Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Brian Stellfreeze / Colorist: Laura Martin / Marvel Comics
[quote_simple]”A philosopher brandishes an impractical morality, while a king preaches an immoral practicality.”[/quote_simple]
New comic book day is always a fun day in the Black Nerd Problems office, but we put out so many comic book reviews, its often, “yo, this book was really good” or “seriously, that new #1 is worth checking out” and of course the “Ok, I’m done with this book, they on the dumb shit.” But when another writer comes into the conversation and quotes a new drop, one they aren’t even reviewing, you know what the deal is. Black Panther #9 builds on everything that we’ve seen thus far, every timber that has been tossed on to the ceremonial pyre and gives us a long look at the striking of the match. Shuri has returned to Wakanda, to home, or what used to be her home. Shuri’s presence has a large departure from T’Challa’s “Blood Warden of a Nation” approach and it is largely effective. Strong and commanding, yet more empathetic and nurturing than the attempts we’ve watched T’Challa stumble through. What is equally impressive in the narrative is not only Shuri’s re-emergence, but T’Challa becoming background, the wind that Shuri’s blackbird wings glide through. Outside of the opening monologue, T’Challa is mostly a spectator in this issue and it’s all the more impressive for it.
And as glorious as Shuri’s return is, the best part of the book, as it often is in this run, is Ayo and Aneka. It has been testimony and communion watching these two women, survive, escape, defend, liberate and rule to this point, each with a loving hand holding the other. But this issue made them the most fully realized they have been thus far. In conflict; with their ideals, their co-conspirators and each other. Their struggle with what comes next after the rebellion is not only strong here, but also ties into universal law, of what comes next after you have cast aside what previously shackled you. The answer is, the hard part.
But let me tell you what we not gon’ do. What we not gon’ do is go any further in this review without talking about how amazing Brian Stellfreeze is. From Cover. To Cover. Joined by Laura Martin on the cover, the image of Shuri and T’Challa is uninterrupted magic, simple and so telling in the demeanor and versatility of both titular heroes. Once in the panels, Stellfreeze flips between the interior and exterior environments in such imagined ease. The aspect of depth and layering in the jungles that Tetu and Zenzi walk through are perhaps my favorite, though the use of silhouette and use of color by Martin with Ayo and Aneka is spellbinding as well.
We have raved about this book for each of the 9 issues that we’ve been provided and it’s possible the most complex and layered aspects of the story are being handled with the most precision now. I am anxious about every character standing in this book and curious as to what possible outcomes await us.