The Black Panther rises.
Rise of the Black Panther #6: “Underground Spiritual Game” Book 6 of 6
Written by: Evan Narcisse and Ta-Nehisi Coates
Penciled by: Javier Pina
Colored by: Stephane Paitreau and Morry Hollowell
Lettered by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Covers and title pages by: Brian Stelfreeze
One of the Marvel Universe’s most compelling characters, Black Panther, is back for the final issue of this mini-series retelling of his origins. In this final installment of the mini-series by Evan Narcisse and Ta-Nehishi Coates, T’Challa goes face-to-face with Killmonger as he goes on a killing spree and captures the Queen Mother in the process.
Previously on The Rise of Black Panther:
T’Challa believes he has found the culprit behind the breach in Wakanda’s security. This mole has plagued the king and his sister Shuri for the entire mini-series. T’Challa blames his adoptive brother, the White Wolf, only to find there is yet another Wakandan secret that awaits him. Fundamentally, T’Challa could have benefited from an Ygritte or Melisandre telling him he knows nothing, like Jon Snow.
Some spoilers for Rise of Black Panther 1-5
Imagine being in T’Challa’s shoes over the course of this mini-series. He becomes king then finds out secrets about his nation, his uncle, and even his father. He makes a stand and decides to bring about change for Wakanda for the better of the world which sparks internal struggle and also piques the interest of the likes of Dr. Doom, the Winter Soldier, and Namor, to name a few. This mini-series has been awesome to say the least. Narcisse captures the intense emotional roller coaster T’Challa goes through and the reality of there being no time to really recover from any of it before the next issue arises. The art has been incredible and consistently so. The frustration of T’Challa, the shame of S’yan, and the hatred of Killmonger are all evident in the way they are drawn by Pina. The colors are exquisite, from the flashbacks to the glow of the vibranium weapons. I feel the pain and the action.
I have loved T’Challa’s evolution through this series and the guest stars. While the end has some Avengers assembling, this story is really about T’Challa and his ongoing test of fortitude. I loved that Shuri came through as usual. She wrecked the Panther zord or Voltron or whatever it was. I would pay to read a Shuri book (make it happen, Marvel). I also appreciated how S’yan just owns up and tells more of the secrets to T’Challa; he might really be getting to a better place.
The strength of the Black Panther is not just the heart-shaped herb, it’s his family. He has been prepared for the role as not your average superhero but a king, a sovereign of a whole nation. It is the leadership of his father, the technical genius of his late mother—N’yami—and love and wise counsel of his step-mother—Ramonda—that makes T’Challa who he is. I also love how T’Challa owns him at the end of their conversation as well, verbally and physically he has truly risen to the occasion as king.
My Only Gripes:
I only have two gripes. First, as with T’Challa’s wayward brother last issue, Killmonger is dispensed with pretty easily and then we don’t see what happens to him. I understand it’s a mini-series and I also understand that a little mystery is good sometimes. Unfortunately, the characters just feel a little dismissive of it. For example, Shuri asks, “Is our new secret brother dead?” T’Challa responds, “I don’t know. Anyway…” But my biggest gripe, that I haven’t let go since the beginning of reviewing it, is that it’s over. I loved that Narcisse ended with a thank you letter that summarizes his first experience as a comic book writer. I definitely want to thank him as well for a great ride and looking forward to many more.