Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Chris Sprouse / Marvel Comics

I’m one of those writers that stays on message boards and social media groups, keeping my ear to the ground about various comics that I write on more often than not. Ta-Nehisi Coates’ Black Panther run is easily one of the most divisive comics I’ve seen in years. The best thing I can come up with to comment on it is that just because something’s “not your cup of tea”, that doesn’t make it bad. This is a comic aimed at a very specific type of storytelling. If you’re looking for your standard pseudo beat-em-up, this is not your book. There are perfectly good Black Panther books available for you out there.

With all that said, Coates’ political thriller is what the kids affectionately refer to as “lit”. However, most of that intrigue takes a breather in Issue #8 to declare last call on a long standing plot point: Shuri’s tenure in Wakandan purgatory (or whatever). There are a few pages devoted to T’Challa adjourning his team up with The Crew with all the appropriate feels in all the right places. I really appreciated having these moments with The Crew mainly because I like the idea of there being this sense of community among all the Black heroes. I mean, I subconsciously keep a running tally of all the Black people in any given room and those are just relative strangers. I could only imagine the camaraderie between Black people who all voluntarily run into harm’s way every day.

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Meanwhile, the resolution of Shuri’s hero quest gets slightly talky (as her plot has been throughout the series), but it doesn’t take away from the overall awesomeness of the ending or what it suggests for later installments. Coates’ penchant for prose is unlike anything else happening in Big Two comics right now so it’s nice to have some of that classy narrative being resurrected in the medium. Visually, Chris Sprouse is handling his business, maintaining a lot of the aesthetic established by Brian Stelfreeze. He did an amazing job with the transition to the other side scenes and managed astounding work depicting Shuri in all her majestic glory at the end of her quest. That along with the wonderfully expressive faces during the whole exchange with The Crew justifies the four bucks on its own.

Bottom Line: Coates is churning out a page turner that doesn’t need a fist fight on every page to prove that T’Challa is an effective and cerebral yet conflicted hero. Also, applause is in order for giving Shuri (possibly) the level-up she so deserves.

8.5 T’Challa/Storm Silent Romcom gazes out of 10

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  • voltorocks

    Can’t understand any of the ill will for this series (I mean, I *can* understand it given the author and the state of our country, I just want to believe better of comics fans).

    Cerebral and prose heavy comics/graphic novels have been succeeding outside the superhero genre since before I was born, but apparently some folks just have this tunnel vision and don’t want anything but the same old punch-centric books. This book is a breath of fresh air and I hope we see more and more like it in its wake.

    • Bud Morries

      Me as well. The developments that I want to see is: T’challa and Ororo getting back together. THat being said: I love the history finally being told and it’s good to see Shuri back.

  • Cville

    The Ultimates is not punch-centric. I think most Black Panther fans would say that T’challa gets a better showing in that book.

  • Bud Morries

    I think that it’s time to bring T’challa/Ororo back together. There is an undeniable chemistry to the two when they are together. Plus she never seemed a good fit with Wolverine. This is a great book and it’s good to see Shuri back and looking fierce.

  • Thaddeus Thompkins

    Brother Coates has been doing a fine job with The Black Panther and has really expanded the the world that is the country of Wakanda building a lore that will allow future writers to expand and draw upon. I definitely put this up there with Priest’s run which made the Panther more lethal and gave us more of Wakanda as well.

    I would think people would be more upset with the Hudlin run which gave us T’Challa/Ororo and most people hated as well as the infamous “Wakandans cured cancer but won’t share it because they would abuse the cure” scene and that run was considered as being too pro-black by some

    • Bud James Morries

      Brother Coates has been doing a really good job. He got this series to where it is more than enjoyable by setting up an actual plot line…. I don’t understand why people would get upset at seeing the Black Panther with storm. She’s much more suited towards the Black Panther than Wolverine or Old Man Logan. To be honest with you that’s one of the reasons why I do not collect any of the X-Men comic books so long as those two are together I will not do it plus I don’t like her attitude and how she treats forge on a regular basis…. The problem is that many people want to believe that it’s not about color when it is. I am tired of seeing storm with Old Man Logan and people like that.

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