Custom Search

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Comic Review - Black Panther 1-6

Black Panther 1-6
Publish Date/Year
Creative Team
Reginald Hudlin & Ken Lashley

As Dark Reign ushered a new age in the Marvel Universe, the Black Panther Series was given a re-boot as well. Kicking off with a Quinjet with T’Challa and his personal body guards – the Dora Milaje, crashing into Wakanda’s capital city.

The story then flashes back and forth providing glimpses of what happened to the Wakandan king. Here we learn that he had gone to see Namor, at the King Atlantis’ behest, to discuss allegiances. It is here that we learn that Dr Doom had ambushed the Black Panther and his Dora Milaje. Doom had sent him and 1 of his 2 Dora Milaje packing with their tails between their legs at the sacrifice of the remaining Dora Milaje holding off Doom.

Meanwhile, with the news of Black Panther being mortally wounded spreading, Wakanda’s enemies are coming out from the woodwork in an attempt to attack it. They include Man-Ape and a Wakandan separatist sect who summoned a Devourer of Totems called Morlun (see Amazing Spider-Man v2 #30) and he’s carving a swath of destruction across the lands surrounding Wakanda (with Man-Ape as one of his earliest victims) on his way to destroy the Black Panther.

While Wakanda is scrambling to find a Black Panther to rally her forces, Storm (who is now T’Challa’s wife and queen) and T’Challa’s mother have gone to Wakanda’s witch doctor, Zawavari, in an unconventional way to save T’Challa whose soul has been trapped by Death in the Netherworld. Storm sacrifices her own soul to Death so that T’Challa could return to the land of the living in a 1-to-1 exchange. But of course, the Wakandan King would not be very heroic if he left the Netherworld without his queen would he?

Shuri, T’Challa’s sister, trained by T’Challa himself, is the next in line to take up the mantle of the Black Panther and she’s all that stands in the way of Morlun and T’Challa’s destruction at the hands of Morlun.

In a final desperate gamble, the Quuen Mother and Shuri (the new Panther), with the help of witch doctor, Zawavari, hatch a plan to pit Morlun against Death (who apparently are old enemies) so that the 1-to-1 exchange is still upheld but both Storm and T’Challa are able to return.
There are many instances in these 6 issues that Ken’s art reminded me of Barry Windsor Smith, Bryan Hitch & Sal Velluto.

He, however, lacks consistency. There are a few panels where his art surprised me (the unpleasant variety) but there are others that shined.
Overall, he shows potential and while not in the same league as, say, John Cassaday, George Perez or Jim Lee, he turns in good work and I look forward to better things from him.

Additional Comments
This story is told in several inter-twined parallel arcs that come together quite nicely as a story-telling platform. However, as a story, the loose ends just seemed tied up a little too neatly at the end.

It is interesting to note that there were a lot going on in the series – Science, Magic, Super-natural mumbo-jumbo, political intrigue, love & war. Moreover, we see a very cast of characters – Namor, Doom, Man-Ape, Morlun, Death & the Panther God.

The re-cap at the end of #1 of the Panther’s story so far was a nice touch and good impetus for new readers to pick up the book.

As I love both T’Challa & Black Panther, I was not exactly thrilled to see the Black Panther mantle being passed on to another, female or otherwise.
Order your 30% discounted copy here:

No comments: