Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol. 1 (Black Panther (2016-)) by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Stan Lee, Brian Stelfreeze (Illustrator), Jack Kirby (Illustrator)

September 19, 2016
Black Panther, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Book Review, InToriLex
Published By: Marvel on August 31, 2016
Format Read: Paperback (144 pages)
Genre: Comic/ Fantasy/ Sci-fi
Series: A Nation Under Out Feet Book One
Source: Purchased
Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Vol. 1 (Black Panther (2016-))
Collects Black Panther (2016) #1-4, Fantastic Four (1961) #52.

A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award-winning writer Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me) takes the helm, confronting T'Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group calling itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. As suicide bombers terrorize the population, T'Challa struggles to unite his citizens, and a familiar villain steps out of the shadows. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt — but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!


These four issues introduce us to Wakanda in chaos, while T'challa struggles to be a leader who has to balance the use of his sword with the use of his intellect.  Right away in issue one we're introduced to hard choices, T'challa's step-mother decides to punish a fierce warrior for killing despite her having just reasons why. The comic draws parallels to the issues that plaque African countries in unrest. Trigger warning, this comic does show sexual violence, women are imprisoned and raped as a show of power by village cheiftans. Aneka and Ayo are two warriors who defect, are in love and give rise to their own resistance against factions who are unjustly hurting the people of Wakanda.
Copyright to Marvel
T'challa's leadership is questioned because he has returned to Wakanda after it has been ruined by flood, and ravaged by villains. The people are skeptical of his leadership and a psychic preys on that vulnerability causing more division.  The plot does explore the detriment of losing touch with our memories and innate power because of mistreatment of the earth. I enjoyed the fantasy/mystic elements that were featured throughout. This comic is fascinating to me because it's author is able to weave in significant diversity in sexuality, education and belief system. Women in this comic are also featured in leadership roles and as elite warriors which is a refreshing break from many other superhero comics.

I enjoyed every page of this introduction to who Black Panther is and the many internal and external struggles he has to face to lead Wakanda. I read this because of it's author and subject matter, I usually shy away from mainstream superhero comics. I would recommend this comic to Adult readers who are interested in reading a diverse world full of fantasy, challenging obstacles and thoughtful dialogue. I look forward to continuing and reviewing the rest of the series.


Ta-Nehisi Coates is a senior editor for The Atlantic, where he writes about culture, politics, and social issues for TheAtlantic.com and the magazine. He is the author of the 2008 memoir The Beautiful Struggle: A Father, Two Sons, and an Unlikely Road to Manhood. His book Between the World and Me, released in 2015, won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. Coates received the MacArthur Foundation "Genius Grant" in 2015.

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