Black Panther meets with Doctor Doom to discuss their place in the world. Meanwhile, in Wakanda, the White Wolf begins to make his play. Is it good?
Rise of the Black Panther #4 offers up a pretty dramatic change in pace in comparison to the previous issues. While each of the preceding chapters balanced Wakanda’s history with action, highlighting T’Challa’s combat prowess and his diplomacy, Rise of the Black Panther #4 focuses primarily on the latter as T’Challa and Shuri both enter Latveria to meet with Doctor Doom.
Evan Narcisse offers a great take on the megalomaniac, as Doom attempts to lure T’Challa into an allegiance. Narcisse uses this opportunity to highlight the differences between T’Challa and Doom – while both can be ruthless, T’Challa acts much less out of his own ego than Doom does. At the same time, there’s a great sequence when Shuri calls Doom out on his selfishness and Doom summons a vision of his mother at the feet of Mephisto. It’s only a panel, but it’s a moment that’s brilliantly handled by artist Javier Pina and color artist Stephane Paitreau.
The T’Challa/Doom conflict isn’t the only thing brewing in Rise of the Black Panther #4, as T’Challa’s adopted brother, Hunter, meets with the young N’Jadaka. Hunter and Killmonger have always had a tense relationship, never quite agreeing on an end goal, even if they might both be willing to go to brutal means. Narcisse has fun here with their back-and-forth, and Javier Pina’s blocking highlights the tension by placing them within each other’s personal “bubble.” When the conversation ends, Pina loses the background, isolating the men from Wakanda, and from each other.
Is It Good?
The slower pace and smaller action in this issue may be a downer for some, but Rise of the Black Panther #4 builds up the characters nicely and now hints at a further plot that can play out in the pages of the next two issues. While Rise of the Black Panther has been a fun series to read, the issues haven’t always seemed to have an overarching plot. By adding that layer here in issue 4, Narcisse ensures that there will be a reason to revisit the mini beyond a history lesson.
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