- Written by: John Ridley
- Art by: Germán Peralta
- Colors by: Ceci de la Cruz
- Letters by: VC’s Joe Sabino
- Cover art by: Alex Ross
- Cover price: $3.99
- Release date: December 21, 2022
Black Panther #12 unveils the grand conspiracy behind Jhai’s “resurrection” when T’Challa is faced with the consequences of his decisions as king.
Is It Good?
Black Panther #12 has, once again, devolved into the “let’s berate T’Challa as much as the page space will allow” story from John Ridley. In fairness, most of T’Challa’s woes are a result of his arrogant decisions as king and betraying actions as an Avenger, so yes, he deserves a stern talking to. However, the constant lecturing is starting to feel like sadism, and it’s becoming tough to tell if John Ridley likes Black Panther or HATES Black Panther.
When last we left T’Challa, he was shocked to learn Jhai was still alive and the true force behind all the terrorist actions that helped oust T’Challa as king of Wakanda. Why? Jhai became radicalized by his mission as a sleeper agent for T’Challa and decided to reinterpret his mission as peace through world domination, with T’Challa as supreme ruler. In short, Jhai transitioned from T’Calla’s best friend to worst enemy from spending too much time under deep cover.
Well, now. That premise sounds like an intriguing political thriller, steeped in emotional conflict. However, Ridley spends an inordinate amount of time with T’Challa getting lectured by Wakandan officials, his family, his people, and the Avengers. Everyone has an opinion about how badly T’Challa screwed up, and Ridley spares not a single panel making sure everyone gets their full say. And it’s exhausting.
Ultimately, the only thing everyone can agree on is that no one can trust T’Challa, so he’s left to gather a handful of reluctant allies to confront Jhai head-on.
Therein lies the problem with this issue. So much time is spent berating T’Challa for his mistakes, the “heroes” de-prioritize the current threat. Why aren’t the Avengers putting their beef with T’Challa aside to deal with the looming threat? Why are the Wakandan officials abandoning T’Challa when he’s the only one who knows Jhai’s training well enough to anticipate his strategy of attack? Ridley’s approach to this story demonstrates weirdly misplaced priorities for how these characters normally act.
At least Peralta’s art is solid in this issue. In fairness, most of this issue is people standing around and talking (lecturing?), so the weight of visual interest falls on Peralta’s facial acting. On that count, Peralta succeeds.
About The Reviewer: Gabriel Hernandez is the Publisher & EIC of ComicalOpinions.com, a comics review site dedicated to indie, small, and mid-sized publishers.
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Bits and Pieces
Black Panther #12 is more setup and exposition than story as the big villain behind the last 12 issues is finally revealed, and everyone is upset with… T’Challa. The art is solid, filled with angsty expressions of shame and disappointment, but Ridley’s story seems more concerned with badgering T’Calla to death rather than getting the heroes to rise above the past to confront the present threat.