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February 16, 2012

Marvel Reviews: Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #529

Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive #529
Publisher: Marvel
Writer: David Liss
Artists: Shawn Martinbrough & Jefte Palo
Cover: Francesco Francavilla

When it was announced that the series would be wrapping up, it was a concern how it would end and if it would even be worth it. The Kingpin of Wakanda story arc reaches its conclusion here with plenty of action and a solid story for the title’s send off. Wakanda is under attack yet again, but this time it’s the country’s financial state that is in jeopardy. With the Hand at his disposal, the Kingpin is going after the banks, killing board members, and then attacking the Royal Palace in an attempt to control Wakanda. The only thing standing in his way is the Black Panther and the friends he’s brought along for the ride.

Liss continues to deliver solid and fun writing in this title as he brings things to a close here. From the action to the clever banter between characters, everything plays to the strengths of the battle between Black Panther and Kingpin. Liss understands that what helps make Black Panther “The Most Dangerous Man Alive” is his intellect and cunning, and going up against a villain such as Kingpin helps to showcase that. Though both characters can throw down with the best of them, much of the action was held up by each one’s respective cast of allies. It was also good seeing Shuri, who took T’Challa’s place as Black Panther after Doomwar, finally make an appearance in this series. Even with the large cast, Liss doesn’t allow any of them to overshadow the plot or the main character, which makes for an even better story.

I’ll admit that when it comes to the art of this series I’ve favored Jefte Palo and Francesco Francavilla a bit more, so it was a bit disappointing not seeing either of them carry the main story. However, Palo does a nice job with the epilogue to wrap things up. What we do get is solid artwork from Shawn Martinbrough throughout the issue. This is an action heavy story and he moves it very well, though I’ve always found it strange when any artist shows Falcon flying inside of a building.

It was announced several months ago that Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive was one of several books from Marvel that is being cancelled. So with this being the last issue, it was nice to see that the creative team made an effort to keep things fun and not let it be a flop. Liss has also set into motion that maybe T’Challa has reached the closure he was searching for. Now, whether it was forced to happen in this moment because of the series’ ending or not, it’s still something that needed to be done. Hopefully we’ll get to see T’Challa later on down the line in something that is entirely his own or even as an Avenger.

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