Black Panther #1

Another “Fresh Start” from the House of Ideas this week and, as with Aaron & McGuiness’s Avengers relaunch, the new Black Panther from Ta-Nehisi Coates and Daniel Acuña addresses teasers previewed in last fall’s Marvel Legacy one-shot. In this case, we had all been scratching our heads regarding that glimpse at a futuristic Panther planet somewhen and somewhere. It was just a single page, but it left us with a host of questions. The first issue of this arc, “The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda,” answers plenty of them (right away, actually), and it raises quite a few more.

That preview page returns — the first page in this comic — this time with narration explaining that a small group of Wakandans left Earth some two thousand years ago to colonize a planet on the far reaches of the cosmos. Millennia later, these colonists’ warlike tendencies have put them at the center of an empire spanning five galaxies.

So that’s all pretty awesome. And a new mystery immediately comes into focus when T’Challa makes an appearance, with no memory of who he is or how he got there, working as one of the mind-wiped “Nameless” mining slaves. Also… Nakia! And M’Baku! And vague recollections of a certain silver-haired goddess who once shared the king’s bed.

I’ve learned to be patient with how Coates has developed his Panther stories, hanging in for some of the most rewarding comic book arcs of the last decade. This new series launch, however, hits the ground running. And the notes in the afterword detailing Coates and Acuña’s efforts at creating the various factions of this empire point to the development of an afrofuturist epic for the ages.

I know it’s early, but I’d wager we’re gearing up for another look at the themes of colonization, imperialism, and the notion of ancestral determination. With, of course, a slight shift of the lens.

Worth mentioning that I’ve never been a huge collector of variant comic book covers… I admire many of the designs, of course, and wish Marco Rudy’s “Asgard Falling” cover of The Mighty Thor #23 was available poster-size… But the Oakland variant of this Black Panther is dope AF and worth a preorder from Cape & Cowl comics. Limited to 3,000 copies, kids! Don’t freeze.

May 16 | New Release Highlights | May 30