Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1

By Ta-Nehisi Coates

feedback image
Total feedbacks: 48
Looking for Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1 in PDF? Check out
Check out

Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Ta-Nehisi I'm grateful that Jack Kirby and Stan Lee have accepted you into the world they created. As a Kenyan it is profound that the founders had the foresight to see beyond their country into the Universe that is the African Continent its people their cultural heritage resources and struggle s. I'm glad you did your research and used our languages it was exhilarating to read Swahili text you made it real.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This book contains the first arc of a three arc story written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a 2015 National Book Award winner. The volume contains “Black Panther” (2016), #1-4, and—as a bonus—“Fantastic Four” (1961) #52, which is the edition in which the Black Panther was introduced.

The premise is that Wakanda is on the brink of coming apart at the seams, and there are nefarious forces afoot trying to spur a revolution. A mysterious woman, Zenzi, uses mind control unleash people’s rage. This results in an episode of violence that is the inciting incident for the story. But Zenzi isn’t working alone; she has a powerful ally named Tetu, who can control elements of nature.

Some background maybe useful for those unfamiliar with this character and / or who haven’t seen “Captain America: Civil War”--the movie in which Black Panther / T’Challa was introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU.) First, Wakanda is a fictional African nation. It’s quintessentially African with respect to culture, but it’s the most technologically advanced nation in the world. It achieved this first-world modernity and wealthy in large part because it possesses most of the world’s vibranium—a much desired, but fictional, metal. Vibranium can absorb huge amounts of energy and only become stronger. The metal is most famously known for being the material from which Captain America’s shield was made, but it crops up in Marvel stories quite frequently.

Second, the superhero Black Panther is the protector of Wakanda (though in some books—not this one—he does get drawn into global affairs) and is the alter ego of the Wakandan king, T’Challa. This duality is particularly relevant in this story line. On the one hand, the Black Panther must battle Zenzi and Tetu who are working together to bring the nation down. On the other hand, as King, T’Challa is forced to recognize his responsibility for the health of the nation, and he must be a good leader and not just a good fighter. There are the makings of an inner battle that must be fought concurrently with the battle against the enemies of the state. At the end of Volume #4, T’Challa is forced to face this through the words of a trusted maternal advisor.

In addition to the main plot in which the hero fights to keep the nation from collapsing, there are a couple subplots. One involves an ex-member of the royal guard (i.e. the all-female Dora Milaje) using stolen technology to rescue her lover, another ex-member of Dora Milaje who was sentenced to death for killing a corrupt tribal leader. The two go on a spree of rescuing Wakandans. Another subplot involves T-Challa’s sister being trapped in a limbo between life and death called the Djalia—the plane of memory.

A word on the “Fantastic Four” comic book included: In it, T’Challa woos Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic) into bringing the Four to Wakana by way of the gift of a flying car—a technology that seemed only slightly more feasible in 1961 than it does today. (Yes, I wrote that the way I meant it. In those days anything seemed possible. But after decades without a household jet-pack, we’ve become a more technologically pessimistic people… or is it just me?) Once in Wakana, the Black Panther battles the Fantastic Four, using not only his athletic prowess but also a series of technologies tailor-made against their powers. This makes it seem like the Black Panther was introduced as a villain, but he’s hunting them for the challenge rather than out of ill-will.

As would be expected from an award-winning author, this arc is well-written and sets up a fascinating story. As this is a comic book, I should also talk about the artwork, which was done by Brian Stelfreeze. However, I don’t know what to say beyond that I liked it well enough. I’m not particularly competent to speak on the subject--other than to say that it was generally easy to tell what was going on in the frames, and the action seemed to be well conveyed. I can’t speak at all to coloring as I read the Kindle edition in black & white (Not that I’d have anything interesting to say on the subject.)

