By now, True Believers know that Marvel Comics will be all-new and all-different when ‘Secret Wars’ concludes this fall. But this isn’t limited to the stories and characters within the Marvel Universe. Big changes are coming behind the scenes as well as the House of Ideas brings in some new and exciting talent to work on building the world of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Among the newcomers contributing their unique takes on iconic heroes are UFC fighter CM Punk and ‘Agent Carter’ showrunners Tara Butters and Michele Fazekas. And now Marvel has revealed that an award-winning journalist will join the ever-growing bullpen as well.
The New York Times broke the news earlier this week that Ta-Nehisi Coates would be teaming with artist Brian Stelfreeze to tackle the brand new ‘Black Panther’ series as part of the All-New All-Different Marvel line-up. Known as a national correspondent for The Atlantic and the author of National Book Award nominee “Between the World and Me”, Coates landed the job after interviewing editor (and new Ms. Marvel creator) Sana Amanat about diversity and inclusion in comic books. After that discussion, one thing lead to another and the writer was paired with editor Will Moss to start charting out their journey into Wakanda.
With Marvel being an intimate part of his childhood along with hip-hop and Dungeons & Dragons, Coates expressed his excitement for this opportunity to write for T’Challa in a following press release. And due to his professional experiences, he has an interesting view of the Wakandan royal:
“Wakanda is really the light of the world, in the Marvel Universe. And yet it’s a system of governance that has not advanced beyond the idea of blood-rule. It’s always seemed to me that T’Challa was aware of this discrepancy. Among the monarchs of Marvel –Namor and Doctor Doom for instance– T’Challa has always been distinguished to me by his discomfort on the throne, and with the problems of one-man rule. I am very much looking forward to exploring that tension.”
So what will the new ‘Black Panther’ be about? Titled ‘A Nation Under Our Feet’ as inspired by the 2003 Steven Hahn book, the series is described as “the best episodes of ‘The West Wing’ and ‘Homeland’, but it’s also going to have the trademark Marvel action and energy that Stan Lee & Jack Kirby (Black Panther’s creators!) built into the foundation of the Marvel Universe.” Readers can also expect appearances from Panther’s new teammates, The Ultimates. However, the more direct answer lies in this official synopsis, which follows Stelfreeze’s Marvel Hip-Hop Variant inspired by Jay-Z’s ‘The Black Album’:
The indomitable will of Wakanda — the famed African nation known for its vast wealth, advanced technology and warrior traditions — has long been reflected in the will of its monarchs, the Black Panthers. But now, the current Black Panther, T’Challa, finds that will tested by a superhuman terrorist group called The People that has sparked a violent uprising among the citizens of Wakanda. T’Challa knows the country must change to survive — the question is, will the Black Panther survive the change?
By the sounds of all that, there’s plenty to look forward to when it comes to ‘Black Panther’ #1. Look for it at your local comic book shop in Spring 2016, which happens to line up with the character’s debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as part of ‘Captain America: Civil War’ before moving on to star in his own feature film in 2018. Until then, let us know what you think about the King of Wakanda’s new comic book in the comment section.