Black Panther #1
Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Art by Daniel Acuna
Letters by Joe Sabino
Welcome to the Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda. The first thing that stands out about this issue is the first page summary which distills the history of this new empire by comparing it to themes in western colonialism. Themes that seem to carry over into outer space when a group feels threatened by those around them and decide to conquer them out of a sense of self-preservation.
Within the bowels of the planet, a man wakes from his dream and decides to escape his captivity in the mines. An escape that has not gone unnoticed by higher ups in the empire. His escape is brilliantly drawn. I loved every panel and there is a brutal grace to the characters movements throughout as he attempts to escape from the vibranium mines. As he is subdued and recaptured, the scene shifts to some familiar faces making a plan.
Back at the mines, the prisoner continues to be a mystery. As a reader, you know who he is, but there remains a level of mystery that helps move the story along without giving away too much. His movements are a dead giveaway though because that grace and ferocity returns when he is challenged by another slave. A new dynamic forms when you realize that there is something different going on. Something completely unknown and it is a little unsettling to see.
When we are introduced to the freedom fighters who battle against the empire and its leader, we get a sense that there is something bigger happening in this story and the fact that the slave cannot remember who he is, but remembers what he must do helps to create a deeper mystery that is infinitely interesting to see play out. Both the art and the story are well done in this first issue and it does exactly what a first issue should do, make me want to read the next one.