A New King in Town-Black Panther #1 Review
Being an amazing writer doesn’t necessarily equate to being a great comic book writer, as much as authors like Neil Gaiman and Joe Hill have us thinking. So when it was announced that Ta-Neshisi Coates had been tapped to write the new Black Panther comic I had high hopes but some reservations too. There’s no question that the author of Between the World and Me, a McArthur grant winner is a writer of exceptional talent known for his nonfiction work. I had to wonder how well he’d do writing fiction. His writing is intelligent, well researched and heartbreaking but not really what I think of when I think of comics. It’s not just Ta-Neshisi Coates as a writer, the Black Panther isn’t the typical superhero, T’Challa is the ruler of a country as well as being a caped crusader. The Avengers may occasionally have to answer to the public for their actions but they don’t have to worry about how the UN will feel about their superhero antics. Finding the right balance between superhero and King would be a challenge for any writer and Coates rose to the occasion.
While the first issue is sparse on dialogue you won’t mind because of the beautiful prose. Coates raises the bar for this kind of story telling in comics. While some might find the comic a bit too Shakespearian in narrative I found it fitting of the story Coates has set out to tell. T’Challa has newly returned to the throne and the Black Panther mantel and all is not well in the kingdom. The first issue mostly served to set the stage and tone of what’s to come. It was light on fight scenes, most of the drama comes from political intrigue but it leaves readers with the promise of fights to come as the Wakandan government pisses off multiple people and governments.
The art by Brian Stelfreeze is similarly beautiful but there were places where it left me wishing for more detail. However, in the places where I wished for more detail the lack of it was clearly used for an artistic purpose which makes it difficult to complain. Usually, in comic’s I find the art commands more attention than the prose but that’s not the case here and the prose and art seem to work beautifully together.
I’m definitely putting Black Panther on my pull list and if superbly well written political intrigue is one of your likes you should add it too.
The Geeked Gods score 9/10