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Royals #4 Review: Little Head, Big Arms, Little Story

royals #4

The Inhumans exist in a weird spot. It's easy to dislike them, since Marvel has tried their hardest to phase out the X-Men and the mutants in general in favor of the Inhuman Royal Family, Inhumans in general, and the Nuhumans. The fact that they ever attempted this was incredibly wrong-headed and foolish.

However, I would be lying if I said that I didn't find Black Bolt, Medusa, Maximus the Mad, Gorgon, Crystal, Quake, and even some of the Nuhumans like Reader, Iso, and, of course, Ms. Marvel, to be likeable and fascinating characters. They have a weird story and exist in an odd place in the Marvel mythology. It's hard not to like them. Plus, Black Bolt and Medusa have proven before to not be entirely "good," sometimes making decisions that could easily be judged as amoral. They actually tend to behave like fairly complex characters.

That brings us to Royals, a book centering on Medusa, Maximus (originally disguised as Black Bolt), Gorgon, Crystal, Swain, Flint, and Noh-Varr, AKA Marvel Boy or Protector, on their quest through the galaxy to find a new means of inciting Terrigenesis in the wake of the destruction of the Terrigen Cloud at the end of Inhumans vs. X-Men.

In this issue they've reached Hala, the former Kree throneworld, where Noh-Varr claims he has hidden away an object that will greatly aid the Inhumans on their mission. Here, we see Ronan the Accuser finding and cataloging the dead of the destroyed world (see The Black Vortex crossover of Guardians of the Galaxy and All-New X-Men). He spots the approach of the Inhumans' vessel and takes it as an affront to the mass grave that is Hala. He strikes it down and is enraged further when he discovers the Inhuman Royal Family inside.

I was pretty impressed by how well this book keeps in line with the recent events that befell Ronan, the Kree, and Hala. It maintains Ronan's transformation through the Black Vortex, the destruction of Hala, and even the period when the Inhumans ruled the Kree Empire and the War of Kings story by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning.

I probably shouldn't be too surprised. Writer Al Ewing, one of the best writing talents at Marvel at the moment, has shown great skill in keeping up with continuity in his Mighty Avengers titles and his current Ultimates book. He also knows how to put together an interesting story, as shown in this book.

We are given many great character moments for Ronan the Accuser, who is easily one of the most interesting characters in the cosmic side of the Marvel Universe. It's hard to not feel for the warrior as he trudges through the dead of his world. You can even sympathize with his reasoning for being angry with the Inhumans for abandoning the Kree Empire.

Maximus is the other great part of the book. His constant hostility and belittling of his fellow starbound voyagers is both entertaining and ominous for his future plans.

We also get another glimpse into the future this issue, with an ancient Maximus making some obscure quest. Frankly, with how slow-paced this part of the story is, as well as its tedious levels of teasing future plot points, this part of the book has not been that interesting.

The pacing was a bit off, with the entirety of the issue cataloging what probably took place in a matter of minutes and not feeling like it accomplishes much. That can easily make a reader feel short-changed. Sure, a lot of plot points arise, but that does little for how short the book feels.

Jonboy Meyers' art has been good up to this point. This issue, we have a switch to Thony Silas. It's a Humberto Ramos-esque warping of figures, with no one appearing to have a solid form but instead stretching and shifting with motion. It's good for kinetic scenes, but can be fairly distracting in static and serious moments.

However, this style is very distracting in this issue, with Ronan the Accuser having a very small head in proportion to his massive body. It looks a bit goofy. It is especially distracting in the solemn scenes where you are supposed to feel for the titanic warrior. He looks a lot bit like a space marine from Warhammer, and they're supposed to be a bit ridiculous in their proportions.

This issue was fairly good. It wasn't great, but it had enjoyable moments. The pacing was askew, and the art gets a bit distracting. But if you have a great love of the Inhuman Royal Family, Ronan the Accuser, or the Marvel cosmic story, you'll have a great time. However, for anyone else, you might want to give it a pass.

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Joshua DavisonAbout Joshua Davison

Josh is a longtime super hero comic fan and an aspiring comic book and fiction writer himself. He also trades in videogames, Star Wars, and Magic: The Gathering, and he is also a budding film buff. He's always been a huge nerd, and he hopes to contribute something of worth to the wider geek culture conversation. He is also happy to announce that he is the new Reviews Editor for Bleeding Cool. Follow on Twitter @joshdavisonbolt.
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