Author Topic: Cosmic Revelations and Enslavement for the Damisa-Sarki Coate's Black Panther  (Read 646094 times)

Offline A.Curry

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Son of the Black Panther
Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on one of Marvel's iconic superheroes, reinvigorating the Black Panther for a new generation.
BY JONATHAN W. GRAY
April 26, 2016


This article has been edited.

... As befits the first hero of African descent published by a major comic book publisher, T’Challa interacts in significant ways with all of Marvel’s other black characters—from the Falcon to Luke Cage to Storm—and they derive inspiration from his stewardship of Wakanda, a truly independent African state that also happens to be the most advanced nation on earth. Marvel’s original rhetoric about Wakanda—unconquered by Western powers and thus untainted by neocolonialism—resembled African American discourse about Haiti in the 1850s and Ethiopia in the mid-1930s, which helps explain T’Challa’s appeal to a post-Civil Rights cohort of black Americans.

The rebooted Black Panther series engages with this shared history in important ways. Under the guidance of editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, Marvel has successfully launched a number of books featuring underrepresented characters over the last several years, including an Afro-Latino Spider-Man, a female Thor, and a Pakistani-American Ms. Marvel. Indeed, prior to Black Panther’s record-breaking debut in early April—the first issue sold through a 350,000 initial print run and has gone into a second printing—Ms. Marvel was Marvel’s top-selling comic. It speaks to the cultural capital of the comic industry in general and Marvel in particular that Coates, perhaps the most prominent contemporary writer on race and its role in American history, was interested in working for the company.



Coates originally pitched Alonso about writing Spider-Man, but it makes sense that Black Panther is Coates’s first foray into comics; his father was once the chairman of the Maryland chapter of the Black Panther Party. And as a lifelong fan of Marvel comics, Coates is as well-versed in its fictive history as he is in America’s bloody past. Working with established superheroes places particular demands on a writer, as it involves two kinds of collaboration: An author works with an illustrator to tell a story, but the author must also build upon what earlier creative teams have established about the character. In this sense, writing a comic about a long-standing protagonist like the Black Panther—or Batman or Spider-Man—involves reconfiguring story lines written by legends like Stan Lee or Jack Kirby, as well as by less-heralded creators, into a new narrative.

There are two ways for a writer to do this. You could bring to the surface the essential traits of your character in a way that allows readers to experience these familiar qualities anew, as Frank Miller did for Batman with The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Batman: Year One (1987), and Grant Morrison achieved with All-Star Superman (2008). The other approach is more subtle: Reread your character’s archive, gently realign his portrayal by attending to heretofore overlooked elements, and simultaneously create new supporting characters who facilitate the new direction. Alan Moore pioneered this approach with his run on Saga of the Swamp Thing from 1984-87, and Matt Fraction successfully reinvigorated the characters Iron Fist (2006-09) and Hawkeye (2012-15) using this method. Though the writer changes the character’s canon, the new iteration, if successful, supersedes the old while opening new avenues for storytelling. Coates takes the latter, more challenging approach and, based on my reading of the premiere issue along with the scripts of the first four issues, his Black Panther series succeeds wonderfully.

Coates renders the Black Panther as a reluctant king at the outset of “A Nation Under Our Feet,” which is a dramatic change. Comic fans have always accepted T’Challa’s serial absences from Wakanda as a consequence of the narrative logic of the Marvel universe, which locates all its heroes in and around New York City. An earlier Black Panther series, for example, opens with T’Challa arriving in New York alongside the Wakandan U.N. delegation, but then maneuvers him to Brooklyn, where he lives in a tenement and tussles with drug dealers who are using a Wakandan foundation to launder their profits. Despite these occurrences, earlier writers insisted that the Black Panther took his responsibilities as sovereign seriously.



Coates, on the other hand, reads that narrative as a sign of T’Challa’s reluctance to accept the responsibilities of the crown, and builds his characterization around it. Considering Coates’s assessment of Queen Nzinga, a seventeenth-century ruler of present-day Angola, in his last book—he identified most with her adviser, “who’d been broken down into a chair so that a queen … could sit”—it is unsurprising that he would chafe at writing a character who uncritically accepts his suitability to rule a nation. But Coates does more than simply reveal T’Challa’s self-doubt. In a recent New York Times discussion of the comic, he approaches the question of Wakandan governance from a different angle, wondering why Wakanda’s “educated population” would “even accept a monarchy.” The initial chapters of Coates’s Black Panther suggest democratic reform is in the offing, a radical change to the Wakandan status quo that allows Coates to interrogate the republican tradition Western readers often take for granted. In past iterations of Black Panther, those who worked to undermine dynastic rule were ultimately revealed to be either usurpers who craved the power of the throne for themselves, pawns controlled by Western powers seeking to undermine the only truly independent African nation so that they might exploit its natural resources, or both, which positioned the benevolent Wakandan monarchy as the foil for neoliberal entanglements.



While some elements of this international intrigue remain in “A Nation Under Our Feet,” Coates legitimizes at least some of the voices decrying monarchical rule. Indeed, perhaps Coates’s most intriguing new character, Zenzi, throws Wakanda into crisis by bringing the citizenry’s conflicted feelings toward T’Challa to the fore. She promises to be a formidable political foe, though the narrative hints she might evolve into an ally, depending on how the “Wakandan Spring” develops.

If superhero comics—with the notable exception of Chris Claremont’s 17-year run on X-Men—have traditionally devoted themselves to presenting the stories of heroic men, Coates works to correct this imbalance. Aside from Black Panther’s titular character, Coates allots most of his attention to female protagonists: the aforementioned Zenzi; T’Challa’s stepmother and regent, Ramonda; and Ayo and Aneka, members of the elite, all-woman Dora Milaje, which functions as Wakanda’s secret service. Coates’s Ramonda works to balance her role as trusted adviser to the king with her own instincts as a politician and her maternal concern for her son.

Ayo and Aneka are both soldiers and lovers, which violates the tradition that demands the Dora Milaje remain chaste while in the service of the Black Panther. Their relationship allows Coates to reveal the gendered violence and subordination present in even the most enlightened nation—the couple flee the palace to escape royal censure—but also frees him to address problems the patriarchal royal family has overlooked. Even in Wakanda, women’s problems receive less attention from the state. Within four issues, Coates establishes each of these women as complex characters with distinct motivations, even as he hints at the reintroduction of another important female character, T’Challa’s sister Zuri. While Zuri died protecting Wakanda in T’Challa’s absence, loyal comic readers know that death is rarely permanent.

