Marvel Action: Black Panther #6 – Review

Vita Ayala and Arianna Florean bring to a close the story of the Wakandan Scientific Conference, showing readers just how much T’Challa and Shuri have grown over a relatively short time.

With the Wakandan Scientific Conference only moments away, the final pieces are being put into place to receive the ambassadors and guests. Unfortunately, things don’t go as planned (as these things rarely do) when Shuri’s latest invention, the Matter-To-Data Converter, is stolen before it can be taken to the conference.

The device, which can scan an object down to the individual molecules and convert them to digital data, was made with the intention of using the technology to safely dispose of toxic chemicals and radioactive waste, but could easily be turned to evil ends if falling into the wrong hands.

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Luckily, T’Challa and Shuri are able to track down the thieves and a fight ensues in the streets. Whilst they manage to capture one of the thieves the other gets away with the device. Fortunately, they’re able to learn that the Conference is the target, and are able to go after the thieves in order to prevent a huge disaster.

This final issue in the Wakandan Scientific Conference continues with the themes that have been a big part of this story arc, namely that Wakanda isn’t quite the perfect nation that we, and even the royal family, have been led to believe. There are people in the nation that help each other and lift each other up yes, but there are also those that take advantage of those around them and push others down. This has led to some people feeling like they have been abandoned by their rulers and left to fend for themselves.

This not only makes the country itself more interesting, but it means that the heroes are having to go up against villains who aren’t really bad people. They’re people that want something better for themselves and others in similar situations, not something selfish like power and wealth. And this makes it all the more difficult for the heroes as they can’t just go in punching, but have to try and make things actively better.

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I’ve loved seeing this side to the Black Panther story, of the wonder nation not quite being as good as it should be, and of a King who thinks his country is a paradise learning that he has to do more for his people than he’s already doing. In a lot of ways it makes the title more interesting than if it was just Black Panther fighting some super villain.

With this arc now over I’m interested to see where the story will go next, whether it will continue to examine these themes further, or if it will begin to feel more like a traditional super hero comic. Hopefully Vita Ayala will be on to continue writing past this story, as I think she has a great grasp of not just the characters, but a varied and interesting idea for how to treat the world too.

I’d also like to see Arianna Florean continue on as artist, as he work has been really exceptional these last few issues, giving characters and environments a real sense of life and energy; something that isn’t easy for a story that doesn’t rely on big splash pages or over the top action sequences. I’d also like to see Shuri continue to use her fairy wing backpack, as her flying around is not only awesome, but the wings might be one of my favourite parts of the comic.

Marvel Action: Black Panther #6 is out now from IDW Publishing.

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