Black Panther (2016) Vol 1: A Nation Under our Feet part 1, illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze, lettered by Joe Sabino
T'Challa tries to settle the unrest that is sparking across his nation, including within the vibranium mines, in border cities, and elsewhere. A disgraced Dora Milaje is sentenced to death, but her lover breaks her free, and the two don special armor and fight to free oppressed women and children in camps at the border. A student of Killmonger who can control mens' psyche is also wrecking havoc and seeding the unrest against the king. T'Challa must balance his life as the Panther with his responsibilities as king, and try not to get himself hurt or killed in the process. As a bonus, the first appearance of the Black Panther is included as the last chapter.
This volume has been billed as a good place for readers to jump in to the Black Panther storyline. This is not true at all. The unrest, the trial of the Dora Milaje, and Killmonger's protégé are all leftovers from the events of Ultimates: Omniversal vols 1 and 2. Unlike older Marvel comics, this one does not come with a lot of context cues in the form of editor notes, so readers will just have to figure it out through slogging through the storyline.
All this aside, Coates' approach to Black Panther is inventive and intriguing. In his run, Wakanda is treated almost like another character, and T'Challa is less the main focus of the story. There are other well-rounded characters to root for or hate. In this story, Coates explores how a nation would really react if its leader was always off fighting off bad guys for other countries, how neglected to populace would feel, even though those fights are generally to save the entire world. I expect this run to place Black Panther more so in Wakanda and less in other parts of the world, and other heroes will have to come to him to be involved in the story.
The art of this story beautifully juxtaposes the advanced Golden City, the capital of Birnin Zana, with the African savannas and jungles in the wilds of Wakanda.
Marvel rates this for Teen - the violence and seriousness of subjects like patriotism, loyalty, and duty, make this rating appropriate.
Sara's Rating: 7/10
Suitability Rating: Grades 9-12
Publication Date: September 13, 2016
ISBN: 9781302900533 (Paperback)
Tags: Rating: 7/10, Suitability: High School, Comicbooks, Superheroes, Action Adventure, Marvel
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