The author shows a lapse in his research concerning Shuri.

One of the most persistent critiques of Between the World and Me, Coates’s most recent book, was that it paid insufficient attention to the ways that black women confront racial violence. His work here suggests he’s taken this critique to heart. (Coates even recently posted on his blog at The Atlantic about his enthusiasm for crafting the “feminists of Wakanda.”) Given the dearth of black women in comics—X-Men’s Storm remains the most prominent black woman in the medium, decades after her debut—Coates’s interest in female subjectivity is a most welcome change.

A.Curry will surely appreciate this.

Coates’s narrative contains a number of moving parts, which may make for tough sledding for those unfamiliar with comics as he works to set the stage; the whirl of characters can become bewildering. Issues 3 and 4 are more measured, and demonstrate Coates’s increasing command of the form. Coates has committed to writing Black Panther for the next few years, and watching a son of the Black Panther Party take the Black Panther to new heights promises to be a thrilling experience. Given the confluence of events—the last year of the Obama presidency, the ongoing Black Lives Matter protest movement, the fiftieth anniversary of the character—one expects we’ll never see a moment like this again. Pay attention to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther. History will either mark it as an interesting detour in an important career, or herald it as a new peak for comics.

Jonathan W. Gray is an Associate Professor of English at John Jay College—CUNY and editor of The Journal of Comics and Culture.

Full unedited article here
https://newrepublic.com/article/132972/son-black-panther


GREAT ARTICLE TURE.

it is disheartening a bit for myself and I'm sure others that Coates initially was interested in Spidey and not BP...hard to believe someone with his background wasn't excited at first about the prospect of working on T'Challa and Wakanda.

As for the part "I surely will appreciate"...lol...the writer of this piece shows that Coates maybe had some motivation into writing a tale that had a focus on womanist/black feminist issues through Coates himself being criticized for not addressing how black women face racism and sexism in his initial essay work...and trying to bring about the "feminists of Wakanda" through characters like Zenzi (who I'm seeing as a radical Angela Davis archetype) and Aneka and Ayo (who represent a somewhat ignored demographic among black women and an opportunity to question the practice of the Dora...something Priest himself did in his run) provides an opportunity for that.  Though it can still be seen as questionable HOW he is going about it.

the part about Storm still being the most prominent black female character in comics "decades after her debut" and the dearth of black women in comics prominently featured that the writer spoke on underscores my own point I made earlier on in convo with EmperorJones regarding this.  And even the black women characters that do exist when featured rarely if ever focus on women/black womanist issues.

People have spoken about Shuri before (can't believe the author misspelled her name) regarding how she is a strong female character, which she is, but having read some of her appearances before I don't recall her having dealt with these issues that could exist, but in a different way, of course, outside America. I could be wrong.  (The concept of the Dora Milaje, for instance, which I like, alone would raise an eyebrow to quite a few women overall, let alone feminist types)  It would likely be questionable to those looking for a woman character whom also is "woman-centered" that Shuri, for various reasons, would provide this.  It will be interesting to see how Coates handles her when he eventually brings her back.

Still wary of HOW Coates is going about the subjects he seems to be tackling within the backdrop of a place like Wakanda...the HOW can be quite misplaced.  But tackling the subjects themselves is an overall interesting thing to see.




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Son of the Black Panther
Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on one of Marvel's iconic superheroes, reinvigorating the Black Panther for a new generation.
BY JONATHAN W. GRAY
April 26, 2016


This article has been edited.

... As befits the first hero of African descent published by a major comic book publisher, T’Challa interacts in significant ways with all of Marvel’s other black characters—from the Falcon to Luke Cage to Storm—and they derive inspiration from his stewardship of Wakanda, a truly independent African state that also happens to be the most advanced nation on earth. Marvel’s original rhetoric about Wakanda—unconquered by Western powers and thus untainted by neocolonialism—resembled African American discourse about Haiti in the 1850s and Ethiopia in the mid-1930s, which helps explain T’Challa’s appeal to a post-Civil Rights cohort of black Americans.

The rebooted Black Panther series engages with this shared history in important ways. Under the guidance of editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, Marvel has successfully launched a number of books featuring underrepresented characters over the last several years, including an Afro-Latino Spider-Man, a female Thor, and a Pakistani-American Ms. Marvel. Indeed, prior to Black Panther’s record-breaking debut in early April—the first issue sold through a 350,000 initial print run and has gone into a second printing—Ms. Marvel was Marvel’s top-selling comic. It speaks to the cultural capital of the comic industry in general and Marvel in particular that Coates, perhaps the most prominent contemporary writer on race and its role in American history, was interested in working for the company.



Coates originally pitched Alonso about writing Spider-Man, but it makes sense that Black Panther is Coates’s first foray into comics; his father was once the chairman of the Maryland chapter of the Black Panther Party. And as a lifelong fan of Marvel comics, Coates is as well-versed in its fictive history as he is in America’s bloody past. Working with established superheroes places particular demands on a writer, as it involves two kinds of collaboration: An author works with an illustrator to tell a story, but the author must also build upon what earlier creative teams have established about the character. In this sense, writing a comic about a long-standing protagonist like the Black Panther—or Batman or Spider-Man—involves reconfiguring story lines written by legends like Stan Lee or Jack Kirby, as well as by less-heralded creators, into a new narrative.

There are two ways for a writer to do this. You could bring to the surface the essential traits of your character in a way that allows readers to experience these familiar qualities anew, as Frank Miller did for Batman with The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Batman: Year One (1987), and Grant Morrison achieved with All-Star Superman (2008). The other approach is more subtle: Reread your character’s archive, gently realign his portrayal by attending to heretofore overlooked elements, and simultaneously create new supporting characters who facilitate the new direction. Alan Moore pioneered this approach with his run on Saga of the Swamp Thing from 1984-87, and Matt Fraction successfully reinvigorated the characters Iron Fist (2006-09) and Hawkeye (2012-15) using this method. Though the writer changes the character’s canon, the new iteration, if successful, supersedes the old while opening new avenues for storytelling. Coates takes the latter, more challenging approach and, based on my reading of the premiere issue along with the scripts of the first four issues, his Black Panther series succeeds wonderfully.

