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 ComicAttack.net which also features some (undeniably nice-looking) preview art.

Christine Hanefalk

Christine Hanefalk

Based in Stockholm, Sweden, Christine is a die-hard Daredevil fan who launched The Other Murdock Papers in 2007 to share her passion for Matt Murdock and his friends with other fans.

15 comments

  1. I imagine this is very much another Hulk/Hercules sales gimmick. Marvel seems to really want to have a Black Panther title out so this is probably an attempt to get people who wouldn’t normally read the title to give it a try. I’m sure there will be a new Daredevil starring Murdock when Reborn ends and I’d guess that the Black Panther title will lose the “Man Without Fear” tagline at some point as well.

  2. I hope Black Panther’s reign on Daredevil is short and sweet. You can’t have a series called Daredevil when Daredevil isn’t actually in it. I think this is going to be a fun little experiment for Marvel, but I hope it ends quickly.
    And I really hope Daredevil doesn’t die then come back (story wise) that is a very tedious thing now.

  3. I had naturally assumed that Matt Murdock would resume his role and the title would revert to DAREDEVIL within a year or so, but then you mentioned INCREDIBLE HERCULES. That title lasted 30 (awesome) issues. And a title with Bruce Banner as the lead (as opposed to the new Red Hulk) didn’t relaunch until INCREDIBLE HULK #600 — two years after iHERC. I suppose I should consider the possibility that this wait could be longer than I thought.

    I wonder if my LCS will automatically pull BLACK PANTHER: MAN WITHOUT FEAR for me or not. Who can say?!?

  4. 30 plus issues of Black Panther: Man Without Fear?! DO NOT WANT! No. I am interested in the idea of Black Panther leading the title (given the awesome art and his relationship with DD established in DD vol. 1#52) but I am hoping DD will return soon. I honestly can’t foresee having much enthusiasm past more than 6 issues of Black Panther on the title. I want Matt Murdock. Anything else is just a waste of my time.

  5. I hope this only lasts around 6 issues, I bet Marvel is just doing this because they are going to launch a new Black Panther series.

  6. Sorry for repeating myself, but this can’t be said enough.
    Either Daredevil will eventually restart with a new overpriced #1 less than two years after returning to the vol 1 numbering.
    or
    It will return to its regular title after the BP story is over and many people’s Daredevil collections will now go from 512 to 520 or whatever the number is after it becomes Daredevil again.

    Black Panther is a great character, but I’ve got a feeling a lot of people, like me, don’t really care about or follow Panther and certainly don’t want him taking over DD’s main book. And certainly WON’T be buying Black Panther: The Man without Fear. There are many characters that would have fit this idea so much better who have a history with Matt Murdock. Elektra, Echo, Iron Fist, hell Tarantula would be an interesting choice after the set up Brubaker gave him. But no, lets put Black Panther cause he has a rich history with Murdock, what with those couple of issues in the freakin silver age he guest starred in.

    Yeah, f*** everyone at Marvel involved in this.

  7. I’m disappointed.

    I just don’t have it in me to be mad, but this story arch is a mess.

    I remember in “Decalogue” under Bendis?, the story with people meeting the basement of a church telling stories about their encounters, first and second hand, with DD. I was truly shocked to find DD sting among them. That was a cooler moment than I have seen in this entire “event.” And that was people sitting in a basement.

    The resolution at the end of that story was Matt realizing that he was not going to survive. This made me sad, and at the same time I respected the character even more. Why? Good writing. Logical resolutions, and respect for the character among the creative team.

    I feel sucker punched with gimmicks and warn out clichés with Shadowland. And frankly I find the road they’ve taken Matt down a kick in the teeth and a middle finger to his fans.

    They diss his powers and skills, acting like they need to jack him up with demon juice so he can compete with Shang Chi and Iron Fist in a fight, at the same time as they turn his indomitable will and character into a punch line, all to create a new avenue to make him a failure. The former is just fan boy stuff; the latter is damn close to unforgivable.

    The truly disappointing part of this story is the wasted potential. The ideas were good, the exploration of Matt as the uncorrupted adept, and finally getting a deserved event instead of just being a face in the crowd. Even making him a villain isn’t, on its face, a bad idea, but you can’t take out the cream filling and still expect people to want to eat your Twinky. It just shows you don’t know what a Twinky is.

    There are about 20 directions this story could have gone to make it great, Matt digging up Bullseye was predictable and boring, Matt not having killed him in the frist place, and, as loner playing all the sides, would have been great. Bendis great.

