Black Panther (1998) #50 Review

Summary

The Black Panther attacks a bunch of dirty cops and sets things up so he can get a collar once he gets back to work. He is Casper Cole a cop who’s on suspension for not wearing his vest while out on the job. His heroics cause him to forget to pay his light bill this cause his pregnant girlfriend to go ballistic. He eventually pays the bill and picks up some stuff for his mom at the store. There he runs into Hunter, adopted brother of T’challa and leader of the exiled Hatut Zeraze. Hunter asks about his heroics and offers to guide him on his journey. Cole refuses and Hunter allows him to leave.

Cole visits his former boss from whom he stole the Panther suit. Tork warns him not to get involved with Hunter and to return the suit and forget heroics since the people he is tangling with would kill his whole family if they found out he’s behind everything that’s happened to them.

He then visits his dad in prison and explains what’s up with the set up and the dirty cops, he promises his dad to take care of things not able to tell him what’s truly up since he fears he may get killed.

The Good

Art- Awesomeness plashed across the action sequences of this issue! That pose of Cole with his two guns, panther suit and jacket is a timeless, perfectly drawn, inked and colored piece that will be awesome come 50 years from now! The issue itself is just a joy to behold across every page.

Story- The tale of Casper Cole is one of crime, drama and real world problems reminiscent of Peter Parker and Kyle Rayner. This is a man whose life is utterly in shambles which makes the Crime fighting all the more poignant.

Characterization- I salute Priest for a character who harkens to superheroes whose humanity and every day problems are the driving force behind everything they do. Casper would make Kyle Rayner proud (lol) Casper is a light skinned Bi-Racial kid of a very dark skinned black man “Black Jack” and his white wife. His dad was a cop who was a renegade who landed behind bars. Casper is now sole bread winner of his family which includes his mother and a pregnant girl friend who has been kicked out by her parents.  His suspension from work due to corrupt cops is also quite shitty but hit home for me. I remember my girl’s reaction to when I got suspended because I showed up my lazy boss (lol) I could relate to being without money for all the wrong reasons. The drive of Cole to provide for his family also hit home as I could relate to that from the perspective of a black man responsible for Mom, Girlfriend and kid. Hell! I could be Casper Cole!

I also loved the in depth skin coloration explored here by Priest. I myself have been accused of being a wiga (White negro) at various intervals throughout my life despite being more brown than either black or white but I could relate.  The racism one experiences as a very dark skinned black man in white countries is often harsh but conversely the racism experienced as a light skinned black person in a predominantly dark skinned world is also true. I loved that the story dealt with this without tiptoeing. His father just like mine was really dark skinned and a bit idealized like his as well. As kids we have a “sacrosanct” view of our parents and this rang true for Cole who loves and idolizes his father allot, it’s probably what lead to him even becoming a cop.

Danger- The inclusion of Hunter here is perfect as a foil to the more noble though less cultured Cole. Gangs will be after Cole soon along with Hunter and his pack consider my interest peaked!

The Bad

Some may complain that Cole’s life has too much stacked against him.

Issue was wordy and full of exposition.

Fans of T’challa may hate that Cole has taken over.

The Ugly

4.5/5

admin

I'm a Caribbean born Lecturer, Multidisciplinary specialist/Androgogue/Philosophical Pedagogue; with backgrounds in Philosophy, Social Studies and Geography; founder/CEO of World of Black Heroes, freelance writer and all around comic book geek. I enjoy a good book, video games, movies and most of all fatherhood. Written credits include work for Islandstage.net where my writing inspired the music compiliation "Kindah" available in multiple languages on Itunes, The Caribbean Journal of Education, The University of the west indies, Comicvine, Independent comics etc.

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