Review: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear #514
WRITER: David Liss
ARTIST: Francesco Francavilla
LETTERS: VC's Joe Caramagna
COVER: Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi
EDITOR: Bill Rosemann
RELEASE DATE: January 12,2011
Let me begin by saying that David Liss is amazing! I never conceived that I would be writing a review about T'Challa protecting the streets of Hell's Kitchen without completely panning it. I have read Daredevil for over twenty years and no other character has conveyed the depth of humanity and realism that Matt Murdock, the man without fear, has. None until David Liss brought Black Panther to the hallowed streets of Hell's Kitchen that is!
This is a story that makes you feel not only for the title character, but the entire cast of new characters that have emerged throughout Liss' two issue run. Never have I been so impressed in the way a writer has actually made me care about a character that I had completely written off before. By throwing away Black Panther's power, money and family, Liss has made a character that is burden free to become something so much more than he ever was before. Liss has given us a story of a man who is trying to find out just exactly who he is at his core, his weakness, his resolve, and most importantly, his strength. It is a true "Year One" story for T'Challa - and it is perfect!
We are only two issues in and T'Challa may be too late to escape the diabolical Vlad the Impaler and his ever tightening grip he has on the underworld of Hell's Kitchen. On the streets, all you have is your reputation and right now Black Panther's "rep" is one of a heroic nuance that isn't on par with Daredevil and even worse, he is perceived as someone that can be hurt. Luke Cage pays Hell's Kitchen's newest resident a visit to offer any assistance that may be needed, but is quickly refused and tensions arise between the two heroes. Can T'Challa afford to be so brazen to those that are his friends when his newest enemy is setting a trap for him? Sadly, someone will have to pay the price for such bravado.
This book is something that all comic fans should be picking up. It's tempo is quick, but the information and depth of story is not diminished in the least. Liss has created a complete cast with their own little world in just two issues, and he amazingly has made us feel compassion for them all. Even Vlad has a richness to him that brings him on par with most villains that have been around for years. It is a true testament to the writing skills of Liss and his vision for these characters.
Pick up this book and see how far Black Panther has grown as a character under the direction of a truly talented writer!