Coates renders the Black Panther as a reluctant king at the outset of “A Nation Under Our Feet,” which is a dramatic change. Comic fans have always accepted T’Challa’s serial absences from Wakanda as a consequence of the narrative logic of the Marvel universe, which locates all its heroes in and around New York City. An earlier Black Panther series, for example, opens with T’Challa arriving in New York alongside the Wakandan U.N. delegation, but then maneuvers him to Brooklyn, where he lives in a tenement and tussles with drug dealers who are using a Wakandan foundation to launder their profits. Despite these occurrences, earlier writers insisted that the Black Panther took his responsibilities as sovereign seriously.



Coates, on the other hand, reads that narrative as a sign of T’Challa’s reluctance to accept the responsibilities of the crown, and builds his characterization around it. Considering Coates’s assessment of Queen Nzinga, a seventeenth-century ruler of present-day Angola, in his last book—he identified most with her adviser, “who’d been broken down into a chair so that a queen … could sit”—it is unsurprising that he would chafe at writing a character who uncritically accepts his suitability to rule a nation. But Coates does more than simply reveal T’Challa’s self-doubt. In a recent New York Times discussion of the comic, he approaches the question of Wakandan governance from a different angle, wondering why Wakanda’s “educated population” would “even accept a monarchy.” The initial chapters of Coates’s Black Panther suggest democratic reform is in the offing, a radical change to the Wakandan status quo that allows Coates to interrogate the republican tradition Western readers often take for granted. In past iterations of Black Panther, those who worked to undermine dynastic rule were ultimately revealed to be either usurpers who craved the power of the throne for themselves, pawns controlled by Western powers seeking to undermine the only truly independent African nation so that they might exploit its natural resources, or both, which positioned the benevolent Wakandan monarchy as the foil for neoliberal entanglements.



While some elements of this international intrigue remain in “A Nation Under Our Feet,” Coates legitimizes at least some of the voices decrying monarchical rule. Indeed, perhaps Coates’s most intriguing new character, Zenzi, throws Wakanda into crisis by bringing the citizenry’s conflicted feelings toward T’Challa to the fore. She promises to be a formidable political foe, though the narrative hints she might evolve into an ally, depending on how the “Wakandan Spring” develops.

If superhero comics—with the notable exception of Chris Claremont’s 17-year run on X-Men—have traditionally devoted themselves to presenting the stories of heroic men, Coates works to correct this imbalance. Aside from Black Panther’s titular character, Coates allots most of his attention to female protagonists: the aforementioned Zenzi; T’Challa’s stepmother and regent, Ramonda; and Ayo and Aneka, members of the elite, all-woman Dora Milaje, which functions as Wakanda’s secret service. Coates’s Ramonda works to balance her role as trusted adviser to the king with her own instincts as a politician and her maternal concern for her son.

Ayo and Aneka are both soldiers and lovers, which violates the tradition that demands the Dora Milaje remain chaste while in the service of the Black Panther. Their relationship allows Coates to reveal the gendered violence and subordination present in even the most enlightened nation—the couple flee the palace to escape royal censure—but also frees him to address problems the patriarchal royal family has overlooked. Even in Wakanda, women’s problems receive less attention from the state. Within four issues, Coates establishes each of these women as complex characters with distinct motivations, even as he hints at the reintroduction of another important female character, T’Challa’s sister Zuri. While Zuri died protecting Wakanda in T’Challa’s absence, loyal comic readers know that death is rarely permanent.

The author shows a lapse in his research concerning Shuri.

One of the most persistent critiques of Between the World and Me, Coates’s most recent book, was that it paid insufficient attention to the ways that black women confront racial violence. His work here suggests he’s taken this critique to heart. (Coates even recently posted on his blog at The Atlantic about his enthusiasm for crafting the “feminists of Wakanda.”) Given the dearth of black women in comics—X-Men’s Storm remains the most prominent black woman in the medium, decades after her debut—Coates’s interest in female subjectivity is a most welcome change.

A.Curry will surely appreciate this.

Coates’s narrative contains a number of moving parts, which may make for tough sledding for those unfamiliar with comics as he works to set the stage; the whirl of characters can become bewildering. Issues 3 and 4 are more measured, and demonstrate Coates’s increasing command of the form. Coates has committed to writing Black Panther for the next few years, and watching a son of the Black Panther Party take the Black Panther to new heights promises to be a thrilling experience. Given the confluence of events—the last year of the Obama presidency, the ongoing Black Lives Matter protest movement, the fiftieth anniversary of the character—one expects we’ll never see a moment like this again. Pay attention to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther. History will either mark it as an interesting detour in an important career, or herald it as a new peak for comics.

Jonathan W. Gray is an Associate Professor of English at John Jay College—CUNY and editor of The Journal of Comics and Culture.

Full unedited article here
https://newrepublic.com/article/132972/son-black-panther


GREAT ARTICLE TURE.

it is disheartening a bit for myself and I'm sure others that Coates initially was interested in Spidey and not BP...hard to believe someone with his background wasn't excited at first about the prospect of working on T'Challa and Wakanda.

As for the part "I surely will appreciate"...lol...the writer of this piece shows that Coates maybe had some motivation into writing a tale that had a focus on womanist/black feminist issues through Coates himself being criticized for not addressing how black women face racism and sexism in his initial essay work...and trying to bring about the "feminists of Wakanda" through characters like Zenzi (who I'm seeing as a radical Angela Davis archetype) and Aneka and Ayo (who represent a somewhat ignored demographic among black women and an opportunity to question the practice of the Dora...something Priest himself did in his run) provides an opportunity for that.  Though it can still be seen as questionable HOW he is going about it.

the part about Storm still being the most prominent black female character in comics "decades after her debut" and the dearth of black women in comics prominently featured that the writer spoke on underscores my own point I made earlier on in convo with EmperorJones regarding this.  And even the black women characters that do exist when featured rarely if ever focus on women/black womanist issues.

