HEAVY IS THE HEAD THAT WEARS THE CROWN! As the Black Panther and an Avenger, T'Challa has had to save the world time and again - but those duties pale in comparison to his responsibilities as king of Wakanda. As the nation rebuilds in the wake of revolution, T'Challa finds his people besieged by a massive monster tearing through the country, leaving a trail of destruction in its wake! From acclaimed novelist NNEDI OKORAFOR (Binti, Who Fears Death) and illustrator ANDRE LIMA ARAUJO (SPIDEY, The Wicked + The Divine) comes an adventure set in the world of Ta-Nehisi Coates' landmark BLACK PANTHER run and told in the Mighty Marvel Manner! Collects Black Panther - Long Live The King #1-6.
Nnedi Okorafor is a New York Times Bestselling writer of science fiction and fantasy for both children and adults. The more specific terms for her works are africanfuturism and africanjujuism, both terms she coined and defined. Born in the United States to two Nigerian (Igbo) immigrant parents and visiting family in Nigeria since she was a child, the foundation and inspiration of Nnedi’s work is rooted in this part of Africa. Her many works include Who Fears Death (winner of the World Fantasy Award and in development at HBO as a TV series), the Nebula and Hugo award winning novella trilogy Binti (in development as a TV series), the Lodestar and Locus Award winning Nsibidi Scripts Series, LaGuardia (winner of a Hugo and Eisner awards for Best Graphic Novel) and her most recent novella Remote Control. Her debut novel Zahrah the Windseeker won the prestigious Wole Soyinka Prize for Literature. She lives with her daughter Anyaugo in Phoenix, AZ. Learn more about Nnedi at Nnedi.com and follow Nnedi on twitter (as @Nnedi), Facebook and Instagram.
I love Ta Nehisi Coates as writer and thinker but had to abandon his Black Panther run; it wasn’t great comics. All talk and philosophy, and not action, or too much set-up for action that I might have seen if I had been patient for it. Okorafor, the author of Binti and Akata Witch, making her comics debut, wisely listened to future readers via social media about their hopes for her run; they hoped to see more action to ground the ideas, and not the other way around (as Coates had done). They also wanted her to show us better how technology works in Wakanda, which is something she typically cares about. Luckily her ideas were consistent with reader requests.
So: we begin with T’Challa fighting a monster, and a black panther, and more. Few words, mostly action, yay, a comic allowing the artist, André Lima Araújo, to tell the story via images. A comic book, not a philosophical treatise. She loves inventive tech and includes many examples here. Magic and tech are linked in her thinking. She also includes some of her trademark weird creatures and monsters. She’s a sci-fi/fantasy writer, and so her world of Wakanda fits her vision. She’s a world-builder, not a philosopher; she’s a storyteller! Maybe the most generous thing I can say is that Okorafor builds in her run on Coates’s Afro-futuristic vision.
As to the “Long Live the King” subtitle, well, Okorafor talks about her uneasiness to write about a king, when her people in Nigeria, the Igbo, are more democratic. So Okorafor’s Black Panther is a human being, vulnerable, human, less arrogant and macho. Also, instead of the super serious or formal Coates world, there is more humor here, it’s just livelier all around.
I see the early ratings are way down for this run, but I would say by far the glaringly weaker part of this volume is the Covington two parter, which didn’t mesh well narratively or artistically with Okorafor’s work. There’s also a oneshot from Okorafor and Tana Ford about Ngozi, a wheelchair-using teen with the superpowers of the Venom symbiote. I’m interested in disability issues, so was happy to read this and intrigued to read more.
This is a good start, maybe 3.5 overall, with hopes for the future.
Three unrelated Black Panther tales set in Wakanda. These were a lot more action oriented and fun than the current Ta-Nahisi Coates run. No philosophical treatises here. I did like how the stories explored how Wakandans view their king and how they wanted to be governed while still delivering interesting stories. The final issue featuring some girl who was a Black Panther / Venom hybrid seemed to come out of left field.
