- Written by: John Ridley
- Art by: Germán Peralta
- Colors by: Jesus Aburtov
- Letters by: VC’s Joe Sabino
- Cover art by: Alex Ross
- Cover price: $3.99
- Release date: February 8, 2023
Black Panther #14 builds up the momentum in the penultimate issue of John Ridley’s run as longtime enemies become allies to stop Jhai and his terrorist group from sending the Earth into communications darkness.
Is It Good?
Well, knock me down and call me stinky. Black Panther #14 is a fairly decent… dare I say, “entertaining”… issue in John Ridley’s troubled run. Why Ridley waited until the penultimate issue to get things right is a mystery, but we’re here, so I’ll take it.
When last we left T’Challa, he was beaten by Captain America and told to go back to Wakanda (ahem). Controversy over Ridley’s choice of dialog aside, the issue made its point by forcing T’Challa to acknowledge that he’ll need to be held to account for the mess he made, but he can’t be blindly trusted to clean it up.
Now, that message is struck home with atomic force when Namor and his army show up to aid in stopping Jhai under the auspices of a brand new Atlantean/Wakandan treaty. In other words, T’Challa’s failure is now complete as his oldest enemy has the trust of Wakanda, and under the terms of the treaty, T’Challa’s Wakandan citizenship has been revoked.
It’s impossible to know Ridley’s personal feelings towards T’Challa, but based on the utter stripdown and humiliation of the titular character with every issue, it’s fair to say Ridley has no intention of building up T’Challa’s hero status. You could make the case Ridley is intentionally tearing T’Challa down at every turn. Why? Unknown, but if you view T’Challa as an inspirational character, you’re going to struggle with this series.
That said, Black Panther #14 is still a surprisingly entertaining issue. Namor’s gleeful schadenfreude over T’Challa’s situation is amusing. The “will they or won’t they betray everyone” suspicion over Atlantis’s involvement in the offensive makes the dramatic elements of the story more complex. And even Shuri, surprisingly, gets knocked down a couple of pegs in the humility department when her solution is fixed by a random Atlantean Engineer.
The action is intense, the pacing is excellent, the “ticking clock” tension is well done, and the cliffhanger delivers plenty of momentum going into Ridley’s finale.
The art is above average. Peralta’s pencils/inks are very good, but it’s in Aburtiv’s colors that this issue shines. The textures, highlights, and shading are fantastic.
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 #14 delivers the goods in a penultimate issue leading into John Ridley’s final issue next month. The action, pacing, dialog, and dramatic elements hit their mark, and the art is very good. If readers have been put off by the tearing down of T’Challa in this series, this issue takes his failure one step further, but the ride to get there is reasonably entertaining.