Inhuman #9 review – 8/10. A well-developed, disturbing story of human trafficking

Review by Kate Rafferty

This is a disturbing story about a vulnerable person whose trust gets taken advantage of. Xiaoyi is a new Inhuman, traveling to supposed safety with Reader, an Inhuman who isn’t telling her everything. Xiaoyi’s trust in Reader also mirrors a broader theme of loyalty, as the Inhumans of New Attilan continue to obey Medusa despite her obvious acting out of character.

The early part of this issue is a lot more fun and lighthearted than the rest of this issue. At first, Xiaoyi and Reader seem to have at least the early stage of a genuine friendship. Charles Soule shifts tone almost violently: Medusa disposes of something in a way that is obviously intended to be funny, but then the issue immediately switches to a wholly serious, dark feel. Marvel continues its tradition of evil corporation leaders (as I pointed out in Thor #2) when we discover Ennilux’s leader, the Capo, has sinister plans for Xiaoyi.

Medusa has traded her usual purple bodysuit and mask for a glossy black leather bodysuit and mask, giving her a dominatrix-like look. The art in this issue is very detailed, and colors are clean and bright. However, in two panels, Medusa’s pointy, triangle-shaped boobs are unrealistic.

It’s important that Xiaoyi’s story is told because it is an all-too-real example of human trafficking. Like Xiaoyi, most trafficking victims internationally are women, people of color, and at a disadvantage because they don’t know the predominant language. Xiaoyi illustrates the unequal power dynamic when she asks Reader, who is speaking English, “What are you saying to them?” It’s a well-written story but, due to the tonal shifts and dark subject matter, a jarring experience.

RATING: 8 out of 10

Release date: December 3, 2014