An Un-Calibrated Centrifuge

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book One

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 - Ta-Nehisi Coates, Brian Stelfreeze

I read this for one of my summer classes. We had to read and annotate 10 comics/graphic novels. Here's the annotation I wrote for that class:

 

Queen Shuri has vanished, and T’Challa returns home to a people on the edge of revolt and the threat of war from the neighboring country Niganda.

 

Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet is not the easiest entry point to T’Challa’s story. Knowledge from the film assuaged some confusion, but there were still moments where I felt I was missing out because of my lack of knowledge. Since this is the first book in an ongoing series, there's a lot of set up but very little resolution.

 

The most striking aspect of the book is that, with the exception of one character, every single character in the book is Black. And the best aspect of the book is those characters. Black Panther is populated with complex characters, including several strong, active, remarkable women. In the book, there are clear protagonists and antagonists but there is a much less clear divide between the “good guys” and “bad guys.” T’Challa is the hero of the story, a story which opens with him assailing his own people. Aneka is removed from the Dora Milaje and punished for breaking a law even though her actions were morally right. These moral ambiguities create tension that drive the story forward.

 

Black Panther is not a book to pick up and read on a whim. It demands readers’ attention and concentration, and rewards it well. When I finished I wished I had Book Two in hand because I need to know what will happen next.