Black Panther #39

Story by
Art by
Jefte Palo
Colors by
Lee Loughridge
Letters by
Cory Petit
Cover by
Marvel Comics

The first part of "See Wakanda and Die" is my first return to the land of Wakanda since the first issue of this current volume. Financial burdens pushed me away, and since then, I've just always managed to find something else to buy instead of the comic that didn't quite fit the expectations established by Priest when he helmed the adventures of T'Challa and crew.

Now, however, I figured I'd give it a go as I am enjoying the "Secret Invasion" event this summer. This seemed like a perfect confluence of events to check in on the Black Panther.

The story juxtaposes Commander K'vvvr's preparation to conquer the land of Wakanda with T'Challa's own preparations to defend his homeland. Amazingly, the two leaders seem to have taken similar sessions in how to prepare for battle. The Skrull sleeper agents are shown to have been discovered. That raises the hackles for the attacking Skrull armada just a bit more.

Aaron does a good job of taking the two disparate forces and contrasting them while offering comparisons, therein providing the reader with an impartial point of view, rather than a first person account from one of the participants.

Loughridge helps cement the dynamic of war between the two factions, as the colors for the Skrulls scenes hedge towards green while Panther's scenes have a purple cast to them. Once the battle is engaged, the backgrounds carry a shade of blue. The high action of battle, however, spins across the color wheel and is highlighted by shocking orange. I'm not completely certain that this was the intent by either Aaron or Palo (who doesn't do much in the form of backgrounds, as befits this tale of war). Loughridge, however, does not waiver from this scheme and the book is visually the better for it.

Palo, meanwhile, turns in a very edgy story and certainly seems to have a notion of what a nation with Wakanda's values and history might feel like. His work is neither uber-detailed nor stark minimalist, but somewhere uncomfortably in between. I would be curious to see how his stuff plays out on a "quieter" story.

That said, some may find this issue annoying or burdened by the seeming equivalent of "Crisis on Infinite Earths" Red Skies, as it almost certainly interrupted the "normal" flow of "Black Panther", given the fill-in creative team. Personally, I find this to be an enjoyable adventure addressing one of the elements that makes Marvel unique â€"- how would a sovereign nation as advanced as Wakanda handle an alien invasion? Certainly many a comic shop debate has been inspired by such ponderings. Hopefully this issue can begin to answer one or two of those debates. After this arc is complete, Marvel's canvas will be deeper for it.

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