Welcome to Comic Booked’s Marvel Must-Read Mondays! This is a new feature we will be showcasing every Monday where Comic Booked reviews a Marvel comic or graphic novel that you MUST READ! While a lot of these Marvel Must-Read Mondays will cover past issues, story arcs, and graphic novel collections–thanks to Marvel’s awesome Marvel Unlimited app!–we will still feature some newer releases as well.
Such as this week’s showcase: Black Panther #1, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by Brian Stelfreeze!
Besides Charles Soule’s new run on Daredevil, the new Black Panther series has been my most anticipated comic book release of 2016. Since I first came across the Atlantic’s preview of the new series by award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates and the incredible illustrator Brian Stelfreeze, I have been chomping at the bit to get a copy of Black Panther #1. Unfortunately, when I visited my local comic stores (shout out to Big Planet Comics Vienna!), they had already sold out of the first printing. I was finally able to get a hold of the second printing last week, and let me tell you, it was well worth the wait. And with this Wednesday’s impending arrival of Black Panther #2, today is a great day to take a look at the awesome first issue of what is sure to be an amazing and much-loved run.
Coates and Stelfreeze’s Black Panther #1 drops us right into the thick of the action as King T’Challa is being attacked by a group of disgruntled citizens who seem to have been brainwashed by a woman with the power to overtake their minds and fuel their anger towards their king. Stelfreeze’s art here is phenomenal–his lines are sharp and his composition is very pleasing to the eye. The way the comic is colored is incredible as well–when T’Challa dons his Panther suit, he jumps about like a shadow across the pages. One panel in particular–where T’Challa uses some sort of force field from his vibranium suit to push back the advancing mob–is a just one highlight of many.
Coates does a great job setting up the arc: he keeps things mysterious, giving us hints as to what is really going on. T’Challa is still struggling with the loss of his sister, who had donned the Black Panther suit in T’Challa’s absence, and is trying to gain back the trust of his people. Meanwhile, the woman with the brainwashing power is revealed to be in league with a tribal nation near Wakanda who are planning to usurp T’Challa’s throne. We are also introduced to a pair of Dora Milaje–the women warriors pledged to the Wakandan King/Black Panther–who have defected and stolen some Wakandan tech, but we have yet to find out why.
Over all, Black Panther #1 moves quick, looks great, and pulls the reader in. It’s a great first issue, introducing the Black Panther’s world, his powers, and the weight of rule that sits so heavy upon his shoulders. Black Panther is such a special superhero for many reasons, but perhaps one of the most unique things about him is that he is also a King–and Coates and Stelfreeze do an amazing job of getting that across.
Be sure to tag us on twitter with the hastag #MarvelMRM if you pick up a copy of what we review here and let us know what you think! Also, for those DC Comics fans out there, tune in on Thursdays for DC Comics Throwback Thursdays!