July 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #418: Triton

The Inhuman Royal Family has one member aquatic member who doesn't get around as much as the others.

As I have often said, and Jimmy Impossible agrees, the Inhumans will never be a Thing.  Marvel has tried multiple times over the years to make them the next big deal, but it never seems to work.  Sometimes it’s because they are trying to promote the Inhumans as a replacement for mutants over rights issues.  Other times it’s because the Inhumans might make for a good story.  And, to be fair, the Inhumans do sometimes make for a good story, but they work best as supporting characters.

And the main Inhuman Royal Family does seem to be around.  Their king, Black Bolt, is a member of the Illuminati and has appeared on the big screen in the most recent Doctor Strange movie.  His wife Medusa has filled in for him as the face of the Inhuman nation when he’s unavailable.  Her sister Crystal was a member of the Avengers.  Their cousin Gorgon, a big guy with hooves for feet and a powerful stomp, is usually lurking nearby when the Inhumans come by.  Karnak even got his own series at one point.  But for the life of me, I couldn’t remember when I’d last seen the aquatic member of the Royal Family Triton was.  I guess he’ll be a good pick for this week’s column.  What did happen to Triton?

Triton first appeared in Fantastic Four #45 in December of 1966.  Written by Stan Lee and drawn by Jack Kirby, Triton was a green-skinned guy who had to breathe water, but thanks to Maximus the Mad, from a time when he was I suppose Maximus the Sane, he had a devise that could allow him to breathe air.  Triton was a member of the Royal Family.  He was a cousin to Black Bolt, Maximus, Medusa, Crystal, and Gorgon, and Karnak was his brother.  Like most Inhumans, Triton was exposed to the Terrigen Mist at a young age, resulting in his mutation into the fish man he is.  Initially unable to leave water for long periods of time, his biologist mother decided to study fish so she could be with him as he grew up.

Worth noting:  Karnak has never been exposed to the mists.  His ability to see weaknesses is not an Inhuman power.  He just studied martial arts really hard.

Anyway, with Maximus’s device, Triton was eventually able to hang out with the other members of the family, but even then, I always got the impression he was the odd man out.  He does get the call to missions involving water-breathing heroes of course, and he seems to be good pals with Namor, but he wasn’t going to be joining over teams, and even the Inhumans miniseries Paul Jenkins and Jae Lee did for the Marvel Knights line, a rather excellent story all told, showed him as something of an outsider compared to the rest of the Royal Family.  I’ve seen the other Inhumans get around.  Heck, Karnak and Gorgon once helped Daredevil defeat Ultron.

I suspect it’s in large part to Triton’s general weaknesses.  There’s a reason characters like Aquaman are held up for a bit of ridicule.  With the other members of the Royal Family having skills more useful where the action generally takes place, at least one guy was going to fall by the wayside.

But then it turns out there’s another reason I haven’t seen him in a while:  he’s dead.

During a Death of the Inhumans storyarc, the Kree (the Inhumans’ creators) wired Black Bolt with some kind of explosive, one that went off when he was returned home and Triton touched him.  Lockjaw the dog managed to teleport most of the Inhuman Royal Family away, but Triton went boom.  He was dead.  Or he wasn’t, as the Kree had captured him and numerous others and made them part of the brainwashed army to attack Black Bolt.  Black Bolt was forced to use his voice against them and killed Triton and the rest for real.  So, there’s a good reason I haven’t seen much of the guy with the other Inhumans for a while.

Oh, he did appear in the live action TV series as played by actor Mike Moh.

But I’m not sure anyone really paid that much attention to that anyway.