June 30, 2011

Marvel Reviews: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #520

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #520
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Jefte Palo
Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi

It’s part two of Kraven vs. Black Panther, and Storm shows up to lend her husband a hand just in time to save his life. Black Panther and Kraven are after the same man, and while Panther is trying to save a life, Kraven is repaying a debt he owes. However, if he succeeds, the life Panther is trying to save will end up in the hands of a sick and twisted doctor who will continue to experiment on the young man.

I was wondering how long into Liss’s run it would take for Storm to show up and how it would all play out. I’m excited to say that he delivers in both the timing and the story, making Storm’s appearance feel natural and a welcome presence in this two-part story. The dialog really brought this issue home, especially between T’Challa and Orroro. Their banter was perfect and had a great rhythm to it as T’Challa expressed his displeasure at having her there, and Storm seeing right through all of that. Liss even cleverly pokes fun at the fact that Panther is publicly married to Storm, but still tries to have a secret identity. Kraven’s part in this story was an interesting one, as he’s not a clear cut villain here, but now resides more in that grey area in this tale. Liss also shows that the fight between Kraven and Black Panther is just as much mental as it is a physical contest between the two.

Despite a couple of panels where Storm’s face looked less than feminine, the artwork was great to look at. I like how Palo handles the action sequences and showcases the agility of Black Panther when compared to Francavilla’s style. Though the lack of facial detail in the Panther’s mask took some getting used to, it’s also a pretty realistic take on the look of it. If the art for this series was handled between these two artists I wouldn’t complain, because both styles contain something that helps move the story and looks damn good.

The direction Liss has the Panther going in has been true to form, yet we’re still treated to something new here and there as T’Challa attempts to see how he fits into his new role since the aftermath of Doomwar. I’m hoping this continues and we get further great character developement on one of Marvel’s most slept on characters. The Black Panther doesn’t deserve to play the back seat in his own series, and it’s great that Liss knows this and wants to let the character shine.

Infinite Speech



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