The wait for the newest Black Panther from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze was a long one, so what does Coates do with Issue No. 3?
He makes T'Challa like the third most important character to this specific issue. Coates was late on BP #3 and overly apologized, but you know what? It almost worked with the slowest of slow burns his doing with the Panther and a Wakandan nation in turmoil.
It made me crave this book. As each Wednesday passed, I kept looking for it. Then it was here, and it turned out to be the slowest issue yet. I'm fine with it, as I think it will resonate really well with hardcore or at least regular comic book readers.
It's the semi- to casual readers that I'm starting to worry about. T'Challa is stuck in neutral a bit as he comes to grips with the fact that all of his issues with himself might be out of clarity and not cloudiness.
This is an important aspect to focus on and it deserves a slow burn. So, I'm going to plead with the group wanting this book to pick up:
Relax and let this storyteller tell his story. Comic books are supposed to last more than 14-20 issues, I know that sounds like this asinine idea to anyone keeping up with post-2014 Marvel, but they are.
Coates is building a deeply-rooted, emotional tale of the world's most advanced nation at war with itself. The book's writer deserves praise for taking the time to strengthen his supporting cast in this one, which I felt he did at a high level.
As for Stelfreeze, this dude is killing it. We get different looks at Panther's suit in this issue and what it is capable of during battle and during personal scenes. The way it lights up, changes colors and reacts to T'Challa's surroundings was highlighted in great detail.
There is a scene where our lead is having a conversation with his mother, in which he is in his suit talking but we only see a reflection off of a window. When we see the Panther standing there in non-reflective light, his helmet is removed and you can feel the frustration/self-realization hit when his mother says the words:
"You say you are clouded. No. The problem is not your blindness. It is your clarity. "
Stelfreeze has accomplished the daunting task of matching his pace with the writer's.
Rating: 7.5 of the time it works every time.
Listen, Coates is a storyteller and that's what he's doing. He's building a foundation to tell a story on. The pace might not be for everyone, but this book deserves more attention from Marvel and its readers. Brian Stelfreeze is the perfect man to show us a lost T'Challa. Stay on board with this one, faithful nerds as we're getting there.