Title: Black Panther (2016), Issue #1
Author(s): Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Cover Artist: Brian Stelfreeze
Publisher(s): Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 6, 2016
In the African-country of Wakanda, home of the Black Panther, the people are beginning to lose faith in their hero and king, thinking he has become an oppressor. It also appears that some individuals are encouraging the citizens of Wakanda to violently lash out against their king in the hopes of remaking a better country and others are defying him for his harsh judgment. T’Challa will undoubtedly face a revolution as more individuals continue to rebel against him, however the proud king and hero seems to have a more shady agenda at hand.
With Black Panther’s appearance in the “Captain America: Civil War” trailers, it seemed only natural that Marvel would publish a comic featuring the newest additions to the team roster and, like Ant-Man, one who is not so well known. While the comic briefly glances at Black Panther’s backstory, the comic does establish who the character is, that he’s a king, what his abilities are and the land he rules over. However, the comic does not seem to highlight the main character’s personality that well aside from focusing on his duties as king and protector, although T’Challa does show concern having to fight with his own people.
Interestingly enough, for a first issue, the conflict that Black Panther will be facing ties into his role as a king. While the story could have given a bunch of robbers, a meta-human or a giant alien monster to fight the comic instead has the threat come from Black Panther’s own people who question his rule and who genuinely feel repressed. The comic also shows that while T’Challa and his advisor, his mother, are in no way unfair or tyrannical in their decisions, others will greatly disagree with them and is something a person of authority does go through. However it appears that T’Challa’s current project may lead to interesting developments and may give the people of Wakanda more reason to question him.
The artwork is interesting as well, giving Wakanda a technologically modern tribal style. While most of the city appears very futuristic with tall buildings, high-tech aircrafts and weaponry, the aesthetics evokes a tribal inspired design with individuals having tattoos that look like circuits and their spears having lasers. The only problem is the needless, odd use of black silhouettes in a few scenes instead of the artist providing more details to the characters, especially since one of those scenes was meant to be somewhat intimate and the other was a fight scene in broad daylight.
This comic does well enough job at hitting all the needed story-telling elements needed for a first issue, who is Black Panther, what are his powers, the conflict, his opposition and the world he lives in. While the comic is not the most exciting and does not delve that much into Black Panther himself, it is interesting to follow the story of a superhero who, unlike most heroes in the Marvel universe, is the king of the most technologically advanced city in the world and is most likely going to face a rebellion. Being a ruler is the central aspect of who Black Panther is and now he is facing the unavoidable struggle of his people not agreeing with their ruler and being seen as a tyrant. Overall, the comic is an average introduction into Black Panther however more could have been done but there is still more chance for development.
Being a king and a hero is not easy!
While the comic might be a bit of an average read, the story does establish the key aspect of the Black Panther, he is a hero and a king. The comic shows that being a leader is not easy and situations can excel to such extremes. The art does a great job making Wakanda look distinct and the story is paced well enough. Just in time for Black Panther to appear on the big screen.
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