Spinner Rack: Black Panther #1, Mighty Avengers #21, Hercules #125, X-Men First Class Finals #1

Black Panther #1

Black Panther #1

I bought this issue because it has the new female Black Panther on the cover. So I expected to see a new female Black Panther inside. I was misled. This is a Marvel comic, written for a 4- or 6-issue arc, I’m guessing, so of course, this issue, even though it’s labeled #1, is all prologue.

Writer Reginald Hudlin alternates between A) scenes of former Black Panther T’Challa’s wife and mother standing around watching him in a coma after his spaceship crashes and B) flashback scenes that apparently tie into this latest Dark Reign event, with Namor trying to recruit T’Challa into some cabal. They’re repetitive, and I don’t care. I just want what I thought I was promised by the cover: a kick-butt female action hero. I was disappointed. (Especially after Storm fails to stop the crash. I thought, after Superman’s rewritten debut, every superhero worth the name could save a plane from crashing.)

I’m also concerned about how well he can handle a lead female character. We’ve already got the exoticism of the techno-paradise of the African natives; I hope this new Panther, whoever she is, is someone who seems like someone I can relate to in some fashion.

X-Men: First Class: Finals #1

X-Men: First Class: Finals #1

Disappointing. Knowing that this is a limited series, ending the stories I enjoyed about the original X-Men as a young school team, means it’s bittersweet to start with. But this issue seems more interested in dropping in villains and references from other stories than in focusing on what drew me to it in the first place: the character interplay.

The boys wind up in Jean’s dream, which they figure out soon enough, but with too much literalism and explaining things to the audience. The second half is too much fighting, not enough fun, and the surprise revelation is completely unknown to me.

Thankfully, there’s a one-page Jeff Parker/Colleen Coover backup strip in which Scott and Jean go on a date. It’s not enough to make up for the let-down of the main piece, but it’s a sweet after-dinner mint.

The Mighty Avengers #21

The Mighty Avengers #21

Surprisingly, I enjoyed this more. It’s a gathering-of-the-troops issue, where Young Avengers Vision and Stature start following the Scarlet Witch around, while Biblical-style disasters strike the earth.

One of the reasons it works for me is that it doesn’t assume I follow all of this stuff. I’m given everything I need to know, and I don’t feel like I’m losing a trivia game because I don’t recognize character X. Writer Dan Slott also has an advantage because the Avengers are pretty well-known.

The conversation is entertaining and funny and touching when it should be. I liked seeing Jarvis’ importance acknowledged, and Hercules and Amadeus Cho seemed in character. With so many big-deal heroes making appearances, not much actually happens, but plenty is hinted at.

I don’t think I agree with Hank Pym calling himself Wasp after his dead ex-wife, and I didn’t need so much space given to him, since he’s never seemed that interesting a character, but perhaps this is an attempt at redeeming him. I’d read more of the group that results … if they have adventures that make sense without having to read any other comics.

The Incredible Hercules #125

The Incredible Hercules #125

They’re still in the alternate world where women run the show, meaning all the major heroes are female. It’s a shame that we only see such setups in a context where they’re presented as WRONG and something to be reversed to get things back to normal. While we’re all of course rooting for the evil power-hungry Amazon queen to get what’s coming to her, I liked seeing the variety of other characters and the twists on the male-centric Marvel world we normally see.

The problem with magical beings is that, sooner or later, someone undoes the spell or makes the right wish and poof! it’s all back to normal. Makes for some predictable endings. In this case, the two male leads are just spinning time until a Gorgon (whom we unfortunately will probably never see again, since she was brave and daring) fixes it all back up.

5 Responses to “Spinner Rack: Black Panther #1, Mighty Avengers #21, Hercules #125, X-Men First Class Finals #1”

  1. Caroline Says:

    Re: First Class Finals, somebody told me that the villain who shows up in the end is someone Scott encountered in an earlier issue of First Class, but I don’t really remember it either. I do tend to be patient with last-page reveals because I assume the next issue will explain it.

  2. Rob Spencer Says:

    I think BET has a Black Panther cartoon lined up, most likely with T’Challa, so don’t expect that female Panther to last very long.
    Comas tend to work the same as magic.

  3. Mark S. Says:

    Black Panther looks like the current Bat-Girl without the Bat-stuff…

  4. Charles RB Says:

    Wait, Black Panther was promoted on the back of the female Black Panther and the cover shows a female Black Panther and she’s not even in the issue?

    This is a basic failure of both marketing (promoting something that isn’t there) and storytelling (not showing your title character), surely.

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