People have spoken about Shuri before (can't believe the author misspelled her name) regarding how she is a strong female character, which she is, but having read some of her appearances before I don't recall her having dealt with these issues that could exist, but in a different way, of course, outside America. I could be wrong.  (The concept of the Dora Milaje, for instance, which I like, alone would raise an eyebrow to quite a few women overall, let alone feminist types)  It would likely be questionable to those looking for a woman character whom also is "woman-centered" that Shuri, for various reasons, would provide this.  It will be interesting to see how Coates handles her when he eventually brings her back.

Still wary of HOW Coates is going about the subjects he seems to be tackling within the backdrop of a place like Wakanda...the HOW can be quite misplaced.  But tackling the subjects themselves is an overall interesting thing to see.


Several things real quick. This last from A.Curry: "Still wary of HOW Coates is going about the subjects he seems to be tackling within the backdrop of a place like Wakanda...the HOW can be quite misplaced.  But tackling the subjects themselves is an overall interesting thing to see."--A. CURRY

...is an issue for me, too. I really don't think that we have a lot of reason to be up in arms with essentially one book in the can, and the other coming out this month. However, that comment about Coates' position regarding the legendary Queen Ginga [ miscalled frequently Nzinga; however, Ginga wrote her name as "Ginga" on lasting documents which she wrote in Portuguese with her own hand, during exchanges with the King of Portugal who never learned to speak Queen Ginga's language ] is very problematic for me. Ngolo Ginga of Ndongo and Matamba is likely my most favorite "modern" ruler...with Queen Teresa de Benguela and Ethiopian Emperor Menelik [ along with his outstanding Empress, Taytu Betul, who is probably the inspiration for the devastating victory over Ethiopia at the Battle of Adowa ]. Classic works like Dr. Chancellor Williams' DESTRUCTION OF BLACK CIVILIZATION have made very clear that the Western mind totally misunderstands the defeat that the warriors who formed themselves into chairs for Ginga were eager to give to the Portuguese slaving idiots during the interplay of the mighty megagenius Ngolo Ginga with the Portuguese.

The reality is that Ginga...sent to negotiate with the treacherous, racist, arrogant, haughty, puffed up Portuguese...was even then bargaining from a position of power. The Portuguese...offended to no end at the notion of having to concede anything to Afrikans [ whom they universally regarded as savages ]...refused to give Ginga a seat during negotiations. They were intent on delivering what in their culture and morals at the time was a studied insult, forcing her to stand before them as their lesser while they lounged at their leisure.

Taking in the situation at a glance, Ginga's retinue and herself moved with a celerity that strongly implied foresight. They seemed to know that the idiot Portuguese would use that tactic...despite the fact that Ginga by herself could slay every single Portuguese man in the room with her. One of her many strong male warrior servants immediately formed himself into a seat, upon which she sat. In this way, she neutered the stupidity of the Portuguese. Ginga frequently arose from her perch upon her "human seat", not only to be sure to not tire out her loyal warriors upon whom she sat, but also because the other warriors in her retinue were eager to hand defeat to these Portuguese by ALSO being a "seat" for their Ngolo. Even if merely for a few minutes.

The brain dead, insufferably arrogant, infinitely grasping greedy and immoral Portuguese translated this brilliant, heroic, intelligent act of Ginga and her warriors as some extreme barbarity showing how callous Gnga is. They spread the fiction that she was so horrible that she would abuse her "servants" to the extent of making them articles of furniture.

This complaint from the Portuguese who, literally, did not look upon Afrikans as humans and who literally engaged in chattel slavery. Portuguese who literally inflicted upon Afrikans the barbarity that they falsely accused Ngolo Ginga of engaging in.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2016, 11:34:22 am by supreme illuminati »
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Offline Ezyo

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Getting it to you guys straight over from the CBR Forums. Here is the Preview for Issue 2

http://www.buzzcomics.net/showpost.php?p=1656833&postcount=2

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I'm just glad that the Hickman/Coates version of T'Challa didn't make it onto the big screen via Captain America:Civil War. Salutrade

Let's hope not. The one thing I do find absent in the previews, write ups and spoilers is reference to the Black Panther's great intellect. Come Friday we will all know.



I loved his characterization in the movie from his fighting style to the accent. Was very impressed by Chadwick Boseman but we don't need to get all that is great about T'challa in a Captain America movie, let's save the intellect and all that other good stuff for his own movie. I do think all BP fans will love the mid credits scene but for more about the movie can we PLEASE move it to the movie section on this board? I just posted about Civil War today
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Offline True Father 7

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Getting it to you guys straight over from the CBR Forums. Here is the Preview for Issue 2

http://www.buzzcomics.net/showpost.php?p=1656833&postcount=2



I am really not liking this series so far. Getting my Black Panther fix in Ultimates with Photon and Blue Marvel, baddest super hero team EVER!
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When this series was announced, we knew Coates was dealing with the aftermath of recent attacks on Wakanda.  Those attacks were weakening the faith of the people in their royalty.  But those pages of the bandits camp... That is an indication that there is something rotten in Wakanda and it has been there for a long time, like for generations.  Those things don't just pop up over night.  It's not a king's failure to defend from the external, it's his failure to rule internally. 

Coates could have written a story where the people were unhappy that their warrior-king failed to defend, without resorting to that camp.
« Last Edit: May 05, 2016, 04:12:28 pm by KIP LEWIS »

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That preview did absolutely nothing to dissaude my trepidation about Coates' iteration of the Black Panther. The dialogue was weak, the art not as sharp and to have such hienous acts occur on T'Challa's home turf screamed of Maberry. Is Coates is attempting to terraform Wakandan into Gotham or some analoge of a corrupt of Afrakan nation? Either way so far based on the preview it doesn't feel right. Next Wednesday tells the tale but for now let see how well BP is depicted in CACW.
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When this series was announced, we knew Coates was dealing with the aftermath of recent attacks on Wakanda.  Those attacks were weakening the faith of the people in their royalty.  But those pages of the bandits camp... That is an indication that there is something rotten in Wakanda and it has been there for a long time, like for generations.  Those things don't just pop up over night.  It's not a king's failure to defend from the external, it's his failure to rule internally. 

Coates could have written a story where the people were unhappy that their warrior-king failed to defend, without resorting to that camp.

