Black Panther, Vol. 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
Because I’m not a comic book aficionado, I am positive that there are pieces I am missing out on with the Black Panther series. For example, the first I’d heard of Black Panther as a Marvel character was in Captain America: Civil War (which was meh for me, and I’m pretty much done with comic book movies at the moment. I ain’t sorry). I don’t know the history or the backstory, so I don’t know how much I was prepared for this new incarnation. But because I’d heard Ta-Nehisi Coates was writing it, I was all in.
This iteration of Black Panther follows T’Challa, or the Black Panther, a king who has just inherited the throne. His kingdom is in disarray after what is considered a necessary (or unnecessary) war, and his half-sister has absconded with a warrior who had defended the honor of the women in her village. Plus, there is a witch doctor that also threatens T’Challa’s safety and identity. It’s a complex puzzle of story and characters that will likely take many issues/volumes to explore in full.
Like I said, because I am not familiar with the story, I felt that I had been plunged straight into a story’s middle and didn’t always understand where I had ended up. That’s not a bad thing, in my view. I also thought the interrogation of power and rule was interesting, particularly in our current political climate. There are a lot of questions about what “the greater good” really means for ordinary people and what kinds of decisions have to be made to protect a state and its people. I look forward to seeing what Coates and illustrator Brian Stelfreeze will do next.