HA! That’s my response to all of the Black Panther fans who were throwing stones at David Liss and Francavilla when images of the American Panther were shown a few months ago. Fans were criticizing not only them but Marvel as well, assuming they were trying to “Americanize” T’Challa. Weren’t the guns a dead giveaway people that it wasn’t him? A prime example of people fearing what they didn’t know or just fanboys doing what they do best. Well, if you read this issue I’m sure you’re relieved, and if you didn’t read it yet then you’ll want to correct that mistake, because Liss is writing a damn good Black Panther series.
It looks like when the giant meat tenderizer that became the Thing’s new hammer came crashing to Earth a classic Cap villain’s energy hitched a ride. It also found the perfect host in the body of Josh Glenn, who hates everything and everyone that isn’t “American.” T’Challa, in his guise as Mr. Okonkwo, has been helping those affected by the destruction caused by the Worthy, but soon finds himself the target of Glenn and American Panther. Foggy Nelson also shows up and may be in even more trouble than T’Challa by the end of the issue.
It’s been some time since Liss has written T’Challa as Mr. Okonkwo, and it’s a bit refreshing to see him out of costume for a while. He validates why T’Challa is more useful in his civilian guise than as Black Panther, making it totally believable. Liss does spend a good portion of the issue introducing us to Glenn along with his racist and myopic viewpoints. I will say that seeing him sitting on the corner with the sign “Immigrants stole my job and my wife” was just funny. Especially since Glenn is the type of guy who only makes excuses and doesn’t take responsibility for his own issues. Liss also provides great dialog and keeps the issue from falling into the “angry white guy hates everyone with a tan and accent” type of story. Francavilla returns as the artist with his usual solid work of making David’s script look good. One thing that surprised me was the size difference between T’Challa and American Panther. This guy is huge and physically imposing, so I’m expecting one hell of a fight when these two finally throw down.
This is one of the better Fear Itself tie-ins from an ongoing title mainly because it doesn’t feel as if Liss sacrificed his story to fit within the confines of this crossover event. He made Fear Itself fit his story, which worked out a lot better. Now that it’s also been revealed the American Panther is a different character entirely, I hope everyone can just chill out and enjoy another good story from Liss and Francavilla. This series has exceeded expectations and is a definitive must have for any comic collection.