REVIEW: ‘Black Panther,’ Issue #2

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black Panther #2

Black Panther #2 is written by John Ridley, illustrated by Juann Cabal, colored by Federico Blee, and lettered and designed by VC’s Joe Sabino. It is published by Marvel Comics. Part two of “The Long Shadow” continues T’Challa’s quest to reach his network of sleeper agents located all over the world. Not only does the Black Panther come face to face with the mysterious assassins who have been attacking his agents, but he also draws ire from sleeper agent Omolola and his sister Shuri over his cloak and dagger methods.

I mentioned in my review of Black Panther #1 that this new run was approaching matters of trust, and that continues to be the case here. T’Challa says he doesn’t trust anyone, and the aftereffects of that are on full display. The very first page features three sleeper agents having different reactions to the fact that their cover has been blown. Cabal perfectly captures the mix of shock, anger, and relief that each agent is feeling. Ridley also voices their feelings: one agent tells T’Challa to “go f*** himself,” while another wants to go home to Wakanda.

But the biggest moment comes when one agent reveals she got married and had children. This is something T’Challa didn’t prepare for; he only told his agents to blend in, but he never expected them to sink that deeply into their new lives. “You told us to become new people. I did,” the agent says before ultimately declaring that she’s going to stay in her home. This exploration of T’Challa’s flaws makes for a compelling read, as well as a better-paced narrative than the one Ridley is currently constructing with I Am Batman.

And when it comes to the fight sequences, Cabal and Blee draw a brutal ballet that features some of the best action put on a comic book page this year. Black Panther engages in battle with one of the white-clad members of the mysterious hunters who are targeting his agents and manages to stay one step ahead. Blow after blow is parried, and the attacker soon loses his weapon, and another appendage, in a spray of blood.

Blee’s color art provides a nice contrast between the people of Wakanda and their new enemies. The assailants are clad in white, and their helmets have a strange red symbol, the color of blood. In contrast, each sleeper agent can activate a jet-black stealth costume with face paint that resembles a skull.

Rounding out the creative team is Sabino on letters. His sound effects often match the action; the slicing of a limb is followed with a blood-red “slice,” and a character screaming “No” is depicted as a long, drawn-out block of text. The narration also shifts depending on the character; Shuri’s narrative captions are displayed in a blue and white matching her superhero suit. And Sabino also comes with a snazzy design for the credits page, using the colors of the African flag.

Black Panther #2 explores matters of trust as King of Wakanda’s actions continue to drive a wedge between him and his allies. The next issue will feature T’Challa’s reunion with Storm. The duo used to be married, but I don’t think absence has made Storm’s heart grow fonder of her former husband—we’ll see next month.

Black Panther #2 is available wherever comics are sold.


Black Panther #2
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TL;DR

Black Panther #2 explores matters of trust as King of Wakanda’s actions continue to drive a wedge between him and his allies. The next issue will feature T’Challa’s reunion with Storm. The duo used to be married, but I don’t think absence has made Storm’s heart grow fonder of her former husband—we’ll see next month.