Evil Geek Book Report – Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, Vol. 1: Urban Jungle
I’m not caught up on my Daredevil. It’s very high on my “to do list”, starting with the Bendis run. I do know that after Shadowland Mr. Matt Murdock goes cuckoo bananas and leaves his post at Hell’s Kitchen. He has elected the Black Panther to take up his position. Black Panther is better known as T’Challa, King of the African country Wakanda. Recently he was involved in a battle with Doctor Doom resulting in a loss of Wakanda’s valuable resources and leaving T’Challa physically, mentally and spiritually broken. He decided to give up his mantle in Wakanda and find himself. That’s just prologue stuff, even if you aren’t familiar with any of that you can still jump into this and not be lost. This comic actually took over the numbering for the regular ongoing Daredevil title.
Murdock associate, Foggy Nelson provides T’Challa with a new identity, proper identification and employment. Now known as recent immigrant from the Congo, Mr. Okonowo and runs a diner in Hell’s Kitchen and lives in a tenement apartment to help learn about and study its people. At night he prowls the rooftops of the slums to keep an eye on the city.
In the vacuum left by Daredevil and Kingpin’s disappearance, the criminal underworld has scrambled to secure a choke hold on Hell’s Kitchen and one man has stepped above the rest, Romanian immigrant, Vlad Dinu aka Vlad the Impaler. A “business man” in the Wilson Fisk mold, we learn he was part of a Romanian experiment to duplicate Captain America’s Super Solider Serum. This makes him incredibly strong, but also gives him the power to convert matter into energy.
Thus our book becomes a tale about two men as we watch the Black Panther acclimate to his new surroundings and Vlad’s rise to power. It’s almost a symbiotic relationship akin to the way Batman and Commissioner Gordon are tied together in Frank Miller’s Batman Year One. We learn far more about Vlad and his background than we do about the Black Panther. His family plays a significant role throughout the story and despite being the antagonist you begin to sympathize with him.
It’s a well paced cat and mouse chase with enough twist and turns to keep it interesting and keep you guessing. The script was written by crime author, David Liss as his first entry into the world of comics (he’s the current author of Dynamite Comics pulp hero, The Spider). The art is full of the dark brooding film noir and pulp influence of Francesco Francavilla. It fits the tone of this story perfectly. It’s almost always night time or raining, the book is saturated by reds, oranges, blues and yellows. It’s really a thing of beauty. Unfortunately, one of the middle issues is illustrated by Jeff Palo, while his work is adequate it breaks up the consistency of the art put forth in the other issues.
Overall, if your into crime books or Daredevil this is worth your time. It did leave a bit of a feeling that I wish this had been Daredevil and not Black Panther. However, as a Daredevil story this would probably be some of the more run of the mill stuff but as the Black Panther it becomes elevated. This collection contains Daredevil #513-518 and ends on a cliff hanger, just waiting for you to pick up Volume 2.
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Posted on March 15, 2013, in COMICS!, Evil Geek Book Report, Reviews and tagged Black Panther, Comics, Evil Geek Book Reports, Film Noir, Francesco Francavilla, Marvel, Pulp. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.