Where The Buffalo Soldier Roams: Reviewing ‘Black Panther’ #10
by Scott Redmond
‘Black Panther’ continues to disassemble its title character stripping more away from the former king as he comes to grips with his own sins while dealing with the threat of the almost comically on-the-nose Colonialist. There are bits to like here and the overall message, while blatant, does hit in its own way.
Forget Alexander, it’s T’Challa over here that is having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. All through this current Black Panther series, we’ve seen the fall of T’Challa as his sins of the past have come back and cost him basically everything, as Wakanda banishes him and moves fully into Democracy, leaving him to run back to the Avengers as chairperson because it’s all he has left.
If Black Panther #9 was just wild with the entrance of the Colonialist and what the Avengers go through, this tenth issue and conclusion of the story is far more standard comics. That is not a bad thing. I will say that I was pretty much surprised that this issue just hits a point halfway through where everything is sped up to conclude. Buffalo Soldier goes from a threat to realizing T’Challa is correct and sacrifices himself to fight back and gives the Avengers time for Shuri to swoop in with the deus ex machina that saves the day.
I will say that this turn of the Buffalo Soldier with T’Challa coming in to tell him how he was played and what was done to him, after T’Challa gets a Wikipedia-level introduction to who the Buffalo Soldiers even were, just didn’t hit for me. Overall, the on-the-nose stuff with colonization and using people as puppets that John Ridley is using here works because these things sometimes need to just be blatant. Sometimes you just need to be clear about these sorts of things, other times you can go for subtle.
What we’re getting in these issues so far is a T’Challa that is being broken down to his lowest levels, and that continues here. There is a moment where it’s pretty clear that he realizes that his continued claims of being a King and what he’s done to others is just like what he’s calling out about what the Colonialist has done to Buffalo Soldier. It feels a bit like we’ve had to witness him learn this a bit as that was somewhat the culmination of the previous arc, but it seems like it fully strongly hits him here so maybe we’ll see some growth. I’d say there isn’t much lower for the character to go, but it’s comics so there is plenty of lower depths to mine.
We get some good action scenes for Germán Peralta and Jesus Aburtov to bring to life, but most of the issue is a lot of characters standing around. Despite that though they do some good work with that, hitting some great emotional work and making sure that the pages still flow and breathe well. Peralta has a very interesting style that feels light and smooth but also very heavy at the same time, with such a depth of detail and a bit of a rough edge to it as well.
A lot of that can be stated about Aburtov’s colors too as they are very vivid and bright but also have a toned-down nature to them, which fits with the quality of the artwork and grounds the world in a way. The Colonialist and things around him are quite funky and bright making them stand out from the lush regular world around him and even the colorful superhero aspects of the Avengers. I would even say they have a sort of paint or watercolor-like feeling to them on many of the pages.
On the lettering side, we have the work of Joe Sabino, making sure that it all just flows and fits the moments. His work hits all the right notes such as using great emphasizers to make sure that tone and volume are very clear at any given point, as the various bits of dialogue and other lettering is placed around the pages in the best position to flow around and be a great part of the artwork.
Black Panther #10 is now available from Marvel Comics.