“How am I to do this, mother?”
“By giving those who love you something more than recitation
and ceremony, by giving that which all great kings ultimately offer… inspiration.”
Black Panther : A Nation Under Our Feet
Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze | 22016 | 144 Pages
The nation of Wakanda has one of the most technologically advanced civilizations in the world- all protected by a warrior called The Black Panther. In this case, the mantle is held by the country’s king, T’Challa, who has recently lost his sister and now faces and dangerous uprising.
This is Coates’s first foray into comic book writing, and I thought he did a pretty decent job for a newcomer. The story is dramatic and political, and while it contains some action, it is far from a goofy superhero jaunt.
While the writer is a novice in the medium, the artist is anything but. Brian Stelfreeze has been in the industry for decades, and his experience and talent allowed him to illustrate these pages with vibrancy and style, creating an expressive world grounded in both technology and tradition.
It’s incredibly short, even for a trade paperback, and it serves more as a setup for future things than as a compelling story arc of its own. The dialog gets a little stiff and overly philosophical at times, but I figure that is Coates stretching his legs as a first-time comics writer. While there is definitely room for improvement, I look forward to upcoming arcs.
Should You Read This?
Did you think Black Panther was just the coolest in Captain America: Civil War? Or have you read other writings by Coates and wanted to see what he could do with a fictional narrative acted out by drawings? Or are you a combination of both like I was?
I was a near total newcomer to the character and was intrigued both by the standout performance in the blockbuster movie and by the identity of the author (Between the World and Me was probably my top non-fiction title of the past year). If your interest was piqued as mine was, give this a go. If you’re not as big of a comics fan, or are still iffy, I would wait perhaps until the next arc comes out to see where all of this pays off.