I wanted to follow-up my statement.  In a warrior culture, where the king holds his office by "trials by combat", it is logical that the people might start wondering about T'Challa and Shuri after their recent short-comings.  I could see very well, that some might see this as a time to challenge the king.  I could even see some people wondering if this form of government is best in this "Age of Marvels", but none of that requires what we saw.

(And even blaming them for Thanos and the Phoenix Force attacks is really short-sighted of the people.  Thanos has obliterated entire civilizations more technologically advance than Wakanda and warrior races that number more than the entire earth with far greater ease than Wakanda gave and apparently, Wakanda survived.  Thanos is a being who could hold his own against Odin (when he wasn't even trying to hurt Odin).  The Phoenix Force (even at 1/5th power level) is even more powerful than Thanos, and Wakanda survived.  No other nation on earth could have done so.  Really, those battles are hard because they scared the nation, but they survived what no one else could have.)

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That preview did absolutely nothing to dissaude my trepidation about Coates' iteration of the Black Panther. The dialogue was weak, the art not as sharp and to have such hienous acts occur on T'Challa's home turf screamed of Maberry. Is Coates is attempting to terraform Wakandan into Gotham or some analoge of a corrupt of Afrakan nation? Either way so far based on the preview it doesn't feel right. Next Wednesday tells the tale but for now let see how well BP is depicted in CACW.

First i'll talk about what i liked, The introduction of some new characters in Hodari and Akili. I liked that the Hatut Zeraze might have a character with a name that can represent them and hopefully stays around past this Arc. I also like that the Hatut Zeraze are now apart of the royal family's elite force (thoguh it really makes me wonder who the warriors in red boots are and what organization they belong to.

I also liked how Coates has continued off where Hudlin left in regards to kilmonger and that group he formed. I thought it was a wasted opportunity for there to be no follow up on what he was doing an its good to see Coates picking up where he left off. Its also good because it explains kinda where Zenzi came from as she was in that group of Kilmongers coalition and gives her more depth as a character. Kimoyo bands its just cool straight up. I know its not this huge thing but its cool the little things to show how Wakanda is so advance in their tech. Another thing is i wonder If That statement T'Challa made about being protected against psychics is going to bite him later on. I mean he has some pretty mean defense against it, and the feats to back it up so hopefully if he is surprised by her ability, its because she is just that strong of a psychic and not that he is being chumped, if that is even the case, we will see.

What i didn't like was the Bandit compound was in Wakanda, i was hoping it would of been in Niganda because i don't really want Wakanda to have so much trafficking and rape being shown as a common place, yes they weren't royals but still, hopefully the majority of the men in this arc are not just shown as predators, abusers, rapist, against women and Children in order to prop the Doras up. as this is something i feel T'Challa wouldn't just e cool with those kinds of people in Wakanda, and I hope Coates doesn't portray it like only the Dora's care. Though i will say its giving off a netflix daredevil style showing of the Doras being akin to the Punisher so far. What they are doing is murder, but they are doing it only to the bad people who deserve it, just like in daredevil it will split people. Some will be in favor as they feel like the royal family isnt taking care of it and let it get out of hand (which is another thing altogether) and others who will be afraid as the Dora's are seen as a example of how to conduct oneself and are held at a higher standard.

I don't think the art was bad at all, i thought it was very much on point, and the dialog from what we saw seemed fine, and im sure the writing and art will stay on point through the issue. Again i do agree that i do not like the portray of the men in the story thus far as being predators. I wouldn't go so far as to say this is getting into Mayberry territory though because how i see it, its still consistent with what Hudlin and Priest has shown in their runs in terms of revolts. This run especially the part with Nigandans and the execution pit seemed very much like something we could see happening and following up on from Hudlins run, given how he portrayed the people of Niganda is something i could see happening here.

All in all there are some things i liked and things i didn't but Ultimately the issue will be the deciding factor

Offline supreme illuminati

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When this series was announced, we knew Coates was dealing with the aftermath of recent attacks on Wakanda.  Those attacks were weakening the faith of the people in their royalty.  But those pages of the bandits camp... That is an indication that there is something rotten in Wakanda and it has been there for a long time, like for generations.  Those things don't just pop up over night.  It's not a king's failure to defend from the external, it's his failure to rule internally. 

Coates could have written a story where the people were unhappy that their warrior-king failed to defend, without resorting to that camp.

I wanted to follow-up my statement.  In a warrior culture, where the king holds his office by "trials by combat", it is logical that the people might start wondering about T'Challa and Shuri after their recent short-comings.  I could see very well, that some might see this as a time to challenge the king.  I could even see some people wondering if this form of government is best in this "Age of Marvels", but none of that requires what we saw.

(And even blaming them for Thanos and the Phoenix Force attacks is really short-sighted of the people.  Thanos has obliterated entire civilizations more technologically advance than Wakanda and warrior races that number more than the entire earth with far greater ease than Wakanda gave and apparently, Wakanda survived.  Thanos is a being who could hold his own against Odin (when he wasn't even trying to hurt Odin).  The Phoenix Force (even at 1/5th power level) is even more powerful than Thanos, and Wakanda survived.  No other nation on earth could have done so.  Really, those battles are hard because they scared the nation, but they survived what no one else could have.)


^^^This post and the post of my esteemed HEF brethren taken in aggregate lead me to also voice concern and frankly a rather sharp dislike of the perception that Coates has of Wakanda, the nation, and her people as a whole.

I mean...I get it. The Perfect Nation Trope absolutely sucks for a writer. In my fanfic...which also deals immediately with the afteraffect of Killmonger, in Chapter 1...I point out that Wakanda isn't perfect, by a long shot. In fact, her unmitigated superiority springs from the unique equilibrium attained and maintained by her 12 major ethnic groups.

But THIS is HORRIBLE. I mean...that Bandit Camp? Hell no. That's Rwanda without the genocide. There is no way. None. That the people of Wakanda and the Security Forces of Wakanda would allow such a thing to exist. TChalla wouldn't even have to devote his own personal energy to such a thing, because the very formative and perpetuating factors of Wakandan civilization eliminate such outrages. The cultural and spiritual reserves of the nation permanently. And completely. Prevents such things from being even remotely possible.

