Black Panther: The Man Without Fear

David Liss and Francesco Francavilla take T’Challa on a bold new adventure into the heart of Hell’s Kitchen

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By Ben Morse

Beginning this December, T'Challa of Wakanda prowls a new kind of jungle and New York City gains a very different kind of protector as The Black Panther comes to Hell's Kitchen.

The Black Panther by Francesco Francavilla
With issue #513, DAREDEVIL morphs into BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR under the guidance of writer David Liss and artist Francesco Francavilla as the fallout of Shadowland causes a drastic shift in the landscape of the Marvel Universe.

"T'Challa is no longer the king of Wakanda, and he has no more vibranium," says Liss, touching on recent changes to the life of his new leading man. "After the trials of DoomWar, he's looking to figure out who he is; what it means to be T'Challa without all the roles, responsibilities and powers that have defined him for so long. When an opportunity arises to relocate to Hell's Kitchen, it seems like exactly the kind of test he's looking for."

While Liss could not speak on what becomes of Hell's Kitchen's previous protector to necessitate this shift as those monumental events have yet to unfold in the pages of SHADOWLAND and its associated titles, he did reveal what brought an Edgar Award-winning novelist like himself to this project:

"I was extremely excited to have the chance to work on such an exciting reworking of an established Marvel hero and I've always been a big Daredevil fan, so the opportunity to tell a story set in that milieu was a real thrill for me.

"I am still relatively new to comics, but this is the third project I've done with Marvel, and I've learned an incredible amount over the past couple of years," continues the author, who last penned 2009's DARING MYSTERY COMICS 70TH ANNIVERSARY SPECIAL. "In many ways, scripting a comic book is a very different kind of writing [from doing novels], but in more important ways it is a variation on the kind of storytelling I've been doing for years."

Joining Liss and T'Challa will be artist Francesco Francavilla, who made a splash recently with his series of "Who Will Bet the New Man Without Fear?" posters and now looks forward to helping answer that very question.

"[T'Challa's look] is still very recognizable, [however] a few changes were needed since this is a new Black Panther who doesn't have all the high tech gear from Wakanda, but instead is more like an urban fighter in this

BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1 preview art by Francesco Francavilla
metropolitan setting," explains Francavilla of his approach to the character. "The silhouette is still unmistakably Black Panther."

"Francesco is an amazing artist and I love seeing his spin on scripts," praises Liss. "His style is moody and atmospheric, but also vivid and dynamic. And this is my first time working with an artist who does his own colors, so it's great fun to get near finished pages showing up in my inbox."

But while Liss and Francavilla have forged a sturdy creative partnership, what has become of T'Challa's own partner, name his wife, Storm?

"Storm is with the X-Men in Utopia," reveals the writer. "[Her and T'Challa's] relationship has not changed; they are still married, in love and committed to each other. At the same time, they have their own things they have to do. Storm not only accepts that T'Challa has to be alone right now, she insists on it because she understands that is what he needs. T'Challa is out to test his limits and see what he's made of; that would be hard to do if every time he got in trouble Storm came flying in and zapped his enemies."

Expect those enemies to be a mix of faces familiar to longtime Daredevil fans as well as freshly dangerous threats such as the ominously-named Vlad the Impaler.

"I love the classic Hell's Kitchen villains and plan to bring some of them into these stories, but I wanted T'Challa to face someone new in the first arc," says Liss. "In the wake of Shadowland, it's a perfect time for an ambitious man who has been waiting for the right time to strike. Vlad is a Romanian immigrant who has been hired muscle for a long time but now is trying to establish himself as a power in New York City. He is a dedicated husband and parent, a fair and reasonable boss, and has a solid work ethic. He is also a brutal killer with super powers of his own [who] is determined to crush [T'Challa] before he becomes a real threat."

BLACK PANTHER: THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR #1 preview art by Francesco Francavilla
But external enemies won't comprise the Panther's only threats, as some of his greatest challenges come from within.

"As far as allies, he'll have some offers, but insist on going it alone and doing it secretly; it was important to me that I establish that T'Challa will never ask for help," Liss comments on the hero's outlook. "I also wanted to give him a secret identity that matters, so keeping to himself and keeping a low profile are difficulties he will regularly face.

"He will face a lot of moral dilemmas down the road. This is Hell's Kitchen after all, and things are very often not quite what they seem."

However, no matter how much the odds may be stacking up against The Black Panther, Liss still feels T'Challa can rise to the occasion-eventually.

"In this opening arc, we are going to see T'Challa take some blows, get beaten up, make some mistakes. He is still a man of purpose, honor and determination, but he is also figuring out his new limits, trying to make a place for himself in an alien culture and stepping into some very formidable shoes as he becomes a man without fear."

