Black Panther #50-56 (2002-2003): Black and White

T’Challa is missing and presumed dead of a brain anyeurism, but there’s still a Black Panther running about.

Kevin Cole is the son of a crooked black cop named Black Jack, who gets arrested for selling drugs but keeps running the 66 Bridges Gang from inside prison. Kevin is mixed race–Black Jack married a white woman–and due to his pale complexion is nicknamed Kaspar.

Kaspar idolized his father and believed Black Jack was innocent (he wasn’t), so he became a narc cop himself. His work brought him into conflict with the 66 Bridges Gang. This story is already fascinating, but it gets better: Kaspar comes across a bulletproof Black Panther costume and…

We have a new Panther. He goes to war with the 66 Bridges Gang and their key enforcer, Triage, who, it turns out, is Kaspar’s half-brother–recruited by Black Jack.

Adding even more excellent detail: Kaspar didn’t just “happen” to find that Black Panther costume. T’Challa is alive and, behind the scenes, worked with White Wolf to manipulate situations and push Kaspar into becoming Black Panther.

T’Challa doesn’t get any action in this arc, but White Wolf does. He goes by Hunter now.

There’s so much more to this. It’s a fantastic story. Usually, gang stories in comics are one dimensional. But this one plays with race–making Black Panther half white. It has a truly bad cop at the center of it–and he’s black. And he doesn’t become good at the end, playing with conventional expectations. I could write about this arc for days.

I was afraid that when Priest was forced to reboot his own series it might start to soften, but it’s as good as ever.

Leave a Comment