Again. I definitely like many of the things that Coates has done with TChalla. I am not worried that Coates will do TChalla specifically and personally wrong.

I definitely do not like what Coates has done with this Bandit Camp in Wakanda, and I dislike how TChalla says that his warriors would fall prey to this mysterious woman's powers of the mind. I don't think that such a thing is plausible under these circumstances, given the fact that TChalla has already faced and defeated the likes of Somberr, Karnaj, Cruel, and a whole host of magic slinging baddies native to Wakanda.

Furthermore, during the 4 issue arc dealing with Solomon Preyy, the story noted specifically that Wakanda has a mesh of tech, magic and perhaps psi and/or Ka as the energy powering its basic tech expression. Our own R to the H specified in his record breaking first year that Wakandans view science and magic as being expressions of the same continuum [ this was the issue dealing with The Cannibal taking and changing hosts in Wakanda ]. Brother Voodoo was talking to a Wakandan Master when this exchange happened.

I take the combination of the above to mean that literally all of the warriors of The Golden City and to a lesser extent all of Wakanda are protected against primary psi, magic, Ka and tech attacks including involuntary compulsion to a respectable degree...and of course ALL of the Royals are FAR BETTER PROTECTED than the average citizen.

So I fail to see how ole girl can be such a threat to everyone in Wakanda except TChalla...unless ole girl is rockin near Omega level mental powers. And even then? A Wakandan Inhibitor Field would ruin her day...and her powers. Such Fields would be erected over and/or between many areas of Wakanda, as a routine and formidable method of security used for millenia, now. Such Fields and a myriad of multilayered interlocking synergistically amplifying security measures would be long added to Wakanda's already especially formidable interior defenses. Interior defenses which, let us not forget, even Maberry wrote made Wakanda essentially invulnerable to assault from any exterior military force.

Yes, I know that there needs to be a good in-story reason to explain why the King of Wakanda would risk himself one on one against this woman, but...that right there is a weak weak reason.

The in-story reason should arise from especially formidable responses by a very intelligent, very prepared, very dedicated small group of [ whatever ole girl and her homie's name is ] native Wakandans headed by the primary villains in this opening arc. to Off top, I would say that ole girl was of course a native Wakandan, she was helped to escape detection by Nakia and Killmonger, was aided  wreaking havoc by her male partner, etc.

Although it's way too soon to draw strong conclusions...it's only issue 2, and it's Beginning Writer 101 to play withthe plot construction and unspooling that Coates is playing with now...I definitely am not loving what I see of Coates' depiction of Wakanda. It's...jarring, and definitely unpleasant. I mean...the average woman of Wakanda is a warrior, too. The whole freakin society and civilization top to bottom are all formidable warriors and Olympic caliber athletes whose collective intellgence average is higher than anything we find in allegedly elite IQ groups like MENSA. Seeing this Rwanda-like repulsiveness smacks strongly of a distinct rejection of some of the seminal aspects of what makes Wakanda..."Wakanda". The Golden City. The hope, beacon, light and leader of humanity.

While again...I am not worried about TChalla himself under Coates' pen, I expect Coates to keep doing a good job overall regarding TChalla specifically...when it comes to many matters involving Wakanda?  I expected more at this very early point in the story from a writer of Coates' caliber.
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Offline Ture

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That preview did absolutely nothing to dissaude my trepidation about Coates' iteration of the Black Panther. The dialogue was weak, the art not as sharp and to have such hienous acts occur on T'Challa's home turf screamed of Maberry. Is Coates is attempting to terraform Wakandan into Gotham or some analoge of a corrupt of Afrakan nation? Either way so far based on the preview it doesn't feel right. Next Wednesday tells the tale but for now let see how well BP is depicted in CACW.


First i'll talk about what i liked, The introduction of some new characters in Hodari and Akili. I liked that the Hatut Zeraze might have a character with a name that can represent them and hopefully stays around past this Arc. I also like that the Hatut Zeraze are now apart of the royal family's elite force (thoguh it really makes me wonder who the warriors in red boots are and what organization they belong to.

I also liked how Coates has continued off where Hudlin left in regards to kilmonger and that group he formed. I thought it was a wasted opportunity for there to be no follow up on what he was doing an its good to see Coates picking up where he left off. Its also good because it explains kinda where Zenzi came from as she was in that group of Kilmongers coalition and gives her more depth as a character. Kimoyo bands its just cool straight up. I know its not this huge thing but its cool the little things to show how Wakanda is so advance in their tech. Another thing is i wonder If That statement T'Challa made about being protected against psychics is going to bite him later on. I mean he has some pretty mean defense against it, and the feats to back it up so hopefully if he is surprised by her ability, its because she is just that strong of a psychic and not that he is being chumped, if that is even the case, we will see.

What i didn't like was the Bandit compound was in Wakanda, i was hoping it would of been in Niganda because i don't really want Wakanda to have so much trafficking and rape being shown as a common place, yes they weren't royals but still, hopefully the majority of the men in this arc are not just shown as predators, abusers, rapist, against women and Children in order to prop the Doras up. as this is something i feel T'Challa wouldn't just e cool with those kinds of people in Wakanda, and I hope Coates doesn't portray it like only the Dora's care. Though i will say its giving off a netflix daredevil style showing of the Doras being akin to the Punisher so far. What they are doing is murder, but they are doing it only to the bad people who deserve it, just like in daredevil it will split people. Some will be in favor as they feel like the royal family isnt taking care of it and let it get out of hand (which is another thing altogether) and others who will be afraid as the Dora's are seen as a example of how to conduct oneself and are held at a higher standard.

I don't think the art was bad at all, i thought it was very much on point, and the dialog from what we saw seemed fine, and im sure the writing and art will stay on point through the issue. Again i do agree that i do not like the portray of the men in the story thus far as being predators. I wouldn't go so far as to say this is getting into Mayberry territory though because how i see it, its still consistent with what Hudlin and Priest has shown in their runs in terms of revolts. This run especially the part with Nigandans and the execution pit seemed very much like something we could see happening and following up on from Hudlins run, given how he portrayed the people of Niganda is something i could see happening here.

All in all there are some things i liked and things i didn't but Ultimately the issue will be the deciding factor






Intro and graphics flawless.



