Ultimate Black Panther Wakanda
(Image Source: Marvel / Stefano Caselli)

Comic Review: Ultimate Black Panther #1 Proves Familiar Yet Surprising

The first issue of Ultimate Black Panther may be remembered as the most surprising comic of 2024. Its very existence was a surprise, stunning readers when the first titles for the new Ultimate Universe were announced. The book further shocked the world of comics by selling so well in pre-orders that it required a second printing for its premiere. Expectations are high, and the hype for this book has been considerable. Thankfully, Ultimate Black Panther #1 lives up to it.

Ultimate Universe #1 established that the Africa of the new Ultimate Universe was largely ruled by Ra and Khonshu. The sole exception was an “Undiscovered Territory,” presumed to be Wakanda. This issue confirms this, as it also introduces a new version of King T’Challa.

T'Challa and Okoye in Ultimate Black Panther 1
(Image Source: Marvel / Stefano Caselli)

This Black Panther is plagued by nightmares and doubt. He is a man of science, reluctant to trust the Vodu-Khan mystics who offer aid while undermining his rule. Too, he is wary of starting a war with Ra and Khonshu, despite his advisors’ urgings and Africa calling out for a hero. That call is ultimately answered by Erik Killmonger, who has a surprising ally in his war on the gods. By the issue’s end, events force T’Challa and Wakanda to join that war, ready or not.

Killmonger in Ultimate Black Panther 1
(Image Source: Marvel / Stefano Caselli)

Ultimate Black Panther is Familiar Yet Unique

The script by Bryan Hill introduces many characters known to fans of the MCU but in new roles. For example, Okoye is T’Challa’s queen rather than his chief bodyguard and general. Everything is distinct enough to be differentiated from the Black Panther movies, yet comfortable to newcomers.

The same is true of Stefano Caselli‘s art. The character designs and backgrounds are distinctly Wakandan. There is a clear mix of African and Futurist influences in the visuals. This is similar, yet distinct, from the aesthetic of the MCU films.

Shuri Okeye and T'Challa in Ultimate Black Panther 1
(Image Source: Marvel / Stefano Caselli)

This book is everything a first issue should be. It is an action-packed adventure and a brilliant glimpse at a new world. If Hill and Caselli can maintain this momentum, this could easily become one of Marvel Comics‘ strongest titles.

Grade: 5/5

Ultimate Black Panther #1 is now available for digital download.