I’d recommend this comic. There’s plenty of butt-kicking, but there’s also a thought-provoking tale of political intrigue.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa keating
Haven't finished it yet, but from what I've read so far, it's far better than I expected. I've always loved the Black Panther, and Ta-Nehisi Coates brings a fresh new spin on the king of Wakanda. Highly recommend to all fans of the great T'Challa.
Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America :: The Beautiful Struggle: A Memoir :: Invisible Man :: Citizen: An American Lyric :: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race - Waking Up White
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melanie terwoord
Black Panther has always been a deep character. Ta-Nehisi Coates has elevated the scope of the characters story to one that invites the reader to dive deeply into the culture of Wakandan life and does not seek to gloss over the land as utopian but a completely developed country, full of intrigue, intelligence and yes sometimes violence.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
kyle taborski
After his introduction in Captain America Civil War finally the rest of the world are aware of his existence... this volume is such a great start and very political. Coetes is taking this very personal. can't wait for more!
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I have to be honest, Black Partner is cool but this series is not a starter book. There is history with Storm , Avenges, Thanos just a bunch of stuff that you might need to read just to know what has been going on and if you are up to date on the series well maybe this is a great read but I was lost. Also once again black partner might be the weakest baby character in this volume. He catches Ls for dumb reasons
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
ruth anne
This is a graphic novel, and it convinces me I am just not one for them. The artwork is great. However to me the character development is not there for me and it ends up being a very shallow story. Maybe I don't appreciate the depth of the art enough, so it might be me. Also, it seems like graphic novels in general rely upon the reader knowing a lot that is not in the novel, and I don't have that background. This one was especially confusing since part way through it was like a different author took over, and different artist too. It went from what seemed like a unique to the Black Panther author and artist to something that looked like a Marvel production. That and the rapid and unclear switches between current time and past happenings made this not work for me. But beatiful artwork and there was a story there.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
I had a hard time getting into this series. To a certain degree it made sense, because the story had to be set up. Then pieces started to fall into place and now the volume ended with a cliffhanger, so I will probably read the next one.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
sami melaragno
Amazing. More Wakanda, more difficult political decisions for Panther (many of his opponents have valid points). Lots to love here. I can't wait to read more from this author. The Midnight Angels are my new favorite thing.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Let me just say it's not all that bad. However it is mostly politics which I was just not in the mood for. If I wanted to read a polictical thriller with hints of action I would read a nonfiction political thriller. The art work is stunning though.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
lindy thomas
Ever since this year’s release of “Captain America: Civil War”, we finally got to see the first introduction of the Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans were impressed with his badass prowless on screen and has his own film coming out some time in 2017. I’ve been reading the fabulous Black Panther run from Christopher Priest for the character, so I had high hopes for the character and it also it means a new solo comic series and written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, a current writer/journalist in the field of politics that make for a perfect choice with veteran artist Brian Stelfreeze. While I think this is a promising creative team and opening book, I feel it still needs time to improve.

BLACK PANTHER VOLUME 1: A NATION UNDER OUR FEET BOOK 1 collects issues #1-4 and Black Panther’s first appearance in FANTASTIC FOUR #52. The people of Wakanda are restless. They've been stirred up by a group called The People and some of them have become dangerous due to the upheavals across the land, which Black Panther tries to quall the uprising but it blows up in his face. Meanwhile one of the Black Panther's Dora Milaje (his personal/elite guards) is sentenced to death for doing the right thing because of growing corruption in Wakanda. Her fellow Dora Milaje and lover will not allow her to be killed and steals experimental armor to free her. Too many factors are pulling Panther apart for him to focus on restoring Wakanda. Desperate times call for desperate measures…

Writer and journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates is a current writer for good reason as to give a more policial savvy to match the characters backgrounds and gives a whole new audience for those geared in his writing, those who like/want to know more about Black Panther, or both. The story that Wakanda has problems that need to be solved immediately is reasonably well done as it shows the many factors Panther has to do as reigning king of Wakanda. He’s taking information from his mother, his generals, his people, and people responsible for this uprising. This all happens with a great amount of metaphors on politics and philosophy to make things somber. The other story plot revolving around the Dora Milaje who escaped from Wakanda with experimental Midnight Angel armor is, to me, the better part of the book as it pushes the narrative forward. It’s just two wanted lovers on the run from their problems, but they are building blocks to a larger narrative that I hope to see more of in the following volumes.

