This is my first review on the site in couple of weeks. I’m excited to start things back up with Black Panther. If you’ve read any of my Black Panther reviews, you know how much I enjoy this run. My favorite comic in 2016. When it’s all said and done, this may be one of my favorite comic books ever. It has played well off the growing popularity of the character since the movie Civil War. King T’Challa is a bold, new character that gives the MCU an entire different feel. His life is filled with politics, war, and governing. Not to mention he’s also a scientist. One of the most brilliant minds in the Marvel universe. We didn’t get too much of that in Civil War. T’Challa didn’t interact with Tony Stark really at all. The character he talked to the most was Black Widow. At the end of the film, we saw him interact with Captain America too. There are so many aspects of him that we haven’t seen yet. This run has given everyone insight into his role as a king. There aren’t many monarchial societies in our world today, at least ones that are dominant superpowers. Wakanda is a nation struggling with its identity right now. The age of technology has proven too much for some of its citizens. They believe T’Challa has forgotten his roots. This, and a number of other factors have led to the brutal civil war going on in this issue. In issue #4, the queen mother Ramonda was severely injured when Tetu and his rebels bombed a city. T’Challa was trying to figure out a way to get around this conflict without violence, but this sent him over the edge. This is why this run has been so great. We’ve seen the struggles of true power. T’Challa constantly battles with his emotions. He wants to rule, and rule well. He truly has the best intentions when it comes to his people. He also empathizes with the rebels to some extent. That messes him up in the head. A constant struggle going through his mind on why he’s suffering as a ruler. Now though, T’Challa isn’t second guessing himself too often. In the last issue, he teamed up with Eden Fesi (Manifold) to start taking out Tetu’s bases. Some of the best narration came in this issue. T’Challa then interrogates one of Tetu’s bombers. They have a lengthy discussion about the revolution. In the end, T’Challa convinces the bomber to give him the information he needs. Basically, he asks the bomber if the ends truly justify the means. To me, that’s the question that truly needs to be asked when thinking about these type of things. Revolution truly sounds like a brilliant idea when it’s conceived. This run has been interesting, because both sides have arguments. Then there are the Midnight Angels who fall in the middle. Their story is one of liberation. They are fed up with the system, but not because it’s failed them as Wakandans, because it’s failed them as women. It’s an interesting part of the story, and I definitely feel for them. Anyways, by the end of the last issue, Tetu and Zeke Stane confront one of the men who had a conference with T’Challa earlier. The man is recorded by the pair. They broadcast what he told T’Challa to do to end the rebellion in his country. The suggestion was full of violence and cruelty. As I picked up issue #6, I expected more growth from our character. More internal struggle. More great dialogue. I was also hoping to see our hero find some success. As with the other issues, this one did not disappoint.
The issue starts off by showing us the wisdom of the king. He’s talking with his council about the rebels. They are discussing Changamire. He has been featured in this run a couple of times before. He’s an elderly scholar. Tetu asked him to help with the revolution. Changamire didn’t agree, but he is a known revolutionary. Ramonda questioned him in issue 4 to see if he knew anything. Now, we see his role in the beginning of the revolution. Hoadari, one of T’Challa’s main advisors, mentions that Changamire is the reason the rebels have turned to violence. Hodari suggests that the message Changamire preaches incites violence. Hoadari believes the Changamire wants to get rid of order itself, and replace it with anarchy. This is where T’Challa speaks up. He tells his advisor that this isn’t the intentions of Changamire. All he wants is the end of monarchs. As mentioned earlier, T’Challa has many sides that haven’t been explored yet. One of those sides is his freaky intelligence. Not only is it freaky, but he truly wants to learn. He tells Hodari that he’s studied the writings of Changamire. He lets everyone know that the mighty power of the throne hasn’t prevented the rebellion from rising up. That knowing your enemy is key, but knowing your own weaknesses is even more important. A great moment by T’Challa as he tries to keep perspective on the situation.
The issue transitions into the Midnight Angels. They have been liberating women across the country. One of their leaders is talking to the other women. She tells them that the era of women enslavement is over. Once, women were enslaved, but now in this new age, women have power. She is soon interrupted though. Akili, another one of T’Challa’s men, organizes an attack on their base. Just as his men seem to have the upper hand, Tetu and Zenzi arrive. Zenzi messes with their minds, and the squad is arrested. The Angels and Tetu then talk about their differences. They have different end goals and different tactics. The Midnight Angels decide to spare the enemy squad. Tetu reminds them that a time must come when enemies must be slaughtered. This part was short, but I like how it ties into Shuri’s scene later.
We transition back to Black Panther. He’s talking with Tony Stark. My stomach turned a bit here, because I can’t stand Iron Man. I was in no mood for his jokes. T’Challa is talking with him about the bombing technology being used during the revolution. Tony assures him that the person behind all of this is in fact Zeke Stane. A hilarious moment comes after. Tony talks about Stane and how he’s an old-school type of villain.
Tony says, “He’s screwing with you, T’Challa. I mean, I have ego, but at least my brilliance exceeds my ego.”
T’Challa replies, “I’, glad you think so.”
“I heard that,” Tony says.
“Yes, because I said it,” T’Challa replies.
“I know. Next time, it’d help if you at least tried to say it under your breath,” Tony says.
“Tony, we’re getting distracted.”
