In a story set in Harlem after an older African American man is sent to jail only to die mysteriously, Misty Knight is on the scene to figure things out. Ta-Nehisi Coates writes this new series from Marvel Comics, but is it good?
Black Panther and the Crew #1 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Read our full preview.
Why does this book matter?
Ta-Nehisi Coates is a fantastic writer who is capable of weaving deeply meaningful social commentary into his comics. This issue is centered around police brutality and the injustices they commit under the guise of justice. It appears a new team is formulating here, which is composed of Cage, Storm, Black Panther, and Misty, which sounds like a hell of a lot of fun too.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Tin cans are the worst.
First and foremost this is a good detective story in part because Misty is reluctant to take on this case. She’s a cop first, which makes her perspective one of reluctance. Ta-Nehisi Coates opens the issue with an interesting flashback to when a super team in the 1957 Bronx took care of the neighborhood. It just so happens their leader was found dead in his cell in the beginning of this issue, which creates a whole slew of questions for Misty as she attempts to find the truth. As Coates probes the issue with the reluctant Misty, the idea of police brutality is rendered well via robotic cops who are supposed to keep the law. There’s also an unconstitutional curfew, but Misty finds ways to navigate that due to her persona. Along the way Coates introduces a sketchy cop, two mysterious characters who want answers but won’t say why, and Storm for good superhero measure.
This issue is a marvel to me because, when looking back, the details and plotting are somewhat boring, and yet I was transfixed every step of the way. Misty’s captions help convey the reluctant point of view, which makes the reader somewhat untrusting of Misty and it also creates a dynamic that’s compelling. Opening the issue with the heroes of 1957 helps flesh out the history of the neighborhood as well as give the detective work a bit of a superhero angle too.
Butch Guice’s pencils give the book an honest street level feel that’s detailed and at times incredibly realistic. The opening action hero pages look great and spruce up the realistic feel even when powers are involved. The characters all around have a realistic look and Misty is incredibly well rendered with a determination you’ll appreciate and a relatability too. There isn’t a lot of superheroics going on, but Guice has an ability to probe a scene, dialogue heavy or no, which makes the comic feel like a TV show detective drama.
This is going to be a great team…once they’re actually together that is…
It can’t be perfect can it?
I know it’s impossible to ask for this, but when a comic has heroes on the cover I’d like to see them make an appearance! I suspect there’s a slow burn to the team building going on here, but I was left wanting more than a Misty only story. The action is quite light, possibly because of this, which makes this more of a probing detective drama than an action packed comic. That makes portions of this issue slow, but thankfully if you put in the time the story pays off.
Is It Good?
Black Panther & the Crew #1 is an excellent premiere that does well to capture your interest in a mystery you’ll be more interested in by the end of the issue than you were at the beginning. This is good detective storytelling comparable to any top notch TV show.
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