February 15, 2011

Marvel Reviews: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #515

Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #515
Writer: David Liss
Artist: Francesco Francavilla
Cover: Simon Bianchi

“Urban Jungle pt 3”: After the events of last issue, T’Challa is finally face to face against Vlad as an innocent man lays dead on the streets. The two begin their fight on the rooftops gauging each other’s strengths and weaknesses, until Vlad gets the upper hand and makes his escape. T’Challa realizes that in order to gain the upper hand he must rely on his true strength, which is his intellect and cunning. We also find out that maybe everything isn’t as perfect as we were led to believe in the house of Vlad, as family issues begin to surface. T’Challa also ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time, which looks like it’s going to set off some serious sparks in the issues to come.

This issue moves along quite well as Liss begins to peel back some layers of the principal characters, making this a more entertaining read. T’Challa is becoming more upset with himself, and it’s forcing him to dig a little deeper if he wants to come out of this thing on top. The background characters are more than just set decoration as Liss is beginning to move them further into the actual plot, making them more than just throw away characters. Even if it’s just for the moment, it’s a definite plus if you ask me. It’s even entertaining to have Luke Cage popping up to be a pain in T’Challa’s ass at times and challenging him.

I think I’ve praised Francavilla’s skills enough over the past few issues, but he’s still very much deserving of it for his work in this one as well. I do wish that sometimes he would draw T’Challa as being more agile in his movements during some of the fight scenes, and aside from that he’s still delivering a nice looking series. My favorite panel had T’Challa standing in the rain with blood dripping down his hands after taking out some bodyguards. That little tilt of the angle just made it that much more intimidating, and I’m glad there were no caption boxes to interfere with that scene.

What I like about Liss’s direction for Black Panther is the continuing character development of both T’Challa and his nemesis Vlad. Yes, we’ve seen the family man/gangster dynamic before, however Liss has made Vlad feel entirely different from Kingpin. There are a couple of surface similarities between the two, but when it comes down to it Vlad is his own villain and one that I hope causes issues for other heroes in the years to come thanks to Liss. He’s also exhibiting a very strong and capable T’Challa, even though it seems as if the last three issues have been nothing but an uphill battle for him. However, that’s one thing that has helped to define the character over the years – his tenacity to claw his way to the top regardless of the circumstances. It is a bit of a slow start even with the spurts of action that we’re being treated to, but I’m glad we’re getting a smart story that definitely deserves some attention for all the right reasons.

Till next time!

Infinite Speech



  1. kenmeyerjr

    speech, is it the Black Panther or a new hero that just breaths very hard (see the title)?

  2. Whoops! Fixed!

  3. Thank you Ken 🙂

  4. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by FrancescoFrancavilla, Gid Freeman. Gid Freeman said: More #BlackPanther action from @f_francavilla and @david_liss over at @ComicAttack #comics […]

  5. Billy

    This sounds like its turning into an interesting read. I personally don’t mind a few issues of set up as long as the ending pays off. 😀

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