Wednesday, December 19, 2018



[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Evan Narcisse with Ta-Nehisi Coates (consultant)
ART: Paul Renaud
COLORS: Stephane Paitreau
LETTERS: VC's Joe Sabino
COVER: Brian Stelfreeze
VARIANT COVERS: Paul Renaud; Chris Sprouse and Karl Story with Laura Martin; Tyler Kirkham with Arif Prianto
28pp, Color, $3.99 U.S. (March 2018)

Black Panther created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Rated “T”

“The King at the End of Everything”

Black Panther is a Marvel Comics superhero created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby.  He first appeared in Fantastic Four #52 (cover dated: July 1966).  Black Panther is T'Challa, the king and protector of the (fictional) African nation of Wakanda.  Black Panther was also the first Black superhero is mainstream American comic books.

As we approach the release date of the highly-anticipated theatrical Black Panther film from Disney/Marvel Studios, we will see more Black Panther-related comic books from Marvel Comics.  One of them is the new miniseries,  Rise of the Black Panther.  It is written by Evan Narcisse with Ta-Nehisi Coates, the writer of the ongoing Black Panther comic book, acting as consultant.  Paul Renaud is the artist.  Stēphane Paitreau is the colorist, and Joe Sabino is the letterer.

Rise of the Black Panther #1 (“The King at the End of Everything”) is narrated first by Queen N'Yami, the wife of King T'Chaka and the mother of T'Challa, and then by Queen Ramonda, the second wife of T'Chaka and second mother to T'Challa.  The story opens with during World War II where a famous American hero strikes a bargain and friendship with Azzuri, the Panther King of Wakanda and the father of T'Chaka and grandfather of T'Challa.

Azzuri is determined to keep the existence and the whereabouts of his kingdom, Wakanda, a secret.  Because of its wealth, technology, and especially because of its greatest natural resource, outsiders and outside entities with continue to search for the legendary kingdom – including some of the most evil people on Earth.

One of the things that Rise of the Black Panther has going for it is that Brian Stelfreeze is the series cover artist.  Stelfreeze was the opening series artist on Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther series and is responsible for most of that series' conceptual and graphic design.  Stelfreeze provides a striking painted cover for the Rise of the Black Panther #1, and, far as I can tell, also for the second issue.

Evan Narcisse gathers many of the elements from previous Black Panther comic books and brings them together to form a gripping, suspenseful, and thrilling tale of the history of the Black Panther.  It starts during WWII, the dawn of the American superhero, and also the point in time when Wakanda begins its inevitable track to joining the world.  Narcisse gives the story the feel of a “lost world” story that is part Arthur Conan Doyle and part Golden Age comic book.  If the rest of this series is like the first issue, it will be a thoroughly readable and enjoyable.

The series artist is rising star Paul Renaud, whose art was excellent in the shockingly good Generations: Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America #1.  Renaud's storytelling is quite good here, but his stylish art is a revelation.  Renaud and colorist Stēphane Paitreau create a rich tapestry of graphical storytelling that recalls narrative paintings.  Rich in detail, backgrounds, sets, and environment, Renaud's art is fitting for a tale of kings and kings' sons.  Joe Sabino's lettering strikes the perfect tone and and enhances the story.

I was not sure of what I should expect of Rise of the Black Panther #1, but after reading this excellent first issue, I expect a lot of the rest of it.

8.5 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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