I have no complaints regarding artist Brian Stelfreeze. It’s lush, detailed, and just cartoony enough to not make this series too dark in its tone.

Because of the small amount of issues collected here, Marvel at least included some decent array of extras including an entire map and layout of Wakanda, seven pages of sketches, artboards, and even some commentary by artist Brian Stelfreeze; numerous variant covers, and finally three pages of Black Panther chronology for those who want to know more about the character in comics.

So why am I giving this a 3-star rating, deeming it ‘fair’ by the store? I feel as if it had a few flaws in itself. This being Coates first foray into comics so he’s not familiar with it just yet, as some of his character dialogues come off clunky and pacing is rough transitioning from one place to another. I get it that Coates is making his anagram for conflict a wide-spread ordeal and confusing thing, yet it felt too much jumping around. Another aspect is I also could not connect with T’Challa himself, as this comic hits the ground running and we never get any alone time to T'Challa as he is scared and frustrated regarding what's happening, but little of his persona is shown or his long history of trying to deal with Wakanda history (which confusingly comes off here and there). This makes it so new readers will be lost of those connections. There is also a great deal of philosophy and political undertones here that give a smart and in-depth insight for some readers, but I felt it too much of it and not propelling the story forward. Lastly, I thought it was a bit underwhelming having only four issues here and the first appearance to pad things out.

Even if I am giving this 3-star rating, BLACK PANTHER VOLUME 1: A NATION UNDER OUR FEET BOOK 1 is a decent start under writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. I think it is reasonably smart and he does have the makings of a strong story being told down the line, but it’s a slow and rough start with Coates limited comic writing and overindulgence in heavy speeches. I am truly looking forward to the next volume to see things pick up and start coming together as I have high hopes for the creative team and this comic series.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆

My reviews of the three 4-issue paperbacks are included here:

This volume collects the first four issues of the latest (volume 6) series of Marvel’s Black Panther comic. The last Black Panther solo series I can remember was Jack Kirby’s, back in his last term at Marvel, and, prior to that, Don McGregor’s back in the 1970s.

Strangely enough, this series reminded me a bit of both; the artist has adopted a few Kirby stylistic touches, though maintaining his own realistic style, and the range of characters reminded me of McGregor’s cast of characters drawn from all strata of Wakandan society.

I know nothing about the writer, other than that he is a celebrated Black American writer, but he has done his homework, because this story is rising out of a deep foundation in Marvel continuity, with reference to ‘recent’ events, such as Doctor Doom’s invasion, Atlantis’s attack, and Thanos’s devastation. T’chala also references the lead-in to the Secret Wars in a way that indicates that he is aware of the rebirth (though that might be in the next volume, which I have just started to read). The scripting and characterisation is also very good, and the writer certainly knows how to write comics – which is not the same as knowing how to write non-comic books – just look at the recent Green Arrow series, written by a novelist who hasn’t quite got the hang of the difference between the two forms, though he is improving as he goes.

The story itself sees Wakanda in the throes of civil unrest, with, despite the alleged highly advanced nature of the society, is portrayed here as a deeply divided culture, with the soaring towers of the capital, and workers toiling in the Vibranium mines in apparently primitive conditions (though being Welsh, I may be used to seeing different mining techniques at work), as well as a number of other socially-divided components of the culture. This is a bit reminiscent of modern China, with its coastal cities, rural farmlands, and industrial/mining regions.

One problem American comic-book writers have is how to portray kings and the like; they seem to believe that the Divine Right of Kings was, and still is, a real ‘thing’, whereas in Britain at least, James I (and 6th) was the first to seriously propose it, and his son Charles I (and 1st) was the first to disprove it (though with help from the New Model Army and the Army of the Solemn League and Covenant).

Since those days, kings were seen, as they were in previous times, as people with important roles to play in society, and in fact, were the cornerstones of society and order; or to be more precise, the role of king was the cornerstone of order. Oliver Cromwell’s lasting problem was finding an alternative to a king for the English republic, though his political successors finally did in the Glorious Revolution of 1688, a solution which has lasted successfully to this day.

