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Black Panther #14

Posted: Thursday, March 30, 2006
By: Shawn Hill



ďBride of the Panther: Part OneĒ

Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Artists: Scott Eaton (p), Klaus Janson (i)

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: The Panther tells Luke Cage how he first met Storm, and then goes to interrupt her current work busting up slavery rings in the Sudan. He has an important question to ask.

Comments: This is the first time Iíve reviewed this comic since its debut. It hasnít improved. Then there was a solid plot marred by some odd juxtapositions between Marvel and the real world. Now it seems to show an alternate Marvel universe Iíve never known.

Letís start with the cover. A bevy of Marvel babes line up to gaze
seductively at the Panther. Two sisters are among a group that includes Rogue (not his type), Sue Storm (married), She-Hulk, and Spider-Woman. Then we have Monica Rambeau (also not his type) and finally Storm.

Well, that one makes sense, right? Sheís African, at least partly. She comes naturally by the same sort of aristocratic confidence he was born with. Sheís a powerful leader among her people, too. So why does it read so awkwardly? While Hudlin makes an interesting choice in tying Ororoís heritage to Malcolm Xís activism (her paternal grandmother worked for him, it turns out), whatís with the intense focus on her childhood lately? Weíre into our second mini-series about it in one year. I applaud Marvelís moves to hire more writers of color to write about their characters of color (always an oversight in a generally progressive company), but Iím not that interested in what Storm did when she was 16 or 20.

Iím interested in what Storm is doing now. And while I realize she has long acknowledged a respect for and interest in TíChalla, I donít buy her outburst this issue for one second. Itís contrived. Itís never been hinted at before. And, unlike when Priest was writing them, they have no noticeable chemistry.

In fact, who is this TíChalla who hugs Luke goodbye and recounts in detail his failed adolescent love stories? Priestís series made the questionable choice of giving us a white everyman character through which to view the more aloof and mysterious Panther, but at least there he was cool and intense and usually downright scary. Brother from the Ďhood used to be an act TíChalla put on, not his default personality.

They have a lot of nerve calling this issue a ďcountdown to the wedding of the century.Ē They need to count up to a relationship first, before we ever get to the final scene of this issue. So far, their fated love is a dud.

Visuals: Eaton teams well with Janson for solid super heroics. Itís interesting to note that Ororo is being drawn with completely African features these days; that wasnít always the case, but I suppose it makes more sense than the idea that her mutation gave her white features, blue eyes and brown skin. At any rate, sheís quite beautiful, and Eaton does good work with her corny Davis-designed recent costume.



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