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The sixth, and final, issue of this series wraps up the quest for vibranium. It does so in a most unimpressive manner, however, as the push of a magic button changes the outcome of the story and the future of Wakanda. That conclusion is less a conclusion for Doom than it is for the lifeblood of Wakanda’s economy.
The series ends as it started, an extension of the adventures of the family of T’Challa. While Victor Von Doom does factor into this story, it is not truly Doom’s story. It’s Shuri’s story, and T’Challa’s story. It’s so much the story of the Panther clan that their allies’ victories happen off-panel. I’m not talking about the faraway victories against Doom’s forces, I’m referring to the allies fighting alongside Black Panther, shoulder-to-shoulder. On one page, the odds are unforgivably insurmountable and four pages later the Fantastic Four, Storm, War Machine, and T’Challa are freed from their struggles and standing next to one another, ready for the final stand against Doom.
Part of that is on Eaton’s shoulders to be sure, but Scot Eaton had three different inkers on this book whose styles could not have been more divergent. That doesn’t exonerate Eaton, but it does muddy up the storytelling quite a bit. Beaulieu’s colors add to the muddiness. The palette choices are dark and murky, fitting for a war, but disappointing for a story with superheroes. I know Eaton has the chops, I just wish he was able to chop a little more in this issue.
The ending of this tale is so contrived that it almost completely discounts the previous five issues. This single issue had enough of a recap to welcome new readers (really, who starts with the final issue of a series?). Maberry wraps up the story quite tightly, but does so with a gimmick that left me wanting more. The ending doesn’t finalize things with Doom, and honestly, does that surprise you? There’s enough of a resolution here to feed future stories, and that’s about it. The true spoils of this war will be less than a footnote going forward, and will truly make the Black Panther less distinguished as a key element of the character’s existence is neutralized.
I’m curious to see where Marvel goes from here as they left this story wide open, which is quite surprising considering the blatant plot device used to end the war.