REVIEW: ‘Black Panther,’ Issue #6

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Black Panther #6 - But Why Tho

Black Panther #6 is written by John Ridley, illustrated by Stefano Landini, colored by Matt Milla, and lettered & designed by VC’s Joe Sabino. It’s published by Marvel Comics. Part 6 of “The Long Shadow” finds T’Challa on the run after being labeled the prime suspect in a conspiracy to destabilize Wakanda’s budding democracy. Hunted by the Hatut Zeraze and stripped of his ceremonial vibranium armor, the Black Panther must rely on his wits and skills to stay one step ahead of his captors. He also has the help of his sister Shuri, who calls in a few favors from some old friends.

The fun of doing a story where a hero is stripped of their powers and/or abilities is one of my favorite tropes in superhero fiction because it’s a chance for the hero to prove that they’re more than just their gadgets or powers. Ridley has fun with this trope, as T’Challa spends the entirety of the issue wearing nothing but sweatpants and still manages to outwit the Zeraze troops with his fighting skills and the element of surprise. All in all, this makes for an intense yet engaging read. Will T’Challa be able to fully defeat the Zeraze, or will sheer numbers overwhelm him? The answer will keep readers turning pages until the very end.

Ridley also takes the time to examine how T’Challa’s subterfuge has shaken the relationships he’s made over the years, from his own family and even his marriage to Storm. Though T’Challa defends his actions as necessary to defend Wakanda, it’s not hard to see why his friends and family are angry with him – and why suspicion would be cast on him. This helps add a new layer of depth to the narrative, but more than that, it hits to the core of what makes Marvel’s characters so relatable. They make mistakes, and how they deal with those mistakes is what shapes truly great stories, which Ridley seems to understand.

Landini, who illustrated part of the previous issue, takes over full art duties this go-around. And his art is a perfect fit for the action-thriller vibe that Ridley is going for. The very first pages feature T’Challa descending from the sky, sending the Zeraze scattering – and then he systematically takes them out, using their own weapons and skills against them. The settings also have a different vibe depending on where the action takes place; within the walls of Wakanda, it’s all sleek and futuristic while T’Challa’s battle against the Zeraze takes place in a lush forest.

Finally, Milla continues to deliver vibrant colors – except for the Zeraze, whose bright white bodysuits provide a contrast to T’Challa’s dark brown skin and black pants. This comic also contains quite a bit of swearing for a Black Panther comic, which made me chuckle. When T’Challa has to cauterize his wound, a single panel features him yelling “AH S***!” which Sabino depicts as filling the entirety of the page. You can feel the Panther’s pain.

Black Panther #6 is a white-knuckle action thriller from beginning to end, as T’Challa is branded an enemy of Wakanda and goes on the run. With the next issue wrapping up this story arc, time will tell if the Panther takes back his crown or if the weight of his duplicity will crush him. Either way, it’s a truly fresh direction for the book.

Black Panther #6 is available wherever comics are sold.


Black Panther #6
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TL;DR

Black Panther #6 is a white-knuckle action thriller from beginning to end, as T’Challa is branded an enemy of Wakanda and goes on the run. With the next issue wrapping up this story arc, time will tell if the Panther takes back his crown or if the weight of his duplicity will crush him. Either way, it’s a truly fresh direction for the book.