Page 45 Review by Stephen
Very different from Christopher Priest's sly, winking socio-political approach to BLACK PANTHER, this is more geo-political but just as sassy and sharp.
Quality art from John Romita Jr. depicts one specific instance from the history of Wakanda - the African nation ruled by the Black Panther - oh so elegantly illustrating why it was the only such country that has never been invaded by another.
As Reginald Hudlin has written elsewhere, it has been firmly established that African humans were far more advanced far earlier than their European counterparts, so it stands to reason that if one nation had continued to develop unimpeded then they would have the technology to defend themselves against European imperialism without even breaking a sweat.
There's an immensely satisfying sequence in which one such arrogant, nineteenth-century would-be conqueror, devoid of any humanity whatsoever, is humiliated then dispatched. The Wakandan chief is the epitome of fearlessness and strength: a warrior of few words which, when delivered, are no idle threats.
Cut to the present and Wakanda has reacted to America's current, Iraq-invading neo-imperialism by declaring a no-fly zone over their country.
So, how do you like them apples?
"There is no way a bunch of waffle-makers are going to play us out of position in Wakanda! We need to send in support troops to aid our Wakandan allies right away!"
"And where are those troops coming from? Our troops are spread too thin already. We just don't have enough bodies."
"Oh, that's the one thing we have plenty of."
"We've got more than enough bodies to inva -- I mean, assist Wakanda!"
Standing in front of row upon row of coffins, each laid out under the Stars & Stripes flag on a U.S. Aircraft Carrier off the African Coast:
"I think it's time you found out what kind of special cargo we've got on this ship. These brave men and women died for their country. All that training and manpower wasted. The military hates waste."
The dead rise, cybernetically enhanced.
"We've found a solution to our manpower problem. They're tougher, stronger, fearless, take orders exactly and don't write sad letters back home."
This contains the first story arc of the politically pointed 2005 series before it all went unnecessarily tits-up during a crowbarred-in crossover with The X-Men and readers fled faster than stoats from a boat that's been set on fire.
Boats are infested with stoats. It's a modern epidemic. True fact!
Hmmm.... A vastly extended version of Reggie Hudlin and John Romita Jr's WHO IS THE BLACK PANTHER (which is where my review, above, comes from) this collects BLACK PANTHER (2005) #1-18 and X-MEN (1991) #175-176 so, yes, that crossover I much maligned. Of those subsequent issues Marvel kindly informs us:
"Then, social satire meets all-out action as T'Challa's adventures continue! The Panther enters the HOUSE OF M! An outbreak of strange, mutated animals brings Storm and the X-Men to Africa! The Panther teams up with Luke Cage, Blade, Brother Voodoo and Monica Rambeau to take on the undead! But every king needs a queen, and so T'Challa embarks on his most dangerous quest yet: to wed the love of his life! Which of the world's greatest super hero women will say 'I do'?"
You pays your money and you takes your choice.