Connect with us
Black Panther: Unconquered #1
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Black Panther: Unconquered’ #1 delivers in its action sequences

‘Unconquered’ feels less like a one-and-done and more like a setup for a longer story.

“Is this really a one-shot?”

This is the question that rang through my mind while reading Black Panther: Unconquered #1 by Bryan Hill and Alberto Focce. Marvel’s solicits have all presented this issue as a one-shot, and as of right now there are no plans for future issues, but Black Panther: Unconquered #1 feels less like a one-and-done and more like a setup for a longer story.

Listen to the latest episode of our weekly comics podcast!

Opening in the home of a priestess, T’Challa opens up about his skepticism regarding his gods’ presence in the life of Wakandans. The question is less about whether the Wakandan gods exist, but more what their purpose is, and whether their loyalty lies to Wakandans in the way the nation would like to believe.

Religion is at the core of Black Panther: Unconquered, as writer Bryan Hill tells a very brisk and focused story. Make no mistake, Black Panther: Unconquered is a fast read, with the majority of the issue based around a fight with a new rogue, the enigmatic Archon. To give any more details would be to spoil the issue. More than anything, Black Panther: Unconquered reminded me most of old pulp action stories. T’Challa gets in, kicks ass, and gets out, with mysteries unresolved. No, the story never gets into the unknown horror of Robert E. Howard’s famous Conan story, Tower of the Elephant, but structurally the two aren’t dissimilar.

Black Panther: Unconquered #1
Marvel Comics

Alberto Focce makes the action sequences sing. T’Challa is more menacing here than he has been in some time in the comics, and more assertive. Focce gives the hero a physicality and muscularity that reminds the audience of the larger-than-life nature of superheroes, whilst retaining the nimble grace that a hero with feline garb ought to have.

Matt Mills’s color art also helps the story pop. In particular there’s a sequence in which the Archon attacks some poor fools, rendered in near-silhouette, where Milla colors the subjects with blues and purples while the background is in coral. Normally when we see these sequences, the silhouette is completely in black, and the background is a stark red, but Milla’s palette choices make the decision feel fresh and new.

As mentioned earlier though, Black Panther: Unconquered is an incredibly brief read. There are plot elements that are not fully resolved, and it’s unclear if and/or when Bryan Hill may be able to return to answer those questions. There are also matters of continuity – T’Challa appears on the Wakandan throne in this issue, something that does not sync up well at all with the current ongoing. And a caption towards the beginning of the issue states that a village 15 miles outside of Wakanda is in West Africa.

The latter is arguably the more grievous error, even though it doesn’t really affect the plot. Wakanda has been solidly in East Africa for some time, with Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run being more specific and placing it on the shore of Lake Nyanza. Even if Wakanda is horizontally large, its western border at most would be alongside the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which is Central Africa. It’s frustrating to read an error like that given the way the continent’s geography is so heavily disregarded and misrepresented in American culture. This franchise especially should know better.

Those issues aside, some might question whether or not a one-shot action story is worth their time. But it should not go unmentioned that an uncomplicated action-oriented book centered around T’Challa arrives just a few short days before Marvel kills off the character in the upcoming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, a decision that has created tensions in the fanbase. In that light, Black Panther: Unconquered arrives as the right story at the right time.

Black Panther: Unconquered #1
‘Black Panther: Unconquered’ #1 delivers in its action sequences
Black Panther: Unconquered #1
Black Panther: Unconquered #1 feels less like a one-and-done and more like a setup for a longer story.
Reader Rating0 Votes
Alberto Focce's art captures the physicality and grace of the lead hero.
Bryan Hill keeps the story brisk, allowing for the action to shine while also laying down some interesting questions for the future.
The barebones nature of the plot may disappoint some.
Those that care about continuity will have a hard time figuring out when this takes place in relationship to the current Black Panther title.
Buy Now

Join the AIPT Patreon

Want to take our relationship to the next level? Become a patron today to gain access to exclusive perks, such as:

  • ❌ Remove all ads on the website
  • 💬 Join our Discord community, where we chat about the latest news and releases from everything we cover on AIPT
  • 📗 Access to our monthly book club
  • 📦 Get a physical trade paperback shipped to you every month
  • 💥 And more!
Sign up today

In Case You Missed It

Marvel Preview: Spider-Woman #6 Marvel Preview: Spider-Woman #6

Marvel Preview: Spider-Woman #6

Comic Books

Marvel sheds light on Jed MacKay and Ryan Stegman's 'X-Men' #1 Marvel sheds light on Jed MacKay and Ryan Stegman's 'X-Men' #1

Marvel sheds light on Jed MacKay and Ryan Stegman’s ‘X-Men’ #1

Comic Books

8 8

DC Preview: Wonder Woman #8


DC Preview: Nightwing #113 DC Preview: Nightwing #113

DC Preview: Nightwing #113

Comic Books

Newsletter Signup