Black Panther #1, #2, and #3 Comic Book Reviews

Comic book reviews for Black Panther #1, Black Panther #2, and Black Panther #3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Brian Stelfreeze
Average rating: 2.6/5 stars

Black Panther #1 Black Panther #2 Black Panther #3

Erica gives this comic three starsBlack Panther #1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze

I was really, really excited for this book. Coates is such a wonderful writer, and Stelfreeze’s art is excellent. While this is the first comic book Coates, a longtime comic fan, has written, Coates is such a famous author that I worry he won’t be given the latitude that we might for a relatively unknown, new comic book writer. This book is 3/5 stars for me because Coates’ writing does come off like a new comic book writer who’s used to writing all-prose, all-the-time.

There’s a ton of text everywhere. Way too much text. The text doesn’t override the art — which is a common problem in new comic writers — but the excessive text doesn’t add to the story. Coates lays the ground for about 500 plots as well.

My next worry is new comic readers. Sure, Coates has comic book fans who already loved his work, but likely most of his followers are fans of his novels, essays, and other think pieces. I haven’t read a ton of Black Panther stories, but I put this issue down thinking that I don’t know anything about Wakanda. Nothing at all. No doubt, if Coates wasn’t a huge Black Panther fan already, he’s become immersed in the mythology of his world. This can be dangerous when attracting new readers.

My 30th birthday party was Star Trek themed, and we did some Star Trek trivia. I wrote all the questions. They were way too hard, even for my fellow Star Trek fans, but certainly for my friends who’d watched it casually.

I felt like my friends after reading Black Panther #1.

I’ll still be continuing to read the title. I’m mostly intrigued about the plotline with Dora Milaje. I also love how many women T’Challa has in his life and how important they are for the country.

Erica gives this comic two starsBlack Panther #2 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze

I wish I could say this book got better with issue #2, but it just got more confusing. I walked away understanding less about T’Challa’s challenges and Wakanda. I don’t expect everything to be spelled out to me, but I also haven’t studied every Black Panther text with a fine-tooth comb.

My favorite parts of this book were with Aneka and Ayo. I love them defending the women and children of Wakanda. Of course, I don’t really get what’s happening in the country at large or why bad men are rounding up women to rape (at least that’s what I assume they were doing). I could really dig a book just focused on Aneka and Ayo.

I’m still confused at what T’Challa is planning on doing. He seems to be rushing into Zenzi’s trap, which yes, is probably the point of this issue. And maybe the confusion I’m feeling as a reader is in part the confusion of T’Challa’s mission.

And I have no idea about Tetu and the professor guy.

Then there’s Shuri and her mother meeting in some kind of not-afterlife-afterlife. But it wasn’t really her mother. How is T’Challa reversing this?

Erica gives this comic three starsBlack Panther #3 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art: Brian Stelfreeze

This book still makes me want to break out Wikipedia, but I hate to say it, I’m just not that motivated to. But I do know those who are fans of the character are in heaven. I’ve decided in order to enjoy reading it, I’m going to let it be this story.

Okay, Tetu and Zenzi are connected. This makes me feel better about the zillion plots. Yes, let’s connect them together.

I assume Roxane Gay’s tie-in book is just going to be about Aneka and Ayo. They are definitely my favorite part of this book and a light every time I pick it up. I love that they can’t save these women, but they can by training them.

It’s an interesting contrast to see Black Panther and his men in white losing so badly and the women kicking butt in their storylines.

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