Black Panther # 3 (LGY # 200) review

Black Panther # 3 sees John Ridley and Juann Cabal along with Ibrahim Moustafa, Juni Ba, Germán Peralta and Jesus Aburtov for a 40 page issue as the title reaches its # 200 inheritance number (I’ll get to where that number comes from in the end). Despite this being a hundred year old edition, and Black Panther being the first black superhero at Marvel to reach this numbering, Black Panther # 3 feels much more in line with the first two issues of this volume rather than an extravagant anniversary issue.

The question begins with the next chapter of “The Long Shadow,” which picks up right where Black Panther # 2 escaped when T’Challa and Omolola meet the masked assassins. Juann Cabal’s art shines here as our heroes use a combination of acrobatics, jiu-jitsu and technology to defeat their future assailants. Cabal handles everything with confidence, including some moments in the fight itself that may suggest the bigger story. Color artist Matt Milla also adds some fun details, such as T’Challa’s eyes that glow green like a cat’s. After the attack, T’Challa realizes that he may be the real target of the ambush attacks on his agents and chooses to walk away from the net, leaving Earth for Mars, now terraformed and ruled by Storm and X-Men.

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During the journey, author John Ridley takes the opportunity to make T’Challa open up a little more about his own feelings, something he is reluctant to do as king. He asks Omolola if Jhai was happy with his station as one of T’Challa’s secret agents. It’s a fine scene that touches T’Challa’s compassion without becoming melodramatic. At the same time, some of Ridley’s dialogue for T’Challa still feels a bit off. Lines like “Yeaaah, no.” feels a little relaxed for a man brought up to be royalty, but thankfully these moments are not too distracting.

Upon arrival in Mars, Black Panther # 3 changes artists and brings in Ibrahim Moustafa. Mustafa’s lines are thicker than Cabals and use more cross-hatching, giving these sides a different feel than those made by Cabal. The change works well, as if there is some time to focus on the relationship between T’Challa and Storm, even though it is actually the relationship between T’Challa and Wakandan mutant Nezhno Abidemi (aka Gentle) that gets more sides. Gentle’s past has often seen him avoided by his fellow Wakandans, and Ridley makes use of this story and Gentle’s appearance in the finale of the previous volume of Black Panther to create an emotional interaction between a king and his former subjects.

Black Panther # 3
Marvel comics

While this story serves as the third issue of John Ridley and Juann Cabal’s first arc, this issue is 200 off Black Panther makes the story feel a little overwhelming, especially since there does not seem to be a great narrative revelation. Fans looking for a unique moment in an issue like this are likely to be disappointed.

To counteract the potential disappointment, Black Panther # 3 is supplemented with two 10-page stories. The first by author / artist Juni Ba and colorist Chris O’Halloran focuses on a young T’Challa who saves the goddess Bast from a disorder and meets a trickster spirit. Ba’s art and writing are expressive and humorous, giving the story a nice tonal departure from the rest of the number. The story’s supernatural feel evokes some of the strangeness common to Jack Kirby’s work in the 1970s volume of Black Panther, honor the past and at the same time deliver something new.

Black Panther # 3
Marvel comics

The final story in the edition is perhaps the most published, as Ridley and letter writer Joe Sabino are joined by Germán Peralta and Jesus Aburtov, the art team behind two of T’Challa’s latest crossovers to introduce a new Wakandan hero in Tosin. Tosin’s story is laid out in his own narrative captions, a stark contrast to the way T’Challa has been presented in Ridley’s work. Ridley has founded Tosin’s point of view in some of the world constructions presented by other creators, allowing the new character to fit nicely into the story without seeming alien. In addition, the events in this backup clearly take place after the main story and tease future developments in “The Long Shadow” story arc.

Black Panther # 3
Marvel comics

The verdict

While that may not be what some readers would hope for in a milestone edition, Black Panther # 3 provides a solid reading. While some of the dialogue feels a bit informal to a king, John Ridley’s bid for T’Challa is the dynamic that makes the Black Panther such an amazing character. The artwork of Juann Cabal, Ibrahim Moustafa and Matt Milla brings the main story to life, while Juni Ba, Chris O’Halloran, Germán Peralta and Jesus Aburtov give readers two backups that will surely leave an impression.

A brief remark on the old numbering

In 2017, Marvel Comics introduced “Legacy” numbering to their problems, treating interrupted volumes centered around characters as a single continuous title. These numbers briefly replaced the numbering of the numbers, so the nineteenth number of Black Panther (2016) was marked as number 166, but these older numberings are now currently shown below the issue numbering. For the character Black Panther, the old numbering combines the following titles:

Black Panther (1977) # 1-15
Black Panther (1998) # 1-62
Black Panther (2005) # 1-41
Black Panther (2009) # 1-12
Black Panther: The Man Without Fear (2010) # 513-523
Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive (2011) # 524-529
Black Panther (2016) # 1-18, # 166-172
Black Panther (2018) # 1-25
Black Panther (2021) # 1-3

Readers will note that this numbering omits the Black Panthers’ first solo series, which was released as Jungle Action (1972) # 6-24 as well as the miniseries with four issues Black Panther (1988), most commonly known as Black Panther bind. 2. It also covers the issues that Black Panther briefly took over Daredevil: The man without fear. There was a problem Black Panther: The Most Dangerous Man Alive # 523.1, which does not count, but it makes sense given that the point-1 release initiative was made to be an “extra” issue. Daredevil’s legacy numbers do not include these issues with the Black Panther.

Black Panther # 3

‘Black Panther’ # 3 finds his legacy # 200 crown a bit heavy

Black Panther # 3

While that may not be what some readers would hope for in a milestone edition, Black Panther # 3 provides a solid read.

John Ridley makes good use of the character stories to create emotion in the narrative.

June Ba and Chris O’Halloran’s story is a wonderful read.

The artwork across the three stories is strong.

Some of Ridley’s dialogue for T’Challa feels a bit casual.

The question does not quite live up to the reason for its old numbering.

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