Well, for those who don't know, the Black Panther is not your average super hero fodder. This book transcended many different genres (political drama, satire, crime, etc.) without losing a step or it's integrity. Since 1998's Marvel Knights launch, we've followed the intriguing chess game that was the life of T'Challa. He wasn't just King of Wakanda. He was also Chieftain of the Panther Clan, which gave him the mantle of Black Panther and on top of all this he was a member of the Avengers.
Unfortunately sales have been the proverbial noose for this book. So with issue # 50 we were given a change of direction and a new pivotal character to focus on. Our new guy was Kevin "Kasper" Cole, son of hero cop "Black" Jack Cole. An ambitious young narcotics' officer who'd been suspended from the force following a disastrous unauthorized drug bust, Kasper "borrowed" one of The Black Panther's old costumes from Sgt. Tork— his boss and former ally of the Panther's. He only needed it for three days.
After getting over his rip Kasper decided he needed an edge, he needed something to help him regulate & get his arse promoted…………he needed to become like T'Challa…………he needed to take the heart-shaped herb…………he needed to become…………Black Panther!!!
How can you tie a series up, but not rush it and come off weak? How can you answer questions but still leaving an air of intrigue and mystery? If you don't know, you should go talk with the man Priest! This is another great issue and a great ending of Black Panther. The pacing is on point and the characters aren't forced into changing to fit an ill scripted end. Twists are a plenty to be found and the return of three great characters! What else could you ask for.
Though Kasper now has powers, stuff isn't easy. With great power comes great responsibility, but I'm sure Kasper would have been happy with an introductory manual on how to use said powers. Watching him struggle is great and seeing his evolution of thinking is interesting too. This is not your regular hero. This is a realistic (well you get what I mean) look at how your average cat would deal with power. This is Priest on point. So pay attention and recognise real!!!
The art has always been a sticking point for me since the change of direction. I always loved Bob Almond & Sal Velluto on Panther with Priest, and didn't see why they had to be taken off the book. Issue #50, was drawn by Dan Fraga and I have to say I was pleased. I liked his style, but next issue someone new called Jorge Lucas. I hadn't heard of him but when I opened the book I loved what greeted me. Unfortunately we only got four issues of his great pencils. Then Jim Calafiore came on board and I was disappointed. It seemed he couldn't capture emotion in the characters or the sense of movement. For the first two issues of this Accession arc we were given Patrick Zircher who was really good, but then Calafiore jumped back on board. This time though his pencils started to hit. He had started to mesh with the feel of the book that was good. I don't think his style is really suited though. It seems like manga (I could be wrong). The colouring and everything else have always been just right for Priest's darker edged stories and no one lets us down in this last issue.
If you've heard about this book and been meaning to pick it up I think you've arrived a little late as unfortunately this was the last issue (a VERY sad day indeed) :( I HIGHLY recommend going out and tracking out the back issues though and then grabbing the TPB when it drops (think it's February), because the stories are that good. For those who want to carry on with Priest remember to checkout The Crew and for everyone who wants to find out if Priest is really that good and want a great book to read each month, checkout The Crew!!!
This is truly the end of something special, but for a book like Black Panther to last this long is a testament to the greatness of Priest and everyone else who contributed to this book each an every month. Mad respect due, you'll be missed but not forgotten. All hail the Black Panther!!!
Some information was taken from Priest's web site. If you want to read more about Panther, you should definitely check it out www.digital-priest.com
Report Card – A (A truly great ending to a truly great series)