The problem Wakanda has, is that Americans writers are trying to reconcile a dictatorship and/or tribal societies with democratic principles – a problem that American politicians have failed to reconcile in recent years in the Middle East and Central Asia, and are not going to do in Wakanda with any conviction unless they learn the lessons of history.

All that aside, this is an interesting story, with several threads interweaved, showing the various facets of Wakandan society, and how they are fragmenting due to the lack of trust with the central government.

This might be an allegory for America, or it might be a serious examination of some modern states which contain tribal societies, but it is entertaining and not at all preachy. None of the factions are particularly attractive at the moment, and, as always “the poor man pays for all”.

This is also a good, entertaining comic book that is firmly entrenched in Marvel continuity, and I look forward to seeing how the writer deals with the problems he is illustrating.

Black Panther – A Nation Under our Feet 2
This volume collects the second instalment of this Black Panther storyline, issues #5-8 (and note that there is a hardcover collection of the first 12 issues due later this year).

I wrote a rather long review of the first volume going on at length about the politics of Wakanda, so I will be briefer here.

This is an excellently-written story, with above-average artwork. In the second volume, we see the darker side of the revolutionary movements (well, one of them anyway – the more traditional (western) revolutionary one), which descends into terror to promote its agenda, as do most revolutionary movements under dictatorships/undemocratic states, where there is no alternative method of protest (and those in democratic societies who represent a minority, or only themselves). Here however, terror can be met by high technology (thanks to Doctor Doom’s leftovers from his invasion) and the Black Avengers (they’re still quibbling over a name), though the Panther himself is not unaware of the problems inherent in an autocratic state.

That is only one of the strands though, as T’chala and Manifold set off into the Beyond to look for T’chala’s lost sister, long believed dead (or something – its complicated), and we get more hints about the Panther’s knowledge of the “Secret Wars” event and its aftermath.

In this volume, after concentrating on Wakanda and its culture in the previous one, we get down to superheroing and scientific adventuring in the great traditions of the Fantastic Four, from where this series has its roots, and it looks like the net volume will see the two strands brought together, though to what end, I have no idea.

While being a solid stand-alone storyline, this is also a story that has been referencing Marvel continuity quite clearly and deliberately, in the best traditions of Marvel comic books. This Black Panther knows his place in both the storyline and in Marvel history, and this is an excellent, and entertaining volume.

Black Panther – A Nation Under our Feet 3
Volume 3 collects issues #9-12, ending the opening story of this post-Secret Wars series. There are pre-Secret Wars stories also collected – sections of New Avengers #18 & 21, and the entirety of the 30-page New Avengers #24, which highlight the Black Panther’s (and Wakanda’s) story leading up to “the end of everything”, as T’Challa refers to it in the main story here.

I wrote a rather long review of the first volume going on at length about the politics of Wakanda, and continued in the second volume’s review with a look at modern revolutionary movements; now we come to the conclusion, and the triumph of American liberal democratic principles riding roughshod over local conditions and cultures.

To begin, this is an excellently-written story, with above-average artwork throughout the twelve issues. It is also a good, entertaining comic book that is firmly entrenched in Marvel continuity.

It began as an interesting story with several threads interweaved showing the various facets of Wakandan society, and how they are fragmenting due to the lack of trust with the central government.

This might be an allegory for America, or it might be a serious examination of some modern states which contain tribal societies, but it was entertaining and not at all preachy until the second volume. None of the factions were particularly attractive up to then, and, as always “the poor man pays for all” – the lower levels of society were the ones who had to suffer or fight for their oppressors of all stripes.

The third volume, while still being entertaining and full of Marvel continuity, now falls foul of American liberal philosophy – the belief that the American way is the right and only way.

The writer, being a liberal American (as far as I know – he certainly hasn’t shown any Republican tendencies) is trapped by his own upbringing and education, and has to find a way to reconcile all the factions and bring everyone to an agreement – a way that has worked so well in Africa, the Middle East and Central Asia over the years.