"In my younger days I had more time. Now there is just the crown - and the crown is heavy. The crown is also strong - and there is only one." - King T'Challa, dignified and direct as usual
Three brief and unrelated action-oriented tales (tails? ha-ha) featured in this edition. In the opener Black Panther investigates a sudden mysterious and possibly supernatural threat affecting his beloved Wakanda. The middle section 'Keeps Your Friends Close' - my favorite, and stylishly reminiscent of this year's film adaptation - has Panther assisted by the always-welcome Shuri and allies during a subversive cult's attempt to control the nation. The finale, which actually featured the Venom / Black Panther hybrid Ngozi, was okay but felt sort of out of place with the other stories.
I'm not one for graphic novels but I enjoyed this one. Okafor is interesting. As far as comic books go, I enjoyed most of the stories. This was mostly pure action. I enjoyed the last story the most about the interim Black Panther visiting Nigeria. Overall a fun romp. I'm baffled by the low rating, but I'm not the target audience.
I'm not sure what the point of this book was, to be honest. It featured three stories, all connected to Wakanda and the Black Panther, all of which would have fit into the 'World of Wakanda' book. It's like they relaunched 'World of Wakanda' with a new title and hoped nobody would notice.
It didn't help that in the two stories featuring T'Challa he seemed out-of-character to me; much closer to the slightly-out-of-his-depth movie version than the hyper-intelligent-super-competent comicbook version. The cynic in me thinks this is probably no accident. Oh, well...
I say, “I’m sure” because I have not read very widely within Marvel comics, but from reading the background info, it seems like there needed to be more. That said, there were a lot of gaps. I’m not sure how any of these stories fit in with the Marvel Universe movies, if they do at all. There’s literally no tie in at all. They are still good stories that I enjoyed. I am just aware of my ignorance. And who is this Ngozi who is interim Black Panther. What happened to T’Challa? 3.5 stars
I really like the way that Okorafor writes Wakanda. This collection of three comic singles was great, probably my favorite of the Black Panther universe, with the Shiri ongoing series (also by Okorafor) being a very close second.
"Blackout", "The Sacrifice", and "Obinna's Folly" make up the first section, and were my favorites. The last story "Under the Bridge" had an interesting Venom mashup.
I liked this ALOT. Art work is awesome. Much prefer Nnedi writing Black Panther than Ta-Nehisi Coates.
Nnedi is an Igbo, a Nigerian ethnic group that is unique since the Igbos never had a centralized government or royalty. She tried to inject this in the worldbuilding of Wakanda and it worked out really well. I liked how T'Challa reflected that there were different types of freedom in his kingdom, including even an anarchic community. And the idea of a sentient vibranium is fantastic.
This edition apparently has two additional stories, one of which really struck me since I did not know about Ngozi, an interim Black Panther who does not wear vibranium suit but had a symbiote like Venom? and she's in a wheel chair in her daily lives? WOW. I need more of her.
The description of this TPB is misleading. Nnedi Okorafor only wrote half of the stories in this trade. If okorafor had wrotten the entire trade I would hahve given this a high rating.
Because Okorafor does something that is rarely done with T'Challa nowadays. A little humor and humility is added to the charcater. That doesn't mean Christopher Priest's version doesn't remain my favorite. it is that Okorafor's firs in much better than Coates, Hudlin etc.
A quick light hearted read, especially the Okorafor pieces. The threats are far from Earth shattering, the politics aren't as much in play as in the Priest and Coates stories and that is ok.
Three unconnected Black Panther tales, the best by far being Nnedi Okorafor's quick story of Black Panther conquering a purple monster from the hinterlands. I appreciated that Okorafor told a full, fast-paced story that didn't rely on endless philosophizing and dialogue like Ta-Nehisi Coate's main series. The other two tales were inconsequential, particularly the one involving some random Black Panther/Venom hybrid. I felt quite lost there.