    I like Black Panther, but the creators didn’t even have that foresight to invite him to the Shadowland story or explore he and Matt’s relationship (old as it might be) in a meaningful way.

  8. @AP: “DO NOT WANT!”

    Hilarious. I echo your thoughts on the matter.

    @Eric Rupe: That’s exactly what I thought when I read the announcement. Gimmick.

  9. Hi, Christine

    I generally try to avoid posts that I think might contain spoilers for future issues because, strange being that I am, I like to be surprised when I read.

    However, I could not avoid this post. I have to say that I totally agree with you and, like Bill above, I am more sad and disappointed than angry. Daredevil is Matt Murdock for me and I feel aggrieved that issue 513 will not be Daredevil 513. How can it be Black Panther 513 when BP has about 100 solo issues in totality elsewhere? And why is the Panther? Okay, he has a passing friendship with Matt but there are others who could have conceivably filled this role and for it to have made more sense (specifically Power Man or Iron Fist or even Elektra).

    As Eric and Aaron point out, Marvel has however set a precedence elswhere and I do think that Matt/DD will appear elsewhere quickly (I wasn’t aware of this Reborn thing until I read your post). But it won’t be issue 513 and that kinda grates with the anal completist in me.

    Regards

    Robert

  10. @ Bill

    I totally agree with everything you said regarding Shadowland. As you said, there is so much wasted potential. In my opinion, the disrespect for DD just reinforces what everyone else thinks of him. They’ve done very little to highlight what is great about him in the Shadowland event. Really, all they have done is highlight and give credibility to all the criticisms (many unwarranted and/or flat out made up) I have ever heard about the character. I mean, if I’d never read DD before, I would think DD wouldn’t be able to beat a Scooby Doo villain before The Beast possessed him! Are they trying to erase everything Miller did to rejuvenate DD and take him back to being a grade C or D character? What status quo are they trying to return him to? The status quo of 1971, when the book was uninteresting and almost merged with Iron Man because sales were so low?!

    I know I’m letting out the ridiculous and unbecoming fan boy rage, but I just feel so hoodwinked and betrayed. I was even buying monthly again, which I hadn’t done since the dreaded Spider-Man Clone Saga. I was so hopeful and excited with the buildup in DD # 501-507. It had all the right elements and could have been so good. Now I feel like someone dangled Marvel #1 in front of me and then threw it in the fire just so I couldn’t have it. So cruel.

  11. @ AP and Robert, It’s gratifying that I’m not the only one to see these flaws. Seriously, thanks fellas. I was a bit behind in my reading of the ‘event’ and I was hit with the crap storm all at once. Christine, as always, picked up on most of these issues, but I had not read her reviews before I posted. I take DD personally, a little to personally at times (I have sense I was 8). Matt doesn’t ‘dabble’ in the arts martial, he’s a MASTER who’s been working on has unique form sense he was like 12-16 years old. The result is something unique and very cool but not ‘formal’ like say Iron Fist (again fanboying). I know eventually Matt’s coming back from this demon stuff, you can’t keep a good character down, but trashing the no killing taboo was just wrong because the balance between light and dark is what makes DD, DD, and to do it to serve this bad story and rubbing our faces in it makes it worse.

    I hope Matt’s tied up in a room somewhere planning his escape, to pop in his red suite, say it wasn’t me, and save the day. Superheroes can still save the day, right? That’s what I would rather see if ‘risky grit’ can’t be done right.

  12. If this was an Electra mini I would have been so much happier, BP will be okay I guess, but I would so much rather have DD

  13. “I hope Matt’s tied up in a room somewhere planning his escape, to pop in his red suite, say it wasn’t me, and save the day. ”

    Yeah! It was Mike Murdock the whole time! Seriously, I think THAT would be a better ending than anything Diggle has planned. At least it would be funny.

  14. Incidentally, to throw a curve ball into things… are we sure this is T’Challa and not Matt Murdock dressed up?

  15. While a fun idea, I think it’s been stated in numerous places that T’Challa — not just Black Panther — is going to be the star of BLACK PANTHER: MAN WITHOUT FEAR. Indeed, just today Tom Brevoort commented (in commendably candid fashion) on the candidates to be the new Man Without Fear at CBR.

    “Just to be clear, Gambit and the other characters who were red herrings in the Man Without Fear promotion were never truly contenders for the position. We built this story and this series around T’Challa from the outset[;] it’s his story, and these other characters only showed up when we were compiling a list of other possibilities that people might think could be genuine, to generate some buzz and get people excited.” http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=article&id=28517

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