Before you start marching, I must point out that I, too, would like to see liberal American values triumph, as they have done in Europe since the Second World War and again after the fall of the Soviet Union. However, where they triumphed was in nation-states that had a fairly common set of values. Where there was tribal unrest, such as Yugoslavia and other countries created by Western statesmen, they didn’t take so well.

Now, in the heart of Africa (literally – there’s even a map in the hardcover collection putting Wakanda squarely in the “Heart of Darkness”) all the liberal American dominoes are set up and fall, just like in so many American TV series involving liberal (Democrat or Independent) presidents, unlike in the real (or Republican) world.

The writer really didn’t have a choice, for the Marvel Universe is founded on those liberal values, and most of us readers share those values. There’s a reason why there’s only one Punisher, and Batman still doesn’t carry a gun. It’s what we want to read, even if we can’t quite have the real world work the same way.

“Live long, and prosper.”
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
I picked this up with high expectations because of Mr. Coates skillful writing as an essayist. It is hard to convey the depths of my disappointment in his work on Black Panther. The characters are one dimensional - T'Challa is worried about his people and struggles with the burden of ruling. We've read this before - it feels like Peter Parker struggling to pay rent and worrying about Aunt May. It's stale and is the type of character trope that all comic writers tackling characters from Marvel and DC should be avoiding - much less an award winning writer of Mr. Coates's stature (again though, success as an essayist is no guarantee for success as a comic book writer).

The dialogue is weak. The characters are not interesting. The plot is weak. There is a challenge to T'Challa's rule and the people are angry. Mr. Coates may be writing an allegory for Trump voters here, and that would be welcome, but he mucks it up by not explaining what the people are angry with. There are rebels with superpowers...two of them have noble motives (they kill men who have been raping women en masse) but they are one-dimensional characters. He should have flushed them out better.

Mr. Coates has written one character who is profoundly interesting though. A dissident philosophy professor. He reads Locke and talks to his students about the faults of rulers. He's well rounded and has excellent lines. The problem is that he appears in less than 5% of the panels. Mr. Coates should write a comic with him as the star. Sadly, he has not and we are stuck with a one-dimensional Black Panther and a story that we have read many times.

There are moments where he tries to be poetic and nostalgia inducing - it falls flat. As of now, Mr. Coates does not have the lyrical ability to pull it off.

I am glad that Mr. Coates is writing this though, and I hope he continues at it. He may very well improve (and then one day look back at this an wince in pain).

I had an opportunity to see and hear Junot Diaz (Pulitzer prize winning author of "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao," lover of comic books and supporter of Marjorie Liu) at the local community college last month. I asked him about some of the terrible writing with new female and minority characters that Marvel has been parading out in the past few years. I made the point that it isn't enough to have a female or black character - that they should be interesting and well written. Mr. Diaz retorted that white people have been allowed to produce terrible comics since comics were first written, and that they have a privilege to produce shoddy work and keep producing it. While he too wants to read quality stories, it takes a long time and a lot of writers to get to even a few quality books or runs. It was an interesting point and one that I have absorbed well.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
tammy jeff
The comic-industry tradition of inviting a celebrated author from outside the medium to craft and guide stories in the hopes of adding a new direction to an older, existing character and, more importantly for the business, of capturing the attention, and funding, of a new audience has met with mixed responses over the years. However, the introduction of new blood is generally viewed favorably. Judd Winnick worked in pop-drama, Greg Rucka and Ed Brubaker had high-crime sensibilities, while Kevin Smith was… slow. And, sometimes that outsider’s vision must be tempered and edited to mix in with the established beat of the channel. Consumers sometimes do not get that instant gratification as the writer produces a slow burn. Here then, is Ta-Nehisi Coates’ introduction to Black Panther in A NATION UNDER OUR FEET.

