The Maker used time travel to create a world preventing anyone from becoming a superhero. But Wakanda is still there within its closed doors. Check out what happens in Ultimate Black Panther #1 by Marvel Comics!
ULTIMATE BLACK PANTHER #1
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Stefano Caselli
Colorist: David Curiel
Letterer: Cory Petit
Editor: Wil Moss
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: February 7th, 2024
Previously in the Ultimate Black Panther: Khonshu and Ra, the force known together as Moon Knight, expanded into Africa. The isolated nation of Wakanda stands as the lone bulwark against them. Bryan Hill and Stefano Caselli bring a new take on the world of Black Panther and Wakanda!
Ultimate Black Panther #1 starts with a West African quarry attacked by Moon Knight forces. The people are killed or imprisoned, and spies from Wakanda report back to T’Challa, the King of Wakanda. There is a religious group called the Vodu-Khan, led by Matron Imala, that T’Challa seems to philosophically disagree with. Also, we see tension within the city. Shuri and the spies want to fight against the invaders, while King T’Challa and Queen Okoye agree that they need more information before waging war. However, T’Challa struggles to communicate his intentions to his people, who wish to save victims from the hands of Moon Knight.
Elsewhere, two people called Killmonger and the Wind-Rider start to fight in West Africa. Wind-Rider seems reminiscent of Storm, and Killmonger wields a cool axe reminiscent of Thor. Back in Wakanda, the nation celebrates the annual celebration of life until a suicide bomber appears, and T’Chaka sacrifices himself to save T’Challa’s life. As T’Challa watches the death of his father, he calls for war.
I am pleasantly surprised by the new interpretation of the Ultimate Universe. In fact, I am kind of hooked. Many good things happening in Ultimate Black Panther challenge my understanding of the character and place these stories in a way that resonates with my sensibilities. I didn’t get into the original Ultimate Universe; I was just in the wrong stage of my life for it to be interesting. I even skipped Ultimate Invasion, which was published last year. However, there is something really engaging about Jonathan Hickman’s interpretation that works for me in this new world. And Bryan Hill takes those ideas and runs with it.
Ultimate Black Panther introduces a reluctant King and soldiers who want to go to war. This political intrigue storyline sets up multiple factions within Wakanda that appear to have different values. We have soldiers who wish to fight, Shuri, who seems impatient, a religious sect, and T’Challa and his values. Thus, we get themes of science versus religion, patience versus resolve, and redefining the term “outsider.” On top of that, we have Killmonger and Wind-Rider adding new elements to the story.
But perhaps where the comic excels most is in the art. Each area we see has diverse tones and expressions that reflect the book’s themes. From the deep jungles of African villages to the expanse of the Wakandan palace and even the dark look at the temple of Vodu-Khan, Stefano Caselli and David Curiel are at their best.
While I’m unsure what themes the book will focus on in the long run, I’m engaged enough to keep picking up this series. The writing and artwork together for a new take on these beloved characters, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. I give 4.5 out of 5 stars to Ultimate Black Panther #1.
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Ultimate Black Panther #1
Ultimate Black Panther #1 appeals to my sensibilities and presents a complex world that balances conflict, plot, setting, and characterization.