spent a litle more time inhaling the Terrigen Mists, we might have had a sci-fi masterwork on our hands!

Collector’s Guide: From Inhumans #1; Marvel, 1975. Reprinted in Marvel Masterworks Inhumans #2, hard cover; Marvel, 2010.