Black Panther, Book 1: A Nation Under our Feet

by Ta-Nehisi Coates
Illustrated by Brian Stelfreeze
Support your local independent bookstore: buy it there!
Content: There’s some violence (of course), but nothing else. I’d give it to a middle schooler or higher who’s interested in it. It’s in the Graphic Novels section of the bookstore.

I honestly didn’t know what to expect heading into this one; Black Panther isn’t a superhero I was really familiar with until the movie trailers started playing. But, it looked cool, and I thought I’d give it a try.

What I got was a really intriguing, somewhat complicated, very deep story about King T’Challa who comes back from being away (he was off fighting with the Avengers) and finding his country in chaos. He’s not sure if he can be a leader, or even really sure how to be the leader his people want. And it doesn’t help that there are two distinct groups rebelling against him. One has a mind-controller (I think) involved, and that’s the one T’Challa is most concerned with. But there’s this other one (to be honest, I liked their story better), a couple of women soldiers who go renegade and start punishing men for treating women badly (timely, no?) and decide that no one man should lead the country.

As I said, it’s a complex, fascinating story about what it means to have power, what it means to be a citizen of a country, and the dichotomy between holding on to one’s traditions and moving toward the future. There was a lot to think about in these four issues, and it kind of makes me want to continue the story, just to see what happens to T’Challa and Wakanda, in the end.

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