First and last foray into the Black Panther universe. I was looking for something interesting and smart, this ain't it. I am crushed. Thought it was gonna be awesome, I mean it's Hugo nominated! The art work is okay. Nothing remotely new tho.
It seems like Black Panther has been super-serious and dull for quite a while now (at least since the end of the Christopher Priest run). It's nice to come across a quirky take on the character that allows for some humor.
Three different stories, three different artist teams. Five stars for the first story by Nnedi Okarafor and André Lima Araújo, which I thought was really good, imaginitive, humorous, dialogue-short and with some really good art by André, which is one of the artists I'd like to see attached to one of Marvel's big league series. The other stories were also cool indie reads, but unrelated and far more generic, three stars for both of them.
The three issues in this volume that are by Okorafor and Araújo are excellent, and I wish the duo had had more issues to play with. Unfortunately, two of the six issues are by different writer/artist teams and are far below the quality of the Okorafor/Araújo issues. Also included is a fantastic one-shot that Okorafor did with artist Tana Ford about Ngozi (Okorafor and Ford also worked together on the excellent and underrated LaGuardia).
In other words, this volume is a mixed bag of both very good and and less-than-good comics. There is no full story “arc” to structure this volume, and the lack of creative consistency shows. A longer and more developed story with a regular creative team would have made a huge difference.
Wakanda is viewed as a utopia with enough resources of all. Nnedi Okorafor peels back the curtain to gift us with stories that challenge that perspective. What if the real danger to Wakanda came from within? What if Wakanda’s benevolence was really selfishness? I don’t normally read Black Panther comics, so no need to worry you will get lost. If you have seen the movie you’ll be able to follow along. I read this because Okorafor wrote it and eagerly await her future contributions to the Marvel universe.
Nnedi Okorafor's take on T'challa suffers from the usual problem when a prose writer first comes to comics – a certain stiffness, a certain tendency to repetition or duplication of efforts – as well as my problem with, TBH, most versions of the Panther which aren't Priest's: I like T'challa best as the guy who's too smart to even be the smartest guy in the room, because he left the room before the issue arose. Whereas here, as in the film, he's largely reacting to problems that he didn't see coming, and I can get that from any old superhero. Still, there's an ease and a fluidity to his interactions with his people that reads very true, even when he's dealing with a group of off-grid 'mute zone' rebels who I think may be Okorafor's own addition to the Wakandan mythos, but who already feel like they absolutely belong there. And the André Lima Araújo art really captures the beauty of this Afrofuturist idyll even before a pangolin wanders through. Have I ever mentioned how much I love pangolins? The second story doesn't feel as convincing – bringing M'baku back feels like an odd move when the comics version is so different to, and in many ways much less interesting than, the screen take. And the other antagonist's motivation is all over the shop. But it seems at least possible that one or both of these elements was editorial mandate, just because I often assume that when a character recently seen on screen is resurrected in a misguided attempt at synergy. And finally, an issue set in Lagos with a young woman who's apparently been the stand-in Black Panther for a while and is also Venom and frankly I have no idea what's going on here*, and I'm massively burned out on the symbiotes at the moment, but the art is nice. So overall, not a total success, but there's enough good stuff in here that I'm excited to see how the comics side of Okorafor's work develops.
*A bit of Googling turns up the answer: she's from another timeline entirely. Given which, it might have made sense to include the other half of her story here too, or at least a note to that effect, because if I was baffled when I'm used to that sort of thing, someone who's coming to this fresh, just from knowing the Panther film and/or Okorafor's prose, will surely have an even more confusing time of it. And isn't that sort of outreach part of the point of a project like this?
I don't know why, I love the Marvel film, but I have found all the Black Panther graphic novels I've tried so far really, really dull and I think this is officially me giving up on this character. (Will still try Okorafor's Shuri though as she was awesome in the film and they can't have made her dull for the comic?)
