Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Reader's Diary #1412- Ta-Nehisi Coates (writer), Brian Stelfreeze (artist): Black Panther A Nation Under Our Feet Book One

It was back in February, in anticipation of the Captain America: Civil War movie that I read Christopher Priest's first collection of Black Panther comics.While the comics were a huge disappointment, luckily Black Panther's portrayal in the movie was not and my appetite for the character was whetted once more.

Make no mistake, Ta-Nehisi Coates' Black Panther run is vastly superior. Brian Stelfreeze's art is consistent, there's no annoying Everett Ross character, and Wakanda is far more interesting than the United States.

But as great as Wakanda is, and it's the star of this book, I'm still left longing for more insight into King T'Challa (a.k.a. Black Panther). As an anti-monarchist I struggle with the idea of a king as a superhero anyway, so I'm not necessarily looking to like the character as much as to understand him. Unfortunately he's just not on the page enough. Granted, the other characters are interesting in their own right, they're not the ones with their name on the cover.

Despite my issues, I am glad to have read this as a collected volume versus the individual comics. Ta-Nehisi Coates doesn't come from a comics background and perhaps that's why I found the story a little slow to develop. Slow is not necessarily a bad thing, but as individual comics, I suspect many many would find it all a little too boring and not bother coming back. As a collection though, I began to see the myriad plots and characters coming together and I'm hopeful that Black Panther himself will be developed a little more in future collections. I even sense that the idea of democracy is just around the corner.

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