After preventing the Sentry from demolishing a small town in Oklahoma, Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda celebrate Fat Cobra’s impressive digestive powers and their first victory. Unfortunately, a strange transmission from Gorilla-Man and Broo cuts the festivities short. The team’s freshly repaired satellite is detecting an anomaly on the Moon’s surface that demands the King’s attention. It may sound weird, but:
“The Moon is hungry.”
One of the biggest draws for a team book like Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda is its obscure cast of characters. So much entertainment comes from observing how this unlikely team interacts with each other. Zub’s success with the third issue is in imbuing these interactions with humor that appeals to a variety of tastes. More importantly, Zub has crafted a zany sci-fi narrative that facilitates this comedy.
It is hard not to smile about the story’s inherent silliness once the Moon sprouts vine-like tentacles and starts eating spaceships. One of my favorite moments from Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda #3 follows this reveal. As the tentacles begin to overpower the team, their recruit, Mockingbird, quips, “I’m assuming we don’t have contingencies for moon tentacles in the Agents of Wakanda Operation’s Handbook.” This sarcastic line was enough to garner a smile from me. However, what elevates this moment is the way Zub allows the humor to build before nailing the punchline. His use of Okoye as Mockingbird’s straight man enhances the delivery of the next line. “That was sarcasm, Okoye. I make jokes at inappropriate times so that I don’t just start endlessly swearing.” Although this line is good on its own, it is elevated by Zub’s cutaway gag with John Jameson furiously cursing as he pours round after round into the tentacles.
Moments like this make the issue so much fun to read. Additionally, these story beats illustrate that Zub has an excellent grasp of many of the team members’ roles. Although the roster is ever-expanding and evolving, it is nice to see each member have a brief moment to shine throughout the issue. Unfortunately, Gorilla-Man and Broo were shelved so quickly at the beginning of the book that they don’t see any action. Each of the covers has showcased these heroes; however, they haven’t done much in the story this far. However, I will say that the shelving of these characters does provide a neat parallel to the previous arc. Whereas the Sentry was making the heroes live out their worst nightmare, Moon monster presents its captives with their greatest desires. Only time will tell if the Moon tentacles are more successful in subduing their prey.
Lan Medina wonderfully illustrates this issue’s pages with Craig Yeung on inks and Menyz and Blee on colors. The entire art team’s work does a great job of conveying the action as the Moon tentacles assault our heroes. My favorite pages from the whole book are the two-page spread showcasing this assault. The blurry effect that the art team uses on the tentacles does an excellent job of conveying the monster’s frenetic energy. As a result, this artistic choice elevates the scene’s tension.
“Each mission we encounter, each threat we face, has its own unique problems to overcome.”
I think it’s important to note that with a book like this, you must temper your expectations. Jim Zub’s goal is to entertain you with escapist storytelling. With this issue, there is no social commentary or deeper meaning behind the story. If you go in expecting something meatier, then you will be left disappointed. I am not saying this to criticize, but rather give a reminder.
However, the lack of depth could cost us some exciting character development. As we jumped into the next mission, we were missing some payoff from the previous issue. During the team’s battle with the Sentry, Okoye says that she wants to talk to T’Challa about her role. Although Zub could explore this in the future, it does feel off that this she does not bring it up in this issue.
Additionally, the revolving cast between missions makes sense from a leadership perspective and choosing the right person for the job. However, I am worried that this will not allow Jim Zub to provide each character with enough character development. This series is entertaining, but some additional character development could provide more depth and make the series even better.
Filled with humor, action, and strange sci-fi spectacle, Black Panther and the Agents of Wakanda #3 is pure fun. Although the revolving cast may be troublesome, Jim Zub’s use of zany sci-fi storytelling and humor makes this issue entertaining to read from start to finish. Hopefully, some of the shelved characters will have more time to shine in the next issue.