"American Panther." That seemed like a pretty dumb name when I read about this character coming to this series. The art for the character seemed like the turnabouts to a rare variant of the Black Panther action figure in the current Marvel Universe toy line. I try not to buy comics for the hype and I sure don't spend my time or money trying to track down variant action figures. After all, if they're so rare, I'd have to think twice about playing with them.
I've been enjoying the "Fear Itself" story, however, so it seemed like a good time for me to pick up this issue and see what's developed since the last time I sampled this book.
The "Fear Itself" tie-in is little more than a "red skies" crossover. There are glimpses into the scenes from the main story of Marvel's summer event, and one of those glimpses makes the seemingly tangential story in this issue possible. The tangent I'm referring to is the main antagonist for this issue. I don't think I'm spoiling anything by revealing the return of the Hate-Monger, but how he returns and the impact he has upon the world around the Black Panther are the interesting parts of this story.
There's a little too much build up for the Hate-Monger and his crony, however, and the Black Panther almost gets completely squeezed out of his own book. All the more reason for the American Panther to appear on the cover and draw potential readers in, right?
Except that American Panther isn't quite what you or I might be thinking. That doesn't mean that they're not going to make an action figure of him, though.
Francesco Francavilla's art is solid throughout the book and his color choices help complete the art as a whole. Francavilla plays up the emotions in this book with his liberal use of deep shadows complemented by his application of vibrant color choices. This is a great looking comic, but the story itself seems to be a little slow. Of course all of the set up in this issue is only going to bode well for the next issue, right? Possibly.
David Liss drops a honey of monkey wrench into this story's final page. It's not an overly exciting final image, but the meaning is poignant and the implications are going to be significant. At the very least, Liss and Francavilla have done enough with this issue to make me come back for another.