Black Panther #1, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, cover art by Brian Stelfreeze, interior art by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin, lettering by Joe Sabino, design by Manny Mederos, logo by Rian Hughes. Marvel Comics, April 2016. $4.99.
Oh man, Stelfreeze and Martin’s art is gorgeous—Stelfreeze’s figures are dynamic, the compositions of each panels intriguing; Martin’s color palettes add so much mood and sense of place to each panel. Black Panther #1 isn’t an issue to read quickly; there’s a lot going on, with Coates introducing lots of setup and fascinating characters; so many intertwined conflicts of different scopes are laid out to be explored. A great first issue.
Black Panther #2, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, cover art by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin, interior art by Brian Stelfreeze and Laura Martin, lettering by Joe Sabino, design by Manny Mederos, logo by Rian Hughes. Marvel Comics, May 2016. $3.99.
This issue delves further into a changing Wakanda and the various struggles that T’challa is facing: shame, rage; a myriad of complex emotions. There’s a lot going on and at times it’s difficult to keep up, but it also feels like there’s a large story going on that will take a few issues to bring into rhythm. The artwork is great; the swirls and squiggles of the two pages in T’challa’s mind are particularly interesting, a different textural landscape to illustrate the powers interfering with him.
Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises #0, created and written by Shannon Lee and Jeff Kline, cover art by Bernard Chang, interior art by Brandon McKinney and Zac Atkinson, lettering by Troy Peteri, design by Steve Blackwell. Darby Pop Publishing, May 2016. Free Comic Book Day.
Co-created by Shannon Lee, Bruce Lee’s daughter, Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises is a fictional all-ages adventure comic in which Bruce Lee escapes the facility in which he was held and finds himself in the year 2012. The artwork is expressive and the story is a fun setup for the series. Some of the writing is a little too silly for my tastes, but other audiences may enjoy it more.
Lady Mechanika #0: The Demon of Satan’s Alley, created and written by Joe Benitez, art by Joe Benitez and Peter Steigerwald, lettering by Josh Reed. Benitez Productions, May 2016. Free Comic Book Day.
Lady Mechanika captures a creature terrorizing local residents, only to discover that the creature knows about her mysterious past. “The Demon of Satan’s Alley” takes up about half the issue, with the other half comprised of excerpts from Lady Mechanika volumes 1 and 2. I’ve seen Lady Mechanika around a number of times and always liked the art—it’s ornate and dynamic, and the stories and excerpts feel like fun adventure fiction. But I always find myself disappointed and troubled by visions of steampunk that reproduce colonial England, a power dynamic that’s especially apparent in the Orientalist fantasy that the preview of volume 2 shows. So, mixed feelings about Lady Mechanika.
Another chapter in the Spider-Women arc—again I’m only going off the blurb in the front to bridge between the issues. This time it was a little harder to follow what was going on, but Silk #8 is still an enjoyable read. I’m really loving Tana Ford’s art, and, reading this issue right after reading Lady Mechanika—which has a bit of cheesecake design—I’m struck by how realistic Ford’s illustrations of body types are, how refreshing it is to see costumes follow how fabric actually works: no boob-socking, for example. It’s great, and I’ve really grown to appreciate Ford’s art and the expressiveness of the characters. 616!Cindy’s character also takes an interesting turn in this issue, and I’m curious to see how things work out. I may have to pull the other issues of the Spider-Women arc or wait for the trade paperback after all…