The current Black Panther title is a fascinating sci-fi remix of Wakandan concepts and characters, taking readers away from Earth as T’Challa finds himself in the middle of an intergalactic war with no memory of his past. He’s surrounded by new versions of significant figures from his past, and he’s getting closer to uncovering the mysteries of his new life as he gains greater power as a leader in an intergalactic slave revolt. After spending his first Black Panther defining the sociopolitical landscape of Wakanda, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates has taken to the stars to explore colonialism in a cosmic context.
The new status quo has drastically changed the tone of the book, which now features big spaceship battles in addition to fights between ground troops. It gives readers a very different flavor of Black Panther story, and the book’s art team accentuates that shift. Daniel Acuna set the stage for the series with his rich painted artwork in the first arc, and while Kev Walker has a very different style, the atmosphere and energy of his visuals vibe very well with Coates’ writing. Walker spent significant time in the Star Wars universe as the artist of Doctor Aphra, and he has a lot of comfort with the sci-fi genre, creating expansive alien locales populated by characters and creatures with bold designs and animated expressions.
This exclusive preview of next week’s Black Panther #11 reveals the frightening power of the cosmic version of the mind-manipulating Zenzi, who is a lot scarier now that she’s a reckless child. Walker, inker Marc Deering, and colorist Javi Tartaglia amplify the impact of Zenzi using her power by breaking visual boundaries. Zenzi’s head looms large above her victims while white facial markings appear, glowing in three layers of color make the image vibrate. Telepathy isn’t an especially active superpower, but the art team uses graphic elements give the moment more urgency and intensity.