Black Panther #7 serves as the penultimate chapter in the storyline, "The Long Shadow," which is notable for introducing an important new character into the Black Panther franchise. Wakanda is a divided nation suffering from the fallout of T'Challa's schemes and lies, with a young warrior named Tosin stepping up to fill the hero's void. What makes Black Panther #7 fascinating is writer John Ridley spreads the story around in order to give proper page time to several key characters, who help to give different viewpoints of the brewing conflict.
What started as an investigation into who was killing T'Challa's sleeper agents has transformed into a power grab by one of his most trusted allies. Akili, leader of the Wakandan secret police force known as the Hatut Zeraze, appears to have orchestrated events to frame T'Challa for treason. What I like is how writer John Ridley uses members of the Dora Milaje to call out T'Challa for placing blame on Akili. After all, if T'Challa hadn't lied to all his friends and family, Akili wouldn't have been able to use those lies to his advantage. Akili and T'Challa share the blame equally, and it's only right for those involved to recognize that.
The art team of Stefano Landini, Matt Milla, and Joe Sabino succeed in the task of transitioning from tense, political discussions to short, kinetic fight sequences. It's also helpful to have a main character's official debut take place in your issue. Tosin is already different from Black Panther since his skin appears to be made up of liquified Vibranium. Readers aren't given much explanation for exactly how this works, short of some conversations between Tosin and Shuri, Tosin fighting the Hatut Zeraze, and his healing in a vat of liquid Vibranium. The healing portion takes place mostly off-screen, and what is shown on the page isn't very clear since it's in the background and not fully fleshed out. One can imagine a proper origin story will be told once "The Long Shadow" concludes next issue.
So far, John Ridley's run on Black Panther has delivered in several key areas. For starters, Black Panther's status quo is drastically altered, placing him as an enemy of Wakanda and an outcast to his most trusted allies. Second, Ridley and his collaborators haven't been afraid to add to the Black Panther mythos by creating a new character. It'll be fun to see how big of a role Tosin plays in the series moving forward, but for now, he offers a different perspective than what fans are accustomed to seeing in a Black Panther comic.
Published by Marvel Comics
On July 6, 2022
Written by John Ridley
Art by Stefano Landini
Colors by Matt Milla
Letters by Joe Sabino
Cover by Alex Ross