REVIEW: ‘Black Panther,’ Issue #5

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Black Panther #5 - But Why Tho

Black Panther #5 is written by John Ridley, illustrated by Juann Cabal & Stefano Landini, colored by Matt Milla, and lettered & designed by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Part 5 of “The Long Shadow” picks up after T’Challa has confronted and fought the Wakanda sleeper agent Omolola, as he’s uncovered potential evidence that she may have been the one who leaked the location of other Wakandan sleeper agents around the world. Yet despite Omolola’s arrest, tension flares up between T’Challa and the newly formed diplomatic parliament of Wakanda, leaving the Black Panther to make a shocking decision.

Ridley has slowly been crafting a political thriller in his Black Panther run, albeit one that’s crossed from the borders of Wakanda to the terrain of Mars. And the bitter fruit of that journey is beginning to bloom, as T’Challa’s secrets drive a further wedge between him and his people. Add in the fact that Wakanda is in turmoil as it’s transitioning to a democracy, and anyone could be a suspect—from Akili, the head of Wakanda’s secret police known as the Hatut Zeraze, to T’Challa himself. Such subterfuge is common in spy films including James Bond and Mission: Impossible, and it works perfectly for a Black Panther book. However, the solicitations for the issue mentioned that Tosin, who was introduced in Black Panther #3, would play a major role. The young Wakandan hero is nowhere to be seen, which is a bit of a letdown.

Cabal continues to deliver sleek, polished artwork that incorporates elements of Afrofuturism from the clothing that the people of Wakanda wear to the floating hovercycles that the Hatut Zeraze uses for travel and the Kimoyo beads that all Wakandans wear. Landini, who steps in for series artist Ibrahim Moustafa, has the chance to illustrate fight scenes similar to the ones he did in Daredevil. An escape scene once again leans into the espionage tropes that have been a core of Ridley’s run. He also illustrates different textures for characters’ hair, a rarity where Black characters in comic books are concerned. Many Black characters are shown with fades (men) or braids (women). To see Afros, braids, and curls galore is a wonderful thing.

The real star of the art team is Milla, who washes the issue in warm tones. Purples and pinks dot the room where the Parliament is holding court and the sky is bright and summery. When Shuri utilizes her tech, it glows bright blue and when she uses her new powers, the page grows pure black from a swarm of birds flooding the page. Milla also colors Sabino’s word captions black and white in a nod to T’Challa’s Black Panther suit. Color helps shape a book and Milla is making this one of the most gorgeous books in Marvel’s lineup.

Black Panther #5 kicks the series’ ongoing story into high gear, showing the cost of the King of Wakanda’s subterfuge. With the end of the issue shaking up everything fans know about Wakanda, the Black Panther’s status quo is an entirely new place, and that makes for some interesting stories.

Black Panther #5 is available wherever comics are sold.


Black Panther #5
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TL;DR

Black Panther #5 kicks the series’ ongoing story into high gear, showing the cost of the King of Wakanda’s subterfuge. With the end of the issue shaking up everything fans know about Wakanda, the Black Panther’s status quo is an entirely new place, and that makes for some interesting stories.