Now it’s just getting tedious. If anyone needed rationale to plead a case against Marvel and their crusade to decompress stories for sake of crafting trade paperbacks or longer collections, the current run (perhaps “amble” would be more accurate) of “Black Panther” should be Exhibit A. This is the third issue of “The Deadliest of the Species” storyline, clocking in at over sixty pages so far and zero total appearances of the female Black Panther. That’s right, if you’re looking for her here, you’ll be sorely disappointed. That is, unless you don’t open the cover to issue #3.
Mini rant aside, this title does advance the story of Wakanda’s ache for a Black Panther. Unfortunately, the pace that the book moves forward with could be surpassed by a dead sloth. Sorry. There I go again.
Hudlin provides the reader with a glimpse into the struggle in T’Challa’s mind, or as Zawavari leads Storm and T’Challa’s mother (as well as the reader) to believe the struggle in Limbo. T’Challa is called into the light by his Dora Milaje, but Ororo seeks to reclaim her husband for this realm. Hudlin feeds the reader scraps of each side of the struggle, forcing the reader to wait for present-day action yet again. Hudlin does try to advance Shuri’s quest a little faster, but only barely.
Lashley even seems to be getting a little bored with the pacing, as this issue carries a seemingly greater depth of background detail than the previous — and considering that is one of Lashley’s strengths, that is truly saying a lot.
The coloring is hot and cold throughout this issue, as Lashley’s style tends to be strongly peppered with shading, and accentuating shadows, much like Barry Windsor-Smith. Some of the characters tones are lost in a morass of highlights and glares, but there is no mistaking the mood present in each panel.
While the pace of this book is nearing torturous, I remain hopeful that the story will pick up in spite of itself and provide some more prolific action in the next issue. The book reads well, it looks pretty, but it just moves s-l-o-w-l-y. If you’re looking for the most incomplete single issue on the racks this week, here you go. If you are a reader frustrated by decompression, stay away. If thirty days is too long for your brain to try and recall miniscule plot advances between installments, hold out for the trade.