Image: Marvel Comics

Donny Cates is on fire at Marvel right now. Whether he’s writing Doctor Strange, Thanos, or Venom, he arrives on every title with ambitious, confident storytelling, bringing out the best in whatever character he’s writing. Next week is a big one for Cates with two debuts: Cosmic Ghost Rider #1, continuing the story of Frank Castle in the far future that began in Cates’ Thanos run, and Death Of The Inhumans #1, which has Cates dropping the axe on a property Marvel tried (and failed) to make a sensation over the last five years. The title for Death Of The Inhumans immediately sets huge stakes for this miniseries, and this exclusive preview of the first issue spotlights just how quickly Cates is able to create a compelling narrative by looking at the history of a superhero concept and finding the idea that will create the most dramatic tension. In the case of this series, that idea is the Inhumans are a race of warrior-slaves created by the alien Kree—and the Kree want their property back.

These pages feature some of the best artwork from Ariel Olivetti in years, shifting away from the digital rendering that has defined his style in favor of pen-and-ink line work that has more texture and weight. These pages are evocative of early Mike Mignola superhero art, blending superhero spectacle with more atmospheric horror visuals. Colorist Jordie Bellaire reinforces that dynamic with bold, expressive coloring, heightening the fantasy of the Inhumans’ history with a vibrant palette before dulling the colors for the two-page spread showing dead Inhumans floating through space, turned into examples for anyone that refuses to fall in line with the Kree’s demands. These characters have been issued an ultimatum to “Join or Die,” and giving the universe’s Inhumans a common threat could be the thing that finally turns them into a commercially successful property.

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