Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Chris Sprouse / Marvel Comics
Guys, Black Panther… is a really good book. It’s been quite a while since this character has been written with the nuance and gravitas he deserves. Ta-Nehisi Coates has figured out the perfect balance between man and hero for the Panther and his script walks that line like a master acrobat on a tightrope. Now more than ever, the culture needs a marquee hero who questions and challenges tradition and “the old ways” like T’Challa does.
Issue #18 has T’Challa further exploring the rise of a mysterious new (or old) god, forced to put his trust in the Midnight Angels. As refreshing as it is to see the return of Ayo and Aneka and to know that Coates means for them to stick around for a while, I would have enjoyed seeing more of their relationship reflected in the dialogue as it was in the first volume. I don’t mean they have to be constantly flirting but the banter they shared before was fun. For the most part, Coates is doing it right. The action beats are on point, too. The villains are set up so that there’s no telling which one is about to throw the kitchen sink at Panther this time.
Chris Sprouse has been an adequate successor to Brian Stelfreeze as far as the artwork goes. The action beats are where it really becomes clear that Sprouse has really found that sweet spot on the court to keep hitting those perfect visual jump shots. I would like to see him play with Shuri’s transportation effect a little bit but that’s a minor complaint, really.
Bottom Line: Granted, it’s a transitional issue to butter us up for Marvel: Legacy, but it’s a fun, action packed one. Coates is still handling his business like he’s been doing this for years.
Reading Black Panther? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.