byJonathan Hickman (Writer), Rags Morales (Artist), Frank Martin (Color Artist).
The Story: T’Challa and Namor find common ground admits the destruction of worlds.
The Review: One of the most fascinating aspects of this series has been the continued evolution of the relationship between the Black Panther and the Sub-Mariner in the wake of Atlantis’ attack upon Wakanda in the pages of Avengers V.S X-Men. While Namor has been shown to actively trying to bring further destruction down upon Wakanda during the events of Infinity his relationship with Namor in this issue is equal parts melancholy and camaraderie, two weary warrior kings commiserating over where their paths have led them; as witnesses to the destruction of multiple Earth’s. While Namor’s motives are always suspect, the conversation between the two does contain some moments of bitter-sweet honesty and understanding between two characters who’s dynamic could easily fall into a tiring pattern of constantly being at each others throats in the hands of a lesser writer.
The conceit of the ongoing concern of the incursions being a crisis too large even for Justice League analogues is an interesting one that serves to show how different Marvel’s premier heroes are to the Distinguished Competition’s, so far the Illuminati have managed to get by purely on luck alone but the sense of doom that pervades this issue seems to indicate that this to will change at some point. There are ominous references to the Black Priests and Ivory Kings, beings even more fearsome than the newly revealed Mapmakers that help to build the sense of foreboding even if the mythology of this book becomes somewhat ethereal. While I do feel that Hickman’s work lends itself to an omnibus-style-binge-consumption there is certainly enough meat on the bone of this issue with the Panther/Namor material to keep me interested and back for more next month.
The art in this issue by Rags Morales and Frank Martin is nicely done, the story telling is clear and crisp with shades of Mark Bagley in Morale’s line work and expressive characterisation. The colours by Frank Martin provide a nice contrast between the scenes on the coldly coloured doomed earth and those set in Wakanda’s more vibrant Necropolis, the contrast in palettes works to sell the atmosphere in the book a lot better than Martin’s attempt at a similar approach in this weeks Avengers #28.
Topping the issue of is a beautiful cover by Leinil Francis Yu which serves to whet the appetite for his upcoming return to the Avengers book. The way the logo is incorporated into the cover design is absolutely fantastic and very much in keeping with the innovative design work that has been a staple of this books covers since its relaunch under Hickman and company. The issue is worth buying for the cover alone.
Stray Thoughts: It’s dubious as to whether the addition of the Hulk to the Illuminati will get much play in the next issue but it should be really interesting to see what he adds to the group dynamic moving forward. Especially if he’s brain damaged.