Black Panther: Man Without Fear #513
It took a lot of people by surprise when Marvel revealed that Black Panther would be filling in for Daredevil when Shadowland was over. Why would the former ruler of the African nation of Wakanda start protecting a small, albeit dangerous, section of New York City (Hell's Kitchen)? Out of all the candidates presented, was the Black Panther really the best choice? He was a king that had advanced technology at his fingertips. Could he fit into a book that has become the standard for gritty, street level, super hero crime drama? As it turns out, yeah.
At the beginning of the issue we find that Daredevil had requested Black Panther to take his place, since he felt he could no longer be Daredevil after the events of Shadowland. Black Panther accepts his offer, but not as a favor. Black Panther has been going through some emotional turmoil himself, after the events of Doomwar. He sees this as an oppurtunity to prove to himself that he is man worthy of being the Black Panther. It's solid motivation for the character to make this change in scenery, but it may be lost upon readers who didn't check out Doomwar months back. Luckily for new readers, that information is really only relevant in the first couple of pages. After that, it becomes its own story.
Black Panther now finds himself in an unfamiliar environment. He has a new name, a new job, and is without the aid of advanced technology from his homeland of Wakanda. This is truly a unique situation for the Black Panther. The writer, David Liss, handles this transition well. It moves at a brisk pace and is full of meaningful dialogue and action. There's even a new villain introduced in this book, and he seems like an interesting foil to our new man without fear. The artist, Francesco Francavilla, does a great job at making this new world look dark and dangerous. His redesign of Black Panther's costume is fantastic as well. It's more militaristic, and fits the mood of the book well.
Overall, this is not a typical Daredevil book. It's not really a typical Black Panther book either. Instead, we have a nice middle ground between the two types of book. The result is a gritty, street level, super hero book. It's well written, beautiful to look at, and worth your time. It was a great read and I'm looking forward to seeing where this series takes us.