Through the first arc of Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther, we watched Wakanda crumble like never before. Lives were not just being taken, but minds were being twisted as the world crumbles around them.
T'Challa is left balancing what type of king he wants to be for his people and the kind of man he wants to be remembered as. At the end of the first arc, the Wakandan king is left feeling like he has nothing left to give his people.
He has lost so many, including the woman he loved, to protect these people. The same people who are revolting against him and the once proud nation.
Once these cracks started to show, Coates changed T'Challa's tone. An intensity kicked in.
While issue five picks up on the tone, it doesn't pick up on the new arc in the fashion many of us are used to with comic books. We don't jump right out of issue four into five, but we essentially jump from one cliffhanger to another.
Instead of gearing up and taking matters into his own hands, T'Challa calls in a group of worldly political dirtbags for a brush up in "How to fend off a revolution 101." Seriously, the Wakandan king calls in a bunch of guys known for keeping dictators in power to help with its issue.
That's how bad it is here.
The writing is so goddamn strong. The attention to detail with each character doesn't leave a stone unturned. We're left with a cliffhanger of massive implications.
The pieces of shit that T'Challa brings in to pick their brains completely backfires on him. One of the rich white guys pitches an idea to the Panther that is downright sickening. While the message was said in a supposed safe room, I'll just say that more than 8 people heard the suggestion.
T'Challa's hole somehow only gets deeper and Coates builds to this political disaster in what is becoming trademark fashion.
I will admit, while loving the political and emotional drama, I'm left craving some damn Panther action. We've been given teaser sample sizes of T'Challa in action during Coates' run and I think it's safe to say that we need to amp it up just a little bit.
Give us some more of that amazing suit and character in action. It's time.
Getting to see T'Challa almost snap while in brief action only sends that point home more. He is having this inner-dialogue with himself that just strikes a chord with how much this great divide and fallen nation has effected our main character.
Check out some of Chris Sprouse's work from the issue:
Also missing from this issue is artist Brian Stelfreeze, who will return to the pages of Wakanda with Issue No. 8. The art from Chris Sprouse feeds off of the source-material well, but it's missing that Stelfreeze pizazz.
Both have similarly grounded and realistic styles, but there was something special about the way Stelfreeze made BP's outfit pop off the page. It's a special, enamoring suit that needs to be treated like it is just as important as a character's quirks.
Rating: 7/10 The drama, dialogue and art is still top-notch, but this series needs to diversify itself a bit. People lost their minds when teased with what little of the Black Panther and his suit we've seen in action during Ta-Nehisi Coates' run and it's time to give the beast another taste.
I love a good political drama, but we need to see this emotionally desperate T'Challa in action from time to time and not just eating in extravagant locations and in board meetings.