Coates goes forth and makes the Panther’s home nation of Wakanda the central character, going so far as even providing a map of the fictional locale. He questions the idea of a monarchy and postulates the beginnings of revolutions, be they philosophical or physical. He asks how a nation recovers from tragedy, and how it dreams of grandeur. Pretty lofty and exciting ideas for a mere comic book. However, in doing so, Coates nearly neglects the title character, the Black Panther himself. The result, is a slow, political read with flashes of action, like John le Carre set in Africa.

Coates’ story is tempting. How often does a superhero, and a member of the Avengers at that, have to deal with true-to-life democracy? Certainly, other established monarchs, such as Namor and DC’s Aquaman, spend much more time off the throne than actually on. The story can also be confusing with many elements and discussions occurring off-panel, the establishing of new players without full introductions. and the setup, coming off previous storylines, can especially be puzzling for new readers to the character.

However, Brian Stelfreeze’s magnificent artwork aside, the tease to the upcoming pay-off does tease well and provides insight into Coates’ long-play. Hopefully the end game will be worth it. And, maybe, we will get to see King T’Challa in the jungle action adventure he deserves.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
What begins as a clunky, confusing work slowly develops into something far more intriguing. I admit that I picked this up based on the reputation of Ta-Nehisi Coates.His lack of comic book writing experience, though, shows early on. The opening was disorienting. T'Challa, the king, was attacking his own people, claiming a witch was controlling them. And then we meet his mother sentencing a woman warrior to death for breaking the rules, and then mother and son talk, and then we meet the witch. The story cuts between plotlines at rapid-fire speed, not giving the reader a chance to take it all in.

So yes, at first it is pretty overwhelming. It takes some time to get to know who is who (and even by the end of the fourth issue, I'm still having trouble with some of the major players). I think it helps to view the series as a story about a leader struggling to keep control of his country. Just like any leader, he faces outside challengers and he faces a people who increasingly believe he is too aloof. And, really, he is not a perfect leader. We get hints that he spent time away from the country, battling major threats to the world, and this cost him the love of his people. The fact that he is attacking and killing his own people, even if they are being influenced by another, is troubling as well. This is a series about a leader who must learn how to be a better leader.

To add to the complexity is the question of whether he truly is the best leader for Wakanda. His opponents want to do away with the monarchy of the nation and make it a country ruled by Wakandans. Yet their methods are also suspect. We have a pair of women who have betrayed their ruler and a couple of people who have extremist views. Part of the sophistication of the work rests on the fact that it isn't entirely clear who is truly good or evil, which ideology would best serve the nation. Coates does not turn his Panther into a righteous man who is clearly good, and even his "villains" are not clearly evil. T'Challa is a man who is struggling with what it means to do the right thing and his choices don't always appear to be the right ones. I'm curious to see where Coates takes this.

Brian Stelfreeze's artwork is quite good. Highly detailed but not hyper-realistic. Stelfreeze adds some cartoon flourishes to dampen the impact of the violence. While the content may be mature in terms of the depth of themes, the artwork is not mature in terms of the detail of its violence. The impact of blows is either darkened to avoid seeing blood or just not shown. While Stelfreeze's artwork is great, I think it's also important to praise the coloring by Laura Martin, who really helps the characters and background pop.

I feel this is a series that will build into something terrific if Coates keeps up the momentum this book ends on. Coates appeared to be growing as a comic book writer in the later issues of the book. Or maybe I was finally piecing things together and realizing what Coates is trying to accomplish. I agree with some reviewers that the characterization could be better, but that too appears to be developing with time. I'm looking forward to see where Coates takes the Black Panther.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
susan marino
In the first book of A Nation Under Our Feet, Ta-Nahesi Coates provides an interesting take on the story of the Black Panther, a superhero who happens to also be the king of the African country of Wakanda. Rather than simply pursue a standard superhero/villain storyline, Coates instead takes a much different tact as he tackles the issue of what it means to be the King of an advanced society in the 21st century. As the story opens, T'Challa (the Panther's true identity) finds himself reluctantly resuming the mantle of monarch. He had been away, leaving his sister to run the country, but she ultimately perished in a conflict with invaders (stories established in previous iterations of the Black Panther comic). At the same time, a rebellion has sprung up within the country. In attempting to deal with the situation, the government unwittingly creates a second rebellious movement that may be more serious to deal with.

