Previously in Black Panther #9
From the first issue it was apparent that Black Panther was a comic unlike few have read in recent history. A satisfying mix of high adventure, sociopolitical critiques and thorough characterization, writer/journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates did what does best: shine a light on the predictable, maligned nature of humanity and the enforcement of power by the contemptuous few upon the disenfranchised. Say what you will about such weighty topics belonging in a medium like comics (they most certainly do),
In “A Nation Under our Feet”, King T’Challa had faced opposition from all fronts. After generations of dominance and reaching the heights of achievement, Wakanda’s rise as a world powers was easily matched by their towering hubris. In short time, the nation faced a true test of their mettle with a battery of incursions within their borders. Naturally, the royal family took the full brunt of their people’s derision which fermented into Tetu’s “revolution” during Coates’ run.
After repeated assaults on The People and the shadowy persons that back their agenda, as well as the triumphant return of Shuri, Black Panther #10 handedly shores up the intrigue, unraveling some tenuous alliances while former rivals forge partnerships out of necessity. For lack of a better phrase, the tenth issue of the series is the calm before the storm that will undoubtedly alter the political and cultural landscape for all in Wakanda.
It’s obvious to anyone who’s read the new volume that the more impressive moments in Black Panther were focused on emboldening the women of Wakanda. This issue Shuri was front and center, investigating the activities of the Midnight Angels. It was a somber encounter as Shuri was met with hostility by her former Dora Milaje. Their reaction was understandable to a fault: after all the heinousness they discovered in Jabari-Lands, Aneka and Ayo responded fittingly to the depravity they witnessed. Like most of Black Panther’s as-seen-in-reality narratives, the Angel’s tale has been a dark parable about the ignoble efforts of men and the lengths they’d go to create or exploit an institution in their favor.
The Midnight Angels are exactly as their moniker implies: they are subtle balance of light and darkness. In the beginning Ayo and Aneka were of one mind: tired of the bureaucracy and doublespeak of the Taifa Ngao, fearful of T’Challa increased powers and saddened by the , they had no other choice but to break from their King’s order. Over time, T’Challa finally saw what the Angels knew before him but the damage had already been done, to his people and his relationship with his estranged bodyguard. The spite they had for the King and his regime was so strong, it attracted the opportunistic Tetu, a man far more deserving of the Angels ire. Now that Shuri is back in the equation – as a physically and spiritually reborn avatar of Wakanda – the leaders of the Jabari-Lands, especially Aneka, are torn yet again about having to compromise their plans for a free nation.
Meanwhile in the Golden City, T’Challa had taken Shuri’s counsel to heart and had a sitdown with Changamire. It’s difficult to have a sliver of sympathy for either man as their egos have lead to consequences for everyone but themselves. For most of their panels, T’Challa was on the defensive, finally conceding that he was in the wrong about what he had planned for “Baba” if worse came to worse. His former mentor grudgingly accepted his apology but Changamire’s unyielding desire to be right, in spite of his brightest student becoming the head of a terrorist organization that’s mere days from laying siege on Wakanda’s capital. No big deal.
It’s incomprehensible to believe a extremely educated man who was once the personal adviser of T’Challa’s father could be so naive about the current state of his nation; or carry an ideal that could never be enacted in its purest form. If it didn’t want for Marx… In any case, T’Challa, Changamire, Shuri and the Midnight Angels will soon face the tip of a spear that could finally bring down a proud country that (barely) resisted Lords of Atlantis and Latveria and a Mad Titan. The only difference is this weapon was forged by the rage of their own people and wielded by the hand of its oldest enemy.
This month’s variant cover is illustrated by Paolo Rivera!