Marvel finally returns the spotlight to the king of Wakanda with this week’s release of Black Panther #1. Committing to at least 12 issues for the series, Marvel tasks First time comic scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates and veteran artist Brian Stelfreeze to bring us a story titled “A Nation Under Our Feet”.
This introductory issue reintroduce’s us to T’Challa, The Black Panther, King of Wakanda. However this is not the same Black Panther we have known in years past. He returns to a rebuilt nation that he failed to protect in the past and the people of Wakanda have lost faith in their king. Someone is spreading hate and distrust among the people, and in the opening pages of the issue we see the tension finally boil over. Elsewhere, Wakanda’s legendary female guard, the Dora Milaje, struggle to balance tradition with what is right. Through this conflict we see new opposition to the king arise. And to close out the issue, we are introduced to the person insighting all the unrest in Wakanda. There will be plenty for the King of Wakanda to deal with in the forthcoming issues.
Black Panther #1 is everything a first issue should be. Ta-Nehisi Coates does an excellent job of setting up who the character is, where he comes from and what he has been through. Special attention is paid to capturing the fundamental beliefs of Wakanda’s society, and then creatively using them against the hero. Brian Stelfreeze’s art is breathtaking, and really enhances the story being told. Laura Martin’s colors play a major part in bringing life to the beautiful images Stelfreeze lays out. As an added bonus, there’s a few page of design sketches and notes on the characters.
Final Verdict: Black Panther #1 is intelligently written, beautifully drawn & colored, and should be a welcome addition to the history of this legendary character. MUST READ
Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze, Laura Martin
Release Date: April 6, 2016