Black Panther #1: Wakanda Doomed?

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Writer: Ryan Haggerty

Growing up a minority in a predominately white neighborhood, the people in that neighborhood tended to put minorities into a box. The people of those neighborhoods often assumed that if a person had dark skin, then he or she must like the dark-skinned characters. This simply wasn’t true for me when it came to the leader of Wakanda.

Instead, I found myself liking characters that could relate to the social issues I faced. The color of his skin or my skin had, and always will, be irrelevant.

One common mistake when thinking about Black Panther is that it is perceived as first a moniker for the Black Panther Party, a Black nationalist and social organization. The Black Panther comic book was released three months prior to when this party was founded.

When I discovered this information, I actually perceived the character and his history in a completely different light. Instead of a man who was created to fill a void in comics driven by political influence, Stan Lee created an original icon that society didn’t know they needed.

Black Panther #1 embodies a story where our hero T’challa is now in charge of Wakanda after a long sabbatical where his sister filled in as princess of Wakanda Shuri. The empire is split and on the verge of civil war. T’challa no longer has complete confidence and support from his people that has been an established strength of his in the Marvel Universe. As a Marvel fan, witnessing T’challa not have the full support of his people is like J. Jonah Jameson being a fan of Spider-Man. Black Panther’s powers may come from a God but his influence is only supported by the people.

Issue one is a book I have been waiting for. The politics Black Panther portrays in its comic has always been intriguing. The country of Wakanda is so secretive that the audience hardly gets a glimpse of the inner workings inside the kingdom. Watching T’challa struggle for respect in a country that wouldn’t have the base it has is going to be exciting. I highly recommend.

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