Tuesday I ran an old review of Legends, which I read while Civil War was running. Today, the other series I read during that time that sounded like the descriptions of Civil War I was hearing, also reviewed in March.
|Black Panther: Enemy of the State II
By Christopher Priest & Sal Velluto
Marvel Comics – Black Panther vol. 3 #41-45 @ $2.50
The original “Enemy of the State” saw an attempted coup against Wakanda. Here, the same organization has set its sight on America and the only way to stop them is corporate raider tactics between T’Challa and Tony Stark.
If you’ve read Priest‘s Black Panther before, you know the plotting style: dense, complex, jumps around in time a lot, hilarious. Narrated as usual by State Department employee, Everret K. Ross, there are two parallel plotlines running here: T’Challa teamed up with/versus Stark and Ross dragged along for the ride with Jack Kirby’s version of the Panther (where he came from goes unexplained, but enough hints are dropped that it’s a safe bet that it’s revealed later). Ross’s interaction with the more adventurous, gung-ho Kirby Panther and his sidekicks is comedy gold, as the Kirby Style makes for great adventure with a fun and silly Panther, but doesn’t quite jibe with later renditions.
As for the main plot, the twists and turns are excellent. Panther is in full “hard to trust because he knows more than you and isn’t going to tell you anything” mode. Stark already has reason to distrust him, as it’s already been revealed that T’Challa joined the Avengers essentially to spy on them, which gives Tony a pretty good reason to wonder why T’Challa isn’t telling him much now. Before it’s all over, they’ve taken over each other’s companies and a knock down, drag out fight takes place in the sewers. It turns out that they’re fighting because some of the time, the Tony we’re seeing is a doppleganger, a time-displaced future Tony who is being controlled by the real bad guys (also the case with Bush and the Canadian Prime Minister) and this is why T’Challa couldn’t tell him everything.
Admittedly, this is more straight superhero and less intricate politics than the first “Enemy of the State,” but it’s still strong plotting and plenty thrilling. The art is strong and clear as always, with Sal Velluto doing an excellent job of integrating the Kirby characters, drawn in a Kirby-homage style, with the rest of the book. The whole package just screams out for a trade. The only thing that stuck out at me was a personal bias and easily explained away: Bush is written as a clever and thoughtful leader, someone that you disagree with, but who has thought it all out and is entirely reasonable, an approach that makes for some comedy while preventing him from being a caricature, but which doesn’t exactly jibe with personal accounts of the real president. However, this can be attributed to his not revealing (all of) his true colors at the time of publication, and also the fact that Queen Divine Justice is arguing with the doppleganger Bush, not the real deal.
Added bonus: A not-lame reference to Lloyd Bentsen’s “You’re no Jack Kennedy” quote.