Written by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art by: Kev Walker, Stephane Paitreau, and VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: December 5, 2018
I haven’t been fully onboard this Fresh Start Black Panther run. While I appreciate that Ta-Nehisi Coates is trying to do something different with the character, it really feels like it’s at the expense of answers of what is going on thus the overall story. I know I am not the only one who is having these problems, but with each issue I clear my mind a bit and hope that this is the one that gets me excited about this series. Is this that issue? Let’s find out…
After last issue, I was actually intrigued to see what this one had in store. Future/Space Killmonger with the symbiote? Yea, that is probably the coolest thing Coates has given us so far. This issue opens with Erik, but it’s back to the slow burn story that is more about name drops than answers and this issue it is Zenzi who is introduced.
Yea, Zenzi is cool, but Coates is really relying on the readers past knowledge and experiences with these (alt?) characters so if you are newer to the Black Panther side of things, it doesn’t have the impact I expect he thinks it does. I know of Zenzi and looked her up to fill in the blanks, but information doesn’t equal emotions for what is going on and this is one of the biggest reasons that I have no real attachment to this book.
As far as the overall story goes, we follow the Empire’s Chief Technologist who’s sins of the flesh end up coming back to bite him in the butt by the end of the issue. It’s a victory for the Maroons and Coates makes sure that we all know this book is more based on politics than anything else…something that unfortunately happens in every issue. I say unfortunately as a very personal thing here. I don’t care one iota about politics, but if that’s your thing, I’m sure this book has a lot more going on for you.
By the end, though, we are left with no answers to how and why of this series, but there was a cool bit with Zenzi and Manifold that has me at least interested in something. If you haven’t noticed, I am trying very hard to grab onto anything in this series to make me return each issue, but it is getting harder and harder as it goes on.
I will start with the positive…I loved Kev Walker’s art in this issue. It has a slightly cartoony look that actually plays well off of the serious nature of the story. As for story, I am hanging by a thread here. I already told you I am not a political guy and that’s the main draw here. Besides that, the slow pacing of the overall story, lack of any concrete answers to explain what is really going on and the reliance on past character knowledge has made this book hard to recommend. I will keep reading it only because I have come this far and want some answers, not because I am enjoying it because I really haven’t.
Instead of answers, Ta-Nehisi Coates throws more characters into the mix, but without knowing what is really going on, the wow moments are not earned. I liked the art in this issue, but this book is relying on the reader’s patience and trust in Coates and that is something else that just hasn’t been earned yet, at least for me. I am struggling to find any reason to keep reading this series.