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Preview: Black Panther #7

Black Panther #7

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (A) Kev Walker (CA) Daniel Acuna, Paolo Rivera
Rated T
In Shops: Dec 12, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The Maroons strike back! You watched them steal the M’Kraan Shard from the empire. Now, at last, the rebels are ready to show the empire who they really are. “He Who Put the Blade Where It Belonged” retakes his rightful title-and the Black Panther is reborn!

Preview: Black Panther #5

Black Panther #5

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (CA) Paolo Rivera (A/CA) Daniel Acuna
Rated T
In Shops: Oct 31, 2018
SRP: $3.99

T’Challa and the rebels finally have the tools they need to recover the memories the Empire stripped from them – but not everyone thinks the past is worth saving. Especially in the face of the Empire’s swift and merciless vengeance. But for T’Challa, there is only one path forward. And it may mean rebellion against his own.

Exclusive Preview: Black Panther #4

Black Panther #4

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (A) Daniel Acuna (CA) Paolo Rivera
Rated T
In Shops: Sep 26, 2018
SRP: $3.99

Rebellion among the rebels! When M’Baku rises to lead the Nameless, he’ll advocate for a new strategy in their war against the Empire – one that goes against everything T’Challa believes. But M’Baku’s plan could save lives. And without his mantle, what power does T’Challa have to fight for what he knows is right?

Preview: Black Panther #3

Black Panther #3

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (A) Daniel Acuna (CA) In-Hyuk Lee
Rated T
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The rebels make their move! On the verge of liberating the Nameless, T’Challa, M’Baku and Nakia hunt for mysterious artifact that promises to turn the tide. What is the M’Kraan Shard? And will T’Challa find its acquisition worth the cost?

Review: Black Panther #1

In Black Panther #1, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and new series artist Daniel Acuña leave the political intrigue and labyrinthine plotting of Wakanda for the the space operatic world of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. The basic backstory is that a small space colony of Wakanda grew into a powerful empire complete with a caste system, mindwiped slaves called Nameless, and a resistance movement called the Maroons featuring freed Nameless, who take the names of Wakandan heroes from the past, like Nakia, M’Baku, and even T’challa. However, Coates doesn’t bog down this first issue in exposition and turns in one of his least talk-y issues of Black Panther and leans on Acuna’s skill with gestures, body language, and choreography to do the work. The final result is a book that feels like a “Fresh Start” and is primal and pulpy like Star Wars or Conan the Barbarian.

Daniel Acuña is truly a gifted artist, who has a refined, almost Euro Comic approach to architecture, setting, and color palette and also crafts acrobatic set pieces that pop off the page using classic cartooning techniques. Acuña’s art is beautiful, but not stiff. When T’challa is in battle, he uses a blend of horizontal and diagonal panels to show his quick reflexes and finds the most interesting part of each blow he lands thanks to a fantastic use of motion lines. The first eight pages are all action and set the pace for the rest of Black Panther #1, which is an archetypical story of a man with no name and a faint memory of the woman he loves trying to get home at all costs possible. The increasingly blurry flashbacks to Storm connects the narrative to the previous volume of Black Panther and add an extra layer of emotion and mystery that doesn’t seem to be resolved any time soon.

There is a little bit of realpolitik and some worldbuilding in Black Panther #1, but Ta-Nehisi Coates’ plotting is more Star Wars original trilogy than the prequels in tone with fights, escapes, connection to past legacies, and a crack group of resistance fighters battling an autocratic, overextended, and definitely evil empire. Although he is a badass and almost leads a one man slave revolt (Almost being the key word.), Coates and Acuña probe T’challa’s vulnerabilities throughout the book, and sometimes, it seems that anger is all that he has left as he fights one of his fellow prisoners while Acuña turns on the reds. These skills, rage, and faint memories of home are able to be channeled and weaponized by the Maroons, who through their costumes and ideology of freedom, act more like real Wakanda than the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. Even though there aren’t many of them, the Maroons enter in a blaze of glory and raise the mood of Black Panther #1 as T’challa finally has some backup. (And his name back.)

Whereas his first two years of writing Black Panther focused on T’challa as monarch, Ta-Nehisi Coates uses the new space operatic setting of Black Panther #1 to narrow in on T’challa as hero and legend. Daniel Acuña’s art and colors are virtuosic from the gorgeous spacescapes to T’challa getting beaten within an inch of his life. He has mastery over both cinematic and intimate moments, and the book is worth picking up for his visuals alone.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Daniel Acuña Letters: Joe Sabino
Story: 7.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 8.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Black Panther #1

For years, T’Challa has fought off invaders from his homeland, protecting Wakanda from everything from meddling governments to long-lost gods. Now, he will discover that Wakanda is much bigger than he ever dreamed…

Across the vast Multiverse lies an empire founded in T’Challa’s name. We first saw a glimpse of the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda in Marvel Legacy #1 and now that teasing is playing out with this new first issue that takes us in an interesting direction.

Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has delivered an interesting Black Panther run that has seen the writer get stronger in his abilities the longer its gone one. Throughout, he’s delivered stories that have explored government, religion, and more and here he seems to be taking many of the themes he’s touched upon and have gone bigger.

The negative so far is the first issue feels like Thor: Ragnarok/World War Hulk in that we see enslaved people and the makings of a rebellion. It’s pretty standard in that way. But, the concept of a nation that has generally been isolationist dealing with expansion and conquering is an interesting concept and one that opens up a lot of potential for the series and characters.

