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Royal Reviews: Black Panther: Man Without Fear #513

Written by Royal Nonesuch on Monday, December 20 2010 and posted in Reviews

Black Panther gets a fresh start as the new Man Without Fear at Marvel, and Royal Nonesuch takes a look!

Comic Review Cover

Credits & Solicit Info:

Marvel is pleased to present your new look at BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #513, from best-selling author David Liss and acclaimed artist Francesco Francavilla! The smoke has cleared from the ruins of Shadowland and a new protector of Hell's Kitchen is on the prowl. His name is T'Challa, the Black Panther! In a city without Daredevil and a dangerous new foe called Vlad the Impaler consolidating power in the underworld, the Black Panther must learn to become a new type of hero. Without his riches, his technology, and his kingdom can T'Challa truly be the Man Without Fear? Find out in BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #513!


Written by DAVID LISS
Rated T+ ...$2.99
FOC - 11/11/10, On-Sale - 12/8/10


Over the last few years, Marvel has tried to establish a new level of prominence for the Black Panther, with varying degrees of success.  After Christopher Priest's underappreciated run was a recent memory, Marvel started anew with the "Who is The Black Panther" era, where writer Reginald Hudlin focused on and redefined the character's mythology.  Along the way, Panther was married to Storm, which was a much-hyped event, and eventually faced off against no less an villain than Dr. Doom in the recent (and mediocre DoomWar limited series), which brings us to Marvel's next idea for the character: giving him Daredevil's job as their Man Without Fear. 

BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #513 (the title retains its Daredevil numbering) brings T'Challa to Marvel New York's Hell's Kitchen neighborhood as its new protector, and it looks gorgeous.  Artist Francisco Francavilla's noir-tinged artwork recalls David Mazzuchelli's exceptional work on Batman: Year One in design and aesthetic, and it suits this urban crime tale very well.  Francavilla's use of nearly oppressive shadows make the colors pop in a way that makes the lighting essential and stunning.  The characters all look great and gesture in realistic ways, Francavilla uses an interesting layout tactic for the fight scenes by rendering them in irregularly-shaped panels that, when placed together on the page, make it look like the page is actually being slashed by the artwork.  It's a great visual motif for a book starring The Black Panther. 

All of this syncs up well with writer David Liss' story, which takes a stripped down approach to T'Challa.  No longer a monarch, T'Challa is filling the void in New York left by Daredevil's absence by ingratiating himself into his new neighborhood.  Liss' Hell's Kitchen feels like a real impoverished neighborhood.  Liss makes certain to show that there's more than just crime in a place liked this.  There are also good people of various ethnicities who keep their heads down, stay out of trouble, and want to help each other out.  Liss also introduces a new villain for the Panther in Vlad the Impaler, whose roots lie in the Ceausescu regime and who is looking to take over as the new Kingpin of Crime.  Though he brings with him a superpower that looks and feels out of place in this type of story, he is on a collision course with the Panther, and their conflict is set up really well in this issue. 

BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #513 tells the story of two men looking to fill a void, and does so in a clever way.  While T'Challa is here to take over for Daredevil, Vlad the Impaler (who actually gets an equal amount of the spotlight here) wants to be the new Kingpin, now that Wilson Fisk and The Hood are no longer around.  It's great to see how the hero and villain's stories parallel each other.  The new urban vigilante direction of The Black Panther is off to a great start. 

Review by: Royal Nonesuch

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About the Author - Royal Nonesuch

As Senior Media Correspondent (which may be a made-up title), Royal Nonesuch tends to spearhead a lot of film and television content on The Outhouse. He's still a very active participant in the comic book section of the site, though. Nonesuch writes reviews of film, television, and comics, and conducts interviews for the site as well.  You can reach out to him on Twitter or with Email.


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