I really appreciate Coates giving an Afrakan name to the "Golden City" and look forward to the his naming the Necropolis. Mentionig Killmonger and his giving powers to those who will serve him was another nice touch.The Hotel Rwanda-esque pit full of bodies I could have done without. T'Challa prepped against mind control I can ride with as well as an Afrakan leader for the Hatut Zeraze. 



Bandit compound where women are held hostage, sold and raped in Wakanda?!? No way I can go for that. It would have made perfect sense if this was happening in Nigandanda as a precedence was set for the possibility of such cruelty happening when Shuri was captured, held prisoner and a guard attempted to rape her.




Are Aneka and Ayo the only ones who know how to deal withe perpetrators of such atrocities? Hell, T'Challa should be teaming up with them. What does this say about T"Challa or more accurately what is the author trying to say about the Black Panther? I want Coates to deliver and make this a standout comic book for the Black Panther especially at a time when so much attention is being shown to the character. I stand corrected on the artwork as I was viewing it on my phone, it looks just as sharp as the art in the previous issue.
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Son of the Black Panther
Ta-Nehisi Coates takes on one of Marvel's iconic superheroes, reinvigorating the Black Panther for a new generation.
BY JONATHAN W. GRAY
April 26, 2016


This article has been edited.

... As befits the first hero of African descent published by a major comic book publisher, T’Challa interacts in significant ways with all of Marvel’s other black characters—from the Falcon to Luke Cage to Storm—and they derive inspiration from his stewardship of Wakanda, a truly independent African state that also happens to be the most advanced nation on earth. Marvel’s original rhetoric about Wakanda—unconquered by Western powers and thus untainted by neocolonialism—resembled African American discourse about Haiti in the 1850s and Ethiopia in the mid-1930s, which helps explain T’Challa’s appeal to a post-Civil Rights cohort of black Americans.

The rebooted Black Panther series engages with this shared history in important ways. Under the guidance of editor-in-chief Axel Alonso, Marvel has successfully launched a number of books featuring underrepresented characters over the last several years, including an Afro-Latino Spider-Man, a female Thor, and a Pakistani-American Ms. Marvel. Indeed, prior to Black Panther’s record-breaking debut in early April—the first issue sold through a 350,000 initial print run and has gone into a second printing—Ms. Marvel was Marvel’s top-selling comic. It speaks to the cultural capital of the comic industry in general and Marvel in particular that Coates, perhaps the most prominent contemporary writer on race and its role in American history, was interested in working for the company.



Coates originally pitched Alonso about writing Spider-Man, but it makes sense that Black Panther is Coates’s first foray into comics; his father was once the chairman of the Maryland chapter of the Black Panther Party. And as a lifelong fan of Marvel comics, Coates is as well-versed in its fictive history as he is in America’s bloody past. Working with established superheroes places particular demands on a writer, as it involves two kinds of collaboration: An author works with an illustrator to tell a story, but the author must also build upon what earlier creative teams have established about the character. In this sense, writing a comic about a long-standing protagonist like the Black Panther—or Batman or Spider-Man—involves reconfiguring story lines written by legends like Stan Lee or Jack Kirby, as well as by less-heralded creators, into a new narrative.

There are two ways for a writer to do this. You could bring to the surface the essential traits of your character in a way that allows readers to experience these familiar qualities anew, as Frank Miller did for Batman with The Dark Knight Returns (1986) and Batman: Year One (1987), and Grant Morrison achieved with All-Star Superman (2008). The other approach is more subtle: Reread your character’s archive, gently realign his portrayal by attending to heretofore overlooked elements, and simultaneously create new supporting characters who facilitate the new direction. Alan Moore pioneered this approach with his run on Saga of the Swamp Thing from 1984-87, and Matt Fraction successfully reinvigorated the characters Iron Fist (2006-09) and Hawkeye (2012-15) using this method. Though the writer changes the character’s canon, the new iteration, if successful, supersedes the old while opening new avenues for storytelling. Coates takes the latter, more challenging approach and, based on my reading of the premiere issue along with the scripts of the first four issues, his Black Panther series succeeds wonderfully.

Coates renders the Black Panther as a reluctant king at the outset of “A Nation Under Our Feet,” which is a dramatic change. Comic fans have always accepted T’Challa’s serial absences from Wakanda as a consequence of the narrative logic of the Marvel universe, which locates all its heroes in and around New York City. An earlier Black Panther series, for example, opens with T’Challa arriving in New York alongside the Wakandan U.N. delegation, but then maneuvers him to Brooklyn, where he lives in a tenement and tussles with drug dealers who are using a Wakandan foundation to launder their profits. Despite these occurrences, earlier writers insisted that the Black Panther took his responsibilities as sovereign seriously.



Coates, on the other hand, reads that narrative as a sign of T’Challa’s reluctance to accept the responsibilities of the crown, and builds his characterization around it. Considering Coates’s assessment of Queen Nzinga, a seventeenth-century ruler of present-day Angola, in his last book—he identified most with her adviser, “who’d been broken down into a chair so that a queen … could sit”—it is unsurprising that he would chafe at writing a character who uncritically accepts his suitability to rule a nation. But Coates does more than simply reveal T’Challa’s self-doubt. In a recent New York Times discussion of the comic, he approaches the question of Wakandan governance from a different angle, wondering why Wakanda’s “educated population” would “even accept a monarchy.” The initial chapters of Coates’s Black Panther suggest democratic reform is in the offing, a radical change to the Wakandan status quo that allows Coates to interrogate the republican tradition Western readers often take for granted. In past iterations of Black Panther, those who worked to undermine dynastic rule were ultimately revealed to be either usurpers who craved the power of the throne for themselves, pawns controlled by Western powers seeking to undermine the only truly independent African nation so that they might exploit its natural resources, or both, which positioned the benevolent Wakandan monarchy as the foil for neoliberal entanglements.



While some elements of this international intrigue remain in “A Nation Under Our Feet,” Coates legitimizes at least some of the voices decrying monarchical rule. Indeed, perhaps Coates’s most intriguing new character, Zenzi, throws Wakanda into crisis by bringing the citizenry’s conflicted feelings toward T’Challa to the fore. She promises to be a formidable political foe, though the narrative hints she might evolve into an ally, depending on how the “Wakandan Spring” develops.

