Published on February 13th, 2024 | by Matt Fischer
Ultimate Black Panther Issue #1 Review
Summary: To be frank, every character besides T’Challa is interesting in his own book. This is an uneven, but great start. There’s a lot of time left to fix things.
Background – The more things change the more they stay the same.
Writing – Two men dressed in vague Black Panther looking outfits watch in Africa as a militia dedicated to Ra and Khonshu destroy a village of workers. T’Challa awakens from this dream (or maybe memory) next to his wife Okoye. T’Challa meets with his father who in this new universe is still alive, who tells him to meet with the Vodu-Khan Priestess. After receiving information, the two men from the beginning meet with T’Challa, Okoye, and Shuri who inform T’Challa of what occurred (even though T’Challa dreamed it… it isn’t very clear). Shuri and T’Challa argue over what should be done but seeing as her brother is still king, Shuri backs down.
Elsewhere in Africa, a boy is about to be killed by the militia when they are killed by none other than Killmonger and someone who seems to be Storm. The issue ends at a celebration of life rally where a suicide bomber blows up the king’s orbital platform. T’Chaka sacrifices himself to save T’Challa, who activates his Black Panther outfit as he lands. He declares war on Moon Knight, which seems to be the name of the militia.
I mean, it’s both hilarious, interesting, and sort of ridiculous that NOBODY can ever find Wakanda. The Maker literally made his own reality and played around in time… but still couldn’t stop Black Panther from coming into existence because he couldn’t’ find Wakanda. I guess this also falls into that weird “he couldn’t find Captain America” category either.
It is very nice to see Khonshu finally get to be a villain full stop. Khonshu has always been my least favorite “good” God. He’s never actually done good things other than empower Moon Knight. Moon Knight has had to stop his own god from destroying or enslaving mankind more times than I can remember. Bryan Hill finally allows Khonshu to just be a bad guy, and it definitely works.
The whole opening scene makes it seem like T’Challa is dreaming these events… but then the two men speak to T’Challla and tell him what happened. What? Was the opening a dream or not? It isn’t clear at all and that’s annoying.
So that’s Storm and Killmonger? This leads to the question of whether Storm is even a mutant in this reality or something else entirely. There is supposed to be a May Storm that appears in Peach Momoko’s X-men book, so I guess this Storm is entirely separate.
Finally, there is absolutely ZERO mention of Tony, the supposed terrorist attack, or anything that indicates the forming of a superhero’s legacy that was taken away.
Artwork – This is some very nice, if a bit basic artwork. The sky is always an odd but interesting shade of orange and purple in Wakanda. That may be caused by whatever they use to shield themselves… but it’s still an odd choice. But let’s talk about this new Black Panther outfit.
It’s a very … 70’s style of superhero costume. While it is still a sleek black (kind of a necessary trait for a guy who calls himself BLACK Panther) There are grey accents along the limbs that look like the necklace T’Challa would sometimes wear in the main timeline. What makes me think of the 70’s is the headgear. His mouth is showing and it of reminds me of the helmet Reb Brown wore in the two 1979 Captain America Made for TV movies. Whether or not this was on purpose is still up for debate, but it creates a kind of homemade feel to it. I like it.
Final Thoughts – This is an uneven, but great start. It’s going to be interesting to see where the Killmonger, Storm, and Shuri developments lead. To be frank, every character besides T’Challa is interesting in his own book. They need to work on that. Also, the lack of a Tony cameo is disappointing. However, this is only issue 1. There’s a lot of time left.
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Letterer: VC’s Cory Petit
Cover Artists: Stefano Caselli & David Curiel
Release Date: 02/07/24