Writer: Evan Narcisse / Consultant: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Javier Pina / Marvel Comics
Is it too soon to ask for a Rise of the Black Panther: Year 2? It is? Well, the tale of T’challa’s first year as the fabled Black Panther will be missed. It’s been a wild, introspective ride into the workings of Wakanda and T’challa’s quest to move his country into the future. We’ve seen him go toe-to-two with some of Marvel’s greats and struggle to make his country a bigger part of the world. As we reach the end, we gain a deeper understanding of why T’challa is more than a hero – he’s a king. And heavy lays the crown.
We all knew that the final chapter of Rise of the Black Panther would pit T’challa against Killmonger. I will admit, this depiction of their first showdown is a bit underwhelming. Killmonger isn’t much of a challenge for our king. However, the encounter is not completely disappointing. While the situation never seems out of his control, it’s interesting to see T’challa’s reaction to Killmonger’s betrayal.
The way writer Evan Narcisse writes the scene, you can see how weary T’challa’s first year has made him. Even worse, you can see the look of disappointment on his face as he comes face to face with Killmonger, a man he thought he saved and would help Wankanda. Instead, Killmonger’s views are the exact opposite of the future that T’challa is striving for and it hurts. It feels like the final test of T’challa’s resolve after all the dissent and challenges he has overcome.
Javier Pena completely captures this turmoil with every expression in his art. It’s fascinating how well he is able to show us T’challa’s frustration, disappointment, and exhaustion. He equally keeps the action epic and spectacular. Bruh, while the actual showdown isn’t any to cry home about, Pena still pulls out the stops to give us some memorable scenes. I’m talking some wild stuff that makes all the action fun to follow.
I’ll say what I said at the beginning of this series. Rise of the Black Panther is the perfect origin for newcomers and a great start to retelling the legacy of Wakanda. It’s definitely a must-read for anyone looking to jump into the world of Black Panther. Every hero should have a book like this that so gracefully retells their origins and greatest adventures. Respect to Narcisse, Coates, Renaud, and Pina for treating Black Panther with such care.
9 Embassies in Harlem out of 10
Reading Rise of the Black Panther? Find BNP’s other reviews of the series here.