December 16, 2010

Marvel Reviews: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #513
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Cover: Simone Bianchi

“Urban Jungle”: In the fallout of Shadowland, Hell’s Kitchen, New York has a new hero patrolling its crime filled streets. That hero is T’Challa aka the Black Panther, former King and protector of a nation who is now looking to prove that he can be whole despite what he’s recently lost. He has agreed to fill this role after being asked by Matt Murdock aka Daredevil who is leaving, and in many ways is trying to find himself like T’Challa after the fiasco that was Shadowland.

The issue sets up T’Challa’s new life in Hell’s Kitchen, complete with a secret identity, and we get to meet the new bad guy in Vlad the Impaler. Liss does very well with introducing us to T’Challa’s new life as well as the man who will be giving him plenty of problems along the way. Vlad is a very interesting villain that wants things to run a bit differently in Hell’s Kitchen, and though he’s not above spilling a little blood, he’s not a total monster either. It will also be interesting to see how T’Challa goes up against Vlad considering the bit about his past that was revealed and his abilities.

With a credible villain established, Liss also has the task of getting us to accept T’Challa’s move to Hell’s Kitchen and why he’s doing it. This I think was pulled off nicely during the conversation between him and his wife Storm, along with some of  T’Challa’s inner dialog. I’m sure there will be more to flesh out this decision in later issues and I’m cool with waiting to see what comes of this.

Now words like “pulp” and “noir” usually go hand in hand when describing Francavilla’s artwork, but here I’ll just say that it was a visual magnet that pulls you into the mood and feel of the story. Working hand in hand with Liss’s script to bring a good looking issue. I found myself liking the quieter moments more than the action sequences throughout the book. I refer back to one of my favorite moments which was T’Challa’s conversation with Storm, as Francavilla nailed the emotion necessary to help make that sequence work.

I do have one question which I probably should have addressed in the interview with David Liss, but it didn’t occur to me until I actually read the issue. I’m wondering how a man who was basically the face of a nation for many years all of a sudden thinks he can hide amongst the regular people via a secret identity? That was the only thing that nagged at me after I finished reading the issue. Other than that, Black Panther: The Man Without Fear is off to a good start, and as Liss continues to build on this I’m hoping for nothing but good things. It’s definitely the jumping on point for the Black Panther fans out there, and if you have yet to see what the character is about, this is the time to start.

Infinite Speech



  1. Billy

    Hmmm, yeah, the secret identity thing is kind of silly, but this does sound better than I thought it would. Hey, is this “Vlad” actually Dracula?

  2. There were no hints of vampirism at all Billy but he does have a secret ability that is pretty cool. He’ll definitely be a pain in T’Challa’s ass for quite some time.

  3. […] this issue, but I’m not going to review it per se, Infinite Speech already did that for us here, instead I’d just like to touch on why this title is here in The Uncanny X-Piles: Storm. […]

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