Previously in Black Panther and the Crew #4
Ezra Keith brought together a team of superheroes decades ago, hoping to start a revolution. Unfortunately, as their influence grew, Ezra’s “family” became part of the problem. Under the direction of the unscrupulous Frank, they would steal from the criminals they neutralized. Frank saw this as necessary to fund their efforts, but Ezra saw it for what it really was: greed. This disagreement ultimately led to Ezra breaking away. In the years since, Ezra courted other heroes — people who the city of Harlem desperately needed, but, perhaps just as important, they needed Harlem.
Manifold (Eden Fesi), a teleporting mutant, finally completes Ezra’s present-day crew, admitting to those who came before him (Luke, Misty, T’Challa, and Storm) that Harlem became his adopted home at Ezra’s urging. He walked the streets, ate the food, and embraced the people. Like the other crew members, he’s determined to protect Harlem from the likes of HYDRA.
[bctt tweet=””A man is nothing without family.” – Ezra Keith” username=”ProjectFandom”]
Back in the late ’60s, Ezra returned to his crew — his family — because he missed them, but he quickly discovered that Frank had not only failed to change, he’d become more deadly and reckless in his actions and in the jobs he ordered their crew to take. The team was officially disbanded after an altercation between Ezra and Frank turned deadly.
But just as a death ended the revolution back then, Ezra’s death has sparked one now. Luke, T’Challa, Misty, Manifold, and Storm still aren’t sure what HYDRA’s end game is, but the city is already restless and become more volatile the longer things go without an arrest in Ezra’s death. The crew’s biggest lead comes with great disappointment when Eddie Fingers points out Ezra’s own nephew, Malik, as his killer.
While the crew rushes to apprehend Malik, T’Challa gets a glimpse at another culprit; one who will return in Black Panther to cause trouble in Wakanda: Zenzi, a former ally with the psychic ability to stir up one’s innermost thoughts and desires. This explains the powder keg of emotions at the heart of Harlem’s civil unrest.
This has been an enjoyable ride. Coates is a masterful writer and effectively taps into the heart of these characters. The art was very hit or miss with me; I wasn’t a fan of Misty’s hair and a few of the covers, but the action panels were a delight.
Unfortunately, this series was cancelled before it could go beyond the first arc. As such, much of the resolutions feel incomplete and bittersweet. Malik, rather than face justice, commits suicide and his sister Hazel falsely accuses Misty of killing him. And we never get to the bottom of HYDRA’s full plan, though the series ends with the crew vowing to remain and protect Harlem at all costs. It’s a shame we won’t be there to witness it.
Black Panther and the Crew #5/#6 Score Review
"Down These Mean Streets" and "Everybody Loves the Sunshine"
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates and Yona Harvey | Penciler: Butch Guice, Mack Chater, Stephen Thompson | Inker: Scott Hanna, Chater, and Thompson | Colorist: Dan Brown, Paul Mounts | Cover by: John Cassady and Paul Mounts | Letterer: VC’s Joe Sabino