"Law of the Jungle"
Writer: Jeff Parker
Artists: Manuel Garcia(p), Scott Koblish(i), Sotocolor's A. Crossley(c)
Jeff Parker offers a new version of the first meeting between Black Panther and Marvel's first family in Marvel Adventures: Fantastic Four. I love these books. Thanks to Jeff Parker, they're peppy. They're self-contained, and everybody possesses a character that you immediately recognize. Because of Manuel Garcia the cast look like an amalgamation of the movie version FF and the comic book version of the FF that works in concert with the energy of the stories.
For this issue, Reed purchases a shipment of vibranium from those he believes to be reputable dealers. The dealers quickly reveal themselves as vibranium smugglers. This crime against the Wakandan people logically leads to T'Challa pre-empting Reed's transport of the goods and a credible misunderstanding between super-heroes.
Parker's and Garcia's use of the Black Panther in frenetic action scenes echoes the history of the character and instills intriguing thoughts. Pulp heroes such as the Spider and movie villains such as the Hideous Sun Demon often inspired Stan Lee. I wonder if the Phantom inspired Stan Lee's creation of the Black Panther. Both heroes are considered the protectors of small mythical nations. Both heroes will travel globally to enforce that protection. Both heroes are legacy characters and leaders. Both heroes feel at home in the jungle or in the city.
Manuel Garcia choreographs the exciting melee on the docks that makes use of Wakandan technology and the FF's powers. After the smoke on the docks clears Parker employs a less often recognized tidbit of continuity that leads the characters into a funny and original use of the standard good cop/bad cop ploy to illicit information.
The information brings the FF to Wakanda, and here's how cool the FF are in the Marvel Adentureverse. Despite their best intentions, they know they were in the wrong, and they come to Africa to apologize and warn T'Challa of an impending attack on Wakanda's vibranium cache. Finding Wakanda isn't easy, and Parker makes full use of Wakanda's technopolis foundations to confound the foursome. He shows however the Invisible Woman has her own tricks to use against the Panther.
Peace between the heroes is quickly forged, and Parker's subtle use of African mythology keeps a joke running in the background for Ben Grimm. The concluding battle between Black Panther and the FF against the smugglers offers a quick resolution and more fun through vast overpowering.
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