Maximus the Medicated
So, I've been reading through War of Kings and one of the things that struck me is that their portray of Maximus is less Maximus the (Mwa-Ha-Ha) Mad and more Maximus the Mildly Manic. He's actually helpful, likeable, and it seems like no vestiges of his former personality remain outside of the occasional sarcastically snide remark. Can anyone tell me when Maximus got this personality transplant, or is it something new for War of Kings?
Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I think Maximus's bipolar megalomaniac shtick was one-dimensional and played out, and this portrayal does have some potential for him to slide back into villainy while still remaining a sympathetic and interesting character.
Less Human Than Human
While we're at it, let's talk about the Inhumans. They're a Marvel mainstay whose appeal I've never been able to understand. Individual characters like Crystal and Black Bolt have a lot of potential, but as a group they're utterly forgettable. Actually, let me change that. As a group they're utterly reprehensible.
They have a rigid caste system that devalues those with powers they don't deem useful. They either treat one of their own royal family like a dog, or think it's hilarious to make others believe that they do. That same royal family rules with an apathetic populace, even though their internicene power struggles have almost destroyed their society several times in the last decade. They genetically engineered their own slave caste, only decided to manumit them at the point of a gun, and their idea of "freedom" was to let their slaves do the same work they'd always done for free while they slowly went extinct. Every time they do come to Earth they stand in the corner like an obnoxious non-smoker, coughing and shooting us mean glances while they mutter about pollution under their breath. Their selling point appears to be that they're just another race of generic super-people, and as I've said before that's not an inherently interesting concept.
Yeah, these are wonderful characters. About the only thing I can say about them is that they've got some nice Kirby designs.
The only take on the Inhumans I've ever been able to stomach is Paul Jenkins's Inhumans series. Jenkins implicitly understood that the Inhumans are total bastards, and much of his series involved characters who have been pushed to the outskirts of society and who are trying to force their way back in. At the end of the day, though, even that wasn't enough to make me care about the Inhumans as characters.
Can somone else explain what the appeal of the Inhumans lies?