June 18


Eve Ewing’s Black Panther #1 is a Promising Start


June 18, 2023

black panther, comic book review, eve l ewing, marvel comics

After the previous run left T’Challa at a new low, incoming writer Dr. Eve L. Ewing is left to pick up the pieces, as T’Challa is set to do the same. Note: This review contains spoiler’s for Black Panther #1, out 6/14 from Marvel Comics.

This Wednesday marked the start of a brand-new Black Panther title from Marvel Comics writer Dr. Eve L. Ewing and penciller Chris Allen. While this certainly picks up where John Ridley’s 15-issue run left off, Marvel was smart to relaunch at #1 and give this a fresh start.

I’ve sufficiently expressed my displeasure with the previous run, so I won’t fully retread that ground here. Let’s just say, Dr. Ewing had a unique challenge ahead of her. T’Challa had been exiled from Wakanda, his status with the Avengers was shaky, and his mental state wasn’t the best. This series reset would either be a clear step in the right direction, or more of the same disappointment. After reading Ewing’s Monica Rambeau: Photon miniseries, I knew she was uniquely qualified to handle it. And I’m pleased to report, we’re getting the former.

As we open issue #1, T’Challa is in the shadows, staking out the town of Birnin T’Chaka. While it’s likely a stand-in for Ewing’s hometown Chicago, it could be any inner-city, USA. This isn’t the high-gloss Wakanda we know from Stelfreeze’s days on the title. Named for his father, the former center of the manufacturing industry has been mostly forgotten, and T’Challa is surprised to find out just how out of step he is with the customs of its people. As we get to know the city, T’Challa catches us up on his mental state from the day of his exile until now. Gone is the self-loathing T’Challa of the past, and what has risen is a former king who still has questions about his identity, but is determined to find the answers his way.

While Wakanda may not have a King, it’s clear the Black Panther is still needed as a protector — whether Wakanda’s government wants him there or not. The remnants of the Hatut Zeraze have been terrorizing the citizens in the same way a biblical tax-collector would. Operating from the shadows, T’Challa does enough to send a message, but not enough to alert the parliament to his presence.

We also meet N’yobi Umaru, a brilliant lawyer who has set up shop in his hometown, refusing to charge many of his clients a fee among the tumultuous state of affairs. Instead, it seems he’s getting by on a string of favors from the community. Readers could assume T’Challa is hoping that an alliance with N’yobi will help change the shaky relationship between himself and the Wakandan government. But for now, he’s happy being the hero Wakanda deserves.

I can’t write this review without giving this art team the high praise it deserves. Chris Allen works wonders with his pencils, using the architecture of Birnin T’Chaka to break up panels throughout. The dark color palette by Jesus Aburtov brings to mind the ‘Marvel’s Batman’ comparisons we’ve been getting since the Christopher Priest era started 25 years ago. I especially love the new Black Panther costume, which adds a cloak, shield and spear to the repertoire along with a set of razor-sharp claws that I wouldn’t want to find myself on the wrong side of. If this team stays together, this could be one the most visually appealing runs in recent years. Suffice it to say, issue one was promising.

Dr. Ewing, like T’Challa, has a lot of work cut out for her if the intent is to bring back the glory days of the Black Panther title. But one thing’s for sure — physically and mentally, T’Challa seems ready to face any challenge that comes his way. That’s something the readership has been missing for a long time.

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