This was interesting. The first 5 issues, about Black Panther in Wakanda were ok, even though the two issues not written by Nnedi Okorafor were significantly less strong. The stories were just too short and everything wrapped up quickly enough that the stakes didn't get particularly high, and the distance that Okorafor felt about writing about a monarch, which she references in her letter at the end does come through a bit, which makes this Black Panther a bit less celebratory, which might be less noticeable if I wasn't reading it post-movie.
However, the last issue, a one off about Ngozi, a Nigerian girl in a wheelchair who is a hybrid Venom-Black Panther in a different universe, was really cool. The amount of story that fit into that one issue was impressive, and it was cool to see the regular Nigerian life as well as how mutants are treated there, along with introducing me to a new, cool character. The combination reminded me a bit of what I love about Ms. Marvel. It makes me wish it was a whole volume about Ngozi instead!
Fun but uneven collection. The six-parter was originally promoted as a Nnedi Okorafor miniseries, and it wasn't until three issues in that I discovered it's actually three separate stories: an entertaining three-parter by Nnedi Okorafor and André Lima Araújo, an utter dud of a two-parter by Aaron Covington and Mario Del Pennino, and a oneshot from Nnedi Okorafor and Tana Ford about an AU Venom/Black Panther character. I really enjoyed the way Okorafor's three-parter fleshed out the world and the people of Wakanda, so I was a little disappointed not to get more of that.
I was skeptical because I haven't really liked anything Marvel has done with BP in at least half a decade, probably longer. This book was just a delight though. It's just three short stories that aren't concerned with the fate of the universe or anything. It was so nice.
Who better to write Black Panther stories than Afrofuturist writer Nnedi Okorafor! She's joined by fantastic penciller André Lima Araújo for an excellent story with plenty of action and science fiction. (It's an improvement from Coates' Black Panther; I love his nonfiction writing but couldn't get into his BP series.)
While Okorafor's arc deals with sentient vibranium and a no-name town outside Wakanda, the story is interrupted by a secondary narrative, from Aaron Covington (BP film writer) and Mario Del Pennino, about the return of M'Baku and the white gorilla cult. It felt like a volume crammed into two issues, and was even more confusing in between another arc. The finale of Okorafor's story lost all its momentum behind it, and I wish I had read these issues out of order.
The final issue is a one-shot about Ngozi, who is somehow Venom and Black Panther. I was confused by her place in the Marvel universe (I later found she’s an original character from Okorafor in a Venomverse story), and I didn't get to know her character well enough to feel invested. I didn't enjoy Tana Ford's pencils as much as Araújo's, though Ford was the artist for the original story. For more on Ngozi and a compelling argument that her origin story is ableist, see this article.
Regardless I really enjoyed Okorafor's Wakanda stories and we need more Black women writing comics.
I did not realize this would feature three separate stories by different creative teams. I thought the first one was the strongest. André Lima Araújo's art has a Franco-Belgian-esque ligne claire style that is very atypical for Marvel, but is something I personally love; and I felt the style meshed unexpectedly well both with the futuristic nature of Wakanda and the "let's see out-of-the-way corners of Wakanda" plot. The second story was IMO the weakest, and could be better skipped, and I had mixed feelings about the third both related to the story and the art. (I feel that when shapeshifter characters are physically disabled only in one shape, it is usually underdiscussed to the story's detriment.)
I'm guessing these were stories already in the pipeline for the cancelled World of Wakanda, and Marvel decided to do a digital and TPB only release? I'm confused. Also, the lettering was subpar for a Marvel title, with letters with diacritics consistently in a different font. I have certainly seen that elsewhere (having diacritics in my name, much more often than I would like, which is zero), but not in a Big-2 comic. _____ Source of the book: Lawrence Public Library
Black Panther has itself a host of seriously amazing authors - Ta-Nehisi Coates and now NNEDI OKORAFOR?! I *love* her! Binti practically changed my life. And she added some of her special magic to T'Challa as well. I don't know if this was a one-off or what, but I'd love to see more from her!