released OUT NOW! Publisher Marvel Comics Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates Artist Brian stelfreeze
Black Panther is one of those Marvel stalwarts who’s struggled to command his own regular title. But after Chadwick Boseman’s electric performance as the Wakandan monarch-turnedAvenger in Civil War, the time is ripe for a relaunch. And Marvel pulled off a coup securing Ta-Nehisi Coates, a renowned author who’s written about social issues, particularly from an African-American perspective, for publications such as The Atlantic.
The first four instalments (11 are planned) are perhaps best read as a whole, as Coates adopts a measured pace, even interspersing the thankfully not-too-infrequent action scenes with a university debate about the theories of English philosopher John Locke.
If anything, opening arc “A Nation Under Our Feet” is too beholden to past continuity, with the first issue alluding to Black Panther’s battles with Namor in The Avengers. Significantly, the majority of the other protagonists are women, including T’Challa’s apparently not-quite-so-dead sister Shuri and main adversaries the Midnight Angels. Former members of all-female Royal Guard the Dora Milaje, they rebel after Queen Ramonda stubbornly refuses to sanction one of them taking the law into their own hands, sparking a political crisis.
Veteran artist Brian Stelfreeze is the perfect foil for the inexperienced Coates, bringing a manga-esque edge to the distinctive Wakandan technology, so it’s a shame that Chris Sprouse replaces him from #5. But this remains a nuanced, engaging take on a classic character that this time should definitely last the distance. Stephen Jewell
A nuanced, engaging take on a classic character
Companion series World Of Wakanda, starts in November. Co-written by Roxanne Gay, it centres on the Midnight Angels.
A rumble. In a jungle.