Marvel Action: Black Panther #1 IDW Quietly Releases the Best Black Panther Comic in Y
• Kyle Baker (Author) • Juan Samu (Pencils)
I've never been the biggest Black Panther fan but I have enjoyed specific runs with the character. I have a few of the Jungle Action issues. The Christopher Priest run was amazing and I've always been partial to Reginald Hudlin's take on the character.
The problem I have with Marvel's recent Black Panther series is that they boil the character and Wakanda down to their most pretentious and superfluous elements.
Ta-Nehisi Coates, the lead writer for the Marvel series never seemed to be a fit for the character and squandered most of the capital that the character that obtained when Black Panther #1 sold over 250,000 copies upon release in 2016. Now sales for the series hover around 20,000 as of April 2019. Clearly, there is a serious problem with the series.
Marvel Action: Black Panther takes the blueprint from the 2018 film and applies it to the comic. If you were a fan of the film you'll feel right at home here. In fact, if you're a fan of Black Panther as superhero as well as the king of Wakanda you're looking at one of the best takes on T'Challa and co in over a decade.
The story isn't really that deep but Kyle Baker's simplified take on these characters is refreshing and allows a reader to dive in and actually relate to the events going on. The gist of the issue is that the production of Vibranium has increased significantly thanks to the new Mining techniques of Mr. Mchezaji.
During an event honoring Mchezaji, the weather patterns suddenly shift and the remainder of the issue has T'Challa attempting to rescue the citizens of Wakanda from a massive Tornado.
Again, it's not the heaviest narrative but it nails the basics of the story and most importantly we get to see T'Challa as a full-on hero. Without all of the heavy-handed Wakandan politics weighing down every issue.
The issue also focuses on the relationship between T'Challa and his family, specifically Shuri who takes on the role of comic relief and his Mother. Shuri is pretty annoying here but it's not enough to derail the issue. Hopefully, it's toned down as the series progresses.
Another positive is the art direction. The issue looks fantastic. Juan Samu captures the energy of the lead hero and I love that IDW decided to use the look of the film as the baseline of the characters. If the event's of this book happened a week or 2 after the movie ended I wouldn't be surprised at all.
The action is great throughout and we get to see some really cool and creative uses of Black Panther's suit and resourcefulness in dealing with the problems that arise throughout the issue. A compelling mystery is established, the tone is set, and the ending although not surprising sets up the direction of the series. There is a lot to love in this in this issue. I just hope they keep the momentum going forward.