This week T’Challa gets a new ongoing before his big screen debut with Black Panther, and Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber’s Image series The Fix arrives!
Black Panther #1 (Marvel Comics)
With his big movie debut in a month, Black Panther’s new ongoing series couldn’t have come at a better time. With Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates penning the series, it’s a safe bet that Marvel is planning on big things for this new volume of Black Panther. Hell, the last page even has a breakdown of the creators involved and their past credits, not unlike what you’d find on the back of a best selling novel. So how does this first issue, with art by Brian Stelfreeze, stack up?
Pretty damn well to be honest. As someone with minimal knowledge of T’Challa, I found this opening issue to be really accessible and pretty compelling. It finds T’Challa dealing with an uprising within his kingdom of Wakanda. T’Challa is determined to uncover the reasons behind it, but at the same time, the people who are supposed to be looking at him as a leader have begun to question his rule.
That’s really all there is to this issue, but Ta-Nehisi Coates shows a ton of potential with this issue. He even presents the ideas of the Wakanda Kingdom and its politics in a really entertaining way. This is Coates’ first crack at writing comics, and he does a really great job here, working in the complex background of Black Panther while also making this a very easy comic to jump in and start reading. You can also tell that Coates is a life long comic fan, but at the same time, that fandom doesn’t get in the way of his story.
As for Brian Stelfreeze’s art? Simply put, he’s incredible. Everything about his art works here, from the strange Wakandian technology to the awesome (and subtle) Black Panther redesign. Stelfreeze has long been an underrated artist in comics, but hopefully that changes with Black Panther, which should be a stellar showcase for his art.
If you’ve watched the Captain America: Civil War trailer and want to know more about that guy who chases down Bucky’s motorcycle, this is looking like the book to turn to. Both Coates and Stelfreeze are really bringing their all to this character, and like I said before, it couldn’t come at a better time. Outside of Christopher Priest’s Marvel Knights run, T’Challa hasn’t really had a major creative run on any of his series in his 50-year history. But with Coates and Stelfreeze, it looks like that may change.
The Fix #1 (Image Comics)
It’s no secret that I’m a huge fan of Superior Foes of Spider-Man. The Nick Spencer and Steve Lieber Marvel series was a hilarious look into the lives of some of Spider-Man’s lesser-known foes, with panels that have been burned into my brain forever because of their pure insanity (seriously, if you say “the face of Doom” to me I’ll probably bust out laughing). So you can imagine my excitement when I found out about The Fix, the new Image series from Spencer and Lieber. My anticipation was through the roof for this one, and I’m happy to report that The Fix was exactly what I was hoping for and more.
The Fix follows two corrupt cops who typically investigate the places that they had just robbed, with this opening issue’s hit taking place in a retirement home. Roy, our “hero”, narrates this opening issue, and also details how his fascination with crime brought him into law enforcement. More so than in Superior Foes, Nick Spencer’s dark humor shines through beautifully in this issue, and many times I found myself laughing at how insane this book gets (just wait until you meet the movie producer who is trying to make a movie based on Roy and his partner).
Steve Lieber again shows off his comedic skills with this issue, and just like with Superior Foes, he expertly knocks down the jokes that Spencer sets up in his script. You can tell from the work Lieber puts into this that he’s very excited to be working on this. With intricate layouts and differing panels on each page, Lieber easily outdoes anything from his Superior Foes work, which is no easy task.
The Fix is a very entertaining comic book, and one that deserves your time and money. It’s like the R rated version of Superior Foes of Spider-Man, or better yet, if Shane Black was given the chance to write the story for a Grand Theft Auto game. Sure, there are a LOT of characters introduced in this issue, but Spencer and Lieber are such a dynamite creative team with such a great premise that you end up just going along for the ride. In a world where there are too many events and gimmicks in comics, The Fix is just what we need.