Black Panther #15 Review

Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Release Date: August 28, 2019
Cover Price: $3.99

After over 7 years away, spent 2000 years in the past, that quite possibly could become Wakanda’s future T’challa is back in Wakanda Prime’s present. The Wakanda Empire now spans galaxies. Is this just more good tithings raining down on Wakanda or does this silver lining have a stow away?  

Starting to review an ongoing comic can be tricky. Especially in the day an age of writing for the trade. Do you just pick an issue up and review it knowing nothing of the ongoing narrative, quirks, or tempo of a series? Do you go back and do your due diligence and read from the beginning of the series or at the very least beginning of a story arc?

I have been loosely following this title. I dip in and out of it. It really hasn’t interested me all that much. The character names not matching characters I once knew mixed in with planet names and alien species that I was unfamiliar with made for a tuff read month to month. You end up forgetting things or misremembering things. Then you mix in delays and art changes and the care factor goes down pretty quick. Having said that, I read this issue and last issue back to back and I didn’t really like it. I didn’t hate it. I felt like I had been feeling about this whole series. What a wasted opportunity.

I sat up that night thinking in bed about this series and what I remembered about it. The fragments of memories in T’challa’s mind really being an apt metaphor at that moment. For I too was having visions of Storm lying naked in my bed telling me I have to remember. 

I woke up heart pounding, pupils dilated, covered in sweat and…shame. I was going to have to read the series from the beginning whahahwhahwhahwhahah! (sad face)

It turned out not to be a hate read. There are definitely some not strong issues and somethings that could have been cut completely. For example: it was completely unnecessary to make multiple time leaps in the story. After issue one there is a two year time leap where you are told T’challa, after being freed of slavery, helps the Maroon go around freeing more slaves and generally being a pain in the empires backside, but we don’t really get to see it. Instead we get a Fighter jet scene that uses short range space folding technology to hop T’challa’s ship all over the place in battle. Which in my opinion does not translate very well in a comic.

Then another five year time jump after issue 4 because the Maroon base gets destroyed and N’yami the Maroon leader gets killed by Manifold. Just so we get another T’challa learning to follow orders lesson? The N’yami death scene was supposed to hit way harder too I believe but it just didn’t. I had no connection to her. She was barley in this book and for the Maroon just to go into hiding for five years was just unnecessary and needlessly slowed the story down. 

Having said that there are some really good aspects of this series. The idea of the Wakanda Prime Gods leaving its people for a more war mongering Wakanda of the stars lead by a Symbioted N’jadaka who gets another power up by draining the life force off the Goddess Bast. That is cool. 

What this issue implies is a really novel idea also. A group of galaxies that were under a tyrants rule are now, potentially for the time being anyways, under the rule of T’challa. New technology, new recruits, new minerals, and also all the bad too. Now the question is was it all worth it?

We open with a conversation between T’challa and Nakia. There have been signs of sexual tension or at the very least a “fond mutual respect” between these two through this whole run. Nakia seemed to be the only one that could kinda control T’challa and his brash actions. Here they are just trying to clear up the blurred lines between them before making the time and space jump back to Earth. It all feels a bit unnecessary. It just helps to drive home the fact that T’challa loves Storm and Nakia is a good soldier.

  Here we also find out that T’challa is genius level smart. I knew he was extremely smart but I didn’t realize he was this caliber. He constructed a Galactic Bridge. Something that can transfer an object trough time and space. Since this New Wakanda is 2000 years in the past and galaxies away. I’m guessing the new technology that is available in this universe was what allowed him to produce this machine. It gives him a way to go to and fro freely now.

We get people checking T’challa’s math and then once given the go ahead the ship passes through with no problem.

Once on Earth T’challa talks to Shuri who blows some political wind up his tail as he doubts his leadership.

Sleepless, after the gale force blowing from Storm, T’challa radios Manifold. He is on the Moon with the Maroon running tests on the Galactic Bridge transference whatchamigiggy. He says all readings are normal except for one instant there was a “Bio-Anomaly” (everyone and their mother knows what that means). We get some more talking as we slowly see an engineer or a guard heading to look at the Ship up close and wham he gets hit with the N’jadaka Symbiote. Which it is still implied it has Bast God energy in it but no N’jadaka. N’jadaka the man himself is gone it appears. This Panther Symbiote attaches its self to the guard. Good Bye N’jadaka we hardly knew Ye’!  

This scene I have some issues with, last issue it was presumed that N’jadaka was killed when the planet Agwe detonated its core. Now I understand that it’s possible that the Symbiote found some way to survive. But how did it get on the Maroons ship? They ran away and left space before N’jadaka had his ship enter the atmosphere. Did the explosion blow him to the next galaxy where T’challa was seizing control of this new universe and building a Galactic Bridge just so it could climb aboard this ship to make its way to Earth? Or to just simply exact revenge on T’challa?

All I know is there is a Symbiote war going on in the rest of the titles and this one doesn’t seem to be affected at all.

Final Thoughts:

This was a poorly paced issue. It was slow moving, predictable, and boring. The art isn’t Acuna’s best either. Storm was hard to look at. I will give this series this, it reads better in trade.

5/10

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