Black Panther #18 Review
Book 3: Two Thousands Seasons
Written by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Penciled by: Chris Sprouse
Lettered by: VC’s Joe Sabino
Cover Artist: Chris Sprouse, Karl Story, & Tamra Bonvillain
Previously on Black Panther…
Oh, it’s going down. The N’Jadaka symbiote made new friends in Tetu and Zenzi and then went on to bring back the body of deceased Killmonger to battle Wakanda Prime’s forces of T’Challa, Okoye, Shuri, and Galactic M’Baku. But first awkward vibes with Storm and Galactic Nakia and an argument between the goddess Bast and T’Challa. The battle rages on but Tetu portals empire forces to join the fray.
I liked this issue a lot. I had wondered what stick got up T’Challa and his remembering in this issue did well to answer that question. T’Challa has always been a complex character, stoic and introspective. But the hurt and guilt he felt sent ripples into the rest of the story. I never fully understood why, nor did any of his compatriots. He finally reveals all to Storm and he spins the tale of when he first arrived and his subsequent descent into seeing the horrors of the empire. I can as well appreciate, as T’Challa bears the weight of responsibility, Ororo recognizes the complex difference between being African and African American/Black. But it doesn’t have the overbearing and dismissive twang of the American Descendants of Slavery (ADOS) movement, but it acknowledges that the experiences are different and nuanced. She doesn’t take the blame for her privilege but rightfully places it on empire (American and Wakandan) for concealing the truth. The call to action to unbind Wakanda 2 (or too) is exciting and refreshing.
My only issues with this issue
I have only one problem here. I wish I would have gotten this story earlier. Coates has this tendency to volley his readers around. Sometimes this is exciting and others it is dreary. The last issue was building to an intense fight but now we get T’Challa and Ororo looking off into the sunset for storytime. Coates is redeemed by explaining a question I’ve had since the beginning of the relaunch and of course, the last panel.
In conclusion, this issue is solid and while not rife with action, it reveals the deep recesses of T’Challa’s psyche and the responsibility of leadership. It was not until the end that I remember, “wait a minute, there’s supposed to be a fight!” But the final panel reveals what Agents of Wakanda should have been.