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Black Panther #30

Posted: Monday, September 3, 2007
By: Shawn Hill



ďAbsolutely No Way to WinĒ (part 3)

Writer: Reginald Hudlin
Artist(s): Francis Portela

Publisher: Marvel Comics


Plot: Worst case scenario is the name of the game in this conclusion to the arc. Well, you do have our heroes accidentally stranded on the Skrull homeworld in a universe where Zombie Marvel heroes have eaten Galactus. So they have a Zombie Power Cosmic. Iíd say that was pretty much a no win situation.

Comments: The cast of characters has grown in this book since TíChalla married Ororo. Bringing in their Fantastic Four allies for this story, itís really a lot like reading the current Fantastic Four. That book is whipping around the solar system and galaxy, fighting alien incursions and the Frightful Four.

This book is using some charmed frog amulets to blink around existence, and Hudlin is keeping the Panther the calm center of a bizarre scenario of cursed, unfortunate, hotheaded, all-powerful or flat-out depraved characters. Thatís the right way to play TíChalla, as the eye of a chaotic storm. Every zombie story is about maintaining a cool head in the face of horror and nobodyís as cool as the Black Panther.

This issue the team faces a zombified Super-Skrull version of the Fantastic Four, with Johnny facing a version of his ex-wife Lyja, now intent on eating him and his friends. While the Pantherís new allies could probably handle this threat, creepy as it is, theyíve also got the Galactus-fied ex-Avengers to contend with, and pretty much the last thing you want super-powered zombies to have is more appetite.

When they finally realize just what they can do with their Galactus-given hunger, itís as nihilistic a moment as a Marvel comic is likely to achieve this year. What do you eat when youíve literally eaten everything? Thatís the dilemma Hudlin leaves our existential villains in. But where does he leave our heroes? This book bears ďThe InitiativeĒ logo, but the cliffhanger looks like it ties into the ongoing World War Hulk fallout that triggered this whole dimension-hopping spree in the first place.

Letting the Zombies and the FF hijack Pantherís title doesnít make for a classic book, but itís a fair distraction. Hudlinís sense of humor also comes through amusingly in the witty dialogue as these forces of evil contemplate their options and each other.

Arthur Suydamís inventive covers continue the Zombie apocalypse theme, and Portela does a consistent job on the inside putting across Hudlinís moments of very grim humor, with some especially effective silhouettes at crucial dramatic moments. Definitely qualifying as a funny book this month, one hopes the story of TíChalla and his wacky crew will eventually get back to more serious themes.



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