I was disappointed by Ridley's Batman, but so far his take on T'Challa is compelling. He's following the status quo Coates left -- T'Challa is overextended, trying to balance his role as King of Wakanda, Emperor of the Intergalactic Empire, and Chairman of the Avengers -- but there's also a distinct element of Priest's Panther, the master planner with trust issues.
So it turns out that, when Black Panther decided to open Wakanda to the world, he made a backup plan in case things went wrong. He doesn't trust democracy; one election can turn an ally into an enemy. And so he recruited ten people who he trusted, faked their deaths, and placed them as sleeper agents all over the world, deeply embedded in fake identities and awaiting his signal in case he ever needed anybody assassinated. Only now somebody's found out about them and started killing them.
I think it's a good hook! It's been awhile since I've seen someone tackle this side of Panther, the paranoid bastard who's always looking over his shoulder and making contingency plans. I'm interested in seeing where this goes.
(scans via mars will send no more)
I've said before that '70s Kirby is an acquired taste, but man, I just love this stuff. I find it particularly fascinating as a '70s riff on Captain America; it's a similar story of a 98-pound weakling being transformed by super-science into a super-soldier (whereupon the bad guys immediately kill the scientist responsible for the transformation), but where Simon and Kirby's anxieties of the '40s came from an obvious source, Kirby was worried about a different kind of villain by the '70s:
It's not quite cyberpunk, but it's getting there; it's set in "the world that's coming", a capitalist nightmare where corporations build phony people and the super-rich can rent entire cities. And Buddy Blank is transformed into OMAC not by a syringe of super-soldier serum but by an ever-vigilant satellite called Brother Eye.
Kirby always had big ideas, in any decade. But there's something about his work in the '70s, free from Stan Lee and firmly in control of his stories, something loud and raw and pure that really clicks with me.