Writer:Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Kevin Walker / Marvel Comics
Welcome back, to the stage of history! Or the future. You know what I mean. Black Panther #10 is on the scene with an intergalactic warrior lean. Hot off the heels of well-designed double-cross in issue #9, T’Challa and Nakia were behind enemy lines but are now allies with the formerly misunderstood enemy, who revealed themselves to be the real rebellion all along!
The plot is not only thickening but adding strings from previous issues and creating a space odyssey with Blackness square in the center of it all.
This Black Panther arc is revealing Coates’ design for storytelling. His past writing has made the general public aware of his analytical abilities, but the scaffolding of this narrative is a comic book fan’s dream. In the same way that Jason Aaron liberated Thor from the MCU using the extremes of time, Coates is walking readers into an uncharted aspect of the lore. With no fan-person pushback, Ta-Nehisi has free rein to use anything and everything in Marvel’s vault to support this world. *Spoiler Alert* So when we see the Wakandan pantheon of deities in conference and conflict with N’Jdaka in issue #7, he reveals that he has added the Klyntar to the empire by rocking a black and gold symbiote! That level of development and preparation shines in the payoffs which, by design, are few and far between but always impactful. The last few panels of issue #10 bring some of the lesser remembered moments together to great effect.
Walkers artwork remains sharp, urgent and surprisingly colorful. I can only imagine it difficult to spice up the color palette on a comic that takes place mostly with a group on the run during wartime. Walker has risen to the challenge, the panels are tight and come at you quick – which makes sense given that we jump into the action from the get-go. It’s actually super dope to see how Walker interprets things like Manifold’s powers; or even more powerful, T’Challa’s relationship to his spear. Coates has cemented, in the narrative, that the spear exists in line with the idea that it is a metaphor for who he is now and the memory of what the Black Panther has always been. Also, it’s fly to see T’Challa with a weapon on the regular, since he doesn’t usually rock one in the present day continuity. The way Walker draws the use of it is so second nature. It makes it believable that he can overcome intense opposition by himself. Nakia’s one moment of side-eye every issue? Also a welcomed thing Kevin Walker brings to the table.
All in all, Black Panther gets exponentially cooler with each issue. Pick this one up or cop the trades as soon as humanly possible.
7.5 plot twists out of 10
Suggested listening: Soundtrack To Confusion by Black Thought.