Black Panther #4: The Mystery Deepens Behind The Intergalactic Empire Of Wakanda

by Tony Thornley

[**Spoilers for Black Panther #4 below!!]
One of the elements of the last run on Black Panther has easily been the mystery of what the hell is going on. Though the series seems to be taking place in the far future with a reincarnated T’Challa, there’s been hints that this isn’t true. In this issue, it’s all but confirmed, and that’s just one of the cool things that happens here.

Ta-Nahesi Coates, Daniel Acuna and Joe Sabino have crafted the series as a fantastic space opera adventure. It has played with mystery elements, though. At some points, the man called T’Challa is hinted to have memories of actual T’Challa, while other moments seem to hint there’s some timey-wimey nonsense going on. That’s taken the backseat to the space opera heroics until this issue, though.
The Maroons are under attack from the empire, overwhelmed by their forces as well as the superhuman Manifold. T’Challa and Nakia fight off the invaders, while M’Baku takes on Manifold head on. They escape, but not without suffering losses. However, mid-battle, T’Challa has a vision- of Eden Fesi within the Manifold armor…
Coates writes this story as if he’s been writing space opera all his life. The pacing is quick and exciting. The character moments are impactful. Best of all is the mystery.

We the readers have been grappling with figuring how exactly what’s happening since #1. Is it the future, an alternate timeline, or what? Well here, we don’t get that question answered, but we get further confirmation that our characters are so much more than what they appear to be on the surface. Combined with the excellent action, it’s the most gripping the series has been.
I’m really disappointed to see that Acuna’s run on this series may be coming to an end. This issue shows off a talent for action on a scale that we haven’t seen from him before. It’s sweeping, grand and exciting, but also shows us the panicked chaos of war.
He’s also able to convey Coates’ emotional beats really well too. One of the most important characters to this first arc dies this issue. He gives us the horrifying moment before their death, and the devastating aftermath, in a fantastic span of three pages.
This is one of Marvel’s elite books at the moment. Pick it up.
Black Panther #4 is available now from Marvel Comics.

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