I think what is really great about this issue is the fact that it is so self contained. If you decide to get this issue, it would be good to read the one that came immediately before it, but it's not even that necessary. The events that take place in FANTASTIC FOUR #608 are shrouded in mystery. The moments you find here are extremely compelling and serve to prepare readers for what seems will be a dark and very dreary future for the Black Panther and all of Wakanda. Yet, to prepare for this great event where the first will burn the skies (the Phoenix Force), T'Challa will need the power of the Black Panthers that came before him. There is a huge development in this issue, and although T'Challa is no longer the Black Panther, he does gain immense power and a whole lot of responsibility. Big things happen here, and it will be interesting to see T'Challa flex his power in upcoming issues as well as in his future appearances throughout the Marvel Universe. For a little while there is felt like Marvel didn't really know what to do with T'Challa; and it wasn't until this moment when the character is given this sort of blessing that it feels as though Hickman has finally given him his niche. It's also interesting to see the relationship between T'Challa and Reed reinforced in this book, and I look forward to seeing what that means for Wakanda and the Fantastic Four, and why it was destined for Reed to be present during T'Challa's blessing.
There were moments in this issue that definitely had me at the edge of my seat. Would T'Challa commit such a selfish act as to let his sister die so he can become the King and Black Panther once again? There was a lot of mysticism and fantasy in this issue, and some of the themes and elements therein really reminded me of Hudlin's Black Panther series which really delved into this idea of a Panther God and what the matle represents. Aside from those issues, that mysticism associated with the character has not really been utilized. I, however, really felt it was appropriate for this story and I am glad Hickman made it the focal point of his issue.
This issue does a great job setting up and alluding to the events that are sure to take place in the very near future; and something tells me that Wakanda will very soon be falling from grace and will suffer. It will be interesting to see how this develops as well as the way that T'Challa utilizes his newfound powers.
I think that if there were any moments I considered to be bad or out of place, the moments where Shuri, Sue and Storm are gathered together to fight mystical powers -- that felt a little bit out of place. While it was great seeing these three characters appear together in the same panel, it's unclear what their motives are for what they are doing.
I think a good superhero comic not only pulls you into the story, but it also leaves the reader with a lot more questions than answers, even if the issue itself has concluded. This book was the second part of a two-part story, but by the end, I found myself with a lot more questions than andwers. What is this new bond between Reed and T'Challa? How will T'Challa's new role manifest itself and what powers (if any) has he gained? And what does this mean for Shuri as the Black Panther of Wakanda? Finally, it's alluded in this issue that Wakanda will suffer (and Hickman implies why), so what will lead to these problems? There is definitely a lot to think about in tho issue.
I like the art a lot. I think the style really fits the story, and the use of so many warm colors was appropriate for setting the tone and the mood of the book. I think that intertwining Wakanda and the Fantastic Four is interesting, since Black Panther and the FF share a very close history. I think this really works and I look forward to seeing the way it develops. The issue is also predominantly self-contained; and if you haven't been reading, it will be easy to follow along.