Next year marks the 50th anniversary of the Inhumans; a super-powered offshoot of early humanity who first appeared way back in Fantastic Four #45 and who have been confirmed for the Marvel movie treatment in November 2018. Yesterday, Marvel gave the guys at comicbook.com an exclusive look at variant comic book covers coming out in 2015 to celebrate the anniversary of Black Bolt and his usually more vocal brethren. After announcing the covers, the folks at comicbook.com noticed something interesting.
WARNING: Possible Spoilers!
If you look carefully at the released variant cover to next year’s Uncanny Avengers #1, you’ll notice symbols that look a whole lot like the symbols actors like Bill Paxton and Clark Gregg have been compulsively drawing and carving since the end of season 1 of Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; symbols which were recently revealed to be a three dimensional map of a hidden city. The current S.H.I.E.L.D. storyline focuses on the race to find that city before Hydra can.
Even before the nature of the symbols was revealed, attentive fans have been theorizing that the mystery of Phil Coulson‘s resurrection, the blue alien corpse, and the symbols would connect somehow with the Inhumans. The admission that the blue alien from season 1 is a Kree (the alien race responsible for the creation of the Inhumans) was a big hint, as was the discovery of the hidden city. In the comics, the Inhumans have long lived in the hidden city of Attilan though that city has changed locations several times (originally in the Himalayas, more recently on the Moon, and most recently floating above Manhattan). The reveal of this cover seems to all but confirm that connection.
If Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is leading up to some kind of Inhumans-related reveal, it raises some interesting questions regarding exactly how and when the Inhumans will show up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The first season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. masterfully led the show’s storyline right into the release of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but in contrast Inhumans won’t be released until late 2018; in fact it’s the second-to-last film scheduled for Phase 3.
So, if we assume the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D./Inhumans theories are on target, then why is Marvel using the show to build buzz for Inhumans? Sure, there’s no reason to not build buzz, but why not focus on a movie with an earlier release date? Why not Doctor Strange, Black Panther, Captain Marvel or, hell, why not Avengers: Age of Ultron? Is it possible the symbols, the hidden city, the blue alien, and everything is else has nothing to do with the Inhumans? Is it possible this has all been clever misdirection? Could the hidden city be the capital of Wakanda, the Black Panther’s home? Could it be the sanctuary of the Ancient One: Doctor Strange’s mentor? Maybe it isn’t even a movie that Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is building buzz for. Is it possible it’s the secret city of K’un L’un, where Iron Fist – the subject of a future Marvel/Netflix show – was taught all his fancy kung-fu?
And if Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will indeed give us our first look at the world of the Inhumans, then does that mean the residents of Attilan will be showing up somewhere in Phase 3 before their own 2018 movie, just as Black Panther will be introduced in Captain America: Civil War?
Any ideas? Do you think this is exactly what it looks like, or is Marvel feeding us a big ol’ red herring?