- Posted by Johanna on July 18, 2011 at 8:26 am
- Category: Superhero Reviews
- PUBLISHER: Marvel
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #521
written by David Liss
art by Francesco Francavilla
Why didn’t someone tell me this was good? This was the best Fear Itself tie-in I’ve read, because it directly addresses the theme. (Although sticking a “Fear Itself” banner on a book with THAT title is pretty silly.)
A mediocre worker blames diverse co-workers for his failures, leading to a downward spiral that turns him into the Hate-Monger. This is apparently an old character who’s been reworked here, but it’s a perfect choice for this storyline and our current society. As in so many other times and places, instead of holding accountable poor economic policies or politicians who lie to them, people fear those who don’t look like them. This particular jerk can’t even take responsibility for his own choices.
The Black Panther, for reasons I didn’t read, is now hanging out in a poor neighborhood in New York City. He’s no longer a king (and I’m not sure where his wife Storm is). Instead, he’s running a diner that also operates as an unofficial medical clinic. Of course, his accent and skin color make him a target for the new Hate-Monger and his American Panther.
The streamlined art has a good emphasis on faces and emotions, suitable for such a feeling-driven conflict. The cliffhanger ramps up the danger believably, and I’m eager to read more. I appreciate a superhero comic that dares to tackle current events in an engrossing way. This is a great way to make the Panther approachable for a different audience.
written by Jonathan Hickman
art by Greg Tocchini
What the heck is this? I’ve been following this series, even though I didn’t care much for the gathering of Reeds plot, but I open this issue to find some mush about Black Bolt, who’s dead, but running around anyway.
I flipped back to the cover, expecting to see a Fear Itself banner, since that’s what usually’s happened when I no longer know what’s going on in a series, but no dice. Apparently, someone just wanted to do an issue of interstellar war and intrigue with characters I don’t know or care about and no visible connection to the rest of the ongoing story. This is the kind of thing that gives superhero comics a bad name, spelled Self-Indulgent.
Iron Age #2
written by Jen van Meter/Elliott Kalan
art by Nick Dragotta/Ron Frenz and Sal Buscema
While loosely linked together with a goofy time-travel quest plot, this series is really about telling Tony Stark stories. As he bounces around looking for pieces of some world-saving device, he winds up in his own past, having to face up to his poor choices and work with friends who aren’t aware he’s older and more mature than he used to be. The result is some good storytelling.
I’m finding it a great introduction to the history of the character, as well. I only came to appreciate Iron Man through the movies, so seeing these teamups and the references to key moment s of his history is really helpful, as well as entertaining.
There are two stories in this issue (accounting for the inflated $4.99 cover price). The first pairs him up with the Heroes for Hire (Power Man, Iron Fist, Misty Knight, Colleen Wing) while confronting the results of a recently passed (from their perspective) poor choice: Iron Man, while drunk, trashed Times Square, leading people to fear another of his rampages. The tale is nicely character-focused, even during the battle with the Tinkerer and the Scorpion.
The second tale is even more retro, as Stark faces off with Doctor Doom, illustrated in a classic Marvel style, paired up with Johnny Storm the Human Torch.