This is an awesome moment! The world of Wakanda has no time for your emotions Tony. T’Challa clearly understands humor, but this isn’t a humorous time. He isn’t concerned with Tony’s feelings. Iron Man is definitely funny sometimes, but other times, he just needs to shut up. Coates does a great job of giving T’Challa personality in this scene. This is exactly the type of interactions I expect when he talks with someone in the MCU. We’ve actually already seen this (Black Widow deleted scene people. Watch it!) The next page dives deep down into T’Challa’s mind. For the bulk of this issue, he’s been getting consultation from everyone around him. Now, he is starting to realize what he needs to do to win this battle. He narrates about the battle raging within him. There are two men inside of him. The king everyone wants him to be, and the man he really is. He says in his heart he is a scientist. A damn good one too. He mentions that his title does not make him different from other men, but his desire to learn. He studies everyone and everything. This moment makes T’Challa more relatable than he has been during the entire run. That sense of confusion resides in all of us. We all have expectations put on us, whether if it’s because the color of our skin or our last name. We are forced to navigate through this world with all of these expectations weighing us down. Along the way, most of us do find out who we truly are. Most people have some type of support system around them too. T’Challa has a support system around him as well, but not in the traditional sense. No one feels sorry for him. No one is going to say, “Dang man. Sucks you can’t be a scientist all day. Must suck to live in the king’s palace with all that nice food. Excuse me while I go steal food for my family.” T’Challa knows that too. He doesn’t want pity. He doesn’t need it. But it still tears him apart. An interesting look into the character and all on one page. After he takes a moment, T’Challa injects himself with nanites that Doctor Doom used to try and take over Wakanda. He mentions that while he hates the reasons that Doom does the things he does, the way he goes about them is pure genius.
The next part of the issue involves Shuri, T’Challa’s sister. She’s dead, but not really. Her mind is traveling a spiritual plane in Wakanda. Throughout her journey, she’s learned about the history of her people. The spirit speaking to her has taken the shape of Ramonda. Every time we Shuri, we get a story. This story involves the powerful women of Nri. She tells Shuri about a woman named Ife who was sold into slavery. The woman’s name was Ife. When they captured her, the slavers covered her eyes. They feared the sun would give them some type of power. Ife was sold to an old man who was wary of her legendary power. He kept her under wraps, but in time, he wanted Ife to love him. The old man convinced her to bear children with him. But in the end, Ramonda explains to Shuri that the sun never forgot Ife. The old man took her out of her shelter and into the sun. Ramonda then says, “Perhaps my child, he simply knew. That there is no fist wide enough to hide the sky.” She then jumps off the cliff they are on, and dozens of black birds take her place. It’s a beautifully drawn panel. This resonated with me because earlier, the Midnight Angels were talking about slavery as well. Maybe Shuri returns and convinces Ayo and Aneka to rejoin the royal ranks? I don’t know, but I love these scenes in this comic. They are a nice breather and usually teach me some valuable lessons.
Every ending in this issue has been pretty good, but this one is next level. T’Challa is narrating. Here, we get more clarity on his thoughts. I love it when we get a chance to get in his head. He talks about how when he first joined the Avengers, he did so to gain intel for his country. What better spy than himself? He could conduct foreign affairs more efficiently so it makes sense. Then he says that now, he can admit he’s had it backwards the whole time. That he spied for his country, to join the Avengers. He admits that it’s the scientist within him that made him do it. His willingness, rather his eagerness to know more than Wakanda drove him to the Avengers. Meanwhile, he has to hide that aspect of himself from his people. They want a king, not a scientist. While he’s narrating, he’s fighting men too. T’Challa is eventually captured and taken to Zeke Stane. Black Panther has led them to a trap though. He’s recording Zeke Stane reveal his intentions behind this revolution. He tells T’Challa that Tetu put a bounty on the country. Whoever could help him take down the king would get a share of the country. Hodari is watching this from a computer. He talks to someone in the room. He tells them that it’s time to end this. He is talking when someone interrupts him. T’Challa’s plan is revealed. On the last page, Luke Cage, Storm, Misty Knight, and Manifold are standing there looking like the most badass team in the history of badass teams! I loved this moment. It was unexpected and this run has gotten extremely exciting. I’m hooked all over again.
This issue is probably the most complete issue. There’s solid action, beautiful art, and great writing. Coates let us get into the king’s head a bit in this issue. The scene where he describes himself as a scientist is powerful. We see T’Challa yearning for something other than the crown. That’s sort of been a theme throughout this run. T’Challa doesn’t seem to want this anymore. It all seems to be a bit much. Still, he’s giving his all to stop this revolution. The scene where he talks about joining the avengers just adds more depth to his scientist persona. The Midnight Angels weren’t featured too much in this issue, but the correlation between them and Shuri’s stories this issue stuck out to me. I’m excited to see where their stories go and if they ever intersect. Seeing “The Crew” at the end of the issue was fantastic. Maybe this is the start of a new team? I would be at the comic store two days early if they got their own series. Marvel needs an all-black superhero team. The booming popularity of superheroes in the black community can be capitalized on here. All of these heroes are popular. The only one I don’t know much about is Eden (Manifold) but he seems like a great character. The future of Wakanda is finally looking a little better. T’Challa decided to stop putting himself through this torment. The Crew is coming for blood next issue, and I can’t wait!
I really hope you liked this review. Please comment, share it, like it, and let me know your thoughts. Remember follow me on Twitter @Hero_Review. My next review is going to be a different type of review. I’m going to give my thoughts on the action movie Mad Max: Fury Road. Please go out and buy this comic everyone! Peace, Love, and Comics!!