Coates also focuses on fleshing out Wakanda -- the areas of the country, the types of people that live there, and some of the major characters in the storyline. While the continent of Africa is often identified with third world countries and outright (or pseudo) dictatorships, Wakanda has always been defined as an advanced technological society.

The artwork in the book by Brian Stelfreeze is a great fit. Stelfreeze closely researches African culture and styles and uses those in his character and background designs (something that's shown explicitly in the extra features of the book). He does a fantastic job of both illustrating the action sequences while also making the characters and settings feel authentic.

This collected edition also includes the first appearance of the Black Panther -- Fantastic Four #52 from 1961 by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. The comic is an interesting trip into the past, both with respect to the character as well as comics in general, and is a great contrast to the modern work in the book. In this decades-old tale, the "chieftan" of Wakanda invites the Fantastic Four to his country as guests, but ultimately lures them into a trap in which he confronts and attempts to defeat them. The story features the classic art style of Kirby with Lee's over the top writing. Unlike in modern-day comics where dialog and narration are kept to minimal levels when possible in order to allow the artist to also visually convey the story, Lee's classic style from the 60's features lots of dialog, thought balloons, and direct narration boxes (which at times speak directly to the reader explicitly) to tell the story. In addition, the 1961 version of Wakanda by Kirby looks like a scene from Tarzan in contrast to Stelfreeze's advanced society. It's a great addition to the book.

Overall, this is a good read. Coates explores a variety of topics within a complex storyline while defining both his lead character as well as the supporting cast, and impressively does so without cluttering the work with excessive dialog or narration, keeping the work consistent with modern comic storytelling. In addition, the story features blurred lines -- there's not exactly a true villain in the work as the different main players are driven by varying needs and thoughts (just as things are often in the real world).
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
gil filar
Black Panther (T'Challa) governs Wakanda at a terrible time. A terrorist group called The People is raising an army to overthrow the government. Some of the Dora Milaje (the elite all-female military force) are in rebellion and raising their own army, also to overthrow the government. The two factions have an uneasy alliance. The country has already been weakened by attacks from Prince Namor's Atlanteans and mad Titan Thanos's Black Order. One of the top political professors in Wakanda has also been agitating against the monarchy in his own scholarly way. If that wasn't enough on T'Challa's mind, he also feels guilty about his sister Shuri who had been reigning as queen and died in a fight where he could have saved her. She's not quite dead, though, she is under the living death devised to take down Thanos,. He has a chance to bring her back. The Black Panther has plenty of civil unrest and personal unrest to deal with.

The book suffers from the multitude of plot threads introduced. In addition to the two main factions and the political philosopher and the king plot lines, Shuri is in the Wakandan astral plane called the Djalia (which was depicted quite well in the movie) and has her own storyline apart from T'Challa's attempts to revive her. If I had been reading this in individual issues month by month, I probably would have quit due to the scattershot storytelling that's hard to pull together until well into the story. The references to previous events (e.g. Namor and Thanos attacking Wakanda and the fallout from those) are slim and a bit frustrating having not read those earlier stories. This volume contains twelve issues and lots of storytelling. After the first third I was pretty unsatisfied; by the end I was very satisfied.

The political philosophy mostly focused on revolutions as the tool for political change and how they always require death, even of non-combatants, and how that's bad but necessary. The book just assumes monarchy is bad and democracy is good without any attempt to look at the good and bad aspects of each. It ends with the promise of establishing a constitutional, freely-elected government. Happily, Black Panther has other things to do, so the book won't bog down in future constitutional ceonventions.

★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
There were parts of this that I really liked. The married Dora Milaje, Ayo and Aneka, and their storyline was by far my favorite, and even still it was so filled with political and religious machinations. One or the other would have been enough.

It's not that the story itself was bad because it wasn't. But boy howdy was it stuffed to the gills with back stabbing, political intrigue, and religious infighting.

