Graphic Novel Review: Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet: The People’s Revolution

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet: The People's Revolution.

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet: The People's Revolution. - Credit: Archant

Civil war threatens to tear Wakanda apart - can the Black Panther and his allies restore order before it’s too late?

(Panini Books)

After an auspicious start which deftly fused power politics with superhero drama, the shine seems to have gone off Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run on T’Challa, as he seems more focused on teaching than storytelling.

This third volume concludes his initial story arc, which has focused on redefining the Panther’s role as monarch of Wakanda, restoring T’Challa’s sister Shuri to life following her death at the hands of Proxima Midnight during the Time Runs Out storyline, and ending the rebellion which threatens to tear the nation apart.

It’s a dense work which builds on the character’s long history while crafting intricate new details about Wakandan culture, yet rarely does it connect with the reader.

The protagonists seem there to deliver speeches, rather than inhabit the world Coates has shaped, which is all very well if you want to be lectured to about the qualities of leadership, but not if you’re also looking to be entertained by superhero escapism.

The revolution at the heart of this concluding instalment doesn’t evoke the emotional response expected, and the spiritual journey experienced by T’Challa’s sister is similarly lacking in depth. The Panther remains as aloof and arrogant as he always has, but there’s none of the humour found lurking in previous series, making it hard for the reader to identify with him or his motives.

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That said, Coates obviously has a long-term game plan for his Panther run, and it’s entirely possible that the events he has set up in this arc will pay off further down the line. It would be a shame for a run which started with such promise to peter out along the way, and hopefully this latest collection is just a blip.

This volume also includes selected issues from an earlier run of New Avengers, revealing the back story behind Wakanda’s recent woes, which are a welcome addition for completists.