July 21, 2024

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Comic Review: Black Panther Volume 3

T'Challa has to deal with multiple factions trying to bring Wakanda down for different reasons as the first storyarc of Ta-Nehisi Coates's first storyarc comes to a conclusion.

T’Challa, the Black Panther, is supposed to be a tactical genius, but in Ta-Nehisi Coates’s hands, he’s had to deal with civil unrest of a most unexpected sort.  For perhaps the first time, a Black Panther series was asking T’Challa for something he may not actually have expected:  democracy.

Granted, there’s a lot more going on here, but that was the part that jumped out at me the most from the beginning.  And even though I only came to this series sporadically, I can finally find out how T’Challa will deal with all this in the final part of A Nation Under Our Feet.

T’Challa ended the previous volume by getting a remarkably potent ally back from the dead:  his sister Suri.  And she came back changed, given some interesting superpowers and knowledge of Wakanda’s entire history.  T’Challa likewise has come up with a plan to deal with the different factions working to bring Wakanda, or at least his government, down in one way or another.  But T’Challa is still a tactical genius, and so that means, among other things, perhaps instead of fighting everyone, he should work to change the country and win some of them over.

Granted, he can’t make everyone an ally, and to that end, he needs to reach both forward into Wakanda’s future and back into its past to find an answer.  Wakanda will be a different nation when this is over, and since this is a superhero comic, there still has to be some kind of battle.  And therein lies the biggest problem with this comic.

Coates is new to comics as a writer, but oddly enough, my biggest concern is actually the artist Brian Stelfreeze.  Wakanda is invaded by an outsider army for the final part of this story, and much of the problem for me is the army often looks like it consists of maybe four people.  And that’s if I even knew what was going on.

The end result is I liked the socio-political aspects of the story, but the fight scenes left a lot to be desired.  The volume ends with a promising new status quo for Wakanda going forward, and even if T’Challa has to make some compromises, it doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  It makes me curious enough to perhaps check out the next volume at some point in the near future.

7.5 out of 10 ghosts of Panthers past.

Oh, this time the short volume got a reprint of more recent comics and not some so-so reprints from the 70s.  Granted, these were New Avengers issues I had actually read before showing how Shuri died, but it was still a step up from the more melodramatic fare of previous volumes.