I’m not sure where the impetus for this title came from, but, honestly, it doesn’t matter. The plot of the story gives Hudlin a chance to expand on the story of Wakanda that was started in the early issues of the most recent “Black Panther” series. Hudlin set Wakanda up as a nation of warriors, able to defend themselves against any threat.
The Nazis are trying to develop an intercontinental missile, and have determined that vibranium may just be the metal they need to construct that missile. A platoon of Nazis is sent to Wakanda, but they are quickly dispatched. As the sole survivor of the platoon is telling his tale, the Howling Commandos – with Captain America leading this mission – arrive in Wakanda to witness the aftermath.
The Marvel Knights imprint is a fitting choice for this story, even though it hasn’t been used a great deal of late. It gives the story a little more freedom.
Hudlin uses Gabriel Jones to bring us into this story. Through Jones’ eyes we learn of Captain America, and are reminded of some of the realities of the World War II era, such as the lack of racial integration in the United States. Jones proudly serves in Fury’s Commandos and makes an interesting choice of voice to provide narration to this tale. While the story is quite dark in its content and setting, Hudlin finds ways to drop in some humor at Hitler’s expense. I found it all the funnier because I wasn’t expecting it.
The art by Cowan and Janson is dark and finely detailed. Their sketchier styles add grit and motion to the visuals of the story, while the muted military-colored palette employed by Pete Pantazis is further accentuated by the garish uniform of Captain America when he bursts onto the scene, a whirling dervish of red, white, and blue.
This story benefits from being the first of a four-issue series in that the action sets in right from the first page. Hudlin makes presumptions that his readers have a general understanding or recognition of the key players of this story, which then allows him to plow forward with the story. With Wakanda under attack by Nazis, and the Howling Commandos following suit, the Black Panther -- in this case T’Chaka, the father of T’Challa -- steps in to defend his country.
Captain America demands that the Black Panther choose a side. Pride steps in and the two tussle. The end of this issue sets up some pretty serious complications for the rest of the story. Sure, we all know Captain America -- and most of the other players in this drama -- survive, but we haven’t ever seen this segment of their history in any form.