Karnak Mander-Azur

Next character from Inhumans is one of the most popular ones, who even received his own comicbook series recently: Karnak Mander-Azur, portrayed by Ken Leung. A philosopher at heart, Karnak is described as quite pessimistic but extremely intelligent, Black Bolt‘s cousin and his closest advisor, able to see the fault in everything and to formulate a plan in any kind of situation. He also has quite a dry and droll sense of humour. His appearance somehow resembles his comics’ one, albeit he doesn’t show the same kind of garments the original version has (not that they would have looked particularly good in live action, actually). Well, let’s take a look at one of the most fascinating Inhumans around, who distinguishes himself for not having any superpower, being more dangerous than most of his peers nevertheless.

Karnak Mander-Azur was born in Attilan, the secret city of the Inhumans, the heirs of the genetic experiments left behind by the Kree. The son of philosopher Mander and biologist Azur, Karnak lived his early life as every other Inhuman, and he was supposed to undergo Terrigenesis and be transformed as all the others as a teenager, but his older brother, Triton, when exposed to the Terrigen Mist, became an amphibian creature incapable of living outside water. Fearing that Karnak would have undergo a similar transformation, Mander and Azur begged the Genetic Council to spare their second born from the transformation, and the Council agreed on one condition: that the boy was sent to the Tower of Wisdom, the religious seminary held by the same order his father belonged to, where he would have been trained in the Inhuman philosophy and in the order’s secret martial art. Karnak spent his entire youth training, and was allowed to exit the Tower only when he was eighteen years old: by that time, the extreme discipline of the seminary had taught him many things, and he could now instinctively perceive the weak point of everything, from a solid wall to a philosophical idea. He reunited with his brother Triton and with his cousins GorgonMedusa and Maximus shortly before his older cousin, the heir to the throne Black Bolt, was allowed to come out of his confinement. As soon as he did, Karnak put his wisdom and his tactical ability to his future king’s service, and followed him as one of his most trusted advisors. Usually accompanied by Gorgon, Karnak stayed by Black Bolt’s side when he became the youngest king known in Attilan, and during the first chrisis of his government, which had him forced to move the entire population (and city) of Attilan to the Himalayas, looking for a safer place for his people. Karnak also fought by his king’s side when Maximus, driven by his ambition, organised a rebellion among the Alpha Primitives to seize the throne, also creating the powerful Trikon to help him in the task: Karnak and the other members of the Royal Family lost the battle, and were exiled on Earth.

Even before planning a way to take the throne back from his brother, Black Bolt wanted to find his bethroted Medusa, who had been missing since the battle: Karnak and the others dedicated all their energies to find her across the globe, finally locating her in New York City, in the United States of America where, amnesiac, she had become a supervillain. While waiting in their refuge for Gorgon to return with Medusa, Karnak was the first one to meet Johnny Storm, an alleged Inhuman Princess Crystal had found in the city: to introduce himself, Karnak knocked him out with a single move. Gorgon returned just in time to see Johnny wake up, but he recognised him as an enemy he had fought before: a battle ensued, and soon the young man was reached by his teammates, the Fantastic Four. In the following battle, Karnak distinguished himself by holding his own against the super-strong Thing, but he had to abandon the battlefield when his brother Triton was kidnapped by a minion of Maximus, The Seeker, in the chaos of the battle. Black Bolt took the entire Royal Family back to Attilan, where he single-handedly defeated Maximus and took the crown from his head. Karnak aided him by taking care of the Alpha Primitives, but he could do nothing to prevent Maximus from activating one of his inventions, that created an indestructible barrier around Attilan, trapping the Inhumans inside. Karnak, whose specialty was to find weak points of everything, became obsessed with destroying the barrier, but the only thing he achieved was to nearly destroy his hands in the attempt. Finally, Gorgon managed to convince his cousin to stop injuring himself and to help him crack Maximus’ resistence, forcing him to reveal how to remove the barrier: if breaking the barrier proved to be impossible, breaking Maximus and forcing him to confess turned out to be easier…but the deranged usurper only said something about Black Bolt being forced to “reveal his secret”. The solution, in fact, was in the king’s forbidden (and secret) power, his extremely destructive voice: Black Bolt used it on the barrier, shattering it…and Attilan in the process. While most of the Inhumans stayed home to rebuild the city, Karnak and the Royal Family explored the outside world to better understand it: a task in which Karnak’s ability would have proven essential…

Karnak Mander-Azur is a wise and highly intelligent man, a philosopher used to examine everything and everyone in the deepest way possible, always analyzing and understanding the slightest details of anything. As an Inhuman, he’s stronger, faster, more agile and more durable than any human, but he doesn’t possess additional superhuman abilities; his unique style, however, allows him to sense the weak point in anything, so that he’s able to destroy even stone pillars with a single strike; this nearly extrasensory ability extends to ideas, philosophies and reasonings, making him an unbeatable tactician; he’s also Attilan’s best martial artist, capable of besting accomplished fighters such as Black Widow or Fantomex. Often (rightfully) considered the most dangerous Inhuman in the Royal Family, Karnak is loyal to his king only, and he puts all his remarkable talents and his vast knowledge and wisdom to Black Bolt’s service, having renounced to any personal interest or ambition during his training.

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