(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey (A) Butch Guice (CA) John Cassaday
In Shops: Aug 30, 2017
• Black Panther and the Crew finally crack the case surrounding the mysterious death of Harlem community pillar Ezra Keith!
• In the wake of Ezra’s life one thing is certain: the world needs the Crew now more than ever!
It’s new comic book day tomorrow! What’s everyone getting? What has you excited? Sound off in the comments below. While you think about that, here’s some comic news and reviews from around the web in our morning roundup.
Wednesdays are new comic book day! Each week hundreds of comics are released, and that can be pretty daunting to go over and choose what to buy. That’s where we come in!
We’re bringing back something we haven’t done for a while, what the team thinks. Our contributors are choosing up to five books each week and why they’re choosing the books.
Find out what folks think below, and what comics you should be looking out for this Wednesday.
Top Pick: Eternal Warrior: Awakening #1 (Valiant) – You’re not surprised to see this here, are you? You shouldn’t be. It’s a comic featuring one of my favourite characters by my favourite publisher.
All-Star Batman #10 (DC Comics) – Scott Snyder on Batman. That’s exactly why I’m pumped about this.
Old Man Logan #23 (Marvel) – I am LOVING this arc. Jeff Lemire is taking Logan back through so key, and not-so-key moments in his life. It’s a fascinating story that I wish was longer than the four issues it’s billed for.
Redline #3 (Oni Press) – So here’s the deal. This comic is EVERYTHING that I usually avoid in fiction… and yet I’m loving every bloody page of this series. Go figure, eh?
Top Pick: Suicide Squad #17 (DC Comics) – Amanda has recruited Zod to help take down the Peoples version of the Suicide Squad. Grab popcorn and watch the battle begin!
Top Pick: America #3 (Marvel) – America joins the X-Men , which is either about to be hella awesome or short lived.
Black Panther and the Crew #2 (Marvel) – Misty Knight looking into a police cover up, issue #2 is calling out some social justice issues and, I’m here for it.
Kingpin #4 (Marvel) – The humanizing of Kingpin continues.
Rocket #1 (Marvel) – Wise cracks and space crimes abound. Who wouldn’t want to get in on the ground floor of this?
Top Pick: Medisin #1 (Action Lab: Danger Zone) – This has been one that’s been on my radar for a while. The story is about a criminal mastermind who recruits a team of down on their luck physicians to handle health care for super villains. The concept sounds amazing and can’t wait to dive in and read this.
Bug: The Adventures of Forager #1 (DC’s Young Animal) – A new series from DC’s Young Animal imprint. I don’t know much about the character other than it’s a Jack Kirby creation or what to expect but the fact it’s Lee Allred and Michael Allred has me intrigued enough to check it out.
Honor Girl (Candlewick Press) – This is one I know nothing about but saw it in the list of releases and decided to take a look at the description. A graphic memoir by Maggie Trash that focuses on one’s first love and fist heartbreak.
Rough Riders: Riders on the Storm #3 (Aftershock Comics) – Fun, I don’t really need to say much more than that.
Solar Flare #2 (Vault Comics) – The first issue built the tension perfectly and it looks like we’re about to see the disaster break out. Really looking forward to this summer blockbuster in comic book form.
Star Wars: The Screaming Citadel #1 (Marvel) – Marvel has been killing it when it comes to their Star Wars comics. A new “event” and crossover is something I actually look forward to as they’ve shown so far, they can pull it off and do it well.
Even though most of Black Panther and The Crew #1 is spent in the Harlem of the 1950s and Black Panther doesn’t even show up, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ thoughts and ideas squarely fit in 2017. (Also, a team of black vigilantes beating up mafiosos in 1954 is pretty awesome.) An activist named Ezra Keith was arrested after protesting gentrification and ended up dead in police custody, and Misty Knight must investigate his murder while coming to terms with being a “good cop” in a world where brutality and cover ups are the norm. The twist is that Keith was Lynx, the leader of that earlier mentioned vigilante team, and Coates, artists Butch Guice and Scott Hanna, and colorist Dan Brown are off to tell a Harlem superhero/crime yarn that spans decades.
Coates does a little point/counterpoint with his writing of Misty Knight and Blue with Misty being more sympathetic towards police officers while Blue leans more towards the protesters’ POV. They end up somehow making a great team. I like how open he was about Misty’s bias because she is a police detective herself even though the presence of the fascist Robocop wannabe Americops makes the veteran superhero’s defense of the system come across as naive. She even starts by pulling her punches against the Americops when they confront her and Blue for missing their curfew before Guice and Hanna show her kicking ass in a flurry of sparks and kicks ass like the Daughter of Dragon that we know she is.
Misty’s sympathetic point of view towards the police comes off better in a scene where she talks to a correction officer who is badly and doesn’t appeal to some idealistic view of justice, but just doing his job well. Guice and Hanna do a great job blocking panels having Misty move closer to the guard because they both understand the tough reality of fighting for justice and keeping a job to pay the bills when corruption is everywhere. She comes off better as the constantly questioning detective than being a mouthpiece for respectability politics or a borderline “Blue Lives Matter” advocate. (There’s a scene where she says that police need more credit for making Harlem a better place.) It seems like her becoming an active part of resisting society’s corruption will be part of her arc in Black Panther and The Crew as she interacts with characters like Blue and the other superheroes set to appear in this comic.
Butch Guice and Scott Hanna’s art in Black Panther and The Crew #1 is pretty fantastic at seamlessly transitioning from the past to present Harlem and showing character’s emotions in a more effective way than Ta-Nehisi Coates’ bombardment of caption boxes. The examples of their skill are numerous from Misty rolling her eyes about a police cover-up to an intense expression from Blue’s friend Ava-Jean that nails his passion for his justice even though he barely appears in the comic. And their drawings of the 1954 members of The Crew are just pure fun and old school superhero nostalgia with Coates’ captions feeling like Stan Lee’s carnival barker act, but cooler.
Other than Ta-Nehisi Coates’ characterization of Misty Knight, Black Panther and the Crew #1 is a knock-out combination of a generation-spanning murder mystery, ripped from the headlines thoughts about police brutality and capitalist systems, and eventually superhero team-up action. It’s worth thumbing or clicking through again just for Butch Guice and Scott Hanna’s gift with faces and action choreography alone.
Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Pencils: Butch Guice Inks: Scott Hanna Colors: Dan Brown Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy
Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review