Comic book reviews for Black Panther and the Crew #4, Black Panther and the Crew #5, and Black Panther and the Crew #6 by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Yona Harvey, Butch Guice, Mack Chater, and Stephen Thompson
Average rating: 2.6/5 stars
Black Panther and the Crew #4 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey
Art: Butch Guice
I’m just not buying that Ezra and his entire superhero team could go so undercover all those years. I get that Coates is setting them up to be heroes for African Americans, and it’s very true that historically (and today) the police refuse to do their actual jobs in areas of the US largely populated by black people.
And just to be clear, I’m also okay with authors retconning Marvel’s history as needed to fit new ideas in. I can also believe that the Avengers/X-Men/Spider-Man ignored Harlem in the 60s.
However, it doesn’t quite make any sense that Luke and Misty had no idea. They both lived and were/are heroes in Harlem itself. They also served those communities. Arguably, any character Coates puts in this book would have knowledge of Ezra and his crew.
I continue to really enjoy Guice’s art. Especially how he draws faces, body language, and older folks. Ororo’s casual dress is my favorite.
Okay, Hydra is the worst, and so is gentrification. But where is this book going?
Black Panther and the Crew #5 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Butch Guice, Mack Chater, and Stephen Thompson
It was nice to get some Eden backstory given how many Black Panther books he’s been in recently. I knew he wasn’t from Wakanda. But hadn’t read books with him before, so this gives light to a lot of his motivations as someone who identifies with Harlem as his place, but is originally from Australia. Which is a place with a whole other set of racist problems. I also did not realize he was a mutant, which is yet another layer.
This is where Coates does a great job — at least with male characters — in how he balances and addresses the different parts of their identities. (I’ve read enough of his Black Panther books to have discovered the only female character I like under his pen is Ororo, and perhaps that more because he does a great relationship/romance dynamic between her and T’Challa. Harvey only smooths out some of the rough edges when she co-authors.)
I have to say that I’m a bit disappointed to find out that Hydra was the ones behind Ezra’s money. Even if Ezra never actually knew that. It’s sad to see a hopeful figure taken down by that kind of corruption internally.
It makes you wonder who knew. Perhaps Ezra did find this out and that’s why his nephew killed him?
Misty makes me uneasy in this book. I’m not sure how I feel about Luke’s role in “keeping her in check” when she acts a lot like a privileged cop.
Also, it’s pretty brazen and interesting to see how much our heroes fight without costumes in Harlem, and is a nice nod to Eden’s story about how Harlem became his neighborhood, block by block.
Black Panther and the Crew #6 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey
Art: Butch Guice and Mack Chater
I mean the problem with this book is that they were setting it up for an entire run. This is the origin story of The Crew. But there is no Crew because there is no series. Coates will continue to use these characters in the Black Panther run, but this is done.
Still not sure how I feel about Ezra’s old team working directly with Hydra. Like they were in a room with a guy who had the Hydra logo on his shirt. Usually black people refuse to work with white supremacists, unlike say white women being ride or die for the patriarchy. (You die at their hands, that’s the end of that story, btw.)
I suppose this ending was wrapped up as well as possible. It was Ezra’s nephew who killed him, who’d been compromised. And our favorite mind-controlling villain had ahold of the Harlem crowd.
Coates’ Misty remains not my favorite.