If superhero comics—with the notable exception of Chris Claremont’s 17-year run on X-Men—have traditionally devoted themselves to presenting the stories of heroic men, Coates works to correct this imbalance. Aside from Black Panther’s titular character, Coates allots most of his attention to female protagonists: the aforementioned Zenzi; T’Challa’s stepmother and regent, Ramonda; and Ayo and Aneka, members of the elite, all-woman Dora Milaje, which functions as Wakanda’s secret service. Coates’s Ramonda works to balance her role as trusted adviser to the king with her own instincts as a politician and her maternal concern for her son.

Ayo and Aneka are both soldiers and lovers, which violates the tradition that demands the Dora Milaje remain chaste while in the service of the Black Panther. Their relationship allows Coates to reveal the gendered violence and subordination present in even the most enlightened nation—the couple flee the palace to escape royal censure—but also frees him to address problems the patriarchal royal family has overlooked. Even in Wakanda, women’s problems receive less attention from the state. Within four issues, Coates establishes each of these women as complex characters with distinct motivations, even as he hints at the reintroduction of another important female character, T’Challa’s sister Zuri. While Zuri died protecting Wakanda in T’Challa’s absence, loyal comic readers know that death is rarely permanent.

The author shows a lapse in his research concerning Shuri.

One of the most persistent critiques of Between the World and Me, Coates’s most recent book, was that it paid insufficient attention to the ways that black women confront racial violence. His work here suggests he’s taken this critique to heart. (Coates even recently posted on his blog at The Atlantic about his enthusiasm for crafting the “feminists of Wakanda.”) Given the dearth of black women in comics—X-Men’s Storm remains the most prominent black woman in the medium, decades after her debut—Coates’s interest in female subjectivity is a most welcome change.

A.Curry will surely appreciate this.

Coates’s narrative contains a number of moving parts, which may make for tough sledding for those unfamiliar with comics as he works to set the stage; the whirl of characters can become bewildering. Issues 3 and 4 are more measured, and demonstrate Coates’s increasing command of the form. Coates has committed to writing Black Panther for the next few years, and watching a son of the Black Panther Party take the Black Panther to new heights promises to be a thrilling experience. Given the confluence of events—the last year of the Obama presidency, the ongoing Black Lives Matter protest movement, the fiftieth anniversary of the character—one expects we’ll never see a moment like this again. Pay attention to Ta-Nehisi Coates’s Black Panther. History will either mark it as an interesting detour in an important career, or herald it as a new peak for comics.

Jonathan W. Gray is an Associate Professor of English at John Jay College—CUNY and editor of The Journal of Comics and Culture.

Full unedited article here
https://newrepublic.com/article/132972/son-black-panther


GREAT ARTICLE TURE.

it is disheartening a bit for myself and I'm sure others that Coates initially was interested in Spidey and not BP...hard to believe someone with his background wasn't excited at first about the prospect of working on T'Challa and Wakanda.

As for the part "I surely will appreciate"...lol...the writer of this piece shows that Coates maybe had some motivation into writing a tale that had a focus on womanist/black feminist issues through Coates himself being criticized for not addressing how black women face racism and sexism in his initial essay work...and trying to bring about the "feminists of Wakanda" through characters like Zenzi (who I'm seeing as a radical Angela Davis archetype) and Aneka and Ayo (who represent a somewhat ignored demographic among black women and an opportunity to question the practice of the Dora...something Priest himself did in his run) provides an opportunity for that.  Though it can still be seen as questionable HOW he is going about it.

the part about Storm still being the most prominent black female character in comics "decades after her debut" and the dearth of black women in comics prominently featured that the writer spoke on underscores my own point I made earlier on in convo with EmperorJones regarding this.  And even the black women characters that do exist when featured rarely if ever focus on women/black womanist issues.

People have spoken about Shuri before (can't believe the author misspelled her name) regarding how she is a strong female character, which she is, but having read some of her appearances before I don't recall her having dealt with these issues that could exist, but in a different way, of course, outside America. I could be wrong.  (The concept of the Dora Milaje, for instance, which I like, alone would raise an eyebrow to quite a few women overall, let alone feminist types)  It would likely be questionable to those looking for a woman character whom also is "woman-centered" that Shuri, for various reasons, would provide this.  It will be interesting to see how Coates handles her when he eventually brings her back.

Still wary of HOW Coates is going about the subjects he seems to be tackling within the backdrop of a place like Wakanda...the HOW can be quite misplaced.  But tackling the subjects themselves is an overall interesting thing to see.

The Afrakan (so called black) characters that do exist when featured rarely if ever focus on Afrakan continental/diasporac sovereignty and unicity issues. The concern I have about  so called black women "issues" is that they are spoken of as if they are divorced from the inclusive  cultural dynamic that challenges Afrakan people regardless of ethnicity, age, socio-economic status, locale or gender.

Shuri is not often written dealing with traditional cultural and political concerns that not only affect the continent but wherever Afrakan people exist in the world. Maberry even tried to make her in the image of someone akin to Paris Hilton. The penchant for ignoring traditional Afrakan culture is pervasive and often presupposes European and or American values as being preferable.

For example the concept of the Dora Milaje may even be lauded by some women involved in co-wiving and sister wives relationships (a demographic of women/Afrakan women that are too often ignored, marginalized or ridiculed) as having the potential of being a triumph as such is so rarely seen in a positive light. Of course that means T'Challa would have to marry the two Dora Milaje.

Whatever the case maybe, we will find out in the year to come.
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I gotta say brother Ture, I think what may be happening is something akin to Netflix season 2 daredevil how he acted and reacted to Frank castle aka punisher. so it will be interesting to see how this unfolds

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I think there is reason to hope Coates renders a more than palatable Black Panther/Wakanda; the attention to African language, history and custom for example, there could turn out to be quite a bit to like about his rendition.  I liked the way he said T'Challa has a plan.  However, there cannot be prolonged, unexplained out of character developments.  Coates will need to offer a plausible explanation for the actions of the chieftain Ayo killed and the actions of these rogue Wakandans of this camp in the northern region of the country and sooner rather than later.

Peace,

Mont