ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Black Panther,’ Issue #1

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Black Panther #1 - But Why Tho

Black Panther #1 is written by John Ridley, illustrated by Juann Cabal, colored by Federico Blee, and lettered & designed by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. Part one of “The Long Shadow” explores T’Challa’s many roles; he serves as king of the nation of Wakanda, leads the Avengers into battle, and expands Wakanda’s reach into the stars. However, a violent attack reveals one of T’Challa’s many secrets. Prior to opening Wakanda to the world, he integrated ten Wakandan agents into society with the orders to attack if anyone posed a threat to Wakanda. However, those agents are in danger, and the Black Panther’s bonds of family and friendship will be tested.

Any comic fan or creator can tell you that it’s a challenge to follow up on a critically acclaimed run for a beloved character; this is especially true of the Black Panther. Ta-Nehishi Coates’ run not only introduced grand concepts such as the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda, but it also helped shape concepts in Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther film. Ridley, who is also currently revamping the Batman mythos with I Am Batman, wisely makes the decision to shift from a sci-fi tale to a spy caper, exploring how T’Challa’s secrets affect his relationships. At the beginning of the issue, the Panther promises Captain America that he’ll focus his efforts on Avengers leadership; later, that promise is broken as he embarks on a mission with one of his agents. T’Challa’s sister Shuri also correctly points out that his plans border on paranoia, and it’s not hard to see her point.

Cabal has previously illustrated a variety of Marvel titles including Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. He finds the perfect balance between those extremes in Balck Panther #1. The book opens with a fight scene featuring Panther, Cap, Thor, and Doctor Strange battling a horde of stone creatures in Iceland. The end result is superpowered mayhem as the Panther cuts the creatures into shreds, with Cap’s shield and Thor’s hammer whizzing around him. Another sequence focuses on a pair of T’Challa’s agents fighting a group of white-suited agents, with a series of intricately constructed panels featuring them transforming into jet-black sky suits. Another panel takes the literal shape and form of a countdown when a bomb is activated, thanks to Sabino’s intricate design and Cabal’s attention to detail.

Rounding out the artistic team is Blee on colors. Blee manages to make each location feel unique, from the snow-white mountains of Iceland to the shining silver skyscrapers of Wakanda. But most importantly, Blee remembers to differentiate between various skin tones, especially when it comes to the Black characters in the book. He previously came under fire when coloring Marauders, as Storm was depicted with significantly lighter skin than she usually has. The very last page of the issue corrects this oversight. T’Challa himself sports a variety of outfits that have black as the primary color, from Wakandan garb to street clothes.

Black Panther #1 shifts the King of Wakanda’s focus from interstellar matters to a spy adventure, as John Ridley and Juann Cabal take over the title.

Black Panther #1 is available wherever comics are sold on November 24, 2021.

Black Panther #1


Black Panther #1 shifts the King of Wakanda’s focus from interstellar matters to a spy adventure, as John Ridley and Juann Cabal take over the title.

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