Waiting For The Trade – Black Panther: Power

Writer: Jonathan Maberry
Pencillers: Will Conrad, Ken Lashley
Inker: Paul Neary
Colourist: Peter Pantazis
Letterer: Cory Petit
Covers: Paul Renaud
Collects: Black Panther 7-12

I used to like Black Panther, then I didn’t, then I did, then I didn’t…it’s fair to say I have a mixed history with the character. I have a vague childhood memory of a reprint of a Black Panther appearance in an Avengers title and it’s one of my earliest memories of American comics. I sampled what little of the Priest run on the title that I could get in trade and then really began to dislike the direction of the book when they paired T’Challa up with Ororo. To me it just felt like two black characters being shoe-horned into a relationship because they are two black characters and I’ve always felt Storm’s personality (which I never liked that much anyway) was blatantly tweaked in order to make her a better fit as a wife for T’Challa…it didn’t feel a natural thing for one of Marvel’s better known female characters. I was down on the whole thing.

And then Secret Invasion happened. “Black Panther’s one of the best SI tie-in books” they said, “It’s between this and Captain Britain and MI-13 for best SI book” said another. That’s bloody high praise in my books so I figured why the hell not and ordered that trade, and my goodness am I glad I did! This Black Panther is Marvel’s Batman…the consummate tactician and strategist with near limitless resources at his command. I was back in.

This trade is the second from the latest volume of Black Panther, where the focus has shifted from T’Challa onto his female replacement following his near-fatal injuries at the hands of one of Dark Reign’s Cabal. The newly crowned leader of Wakanda spends most of her time outside of her native land trying to track down what happened to her predecessor whilst he stays secluded in Wakanda strangely unforthcoming about what caused his injuries but all-the-while planning his revenge.

The plot is part Bond movie, part Fight Club, part err I was gonna say Hotel Rwanda but it ain’t that evil. You don’t get the whole story in this volume and considering that’s 6 issues it’s safe to say you’re getting what feels like it could be quite an epic story.

Conrad’s art feels more suited to the story of T’Challa’s recovery and regaining of his “Power” (the clue’s in the title as they say) than it is to the more straight-up superheroic antics of his replacement but it’s pretty good throughout and I prefer it to Lashley’s pencils for issue 11.

My only real gripe is that I still don’t “get” the T’Challa Ororo relationship. Specifically I don’t understand why she would put up with him not telling her at who’s hands he suffered and his complete exclusion of her from his plan, it’s obviously all part of the cunning ploy he has in mind but her putting up with it just feels false from a strong female character. It’s written like she’s so placid because she and T’Challa have a bond that goes beyond the need for honesty and openness…which basically sounds like BS to me.

Rating:
Reviewer: Dave Williams

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2 comments

  1. The story continues in the DOOMWAR limited series, which includes the reason why T’Challa has been keeping information from his wife. DoomWar #1 was released on Feb 17. I hope you enjoy that series as well.

    -Jonathan Maberry
    Writer of BLACK PANTHER, DOOMWAR, etc.
    http://www.jonathanmaberry.com

    • Dave /

      Hey Jonathan, thanks for checking out my review.

      I did realise that the story led into Doomwar when I was reading it but my brain steadfastly refused to remember when I came to write the review. I’ll definitely be buying Doomwar when the trade comes out though.

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