'Captain America: Civil War' will follow this month’s 'Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice' into multiplexes on May 6th and while Teams Cap and Iron Man are far too busy being glum at the thought of fighting each other for what they believe in, the trailer is PACKED with goodies. Though fans are undoubtedly excited for Spider-Man, one of the characters that many (including myself) are going crazy for is Black Panther. With only two months out from its release, Marvel’s 'Captain America: Civil War' will be the first introduction of the African king of Wakanda –Black Panther– to the Marvel cinematic universe.

Black Panther is easily one of Marvel's most powerful superheroes, and it is not just because of his Vibranium suit. Due to his connection with the 'Wakandan Panther God,' T'Challa (Black Panther) is given a number of enhanced abilities. He now has superhuman strength, speed, stamina, durability, agility, healing, reflexes, and senses. Like a panther in the wild, T'Challa can track a scent from far away and can identify almost anything simply by the essence it carries. 

He also has riches that outmatch those of Tony Stark, weaponry that tops S.H.I.E.L.D (since the military of Wakanda is described as one of the strongest in the Marvel world), Intellect that could threaten the likes of Pym & Banner (He has a PhD in Physics from Oxford University) and he is the King, or chieftain, of Wakanda. He is royalty. 

I love T’Challa. A badass futurist that isn’t a smarmy DB like Tony Stark. T’Challa is like if Marvel went full Bizzaroland and let Reed Richards and Namor have a lovechild. 

The folks over at Marvel are doing what they can to keep the King of Wakanda fresh in the minds of fans around the world. Marvel is bringing back Black Panther’s comic series, and it is written by none other than New York Times bestseller Ta-Nehisi Coates. Ta-Nehisi Coates is tying the comic books of his youth and the political philosophy at the heart of his editorial work into a single comic book series, Black Panther. 

The fact that Coates is exploring why Wakanda still has a king even in the modern day is a great story. I mean, pretty much every first world nation has either gotten rid of their monarchy or made it merely a figurehead, so why would Wakanda be different? Why shouldn’t they have democracy.

Christopher Priests run definitely used distinct groups/factions within Wakanda, though iirc, he preferred to use “clan” instead of “tribe.” There were several, though, and T’Challa had to maintain a delicate balance between them; for instance, the Dora Milaje were founded as a peace-keeping measure by having each tribe give the king a young woman as a potential consort. T’Challa wouldn’t actually marry any of them, using them instead as his bodyguards, but their equal placement close to the king would ensure each tribe/clan being represented. All of which could be relevant in Coates’ run, since his second issue’s description mentions the Midnight Angels, the other name for the Dora Milaje. Hopefully he can use his awareness to explore cultural complexities that often necessarily have to be reduced lest they muddle the narrative. Especially since a lot of Coates’ writing explores the idea of freedom and how it applies differently to the races. Very interesting dichotomy to explore in a nation that doesn’t have a race problem so to speak.

I’m super-intrigued from The Atlantics' sampling to experience Coates’ writing. In his writing he aspires to a Gen-X channeling of both the movement writers of the 60's and the Harlem renaissance writers of the 30's, so this aspiration should yield something pretty interesting. Echoing the ongoing civil struggles in several African nations over resource exploitation is a great idea, even if it is problematic that in this case, it’s a king rather than a corrupt warlord or general.

Coates explained his motivation and aspirations for the series, which turns 50 this year, in that same essay in The Atlantic , which accompanied a preview for the first part of the 11-issue run he’s authoring (with art by Brian Stelfreeze). Google that essay, Add 'Black Panther' to your hold. This series is going to be one for the ages.

-Dagobot



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Tags: Ta-Nehisi Coates , Captain America: Civil War , black panther