Written by: John Ridley
Art by: Stefano Landini
Colors by: Matt Milla
Letters by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover art by: Alex Ross
Cover price: $3.99
Release date: August 10, 2022
Black Panther #8 concludes the arc with a risky attack on Wakanda to take down Akili and his secret police force. As the battle rages, the final outcome may be settled in one-on-one combat.
Is It Good?
Black Panther #8 is a dour, depressing, and unsatisfying conclusion to Ridley’s first turn on the Black Panther title.
The plot revolves around T’Challa, Shuri, Storm, and their ragtag band of rebels attacking Akili’s forces to wrest control of Wakanda from the Chief of Security. The action scenes work well enough, and the story technically ends, but the pieces that don’t work outweigh those that do, so you may feel left wanting.
First, there’s no issue with the art. Landini, Milla, and Sabino do their best to present realistic (as realistic as you can get in a Marvel comic) battle scenes and interesting visuals. The characters look great, the visually pacing is energetic, and the panel compositions emphasize drama in every moment.
However, there are two nagging problems that Ridley failed to resolve. First, what was Akili’s motivation for killing the sleeper agents and attempting to frame T’Challa as a traitor? His plan was never made clear, and his motivations are entirely absent. Why did Akili feel he needed to take over Wakanda? He was already in a position of power in the democratic government, and T’Challa had already relinquished control to become a figurehead. With some time and less murder, Akili’s influence would have given him the power he wanted. The question of Akili’s motivations turned into a sore spot once it was poorly revealed he was behind the attacks.
Second, the ending is nonsense for two reasons. Akili and T’Challa agree to settle their dispute in personal combat, and the ending is an “are you kidding me?” moment. No spoilers here, but once you see it, you’ll feel cheated. Next, almost the entire issue uses T’Challa’s supporting allies as mouthpieces to constantly berate, denigrate, disrespect, and browbeat T’Challa at every turn. When all is said and done, T’Challa is alone and morally beaten, leaving you to wonder what it was all for. Do T’Challa’s past deeds mean nothing? Ridley seems to want to leave you with the impression they don’t, and it’s as depressing as it sounds.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
Black Panther #8 concludes the arc with a technically final but hollow ending. The art is strong with plenty of action and energy. However, the writing ignores missing points about Akili’s motivations, the supporting characters constantly demeaning T’Challa at every turn, and the final fight’s ending will have you shaking your head.