Thursday, April 7, 2016

Black Panther #1

   It's amazing to realize that the Black Panther is celebrating his 50th anniversary this year (having first appeared in Fantastic Four #52) - and he's celebrating by appearing in his first feature film, Captain America: Civil War, with his own feature film soon to follow.

    As longtime fans know, the character is T'Challa, the onetime king of the African nation Wakanda, a country with advanced technology and the source of the metal called Vibranium.

   The hero was put through the mill during the lead-up to Secret Wars - he was disowned by his ancestors, cast out as king, and his sister (who took his place) was killed.

   I've been a big fan of the character since that first appearance, and was kinda hoping this series would get the character back to basics and wash away all those complications.

   No such luck.

   New writer Ta-Nehisi Coates picks up right where previous stories left off, with T'Challa struggling to get his life back on track, and Wakanda facing threats from within and without.

   Unfortunately, that bogs down this first issue, so instead of a blast of energy, it's kind of a slow burn of problems and menace.

   The art by Brian Stelfreeze with color art by Laura Marin is very good - vibrant and powerful and loaded with great characters.

   But this first issue was, for my money, a bit of a stumble - hopefully better things are right around the corner. They just have to get their house in order.

Grade: B+


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