Comic Review: Black Panther #3


Black Panther #3

Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates

Artist: Daniel Acuña

Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino

Cover artist: Inhyuk Lee

In the beginning there was T’Challa and the legend of the Black Panther. Commander N’Yami explains to Nakia T’Challa’s history and legend. We’re introduced to familiar characters and feats. Commander N’Yami believes that T’challa has returned, but Nakia remains skeptical. Later Nakia scales a rock wall with T’Challa and we learn how the Askari steal memories and knowledge. They exchange some banter before they’re attacked again, and toward the end of the issue, we’re introduced to a new villain.

Let’s get off the Black Panther hype train for a moment. This is an okay comic. By the time the next issue is out, I’ll probably have forgotten what happened in this issue. It’s space battle after space battle, and T’Challa is unstoppable.

The pacing is severely off, and the plot hasn’t started to take shape after three issues. A new villain is introduced to the forefront while we haven’t established enough information about the big bad in the background.

Unfortunately, there’s just not much to go off of here. I can’t imagine a new reader who isn’t familiar with Black Panther enjoying the series so far. Luckily, most readers will have seen the movie or have read Coates’ last Black Panther run.

There's not much here to get a sense of character or to feel really invested in them apart from what we bring to the table from outside knowledge. We deeply need an issue soon that has no space battles, just some deep political intrigue. As of yet, I’m not convinced Coates’ knows where this story is going.

To be generous, the constant interruption of the narrative by the violent Empire shows how insidious these forces are. What is the possibility of life and relationship building under an Empire who is constantly at your backs and steals your memories and your knowledge.

It’s probably not that deep, but that is the reality of Black Panther’s narrative as it perpetually gets interrupted by violence.

That’s cool I guess.

Daniel Acuña's art is amazing and keeps the book worth reading.

Acuña draws each character rigidly, and it feels like they’re hardened by being on the run. The designs of the battle ships and suits accurately portray a science-fiction narrative. This is necessary as for the most part, there’s a lack of detail in the environment. This isn't bad, it just consistently draws your eye to the action in the foreground.

The introduction of a familiar character possibly turned villain is an interesting development. Hopefully, it will have ramifications for the story beyond a fight scene.

For now, Black Panther is a fast paced comic that doesn’t feel like a chore to read, by any means. It also isn't a thrilling read just yet, but remains intriguing. It doesn't feel like a monthly buy. But I think we can trust Coates has big plans for this series.

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