“The Struggle is Eternal” (Black Panther #171 Comic Review)
Black Panther #171
Written by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Penciled by: Leonard Kirk
Colored by: Laura Martin
Lettered by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Covers by: Brian Stelfreeze & Laura Martin
Variant cover by Nick Bradshaw & Morry Hollowell
Previously on Black Panther…
The last issue was just the beginning of the big battle. It is going down and just about everyone is in the midst. T’Challa, Shuri, Storm, Thunderball, Akili, and Hatut Zeranze (Dogs of War) are in full force against Ras the Exhorter’s unearthly horde. We got an ominous message from Tetu that a door has opened and usually when you leave doors open not so great things emerge. This led to us finding out that a familiar face was behind the mask of Ras. We hear their story as soon as we open the first page of our next issue.
I was not disappointed here. As usual Kirk’s art is a beautiful pallet of major action along with Martin’s bright colors. The Dora plus the War Dogs, plus Klaw plus the Panther. Not only are we keyed into the action but also, as usual, I can feel and see the emotions of the characters. Even T’Challa who is masked most of the time and Klaw can’t necessarily emote much. I can feel the intensity and I can see Klaw’s arrogance. Consistently, Coates is such a subtle writer. He crafts every word and every panel to make the story come together. I loved we’re finally seeing Klaw go toe-to-toe with T’Challa. It’s been a long time coming. But the beauty of Black Panther is that as great of a fighter he is, he is also a brilliant tactician as well. Could the fight have been longer? I wish. But still, a round of applause for Coates. I guess this is why they keep having him write this book, eh? It did take me a quick second to understand the plan but after a second readI got it. The panels and the dialogue are tightly woven together. I still have some unanswered questions and I wonder if they will get answered in the next month or never? How were they able to tame Ras? What’s next for Klaw? A story is only as good as the questions it surfaces. If you read my Sound and Fury review, I can’t stand stories tied with a pretty bows.
Is this the end? There are still a good amount of questions as we close but one big answer emerged out of the door. I appreciate the action, the major reveals, and battle wrap-up. The struggle is real for our heroes and our villains but in the end, it is eternal. No pretty bow ending but the next stop on the Wakanda train conducted by Coates will be significantly different than now.
Summary Coates gives us what we’ve been waiting for and it’s Klaw and Black Panther mano a mano. There are answers to the question of who has been pulling the strings all along and what this whole war was all about. We see who comes through the door and I’m surprised. I’m sure you will be.