T’Challa faces Erik Killmonger for the first time in Rise of the Black Panther #6. Is it good?
One of the main critiques of Rise of the Black Panther has been that the previous issues in the series have felt more like a series of vignettes rather than a cohesive story. While the past issue began to do away with that notion, it’s the series finale, Rise of the Black Panther #6, that really ties the book together.
After facing off against various threats, writer Evan Narcisse finally lets T’Challa face off against his archnemesis, Erik Killmonger. In doing so, Narcisse weaves together the growing tension between T’Challa and his elder adopted brother, Hunter, along with the interactions with Namor and Doom, and perhaps most importantly, the technology invented by T’Challa’s mother, N’Yami.
The fight between T’Challa and Killmonger is an interesting one, in part because Narcisse and artist Javier Pina eschew the brutal bare-knuckle fights of their previous bouts on the page and the big screen in favor of a more intellectual and technological warfare. That being said, there are some standout moments, such as Hunter launching T’Challa into the air in a manner that rivals the famous “fastball special.”
Javier Pina’s staging of the action is good, though there are times when the pages feel a little crowded. Emphasis on the action in the foreground means that the backdrops to the fights are little more than color fills by Stéphane Paitreau. In smaller portions, this wouldn’t be much of a problem, but because so much of Rise of the Black Panther #6 is action, it would have been nice to create some more dynamic backdrops.
Is It Good?
Relatively minor art issues aside, Rise of the Black Panther #6 is a solid conclusion to what has been one of the stronger miniseries revolving around T’Challa and Wakanda. Whether or not it is essential reading will ultimately be left up to the individual consumer, but Narcisse has nicely woven together a story of T’Challa’s beginnings as King that also sets the stage for the conflicts and relationships that have defined him as a character.