What exactly is going on is not explained though. We’re dumped right into the story, which, while not bad, also leaves you wondering at the end of the issue and a bit confused about what has been read. Yes, the comics are a monthly thing but there’s a point there can be too much of a mystery. This first issue borders on that.

The art by Daniel Acuña is as fantastic as I’d expect. The futuristic alien designs are just a treat to look at and while there’s a familiarity with the cosmic it also doesn’t just retread what we’ve seen before at Marvel. There’s a lot of originality here and more than enough to keep long time Marvel fans happy.

The first issue is good and has me interested, much like Coates’ first issue of Black Panther so long ago. While it doesn’t have me pumped, it has me intrigued as this feels like a concept and attempt at something very different for the character. While much of the first issue is a frustrating mystery, that’s part of the point. With what’s presented this is one series I’ll check out further to see how it plays out and where it all goes.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Daniel Acuña Lettering: VC’s Joe Sabino
Story: 7.5 Art: 8.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Read

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Daredevil #600

Daredevil #600

Story: Charles Soule Art: Ron Garney
Color: Matt Milla Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover: Dan Mora, Romulo Fajardo, Jr.
Variant Covers: David Aja; Alex Ross; Frank Miller, Dean White; Daniel Acuña
Editor: Jordan D. White Assistant Editor: Annalise Bissa
Rated T+
In Shops: Mar 28, 2018
SRP: $5.99

MAYOR FISK Conclusion!
Daredevil can see the new mayor’s machinations coming together…but is he in time to stop them? Guest-starring both the heroes and villains of the New York City streets…this oversized anniversary issue has a surprise ending that will shake the city to its very core! Plus: a look at Foggy & Matt’s relationship over the years!

Review: Black Panther Annual #1

This has certainly been a great month to be a Black Panther fan, hasn’t it? Between the Black Panther comics going strong and most importantly, the recently released film from Marvel Studios which has garnered well deserved critical praise and killer box office numbers. And the Black Panther train ain’t stopping anytime soon because for starters, Marvel has this annual issue of Black Panther which celebrates the past but look forward to the future with the help of past writers of the character such as the likes of Christopher Priest, Don McGregor and Reginald Hudlin.

The first story, “Back in Black,” is by Christopher Priest with art by Mike Perkins. However the story mostly concentrates on Everett K. Ross. Which I can only sum up as that it’d suck to be Ross because the guy despite moving on from superheroes, he gets sucked back in whatever business that involves T’Challa but gets more than he bargained for. The book concentrates on characters created by Priest for this story and as such, it can be seen as an extension of Priest’s own going he did for Marvel Knights around the late 90’s.

The story has a noir feel to it with great effect-helped the efforts of the artwork by Mike Perkins, who gave it a lot of shadows (and plenty of shading) and panels in trippy angles to give the idea of disorientation and the colors by Andy Troy do give it additional flair.  The story definitely comes off as Priest wanting to step back into the world of Black Panther one more time after being away for so long. And it’s a good story. Like I said, it’s a very noir kind of story and fits in with the world of Black Panther.

Now in comes Don McGregor‘s tale, “Panther’s Heart.” Which can also be seen as an extension of his run from many years back in the 70’s when it was still called Jungle Action. It’s probably the most emotional of the three stories once you read on and also benefits from people familiar with McGregor’s issues because it does feature a notable character from his run. Who is it? Well, I can’t say given the character is a surprise for new readers or old readers who haven’t read his run for so long.

I will say it is an emotional story with the art by Daniel Acuna helping much. He nailed the emotional expressions on every character’s face and the writing by McGregor is not very over the top and definitely paced himself regarding what T’Challa is feeling throughout the book. It’s a solid story and probably the best among this Annual issue.

And finally, we have Reginald Hudlin‘s Back to the Future Part II and no, Doc Brown is not in this nor does it involve T’Challa time traveling and leaving a Sports Almanac in the hands of a maniac. Though the thought of Black Panther punching Biff Tannen is a nice thought.

No, instead, it’s a continuation of a particular story penned by Hudlin called, well, “Back to the Future.” In this story, we have an alternate timeline where T’Challa and Ororo Monroe a.k.a. Storm had not been divorced. And instead, because of their marriage, Wakanda grew stronger and became a powerful nation. So much had happened that it offers a variety of things that would be enough to tell an interesting set of comics in their own right like Spider-Gwen has.

We have an older T’Challa telling one of his grand children Grace about everything that had happened since his marriage to Storm. Dude took on Doctor Doom and Magneto and won. It’s all a fascinating look at a future that could have been and honestly, I’d love to see stories evolve from this simple story especially given the last page that had me wondering, “Wait, what the hell happened with that and how?”

The art by Ken Lashley is very good as are the colors by Matt Milla that drive the art home, it all looks good and compliments the writing well enough.

It’s a solid annual issue that celebrates past runs of the title character and if you’re looking for a Black Panther fix after seeing the movie, you won’t be disappointed-especially if you liked either writer’s take on the character.


Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Marvel Announces Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña on Black Panther

Continuing Marvel‘s announcement of their new series as part of their “fresh” start in May, Ta-Nehisi Coates will continue to write Black Panther joined by Daniel Acuña.

The series will take a new direction as been hinted at, the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda!

T’Challa has fought off invaders, protected Wakanda, and now will discover it all is much bigger than he ever dreamed.

The new direction launches May 23rd.

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