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Review – Black Panther #16 (Marvel Comics)

Black Panther #16
Overall
9.6/10
9.6/10
  • Writing - 10/10
    10/10
  • Art - 8.8/10
    8.8/10
  • Overall - 10/10
    10/10
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Summary

Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Daniel Acuna
Letters: Joe Sabino
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Maturity Rating: Teen+
Release Date: September 25th, 2019

N’Jadaka has followed T’Challa and the Maroons to earth as Wakanda stands at an impasse. 

An Epic Comes to a Head in Black Panther #16

I don’t know how he does it, but Ta-Nehisi Coates does it. That “it” I’m referring to is giving T’Challa everything his character has needed for quite some time now. Coates does a wonderful and often spellbinding job of tying together the themes he’s touted throughout his run on the title (dating back to 2016). Coates’ story of T’Challa and Shuri learning to show Wakanda how to evolve based on its past glory and mistakes is tied nicely in Black Panther #16, specifically the discussion in the ancestral plane. This issue of Black Panther does a great job of letting us feel T’Challa’s pain. That thread is something Coates has been needling since his first issue, and it’s picked up well here.

Writing

Black Panther #16 (Marvel Comics) cover by Daniel Acuna
Black Panther #16 (Marvel Comics) cover by Daniel Acuna

Coates’ skill lies in using the supporting cast. He does this without shoveling T’Challa to the back. Some of the best interactions and moments don’t blip by. Many feature the deep cast that Coates has built over his run. He blends both his themes for Wakanda while giving Storm the best moment of the issue. Coates’ run on Black Panther has been unsung, and this stretch has been something particularly special. T’Challa being a hero first while a king second has etched itself into every decision he must make in this issue. That nature in T’Challa, of course, affects everything around him, which is touched upon heavily in Black Panther #16. You can feel this issue is a wave before the tsunami to come; however, that’s not a bad thing. Coates is great at letting the reader feel engaged while upping the stakes.

Art

The art and colors give this issue a certain wonder. Daniel Acuna is hitting his mark with Han Solo-like skill throughout. I am a fan of how he draws T’Challa over time. Specifically, how it has differed after his travels across the galaxy, and how the pains of his decisions wear on him. The colors breath a certain life into each of these panels. I can’t preach enough about how much I enjoyed this issue, or how I can’t remember an issue of the Coates/Acuna run that wasn’t emotionally resonating. Each issue has been a fulfilling read, and that what any reader is looking for.

Overall

It continues to amaze me I may be the only guy harping that this book needs attention, and that should change. Coates and Acuna’s story is rightfully fit for a king, and should make any and everyone’s pull list this week. I was worried, with the X-Men comics getting a ton of attention, that we would see Storm pulled slowly from this book, but that hasn’t been the case, thankfully. This issue succeeds in places I was sure it would fail, which is my mistake for doubting Mr. Coates.


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