T’Challa’s Memories Restored In Black Panther #12

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]

Achebe and Farouk reveal their plan to bring down Emperor N’Jadaka and overthrow the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. M’Baku is reticent to follow through with it, as it involves destroying Agwe entirely, but Achebe and Farouk claim it is the plan of Bast herself. Meanwhile, T’Challa explores his memories under the guidance of his ancestors, and he now knows that he is the king of Wakanda and the reason he came out into space. Unfortunately, the truth may be more than even T’Challa can handle.

Black Panther #12 cover by Paolo Rivera and Daniel Acuña
Black Panther #12 cover by Paolo Rivera and Daniel Acuña

Black Panther #12 finally restores T’Challa to his former self, and it reveals his true reason for going into space. While I won’t spoil that reason here, I will say that it is actually an interesting development in the Black Panther mythos.

This issue also seems to be bringing this Black Panther arc to a much-needed climax and conclusion. T’Challa has been in space for about a year now, and the story meandered more often than it should have. Ta-Nehisi Coates definitely has a talent for writing Black Panther, but “Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda” nor “Avengers of the New World” came even close to matching the brilliance that was “Nation Under Our Feet.”

That said, T’Challa’s reticence to return to his role as king as well as the dire means by which the Maroons intend to destroy N’Jadaka make for interesting conflicts, and I look forward to seeing how the next few issues of Black Panther go.

Black Panther #12 art by Jen Bartel, Kris Anka, Triona Farrell, and letterer VC's Joe Sabino
Black Panther #12 art by Jen Bartel, Kris Anka, Triona Farrell, and letterer VC’s Joe Sabino

Jen Bartel is the artist on this issue, and she brings a much-needed detail, expression, and even softness to the issue. T’Challa is vulnerable and on an emotional journey through his own history, and Bartel has the talent to show that vulnerability in the personage of even the mighty Black Panther. Triona Farrell accompanies the linework with a palette that wavers between warm yellows and oranges and cosmic blues and purples. The book looks great through-and-through.

Black Panther #12 restores the T’Challa we know and love while also breaking him down into his composite parts. It’s an emotional issue that also prepares the reader for the final conflict with Emperor N’Jadaka. It’s a good comic and one worthy of a recommendation. Feel free to give it a read.

Black Panther #12 comes to us from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, artist Jen Bartel with layouts from Kris Anka, color artist Triona Farrell, letterer VC’s Joe Sabino, cover artists Paolo Rivera and Daniel Acuña, and variant cover artist Heyjin Im.

Final Score: 8.5/10

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