Black Panther #12

Story by
Art by
Will Conrad
Colors by
Peter Pantazis
Letters by
Cory Petit
Marvel Comics

You want a plot summary? How about this: Doctor Doom is up to something.

That's not too helpful is it? What with Doom's entire modus operandi revolving around being "up to something" all day every day.

So how about this: Doctor Doom is up to something, and we get lots of superheroes and explosions. That about sums it up.

This is a decent version of that story, though. With the sister of the former Black Panther now wearing the costume, and the once and future Black Panther coming in to team up with his sis as the Fantastic Four smashes into some Mandroids and Namor punches Hydro-Man into the sky. And Doom saying ominous stuff about wheels within wheels. I haven't been following this relaunched Black Panther comic closely over the past year, but I like a lot of what I see in this issue. It's a classic superhero saga, with team-ups and villains from the lesser-thumbed-through pages of the "Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe" and a female Black Panther with some kind of fold-up butterfly wings and a glowing sword. It's not half bad.

The art's by Will Conrad, who has kind of a Trevor Hairsine thing going on. It's the kind of comic where characters have muscles on top of their muscles, and Conrad angles it all in a bombastic reverie. Even the phone calls are dramatic in this issue, with extreme angles to amplify the tension.

Really, what this reminds me most of is a Geoff Johns comic: a comic loaded with characters, everything played totally straight, lots of drama, moments of heroic action, and the promise of more thrills to come. I like that kind of straightforward superhero spectacle, and Jonathan Maberry and Will Conrad provide it here.

"Black Panther" #12 doesn't pretend to be anything other than it is: an overblown, stuffed-to-the-gills action comic. The political stuff going on in Wakanda is all background, it's all texture, for what is just a bunch of guys and gals pounding on each other with visually spectacular powers. I respect that. It's one of the things superhero comics do best.

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