Black Panther #12
Last issue, we saw Princess Zenzi unleashing the power within and the amount of divine authority she commands via the possession the Wakandan Panther god, Blast. Zenzi/Blast puts the Maroons in reality check. N’Jadaka is on the level of the gods and they are not worth his time. Manifold also has some bomb shells for our favorite rebels. He recalls some memories…from the Wakanda of Earth! Zenzi then reveals that the memories of all Wakandans lie within the spirit world of Djalia. Zenzi has a plan to restore the names to the nameless and restore what was once stolen.
Black Panther #12 begins with Achebe presenting a way to assonate Emperor N’Jadaka. Commander M’Buku would comply without hesitation; however, the price to pay is unacceptable. This is an intriguing aspect as we reach the closing of “Book Two: The Gathering of My Name” story arc. It is also, the most confusing. Ta-Nehisi Coates has brilliantly placed Black Panther and African mythologies into an intergalactic story arc, but it seems that he is lacking general knowledge of the M’Kraan Crystal. I can see the usage of vibranium in an explosion, but how in the @#$% would the M’Kraan Crystal to be used as a laser to set off the ignition?
With all the trinkets and magical doodads in the Marvel Universe, it’s easy to overlook the artifacts that aren’t known for offensive capabilities. Even so, most objects of power are not to be taken lightly and generally should be avoided at all costs; such as the M’Kraan Crystal. According to its creators, the giant pink powerhouse is “the end of all that is”, which is really just a roundabout way of saying the crystal ought not to be tampered with.
Then again, even the most knowledgeable comic book reader may not sure about the origins to this over-sized crystal. There is definitely room for “adjustments” to this fictional object. However, as a comic book fan, we know that the M’Kraan Crystal doesn’t seem to abide by any conventional laws of physics, as it houses more area in its body than should be possible (think “bigger on the inside” if you’re a Doctor Who fan). A physicist’s nightmare, within the crystal itself there is an entire crystal city protected by a force field. If the M’Krann Crystal’s stasis field were to be destroyed, then it will create a universal black hole that will destroy everything! Will Coates continue to incorporate this dangerous object into the next chapter? It seems that we will have to wait until the next issue for the answer.
Meanwhile, as “Book Two: The Gathering of My Name” chapter comes to a close, Coates magnifies this focus point in Black Panther #12. The journey through “The Plane of Wakadan Memory” nicely ties together T’Challa’s reclaiming his memories with the troubles and burdens of kingship. As a fan of Coates, this is almost a signature print for his Black Panther storytelling. At the center of this journey and rediscovery for T’Challa, we see a beautifully intimate scene with Ororo that has been built since the beginning of this story line.
Artist Jen Bartel does a beautiful job throughout this issue, especially the scenes between T’Challa and Ororo. Color artist Triona Farrell enhances Bartel’s work, using warm reds and cool purples to highlight along with oranges and teals throughout the dream / memory dream sequences.
Black Panther #12 may not be the action packed, tension grabbing issue for a closing chapter. However, the journey through the Djalia has allowed T’Challa to connect some important points of his memories and the final page nicely sets up the next arc. It’s just enough to keep the reader intrigued to learn more about how T’Challa became a “Nameless”.
Black Panther #12 gives just enough answers and leaves some unanswered questions to keep the reader interested for the next chapter.
Black Panther #12: Welcome Home
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7.5/107.5/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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