ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Black Panther,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black Panther #3 - But Why Tho

Black Panther #3 is written by John Ridley, illustrated by Juann Cabal & Ibrahim Moustafa, colored by Matt Milla, and lettered & designed by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Part 3 of “The Long Shadow” finds T’Challa and Wakandan sleeper agent Omalola attacked by the same mysterious assassins who have been killing Wakanda’s spies. To get off the grid, T’Challa and Omalola travel to Mars, now known as the mutant planet Arrako and ruled by T’Challa’s former wife Storm. Meanwhile, Shuri attempts to balance Wakanda’s newly formed democracy and the hunt for the mysterious assassins.

This issue also serves as the 200th issue of Black Panther since his first solo series in 1977, and it’s rather wild to think about how far T’Challa’s comes as a character. From his first appearance in Fantastic Four #52 to being the subject of a critically acclaimed blockbuster and even headlining animated series and video games, the Panther’s become just as much of a fixture in pop culture as Spider-Man, Superman, or Batman. To celebrate, the issue contains two bonus stories: one stretching back into the early days of T’Challa’s past, and one hinting at the future that awaits Wakanda.

“A Tall Tale of Tricks” is written & illustrated by Juni Ba and colored by Chris O’Halloran; “The Wakandan” is written by Ridley, illustrated by Germán Peralta, and colored by Jesus Aburtov. “A Tall Tale of Tricks” finds T’Challa traveling to the land of the Djinne to complete an errand on behalf of the trickster god Say-Say. “The Wakandan” introduces Tosin Oduye, a native of Wakanda who breaks away from the city of Wakanda, but returns when the mysterious assassins launch an attack on the captiol. Peralta has previously illustrated Black Panther before during the King in Black story and showcases the history of Wakanda from people on the streets of the golden city, Birnin Zana, and the Black Panther’s battle with Erik Killmonger. Ridley’s script reveals how Tosin has grown disillusioned with Wakanda, but also how he plans to fix it, which may play into future issues of Black Panther.

“A Tall Tale of Tricks” plays out like an African fable. No surprise there, since Ba is working on a graphic novel at TKO Studios titled Djeliya that draws inspiration from West African myth. His art is a visual feast. Bast takes the form of a pure white panther, prowling within a massive void of black and purple. And when T’Challa travels to the land of the Djinne, the art depicts him literally falling through Bast’s body, breaking through one panel and landing in the next. The Panther is also sporting an outfit that incorporates elements of gold and black, which serves as a homage to the costume he wore in Christopher Priest’s character-defining run.

The main story itself features a battle between T’Challa, Omalola, and a group of assassins, which Cabal draws with fluid grace and a lethal result. Sabino’s lettering even gets incorporated into the fight as an assassin blows his brains out. The resounding “SPLAT” looks less like a “Splat” and more like a bloodstain. Moustafa takes over when T’Challa travels to Arrako and illustrates a heartwarming conversation between T’Challa and Ororo. Even though they aren’t married anymore, Ridley understands that the two have history and draws upon it. And Milla’s colors showcase what a paradise Arrako has become., with lush green forests and massive mountains standing out against the arid red skies of Mars.

Black Panther #3 celebrates the past, present, and future of Wakanda’s king courtesy of a collection of all-star creators. I look forward to seeing what role Tosin plays in Ridley’s run, as well as the identity of these mystery assassins and their vendetta against Wakanda.

Black Panther #3 will be available wherever comics are sold on January 26, 2021.


Black Panther #3 
4.5

TL;DR

Black Panther #3 celebrates the past, present, and future of Wakanda’s king courtesy of a collection of all-star creators. I look forward to seeing what role Tosin plays in Ridley’s run, as well as the identity of these mystery assassins and their vendetta against Wakanda.