The bizarre mash-up world that Gamora has created in the pages of Infinity Wars has created some pretty awesome and some rather lackluster characters. Ghost Panther is definitely one of the former. The amalgamation of Ghost Rider and Black Panther, this all-too-brief mini-series takes us to a Wakanda under attack by Erik Killraven, a Martian rebel who has killed the King. This has forced T’Challa to make a deal with the Goddess Zarathos to hunt down wicked souls on her behalf.
I love everything about this setup. It’s to the point and it melds both parts of these characters very well. Ghost Panther didn’t rely solely on the origins of one, writer Jed MacKay built something new using elements of each. It also didn’t just change a single name and call it a day. The Ghost Panther is both T’Challa and Johnny Blaze and this is weaved into the story in a way that makes so much sense.
In reading Ghost Panther, you get the feeling that this is building on something epic. This has the makings of a legend. This is largely attributable to Jefte Palo’s artwork which relies heavily on silhouette. This gives the comic an appearance like something taken right out of the most awesome history book you’ve ever seen.
Zarathos is shown with a cool effect with a gown that flows across the page and reality itself. It’s like the cloth is made of magic or weaved from the very fabric of life…or death. Her head is aflame, just like that of Ghost Rider, but it’s not a human skull. Colorist Jim Campbell makes the fires stand out against the dark backgrounds, like a small symbol of light fighting against the ever-increasing shadows.
There are some images that look a little blocky, but that’s only if you take them out of context. As a whole, Palo’s line work is fitting for this mash-up, blending the worlds of sci-fi, horror, and good old fashioned super heroics.
T’Challa wrestles with his newfound position, realizing that he can’t escape his destiny to rule Wakanda, but also dealing with the fact that he’s made a deal with the devil. This is what he’s done in order to save his people. Letterer Joe Sabino brings this forth in some powerful word balloons as T’Challa shifts between his normal human form and the soul-hunting demonic force. They’re polar opposites of one another in colors.
I find it interesting that the two best Infinity Wars tie-ins, Soldier Supreme and Ghost Panther, deal with the supernatural. They stand out as the two I’d most like to see turned into an ongoing series. This one in particular moves past the novelty aspect of the mash-up character and stands as the beginning of something new and downright cool. I do hope this is not the last we see of the Ghost Panther.