I can see how and why this might tie into Royals and Black Bolt, even. This has been a fabulous series, and this wrap up was as funny as I could have hoped, while tying up all the lose ends, some more seriously than others.
And somehow, this feels appropriate to end with Maximus the Mad. From the Inhumans to All-New Inhumans to Uncanny Inhumans: it started with and ends with Maximus.
Gorgeous, gorgeous run. This will mean nothing if you haven't read at least this series, and it will mean more if you read Inhumans and then All-New Inhumans and then Uncanny Inhumans in my opinion. They all add up to one much longer story arc - and I hope the people who pick up the reigns with royals, Black Bolt and Secret Warriors keep telling a much larger story that is just as well drawn as this one was.
Wong has been taken by Mr. Misery, and Doctor Strange goes on a desperate search for his closest friend. Because as much as it would seem that Wong is a servant, the truth is that he knows all the secrets of The Sanctum Santorum, he would do anything for Strange - and it isn't a one-sided relationship. Not completely. As much as Wong is a servant, he has also evolved into a confidante, and a dear, dear friend.
Strange is lost without Wong - and it's not that he can't get his shit together. Oh, no, he can function fine without Wong. He's still lost. He has a protege of sorts in Zelma, although at this point, she's a new Wong if anything. (Actually, I'm worried for Wong now that I've thought of it that way!) But the history, the many times Strange and Wong have put their lives on the line for each other? That can't be replaced so quickly.
I hope Wong's okay, for his sake, and for Strange's sake. I've come to enjoy Wong in this title quite a bit, so I hope he makes it through this storyline!
And I'm finding that I never get tired of Maximus, partly because he's so multi-faceted. To the point where his character would seem to be actually out of character at times, except... he's not. He's always scheming, even when he says he cares for his brother - and means it. He's in love with his cousin, Medusa, who also happens to be his brother's wife. He was driven mad by one of Black Bolt's scream, the one that killed their parents.
In other words, he can care about his brother and still plot against him. He's chaotic neutral, the true chaotic neutral that Liege Maximo was not in the Robots in Disguise novel. That was just a cheap trick, and he ended up being a cookie cutter villain, laughing and twirling his ridiculous mustache. Maximus is, however, brutally efficient, smart, and can both care and shrug his shoulders and seem not to care at the same time. That's because he was a cardboard cutout villain - and writers, talented writers who cared about him and his world, turned him into something deeper, something more. There's a reason that when Black Bolt set Inhumanity into motion, he called on his brother. Maximus is doing horrible things - arguably for a good purpose. He's okay with doing those awful things, either for himself or for others. There will undoubtedly be a price for his help at the end.
He's a sociopath who charms, or bullies, or bargains his way into getting what he wants, and he's on brilliant display here. He's a lot of fun - and oftentimes frustrating. If you can accept that about him, then he's well worth getting to know, and this issue is all about him and his plans. They're breathtaking - and I hope that I get to see how they end. I hope that, in the end, what I want to does happen in The Royals.
And it works. He makes them dance just like he wants them too, and the consequences of this will be enormous. I think this ties into The Royals and what happens post IvX, but everything is about that nowadays at Marvel. Almost everything.
Maximus is a manipulative dick - and a lot of fun! I'm just glad he's back in play because he's the dude you love to hate. And he's not a cardboard cutout villain: he's been driven insane by his parents death - and his brother's part in that, which apparently actually affected him physically. He's also been shown to care about his brother at times, and try to destroy him at others. (I think he's fluid in his alliances because he's just fluid: he likes chaos, mostly, and will help Black Bolt if it causes chaos. He's willing to do whatever it takes to get in his way and even revels in his murderous way, but he doesn't set out to cause massacres. When he does cause them, it seems to be all in the name of his goals, not one of his goals themselves. Unless he's framing someone, or...)
The point is, he's got complex family ties and conflicting emotions about his family. He's flippant, but that only covers up his manipulations. He's overconfident, and that tends to be his downfall.
He's utterly charming, even when he's being a total bastard. He's absolutely fascinating and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the near future.