Since Marvel first announced Ta-Nehisi Coates was to write the latest volume of Black Panther, excitement was felt far and wide, from Coates’ literary contemporaries to comic enthusiasts and the casual fan. Known for his thorough and piercing accounts of race relations, the MacArthur Genius intends to bring this motif into the anticipated series. Without question, Coates is motivated to weave an entertaining yet compelling and historically accurate (within the realm of comics) tale about the complexities of a world that’s adhered to an institutional oppression, thriving on its exploitation of the rich culture and history of Africans and their distant brethren.
Renown throughout the Marvel universe for its superior technologies, plentiful resources and resolute spirit, Wakanda is a country that holds no equal. For generations it was protected and ruled by a line of Black Panthers who may have wanted the best for all Wakandans, yet their authority wasn’t entirely unquestioned. Enter The People, a superhuman terrorist group that claims it wants to give the citizens more power, by any means necessary.
Marvel’s Editor in Chief Axel Alonso hints that The People are a force T’Challa simply cannot dismiss or attempt to defeat in the typical heroic fashion. For there isn’t a definitive line between good and evil when one’s freedom is being suppressed. “Under Ta-Nehisi’s unflinching gaze, the Black Panther will grapple with a threat that can’t simply be beaten into submission, one that raises questions about life, liberty and honor that are especially relevant today.”
Wakanda – possibly the most powerful nation in the 616 – is on the precipice of revolution within an ever-changing world rife with superheroes. T’Challa is placed in a very tenuous position as not only an increasingly unpopular king, but as a figurehead for a thriving economy and integral member of the Avengers. Given the thoroughness of Coates’ research combined with the contemporary parallels experienced in recent years, the prevailing arc in Black Panther could potentially become Marvel’s most ambitious narrative in the entirety of the publisher’s history.
“Can a good man be a king, and would an advanced society tolerate a monarch?” Coates asks. “Research is crucial in both cases. The Black Panther I offer pulls from the archives of Marvel and the character’s own long history. But it also pulls from the very real history of society—from the pre-colonial era of Africa, the peasant rebellions that wracked Europe toward the end of the Middle Ages, the American Civil War, the Arab Spring, and the rise of ISIS.”
Black Panther, written by Ta-Nehisi Coates and illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze will be available in print and digital April 6! To celebrate the release of the new series, a plethora of variants will be drawn by the likes of Alex Ross, Olivier Coipel, Felipe Smith, Ryan Sook and Skottie Young!