Black Panther #4
Black Panther #4 begins as the last issue ended with Ta-Nehisi Coates continuing the storyline; we get more familiar with each character. Despite the expressive power of the Empire, the rebellious Maroons will sacrifice their lives for each other and for the defeat of the Emperor N’Jadaka (Killmonger), who seems to currently hold the avatar spirit of the Black Panther. Captain N’Yami of the starship Mackendal continues to lead the once unnamed slaves as warriors along with chief officers, Taku, M’Baku, Nakia, and of course T’Challa.
This issue places a little more focus on M’Baku as a powerhouse soldier with a smart-ass sense of humor, even as Manifold is kicking his ass and pinning him down like the mule they’ve grown accustomed. As one of the Maroons’ greatest warrior, M’Baku is a large man, who is fearless in battle and would gladly lay down his life without a flinch for the Zanj Rebellion. Also, it seems that M”Baku has no interest in retrieving memories lost. I wonder if there is a hidden darkness buried in his subconscious that will be exposed in future issues.
Coates continues to provide little tidbits of personality traits within the action pack galactic fight scenes throughout Black Panther #4. The tactical leader of the Maroons, Nakia, is a force of her own and even she is impressed with the skill and tenacity of the once nameless, T’Challa. Each of the main characters gives references to previous issues and stories of Wakanda’s past that will sustain interest by new and longtime Black Panther fans. The only problem with this is for people, like me, who has the “need” to stop and refer back or research to refresh the memory to the references. Coates strategically places various familiar objects, such as the “spear of Bashenga”, a Black Panther folklore that quickly catches my attention. While there are many twists and fun tidbits that intrigue the reader, the ending, well damn, you will just have to pick this issue up and see for yourself!
I really loved how Daniel Acuna’s art makes the reader view through the eyes of the character. The energy and composition of the action panel radiate through the softer tone colors in the background in contrast between the more vivid colors. Acuna radiate through the exciting action-packed artwork of the battle with the Askari raiders conveys motion and fluently enhances the story. T’Challa’s swift fight scenes are greatly enhanced with Acuna’s talent as we would expect in a science fiction movie.
The character development and story as a whole seems to be moving a little slow, but I feel that is part of the mystery. As Coates noted on the last page; “Hang tight, it’s all part of the journey!” I am anticipating the next issue to answer more questions while extending to the five galaxies of the Empire.
Black Panther #4: M’Baku the Powerhouse
Writing - 8/108/10
Storyline - 7/107/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 8/108/10
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