Black Panther #1 (Marvel Comics)
With his big movie debut in a month, Black Panther’s new ongoing series couldn’t have come at a better time. With Atlantic correspondent Ta-Nehisi Coates penning the series, it’s a safe bet that Marvel is planning on big things for this new volume of Black Panther. Hell, the last page even has a breakdown of the creators involved and their past credits, not unlike what you’d find on the back of a best selling novel. So how does this first issue, with art by Brian Stelfreeze, stack up?
Pretty damn well to be honest. As someone with minimal knowledge of T’Challa, I found this opening issue to be really accessible and pretty compelling. It finds T’Challa dealing with an uprising within his kingdom of Wakanda. T’Challa is determined to uncover the reasons behind it, but at the same time, the people who are supposed to be looking at him as a leader have begun to question his rule.
That’s really all there is to this issue, but Ta-Nehisi Coates shows a ton of potential with this issue. He even presents the ideas of the Wakanda Kingdom and its politics in a really entertaining way. This is Coates’ first crack at writing comics, and he does a really great job here, working in the complex background of Black Panther while also making this a very easy comic to jump in and start reading. You can also tell that Coates is a life long comic fan, but at the same time, that fandom doesn’t get in the way of his story.
As for Brian Stelfreeze’s art? Simply put, he’s incredible. Everything about his art works here, from the strange Wakandian technology to the awesome (and subtle) Black Panther redesign. Stelfreeze has long been an underrated artist in comics, but hopefully that changes with Black Panther, which should be a stellar showcase for his art.
If you’ve watched the Captain America: Civil War trailer and want to know more about that guy who chases down Bucky’s motorcycle, this is looking like the book to turn to. Both Coates and Stelfreeze are really bringing their all to this character, and like I said before, it couldn’t come at a better time. Outside of Christopher Priest’s Marvel Knights run, T’Challa hasn’t really had a major creative run on any of his series in his 50-year history. But with Coates and Stelfreeze, it looks like that may change.