Previously in Black Panther #1
Black Panther #2 | Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates | Artist: Brian Stelfreeze | Color Artist: Laura Martin | Letterer: Joe Sabino | Publisher: Marvel
Civil unrest is at a fever pitch throughout Wakanda, a once-prideful nation that has no idea how to recover from the repeated incursions it has endured in multiple events the past couple years. Between the Skrulls, the costly battles with Namor and his Atlantean force, and ultimately Thanos’ arrival that leveled the Golden City, T’Challa is a leader with wavering confidence and no support from his people. In another wonderfully drawn issue by Brian Stelfreeze, the Black Panther takes the offensive against The People on their own land. A majority of part two of ‘A Nation Under Our Feet’ focuses on Black Panther’s supporting cast as they all wish to change Wakanda for the better. However the end will likely not justify their means.
Impotent with fear and unable to mend its resolve, Wakanda is now easily influenced by its neighboring rivals, who would have been handily defeated by the Hatut Zeraze not long ago. Nevertheless, T’Challa has taken the entire weight of his nation on his shoulders, unwilling to place the responsibility of restoring Wakanda to its former glory on anyone else. The identity of the instigator from issue one’s fracas at The Great Mound is revealed to the Taifa Ngao (Wakandan ruling council). Zenzi, a former ally and underling to Killmonger, was to be executed by Niganda’s latest ruling party, but turned the tables with her psychic abilities. Her skill isn’t mind control so much as accessing one’s innermost thoughts. Knowing this, T’Challa is more aware of the unrest that resides deep in the souls of his people. Whether or not he succeeds in subduing Zenzi, the spark that feeds the flames of revolution cannot be extinguished.
On the edges of Wakanda’s territory, the rogue Dora Milaje Ayo and Aneka free a band of villagers from slavers, promising to free all of its sisters from the cruelty of man. Unlike other players who’ve patientially schemed their way to power, the ‘Midnight Angels’ are true X factors. They know what they wish to accomplish, but how to irrevocably transform the landscape of Wakanda is beyond their talents. Still, their perseverance is beyond measure… as is their recklessness in possibly bringing together Wakanda’s ancient clans.
The machinations for T’Challa’s demise continue with Tetu enlisting an old mentor to join in his efforts to ridding Wakanda of its ruling class. Coates deftly adds hefty layers of political philosophies that are applicable not only in this fictional comic universe, but remain forever relevant to our social and political progression. Baba, Tetu’s former teacher, espouses to his students the importance of social contracts and how one must find a means to promote justice without compromising values. While Tetu and his Nigandan allies are readying their revolution against T’Challa and Ramonda, Baba alludes that nothing is ever definitive and the path to make social change will never be finalized. If Tetu were to succeed and remove the King from power, who will assume the authority to ensure the people will be treated justly? In time, all revolutionary ideas solidify into an institution. Eventually, they too must be challenged, like all uprisings from generations past.
This motif continues with Zenzi’s psychic attack on T’Challa, forcing the troubled king to confront his doubts in the form of preceding Black Panthers. The opposite end of Baba’s argument is present in the manifestation as T’Challa faces the seemingly impossible challenge of being a progressive leader whilst not sullying the monastic heritage of his family. From the moment Panther stealthily enters the Nigandan compound, T’Challa waxes philosophical about the perception of being. Though fighting a dozen men is a necessary action, he detests the show of strength while recalling the cold lesson his uncle taught him. In spite of his desire to regain the respect and friendship of Wakandans, T’Challa has no other recourse but to combat his enemies in their presence. Regrettably, the king’s aggressive nature in opposing The People has only confirmed all the falsehoods the group has spread.
Between the turmoil among the citizenry, its leaders, the rogue faction amassing in the north and the invasion force eager to “liberate” Wakanda, the King T’Challa will have more than a lion’s share of problems to rectify. Issue three of Black Panther – by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze – will be available at stores and digitally June 15!
Black Panther #2