Rise of the Black Panther #1, co-written by Evan Narcisse and Ta-Nehisi Coates and drawn by Paul Renaud, hits comics stands this Wednesday. The six-issue mini-series promises to be reinvent and clarify the origin of the Black Panther for the many new readers attracted to the character by his upcoming live action adaptation. It will focus on the first year of T’Challa’s time as a king, including the assassination of his father and a variety of first meetings with classic Marvel characters.
We are incredibly excited for Rise of the Black Panther, and not just because of the movie. It’s a comic stacked with talent and great ideas, coming out at just the right moment to kick off the new year. Whether you’re a long time fan of Black Panther and all of his Wakandan allies or someone just considering these comics for the first time, we think this new mini will prove a perfect starting point. Here are five big reasons why.
An Origin for All Readers
Black Panther’s origin from Fantastic Four #53 was straightforward. He is the monarch of a highly advanced African nation who rose to power after the assassination of his father. That much has remained consistent since 1966, but the details have changed quite a bit. Whether it’s the mutation of how the monarchy works, why King T’Chaka was killed, or who T’Challa knew in his youth, there’s not a lot of clarity at this point. Rise of the Black Panther promises to provide a new base for readers to work from regarding where the Black Panther got his start.
This sort of reconstitution has been a regular occurrence within Marvel Comics, which operates with a sliding timeline. Reginald Hudlin offered several big changes to the origin in the 1990s, some of which have been ignored and others which ought to be. Now is the perfect time to provide all readers a sense of the Black Panther’s current origin, especially when you consider his big place in both Marvel Comics and the movies. Coates is also working with Narcisse to ensure the new origin will play into the key themes and ideas of the current ongoing series, so that they will work together no matter where readers begin.
Paul Renaud Returns to Interiors
Paul Renaud is a highly underrated talent in American superhero comics. The French artist offers detailed and lush pages with layouts that allow reader’s eyes to flow like water down a smooth hillside. Renaud last provided complete interiors for a Marvel comic book in 2015 when he worked on Secret Wars #0 and a couple of other issues. Now he returns for the complete Rise of the Black Panther mini-series.
The inclusion of Renaud on this series shows a serious amount of faith from Marvel editor’s who assigned top talent to the project. Based on the previews available, the complete story should be absolutely gorgeous and guarantee a long-life for the series beyond six months of single issues. We expect Renaud’s contributions to make this tale the go-to origin for Black Panther for many years to come and a standard in the book market as well.
Evan Narcisse Joins Marvel Comics
Journalist Evan Narcisse is making his Big Two debut as the co-writer of Rise of the Black Panther. Narcisse has been a regular voice within comics journalism for several years, providing a unique point of view along with his entertaining and engaging writing style. His understanding and love for Black Panther is obvious, and is probably why he was selected to work alongside Black Panther scribe Ta-Nehisi Coates to develop this story. Coates has been integral to finding talented new comics writers at Marvel Comics who have worked on a variety of spinoffs and mini-series from the core Black Panther title.
Narcisse has stated he has developed the core plot points of the series and is collaborating with Coates in order to make the origin cohesive with the current Black Panther stories. The series will emphasize T’Challa’s first big decision as ruler of Wakanda, when he ends centuries of secrecy to make the international community aware of Wakanda’s place as a global power. Narcisse is also considering themes such as how someone moves from rebellion to become the status quo and how people handle undesired legacies. It’s clear from interviews Narcisse has put a great deal of thought into what the Black Panther means to readers and Marvel Comics, and we can’t wait to see what he has to say on the page.
Brian Stelfreeze Covers
The main reason to buy a comic should almost always be the quality and content of the story between the covers. That doesn’t mean covers don’t make for a great reason to buy a comic, especially when they’re painted by Brian Stelfreeze. Stelfreeze’s much-heralded return to superhero comics in the page of Black Panther has provided the artist with a new fanbase who ought to be delighted by the three solicited pieces for Rise of the Black Panther so far.
In each cover, Stelfreeze is taking a key figure from Black Panther’s new origin and filling their form with the history they embody. Characters, settings, and moments arise naturally in a wash of watercolors, with each cover fixed on a different palette. They are evocative of mood and story, and ought to look great framed for anyone who has a copy graded for preservation. Stelfreeze’s painting is stunning and we’re lucky to have six great new pieces from him in this series.
Return of the Black Panther/Namor Feud
The second cover for Rise of the Black Panther features Namor, which is exciting enough for any fans of Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers. While that series featured the entire Illuminati, the heart and soul of its four-year run was the rivalry between Black Panther and Namor. It was a feud so fierce that the pair wound up decimating one another’s kingdoms and attempting to kill the other more than once.
While their fights may be legendary, there’s a more important reason to be excited. Namor and Black Panther bring out the best in one another, as well as the worst. Their similar roles within the world and immense wisdom make them perfectly suited to show who they are as people beneath all of the titles and responsibilities. The choice to introduce Namor so early in this series shows why the creative team is already well suited to craft a new Black Panther origin. We can’t wait to see what happens here and in all of the issues to follow.