Marvel’s New Black Panther: Episodes #1 to #3
Black Panther (T’Challa) was among the first black superheroes to be represented by major American comic publishers, fast becoming a Marvel icon, and in fact has been regularly in print since 1966. His character has witnessed many interesting transitions over the years, with the more modern interpretation driven by Christopher Guest in the 1990s. In one of our all-time favorite Black Panther storylines, at Matt Murdoch’s insistence, he replaced Daredevil as the protector of Hell’s Kitchen (Black Panther: The Man Without Fear, 2011).
A new season of Black Panther began in April 2016. T’Challa, the chief of Wakanda, is back in all new storylines. Writer Ta-Nehisi Coates is scripting the project. Three episodes in, with the fourth lined up for release in July, how is the new franchise looking?
Dramatic events are unfolding in the technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda. Beginning in the first episode “A Nation Under Our Feet”, political instability is becoming a major problem. The nation and its Black Panther monarch are under attack from a terrorist group known as The People, armed with their own super powers. No doubt there have been countless challenges to the throne and a fair share of near misses, but T’Challa’s position bestowed by the Black Panther gods is in serious jeopardy.
The Black Panther must battle against The People while trying his hardest to retain his position in the long line of Wakanda leaders. The Midnight Angels turn up determined to rouse the citizens against their governors, it looks like T’Challa will have a very difficult time holding on to power. The political intrigue is fascinating and the readers are being set up for what may just be some major reveals as the arcs unfold in the next issues.
With illustrations by Brian Stelfreeze, the new series is certainly a visually arresting work. We would expect no less from the artist of CyCops and Demon/Catwomen. The new Black Panther series marks the comic writing debut of Ta-Nehisi Coates. The three episodes published to date are gaining the approval of comic fans. In May alone the first edition “A Nation Under Our Feet” sold over 77,000 copies, putting it into the top ten highest selling titles of that month. The fourth edition is out July 27th from Marvel Comics.