The mystery of the fallen King of Wakanda continues to be a mystery — at least to the people of Wakanda. To the reader, it is fairly obvious. Dr. Doom had a mad-on for T’Challa and made every effort to take the Black Panther down.
Hudlin plays this story straight. Ororo Munro — Storm — decides that the new Black Panther must not be herself. She elects a family member of T’Challa’s to inherit the mantle, but a little research (based upon a question in my mind) shows this relative has some pretty shallow roots as far as the Black Panther’s history is comics is concerned.
Otherwise, Hudlin’s story is one of hatred and confrontation, mystery and concern. The people of Wakanda know their King is hurt, but do not know how badly. The people outside of Wakanda begin to plot against Wakanda. Certainly darker days lie ahead.
Lashley turns in an admirable performance with this issue, although it is slightly less impressive than the debut issue’s art was. Some of the panel choices left me trying to decipher the action, however, as Lashley chose to work action both across the spread and by page. Once I figured those out, it allowed me to return to reading the story. Lashley carries the grace and regality of the Wakandan court into modern times, mixing the technology and the tribal markings quite adeptly.
The action in this issue all occurs in the past, with the present pieces of the story focusing on deliberation and decision. Those action sequences reveal Doom to be harboring an astonishing amount of ill will toward the nation of Wakanda, and T’Challa in particular, but also allows the Dora Milaje (Panther’s bodyguards) to flex their muscles as well. Namor’s offer should have been accepted, it seems, for Osborn’s cabal — or is it Doom acting on his own? — have issues with refusals.
I look forward to some present day action, and from the way the storyline is bubbling at the end of this issue, it appears as though I may not have to wait long. To this point, however, the pacing seems to follow standard issue Marvel decompressionism. Here’s hoping it picks up a bit.