Black Panther is the new Man Without Fear

Yes, I know. This is not news. Not to me, or to anyone who reads this blog, but I’ve been gone for a while now and there’s a lot of catching up to do. For the rest of the month, I’ll be posting daily reviews to catch up with all the Shadowland-related titles I have yet to get to. Thanks everyone for your patience! It’s been great to follow all of your comments, keep them coming.

Cover to Black Panther: Man Without Fear #513

In a surprise twist (to me anyway, I was doubtful that Marvel would actually go through with a character change á la Incredible Hercules), it was announced a little over a week ago that Black Panther would be taking over the Daredevil title, with the numbering intact. The new Black Panther: Man Without Fear will take over with issue #513 in the hands of writer David Liss and artist Francisco Francavilla. More or less concurrently, we’ll be seeing the four issue mini-series Daredevil: Reborn which will be written by regular Daredevil scribe Andy Diggle, with art by Davide Gianfelice.

So, what’s my take on all of this? I always try to keep an open mind, that goes for comics as well as everything else I encounter in my life, so that’s what I’m doing here too. Having said that, I have a few concerns:

  1. I don’t particularly care about T’Challa as a character – though I don’t have anything against him, per se – and am not really interested in reading about him. The problem of following a title that I read because I’m interested in Matt Murdock when Matt Murdock is nowhere to be seen can be lessened to some extent if the rest of the Daredevil cast appear in the book. If that’s not the case, I’m hoping the Black Panther’s reign is a short one.

  2. The Daredevil: Reborn mini is only four issues long. Will the appearance of Black Panther in the Daredevil title be for one arc only or are we looking at something that might last for a year or more? What will happen with Daredevil in the mean time? Many of these questions will probably be answered in the coming months, but anything less than Daredevil (i.e. Matt Murdock) appearing in at least one title per month will be a sad disappointment to me. I love the character and have a hard time seeing how there being less of him can ever be a good thing in the long haul.

  3. Daredevil has never been a big seller. It’s been chugging along steadily for many years, sure, but I’m not convinced that the title can carry a less popular character than Daredevil for very long and not suffer for it. Will Daredevil actually be able to recover from all the bumpy ride he’s been put through sales-wise? Let’s hope so. I’m not convinced.

  4. What will actually happen to Daredevil at the end of Shadowland? While I’m still committed to keeping an open mind (though it may not seem like it from the points I’ve been trying to make thus far), I must admit to not being a big fan of characters physically dying and being resurrected. I’m sure you can do something interesting with that kind of development, but as a basic premise, it’s one of those “only in comics” things I tend to roll my eyes at.

Well, there you go! Now, let me know what you think. Before I leave you, I also want to recommend this post on the new Black Panther title, by which also features some (undeniably nice-looking) preview art.