ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Black Panther Legends,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black Panther Legends #1 - But Why Tho

Black Panther Legends #1 is written by Tochi Onyebuchi, illustrated by Setor Fiadzigbey, colored by Paris Alleyne, and lettered by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. Years before he became the Black Panther, T’Challa embarked on a trip with his parents and his adopted brother Hunter to his mother’s homeland of South Africa. His father T’Chaka is also opening up the borders of Wakanda to a delegation from the United Nations, which leads to infiltration from forces with far less noble intentions.

The Marvel Legends series is crafted to appeal to younger readers, as it both revisits and expands upon the early days of Marvel’s heroes. Although the Black Panther mythos has been revisited in animated series and other all-age comics, this issue takes a different issue by exploring T’Challa’s youth. Honestly, this is a refreshing way to explore the character’s history. Readers will get to see how T’Challa learned the skills that would translate to his career as the Black Panther and his relationships with his family. They should also keep an eye out for characters including T’Challa’s sister Shuri and his enemy Ulysses Klaw.

Best known for his work on the young adult novels Beasts Made of Night and Crown of Thunder, Onyebuchi applies the same sensibilities to the world of Wakanda. During his first trip to South Africa, T’Challa is struck by how there are different laws for him and Hunter, who is white; Hunter even has to stay in a separate room from the others. T’Challa even fights a group of white boys who attack a black student and learns that his grandmother was an activist during South Africa’s anti-Apartheid movement. Not only does Onyebuchi’s script tackle the mix of superheroics and real-world history that often permeates Marvel comics, but he also does so in a way that never talks down to the book’s younger audience. And the ending of the book is heartwrenching, whether you’re a longtime Marvel fan or a new reader.

What really makes the book pop is Fiadzigbey’s artwork. Known for his work on the children’s book Bunheads, Fiadzigbey’s artwork renders both the kingdom of Wakanda and the city of Johannesburg in stunning detail. He also gives T’Challa’s fight scene a fluid motion, with the young prince delivering hits with the grace and ferocity that permeates his fighting style as the Black Panther. Alleyne’s color art thankfully lends a variety of skin shades for the various Black characters in the story, and purple is also a lingering color-especially when it comes to the Wakandans’ technology. Sabino’s lettering utilizes the same format as the Ultimate line of comics, which was targeted toward a younger audience when it first launched-and for my money, it’s easier to decipher characters’ intent and feelings with this font.

Black Panther Legends #1 offers a new take on the hero’s origin and serves as a great introduction to the character for new fans. If you loved the Black Panther film, or want to know more about the character, I’d highly suggest picking this series up. And the next issue looks to continue exploring T’Challa’s origins by revisiting his first meeting with another Marvel hero-in particular, one with who he shares a strong connection.

Black Panther Legends #1 will be available to purchase wherever comics are sold on October 13, 2021.


Black Panther Legends #1
4.5

TL;DR

Black Panther Legends #1 offers a new take on the hero’s origin and serves as a great introduction to the character for new fans. If you loved the Black Panther film, or want to know more about the character, I’d highly suggest picking this series up. And the next issue looks to continue exploring T’Challa’s origins by revisiting his first meeting with another Marvel hero-in particular, one with who he shares a strong connection.