Story Title: Who Is The Black Panther? Part II
Reviewer: Paul Sebert
Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Art: John Romita Jr.
Coloring: Dean White
Editor: Cory Sedlmeirer ,Axel Alonso, Joe Q.
Publisher: The Company Formerly Known as Timely Publications.
From the more light-hearted adventures of the 70s Jack Kirby series, to the complex politically charged works of Christopher Priest, Marvel’s first black superhero has undergone numerous changes over the years. In short he’s gone from being one the C-tier Avengers to being one of the certified badasses of the Marvel Universe. Clever, calculating and immensely skilled, the Panther is equally adapt at fighting with his bare hands as he is with using the latest of high-tech equipment. Now the Panther has come roaring back in a new series penned by Hollywood writer/director Reginald Hudlin and drawn by John Romita Jr.
I can honestly say from an artistic perspective King T’Challa has not looked better. Venerable Marvel Artist John Romita Jr. (who seems to be doing as many books as Mark Brooks these days) has brought to the table an art style that’s quite different from his Spider-Man work and can be best described as Neo Kirbyism. With its dark intense shading, stark visuals, and Dean White’s wonderfully earth-toned color scheme Black Panther is certainly one of the best looking books on the market.
Story wise the book is interesting but a little hard to follow but not anything near as convoluted as Priest’s “Enemy of the State II” arc. The highlight of this issue is a dramatic retelling of the challenges the king of Wakanda must engage in while proving his worthiness. Meanwhile some key figures in the US Government have cast a suspicious eye towards the small African Nation’s government with one even labeling it a rogue state. Oh and Klaw has teamed up with another creepy villain with sinister intentions for our hero.
It’s a nice set-up but after two issues we’re a little unclear as to how they all tie into each other. At least until the last page. One of the few problems that the book feels a little wordy at times. Some conversation scenes tend to go on a tad too long and lack some of the humor that was trademark of Priest’s run. Still the battle scenes are rousing and it looks like Hudlin has a pretty good gameplan mapped out for which direction the book is headed. If Hudlin can keep the pace moving briskly I think Marvel has another winner on its hands with this title.