Rise of the Black Panther #1 (of 6) (Marvel Comics)
With a brand new movie coming out in just under a month, it’s no surprise that Marvel would put out a new Black Panther origin comic. But what makes Rise of the Black Panther stand out is the fact that it’s written by current Black Panther writer Ta-Nehisi Coates with an assist from journalist Evan Narcisse, which allows them to work in aspects of Coates’ run into the story of T’Challa’s rise to becoming the King of Wakanda. While this may not be a necessary read for fans of the character, if you need a refresher on T’Challa and his world, Rise is a great read.
Much of this issue focuses on T’Challa’s father and his time as the Black Panther, which is pretty interesting and lays the necessary groundwork for how the country of Wakanda fits into the rest of the Marvel Universe. As far as the rest of the issue, Coates definitely hits all the major beats for T’Challa’s origin, so going over the plot for this issue is probably moot (it would be like me reading off the Wikipedia page for Black Panther). But like the ongoing series, Coates’ love of comics and the character is in full effect with this issue. While I thought Coates needed some plotting work when he first started with Black Panther, it’s clear that he’s found his stride now, and I’d argue that he’s the first writer to really get Black Panther and the world of Wakanda as a whole. The fact that he’s teamed up with Evan Narcisse (in his first comics work) shouldn’t be a cause for alarm, as I couldn’t find any noticeable difference in the two’s writing styles.
While regular Black Panther artist Brian Stelfreeze is unfortunately no where to be found here, Paul Renaud’s art is a great replacement. Renaud’s smooth style works perfectly with this script, and he gives T’Challa and his world the regalness it requires. There’s not a whole lot of action to be found in this first issue, but I’m sure that when it does come, Renaud will be able to deliver.
While Rise of the Black Panther doesn’t cover any new ground, it’s a great refresher into Black Panther’s world to get you ready for the upcoming movie. If you’ve been curious about the character but didn’t want to jump into his ongoing series, this is the perfect book to try out. At the very least, you’ll know more about the character before the movie hits.