This is the first Black Panther run since Volume 5 when T'Challa's sister Shuri was made the leader of Wakanda. This was during a time when T'Challa was operating more in America alongside the Avengers and someone needed to watch over the kingdom. However volume 5 was short-lived and ended in 2010 after only getting 12 issues. This is not typical of Black Panther volumes though as the character has stood out as the most successful Black character in Marvel's history. You're hard-pressed to find War Machine comics and even Blade comics. The ones that are out there are usually special appearances or reprints of older material. Luke Cage and Storm have both been heavily featured in team-up comics such as the Avengers, New Avengers and X-Men...but no other Black character has had a run akin to Black Panther Volume 3 written by Christopher Priest between 1998-2003. An epic series of stories that spanned 62 separate issues and is a good starting point for those that want to delve deep into this character's story and lore. With the official launching of Volume 6, rest assured that Black and Intellectual will serve as the source of your monthly Black Panther fix.
Issue #1 Review
In this first issue, we see T'Challa grappling with uprisings in his country. The people of Wakanda have lost faith in his rule and in the beginning we see him quelling one of these fits of rage and anger that has swept over his country. We aren't given a ton of details right away as to the source of the discontent, but it's made to seem as if it may have something to do with the fact that Shuri, the former Black Panther is dead and the events from the end of Volume 5 and other events are still being felt. These events include Dr.Doom's successful coup d'tat of the Wakandan government as well as the events of the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline where Namor, being possessed by the Phoenix Force, unleashes a tsunami that destroys much of Wakanda. He is advised by his step-mother to not just be the sword, but also the intellect behind it. Implying that he's not going to be able to aggressively handle the situation unless he wants to look like despot.
We are introduced to a mysterious group of people in turbans as well. They appear to be lead at the moment by a woman and a man, who also wears a turban. They say they want to build a "new Wakanda" since everyone is talking about how the current one looks like it's about to collapse. We are given theirs names, the male in the Turban is named Tetu and the female in the green outfit calling herself a liberator of the people of Wakanda is named Zenzi. What Zenzi and Tetu have planned remains to be seen. There is certainly plotting going on and there will always be those looking to capitalize on the opportunity to topple a powerful government that they already see is reeling on the ropes. As the story progresses forward, we will see how deep this insurrection goes and whether or not it's being influenced by outside forces like Zenzi and Tetu or perhaps an even more dangerous foe.
The other major sub-plot involves two members of the Dora Milaje. The Dora Milaje are amazonian female bodyguards of the Black Panther. They are expert fighters and can hold their own against any normal foe. The group of female ass-kickers has always been a source for interesting plot devices in previous Black Panther comics, so it's not a surprise to see them featured in this first issue as I'm sure we can expect to see more from this group in future issues. I feel confident in saying this particularly because of what happens to Aneka, the captain of the Dora Milaje in this issue. She killed a local chieftain because of how he was abusing women in his village. Due to this act of violence, the Queen Mother (T'Challa's previously mentioned Step-Mother) had no pity and was going to leave Aneka to the wims of the Wakandan system of justice. Ayo, her best friend and lover protested the decision, but the Queen Mother didn't want to hear it. Later in the issue, Ayo breaks Aneka out of prison using one of the only two Midnight Angel prototype armor suits. Ayo gets her quickly to safety outside of the capitol city. They share a brief kiss and look as if they're going to buck the system of Wakanda and defend themselves...violently if need be.
That's it for issue #1, be on the look out for the issue #2 review next month.