 

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      22 comments
      mharbour
      mharbour

      Now this is a dilemma. I've been buying and reading Daredevil since #108. With much of the recent storyline happening outside the main title in one-shots and mini-series and specials which I haven't read I've been a bit adrift knowing only parts of the story. Now, with the title change, my automatic ordering online didn't order the new title and I've just found out about it. The new direction sounds interesting but not compelling. Do I go ahead and order #515 and try to pick up #s 513 and 514 somewhere? Or do I let the unintended consequences of the title change provide a natural end to 36 years with the title?

      PDNMAN
      PDNMAN

      Aloha,'For the record. BP was the first super hero that knew that Matt Murdock was DD. Way back in Daredevil #52. In DD #92, Matt asked T'Challa to wear both the DD costume and a mask, so that DD and Matt Murdock could appear in the same place at the same time.As long a T'Challa eventually returns to the throne of Wakanda, I'm okay with his need to soul search

      Rajvyas1
      Rajvyas1

      DD is relaunching in December people! Calm down!!!

      avenger901
      avenger901

      BP will NOT BE THE MAN WITH OUT FEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      avenger901
      avenger901

      BP IS NOT GOING TO BE THE NEW MAN WITH OUT FEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      ArchangelDRMRS
      ArchangelDRMRS

      again, this is NOT a DD book. he's getting a relaunch in December. quit hatin on the BP

      Zerglot
      Zerglot

      For a second there i thought i was reading a Batman comic, very similar styles. Mabey they could team up with Hawkeye and the Green Arrow, have a crossover comic.

      dopestyle
      dopestyle

      Curious about how they will spice up his storylines. BP has always been a side character to me and never holds much substance. I have wanted to get interested in BP so I hope Quesada does a good job on this!

      marvelnerdking
      marvelnerdking

      Black Panther in COOL, DEARDEVIL HES OK BUT THE BLACK PANTHER IS EVEN BETTER

      iceland
      iceland

      i agree with avenger901 quesada is doing a good job but he´s changing too much osborn no longer goblin and the new bad nick fury, hulk no longer the strongest one there is and rogers no longer cap (forgive me if i´m wrong about hulk i missed hulk #24)

      mikx
      mikx

      i think this is very interesting. i like the "urabnized" black panther" coz DD is known for his fighting skills and not gadgets or superpowers. also, the figure is kinda similar to DD's with the ears/horns.. personally, i'd love to see DD as a villain.. just curious how it turns out >

      johnnysword
      johnnysword

      This is a terrible, terrible idea. If I wanted BP, I'd read BP. But I don't read BP, I read DD. I buy DD to read about DD. So I'll be dropping this title immediately following Shadowland. Maybe when this title's sales tank after the switch, Marvel will realize BP just doesn't hold enough interest to sustain an ongoing.

      ArchangelDRMRS
      ArchangelDRMRS

      not sure if this posted...Daredevil isn't going anywhere. They are relaunching his book in December. And all his fans will still love him. Just because Black Panther has the title of "Man Without Fear" doesn't mean daredevil fans need to hate on this book. Minus that little catch phrase, this is going to be a good book. Quesada isn't messing things up, quit living in the 60's & 70's. this isn't about Daredevila dn what happens to him as a character. GO complain in the shadowland threads to do that. This is about Black Panther, and those that love the character are excited to see him back in a monthly book with a fresh twist...

      ArchangelDRMRS
      ArchangelDRMRS

      Daredevil isn't going anywhere. They are relaunching his book in December. And all his fans will still love him. Just because Black Panther has the title of "Man Without Fear" doesn't mean daredevil fans need to hate on this book. Minus that little catch phrase, this is going to be a good book. Quesada isn't messing things up, quit living in the 60's & 70's. this isn't about Daredevila dn what happens to him as a character. GO complain in the shadowland threads to do that. This is about Black Panther, and those that love the character are excited to see him back in a monthly book with a fresh twist...

      pillar
      pillar

      I for one am subscribing. I missed not having a black panther monthly title. Sad to see Matt die/go away for whatever reason but we all know he will be back. Until then just enjoy this great concept of a tchalla that has basically lost everything that has defined him in the past. Should be great.

      warriorspirit97
      warriorspirit97

      I think this is a pretty interesting concept. The art is gritty and very noir. I believe in taking a character out of there element and seeing what happens. T'Challa conquering the ultimate jungle is worth looking into. The writer I'm not sold on but will check out the first arc.

      shuto1976
      shuto1976

      Please let this be a joke... I just want the Daredevil! The best character Marvel has and they are going to destroy him! NNNOOOOOOOOO!

      bamaboy23
      bamaboy23

      Dude, just accept the fact that Quesada is going to ruin everything Stan Lee ever stood for. He did it with Spiderman, he's allowing it with Hulk, the blind guy never stood a chance.

      avenger901
      avenger901

      BLACK PANTHER THE NEW MAN WITHOUOT FEAR!!!NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!DAREDEVELL MUST STILL BE THE MAN WITHOUT FEAR.WE NEED TO HAVE A VOTE!!!!!!!!!