Written By: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist(s): Chris Sprouse (Penciler) & Karl Story (Inker)
Color Artist: Laura Martin
Cover: Brian Stelfreeze
Release Date: 8/10/16
Black Panther is another comic I’m fairly new to and started reading it so I could learn more about the character and his individual story types. Through the “A Nation Under Our Feet” story, I feel like I’m getting a pretty good understanding for T’Challa and the complexity behind his character and what he has to deal with on a day to day basis. The unique thing about T’Challa is that while he is a hero, he also is a king, which allows the story to incorporate political drama and cool stories that involve the weight of one nation on the back of a single man.
“A Nation Under Our Feet” has been focusing on T’Challa’s duty to Wakanda as well as the Avengers and the fallout of not being able to balance both. Wakanda is unhappy with the lack of time he has committed to what they believe should be his main priority, the nation. Now the young king is doing everything he can do hold off a revolution and track down the people responsible for influencing it.
Black Panther has been very solid so far with this story and the writing does a great job of providing readers with enough material to understand the weight of everything that is happening. The most compelling aspect has been the balance of what T’Challa should do vs. what the people of Wakanda want. The nation is in belief that their king has let them down and spent too much time with the Avengers, playing hero. It almost feels as though T’Challa has become too big for his own good and was in the global spotlight so much that now it is the foundation for this budding revolution. The story gives a great balance of both sides, providing insight into how and why the people are feeling the way they do and not just showing readers T’Challa’s perspective.
T’Challa is facing a lot right now because not only does he have to try and outmaneuver his adversaries, but the randomness that comes with a revolution can strike at anytime (we watched a random explosion nearly kill Ramonda). This is a wild factor and the character seems to have hit his boiling point and is ready for war, which is an interesting development. It was interesting to see how rather than straight up attacking, T’Challa is first working on recovering all of these rogue Wakandans and re-converting them to his side.
One of the most appealing aspects about T’Challa is his intelligence and ability to be such a well rounded person. The scene where he has a conversation with Kwabena about family, responsibility and duty was probably the best panel in the book, because readers finally see the dedication and love T’Challa truly has for his nation. It shows that he is a smart king who won’t let his own personal feelings cause him to misstep and rush straight into battle because he knows it will only end with more of his people dead.
This chapter of the story ends in a very interesting place because Tetu and Zenzi, who are now working with Zeke Stane, kill one of T’Challa’s advisers who is exposed to the entire nation (and more it seems) to be corrupt before he is killed. It’s an interesting development because the nation will probably feel different ways about knowing this is who T’Challa is having “advise” him.
The art for this book definitely didn’t jump out as anything super unique, but that isn’t a bad thing. I felt it looked like pretty standard comic art with good detail. The two best parts of the art that really stood out were; 1. How Sprouse draws Black Panther, the design just looks very cool and unique. I love it. 2. The facial expressions he gives to characters. Even in fight scenes the background or side characters have spot on facial expressions that I was impressed with.
I think Black Panther is definitely worth getting into if you want to learn more about the character and see him in an interesting position. The story is compelling and I love the political drama aspect to it all. There is even a whole plot about Shuri I haven’t touched on because I think it needs to develop a little further before I have a full grasp on what she’s going through.
Ta-Nehisi Coates definitely seems to have a great grasp on how to write Black Panther and knows the story he wants to tell, which has me on board to keep up with this book.