Black Panther #1, Vol 6 from Marvel Comics -
In dishonor, they called him Haramu-Fal, the Orphan-King. But he has not forgotten who he is. He T'Challa, son of T'Chaka; he is Damisa-Sarki...The Panther. To the heart of his country, the Great Mound, T'Challa has come to give honor to the vibranium miners; however, what he finds is hatred, destruction, and chaos. A dark force has reached into the hearts of the Black Panther's subjects, and released all of their rage, a rage brought on their deep resentment towards their king for his failure to protect them from deadly past invasions. The dark force is wielded by a woman, Zenzi, who, with her partner, Tetu, seeks to undermine and overthrow the great Panther-King. With his country on the brink of rebellion, his sister and once Black Panther, Shuri, dead, and his most loyal captains turning against him, how will T'Challa regain the confidence of his people and restore peace and security to his lands? Will the Panther-King rise to new heights...Or will he fall forever?
Ta-Nehisi Coates, makes his first foray into the world of comic books with this long-awaited first issue of the new volume of Black Panther. From the first page, it is clear that Coates respects the much-loved character of the Black Panther and his history - Coates does not desire to reinvent this wonderful Stan Lee/Jack Kirby creation, rather to enrich the mythos of the Panther King itself. We delve deep into the politics and troubles of great Wakanda, and the forces that seek to protect it, and those that seek to tear it apart, and remake it in their image. The first issue is more a loving, well-written, lengthy exposition that seems to promise the reader that this story will take our hero to limits, attacking his very heart: Wakanda and his family. While the issue is short on action, it sets the characters up nicely, revealing their hearts and motivations, and putting the protagonist in the hottest of fires. The Black Panther has his entire country against him - he's losing it all. If Coates can bring it all together, this is the type of vertical-struggle story that can bring out the best in a hero and make him legend. As usual, Brian Stelfreeze's pencils are uncomplicated, but elegant. Stelfreeze's art coupled with Laura Martin's deeply saturated colors make this book a lot of fun to look at. All in all, Black Panther #1 is a high quality product - Coates is definitely giving it his all. Again, it is short on action, but so was Ultimate Spider-Man in the first issues, so perhaps Coates is aiming for that slow burn that leads to a big payoff. As long as the story is great, I'm cool with that.
RATING: 9 out of 10. The Panther is on the prowl!