Wow. After almost a full year of anticipation Black Panther Issue One by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze & Laura Martin hits the stands today and to put it simply it lives up to the expectations and exceeds them.
The Black Panther has had many classic runs and storylines throughout the years, with the Christopher Priest run being a stand out among many others that have stood the test of time. Not only that but with the recent Jonathan Hickman Avengers series giving T’Challa some much needed shine and incredible character development the new series has a lot to handle, much like the mantle of the Black Panther itself.
Ta-Nehisi picks up from the strands of what Hickman did in his Avengers series, with the Golden Country of Wakanda having suffered a biblical level flood, an invasion by an alien force, and the death slash disappearance of the Black Panther’s sister, Shuri, who had been serving as Queen in his absence. T’Challa himself was caught up in the near destruction and recreation of the universe so he had his own issues to deal with and this issue kicks off with him trying to pick up the pieces of his broken kingdom.
Wakanda is dealing with an insurrection that is revealed to be caused by one of the tribes that make up the country and at the same time T’Challa’s mother has set in motion what may be an revolt from within the Black Panther’s own royal guard, the Dora Miljae. Top it off T’Challa is working on resurrecting his sister, and in general seems to be about in as far over his head as can be at this point, with his own mother questioning his ability to lead & his country echoing this idea.
The art by Brian Stelfreeze is every good as it should be for the return of the Damisa-Sakri as we get a somewhat noirish look in the art, with gorgeous views of both the countryside & cities of Wakanda. Something that is extremely important to me and conveyed so beautifully in one panel is the technological advancement of the citizens & culture of Wakanda. Stelfreeze is particularly adept at simple conversations, showing a range of emotions in his faces and depictions of T’Challa & especially his mother. There are certain scenes that I have to withhold due to spoilers but let it be known from page one Mr. Stelfreeze is on his deen, and Laura Martin brings her A game as usual to the colors. Once again from page one I was blown away by Laura’s work, but as any fan of Planetary knows this woman is not one to be trifled with.
If you haven’t heard the FanBrosShow interview with Mr. Coates then check it out here and expect a follow up from him on the show sometime after the first arc wraps up. In the meantime in between time make sure you pick up the first and subsequent issues of Black Panther from Marvel, as I think we are in for something special with this one. I mean after the Kanye lyric shout out what more can you want from a book?