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Comic review: Black Panther: The Man Without Fear No. 513 

The Deal: After recent developments in two Marvel comic books — Doomwar and Shadowland — the blind superhero Daredevil has decided to leave Hell's Kitchen (the neighborhood he protects). In his place stands the Black Panther, who takes on the role without his famed technology, his powers, his royal mantle or even his wife (the X-Man Storm).

The Bad: I have no choice but to start with the "Bad" this week ... because this comic is just a travesty. And it's a slap in the face to all the creators who worked for a decade or more to turn the Black Panther, Marvel's only credible black superhero, into a cool character. Anybody remember how lame the Black Panther used to be? I'm talking about the hero who gained a reputation for getting his ass spanked on a regular basis. I'm talking about the dude from the most technologically advanced country in the world who failed to ever bring any tech with him while fighting evil. I'm talking about the guy who once had a hard time beating a dog. (Seriously.) Then along came writer Christopher Priest, who — over the course of more than 80 issues — transformed the Panther into the guy Stan Lee created in the 1960s: a mysterious, super-intelligent hero who was always one step ahead of the game. Priest made the dude so tough, he once punched out the big-time bad guy Mephisto. And once Priest left the book, other writers kept the Panther's new vibe going for the most part. So what's the point of taking away everything that makes the guy cool? I mean, there honestly aren't very many cool black heroes running around the industry ... and with this mess of a story line, we now have one less. Plus, on top of the idiotic premise of this arc, you've got a lame-ass villain and art that just doesn't fit. This is a terrible, terrible comic. I look forward to a swift resolution so we can get back to the Panther being a bad-ass.

The Good: As I stated earlier, the art doesn't fit the comic, but it is pretty decent. A book like this really needs a dynamic and bombastic art style. Francesco Francavilla's stuff — which is kind of gritty, dark and moody — would work better in a slower-paced, character-driven title.

The Verdict: Honestly, you might want to pick up this comic just to witness the horror and wackness.

Reviewed materials provided by Heroes Aren't Hard to Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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