While light on action, the latest installment of Marvel’s Black Panther series makes up for it with a strong script that puts the book’s supporting cast on center stage. Ayo and Aneka’s storyline receives the most attention yet in issue #4 as T’Challa finally learns of their revolution, while others who oppose the king attempt to form alliances with them. Tetu’s origin story is presented in this installment, and T’Challa’s mother, Ramonda, visits an old friend she suspects has information about the shaman and his motivations. Through the final pages readers are introduced to yet another adversary for the Black Panther, and Wakanda and it’s king face a tragedy that seemingly propels him towards war.
Coates, Stelfreeze and Martin continue to breathe life into Wakanda in Black Panther #4. All of the subtle references to different parts of the nation have really helped shape a view of the countries’ landscape and people. As this story has progressed, you can’t help but to notice the similarities between the struggles King T’Challa faces with his nation and some of the real world issues going on today. This issue was definitely more King T’Challa then Black Panther, which presents artist Brian Stelfreeze an opportunity to show us more of his interpretation of the man behind the mask. Every character introduced thus far has been visually interesting, and Stelfreeze’s art style will leave a unique imprint on the legacy of Wakanda. Thanks to colors by Laura Martin, panel after panel continue to captivate and I strongly believe her contributions drive the success of this books as much as any other component.
Final Verdict: While the art continues to impress, tops honors for this installment go to Ta-Nehisi Coates for the beautifully written story. Black Panther #4 is the classic example of an issue being carried by the story and not a bunch of fight scenes or splash pages.
Shout-out to Coates for the gem he dropped on leadership and inspiration in the middle of the story…Respect…
Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze
Colors: Laura Martin
Release Date: June 29, 2016
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