Before we get into this review I can’t get over how much of an anomaly this volume of Black Panther is. Scripted by one of the most prominent writers in America right now, this book is one of the biggest hits in recent memory. Ta-Nehisi Coates is writing a book heavily reverential of philosophy and that is very far removed from what I ever read or expect from superhero books, and it somehow has become the most read Black Panther book ever. Let’s take a look of some highlights from issue #6…
I’m loving the dialogue between Shuri and her mom. We go back to Shuri and the lesson she is being taught in the Djalia. I love how coates gets a bit heavy-handed with the speeches, as Shuri learns about a woman who was sold into slavery. A woman who, even though was a slave, always kept the hope of freedom in her heart. A woman who, when she had chance, freed herself from slavery. Sure these stories are important clues in future issues.
T’challa is taken prisoner…which is all part of the plan. The nanites in his circulatory system record everything that T’Challa is seeing, and as the villain begins monologuing (just like Tony said he would), his words get sent to T’Challa’s board, who then broadcast them all over the web for the world. The issue concludes by setting up some great things which I will explain.
Just going to jump into some of these panels first….
SWEET CHRISTMAS! BLACK PANTHER #7 begins with The Crew bursting through one of Manifold’s portals and fighting with Stane and his comrades, the Fenris Twins and the Vanisher. Manifold and Storm take a backseat to Luke Cage and Misty Knight. Mistys’ dialogue stole the show with her wittiness and Coates portrays that perfectly. T’Challa’s dialogue with Stane is also fantastic. Though T’Challa’s tied up, the titular Black Panther beats Stane with, as the supervillain notes, his hands literally tied behind his back. The way Ta-Nehisi uses witty dialogue in this battle with the crew is phenomenal. It shows the confidence with which The Crew fights. The self-assured dialogue also helps avoid melodramatic tension in favor of developing the relationships and personalities of The Crew. Bringing this witty dialogue to the confrontation stresses that Coates’ BLACK PANTHER isn’t about over the top action. BLACK PANTHER is about intrigue and character development.
Coates weaves together some of the disparate elements of earlier issues as the elder philosopher comes face-to-face with Tetu and Zenzi. The past relationship between Changamire and Tetu that was alluded to in previous issues becomes more prominent here as both men try to make appeals to one another. Tetu wants the approval and cooperation of his former mentor, while Changamire must come to terms with the fact that his teachings led Tetu to such a violent worldview and he could be the cause of all of this. Things end badly after a disagreement.
I don’t want to ramble on too much(which i already have) but I do want to give credit to Sprouse, the art for Tetu’s and Shuri’s storylines really stands out. That isn’t to say that The Crew’s fight scene isn’t drawn well, rather that the artwork for Tetu’s and Shuri’s storylines feels really unique to me. The way Sprouse uses lots of color to somewhat show a mystical feeling to that part of the story is phenomenal. Go pick up a copy. Metal fingers OUT!