Today I have for you yet another comic book character created by the brilliant team of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. However, even legends can’t create amazing characters every time. Karnak first appeared in issue 45 of the Fantastic Four back in 1965. He is a member of the Inhumans Royal Family, along with Blackbolt, Medusa, Gorgon, Triton and others. The Inhumans are a race of people with amazing abilities with no need for a complicated origins; similar to Kirby’s New Gods and Externals. The Inhumans began as early humans who were experimented on my the alien race known as the Kree. The Kree “mutated” their human captors by exposing them the Terrigan mists, a product of the Terrigan Crystals of course. The mists gave each Inhuman unique abilities. The Kree eventually abandoned their experiment and the Inhumans were left to carry on all on their own. They set up shop on the moon where they try to keep to themselves but they often find themselves dragged into super hero shenanigans.
Karnak was actually never exposed to the Terrigan mists and his abilities are natural. He can pinpoint the weakness in anyone or anything which makes him a very skilled fighter. The Inhumans mostly tend to be associated with the Fantastic Four but they have popped up all over the Marvel Universe over the years. My earliest exposure to Karnak was actually in the pages of Daredevil which was a pretty odd pairing. DD tends to be more of a street level guy, rarely getting involved with moon dwellers but back in the 80s when John Romita Jr. was drawing the book (this was the run that turned me into a diehard JRJr. fan) ol’ hornhead ended up in hell battling Mephisto with the help of Karnak and Gorgon. It was the type of story you might expect to see in the Avengers or Fantastic Four but it was pretty far out stuff for Daredevil.
Since that time I’ve read multiple stories that featured Karnak but none of them have endeared the character to me. Even in the epic Daredevil story, Karnak did little to dazzle or leave an impression. Truth be told, I find Karnak and the rest of the Inhumans pretty boring. They’re the type of characters that I’m glad that they exist because they had density and diversity to the expanse that is the Marvel Universe. I like when Marvel characters interact but I get tired of seeing the same guys (Wolverine and Spider-Man) showing up as guest stars all the time. An appearance by the Inhumans can be a refreshing break from the status quo.
This figure was included in an Inhumans themed 3-pack which also contained the King and Queen of the lunar living people, Blackbolt and Medusa. Those 2 are by far the coolest Inhumans so Karnak was lucky to be included with them as I’m not so sure I would have bought him if he was individually packaged; at least not at full price. In fact I passed on the entire 3-pack when it first came out and bided my time until I found the figures for sale at a discounted price loose online.
This is actually a pretty great figure of this lackluster character. The articulation is plentiful but a little wonky as is often the case with these MU figures. He can be placed in lots of poses but most of them don’t look natural or comfortable. I’m sure that most of the body is made up of reused parts but where this figure shines is in the head and paint job. The head is fantastically sculpted and looks spot on to his comic book appearance. The dark green on white also captures the comic look very well and the metallic green highlights adds some texture. I dig it. 6 out of 10.