I suspect part of the problem is I didn't read the volume previous to this and it relied heavily on understanding what already happened to put Wakanda into such upheaval. I think it was difficult to enjoy this story as well, because there are so many characters with points of view that I got mixed up occasionally bouncing back and forth between storylines.

I will say for a die hard Black Panther readers this was probably paradise. But for a casual reader like myself that only picks them up occasionally to catch up with T'Challa, it's not really that great. Plus the fact that the story starts off with a dead Shuri did not help it in the least in my opinion.

So much recommendation, casual readers should probably skip it, but long time fans will likely love it.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
erin condran
Black Panther is an amazing character from the Country of Wakanda, a nation which Marvel made up. I’ve always been drawn to the culture shown in Wakanda; it’s a beautiful and fascinating blend of tech and tradition. In A Nation Under Our Feet we see that balance at risk, with the nation at war with itself.
I would like to state that I am a huge fan of Black Panther/T’Challa. I first saw him in the Avengers animated series a few years back, and I was immediately drawn to his character. Needless to say that I was insanely excited when I saw that he was getting his own series. Unfortunately I think this series may be better suited to die-hard fans of Black Panther, as even knowing more than the basic about his character, I had little idea about what was going on.
We’re thrown right into the mix of things; with the series starting with Wakanda already in peril. I don’t know the cause of this, but I can only assume it was started in one of Black Panther’s many earlier appearances. Because of this lost context I found it very difficult to immerse myself into the story, like I would have preferred to do.
There were some highlights to the first volume that are worth noting. For one thing the art is absolutely stunning. There were also a large number of interesting characters introduced (okay, they clearly had been introduced sooner, and I totally missed out on a lot of backstory for them, but I’m still counting this as a plus).
I think this series would have held my attention much more effectively had I understood what was going on from the beginning. I think I’ll probably continue to read the series, if nothing else than to see if it becomes more clear with time (plus like I said, I like some of the characters they’ve introduced).
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I admit to not being a regular reader of the exploits of the Black Panther - the last edition I read was the Reginald Hudlin/John Romita Jr. version a decade or so ago. I picked up this collection because of my admiration for writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet was difficult for me to get into; while I appreciate that Coates did not create a reboot, I found myself struggling to absorb all the characters, language and past continuities of previous Black Panther series.

This series is very talky; intelligent, well-written dialogue and captions, but talky nonetheless. I am hoping that as Coates becomes more adept at writing with visuals in mind there may be a better balance of art and words. The book collects the first four books of a longer story arc, so I can't evaluate much more than the intriguing characters Coates creates and the conflicts he is setting up as T'Challa faces revolutionaries within his nation and struggles within himself. Looking forward to more installments to this tale.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
maggie brooke
My knowledge of Black Panther is limited. Only of little bits that I have seen and heard of the years and the few collections that I have read previously of other Black Panther comics.

But this one, confused me. It made no sense. It hopped all around and changed voice from T’Challa to Tetu without really telling you who it was supposed to be. It hopped all around storywise. Talked about things that I was unfamiliar with without any background or notes to lead you to the answer. Showed rebellion without reason, showed damnation without cause, showed laws flaunted and unpunished. I think this comic was trying to be too cerebral without really letting you in on it’s thought process and reasoning. It covered up in poem its flaws that tried to explain it. But I don’t think the author really knew what he was writing so he couldn’t explain it to the reader since he himself didn’t know.

This was a comic that tried to not be a comic, so it failed to be a comic and what a comic is for.

This story left me lacking in knowledge and lacking in wanting more.

The artistry was good, but not my favorite style.

As with everything Marvel, it has DRM so I have to subtract 1 for that.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
rhonda granquist
Black Panther is clearly having a moment.

If a reboot written by MacArthur genius grant winner Coates, author of the excellent and challenging Between the World and Me, wasn't enough to put the character in the spotlight of the cultural zeitgeist, there was Chadwick Boseman's scene-stealing performance in Captain America: Civil War. There's also church shootings in Charleston, Michael Brown and Philando Castile, and #blacklivesmatter, and the feeling that the world could use more superheroes, particularly those who don't just represent white men.

Under the weight of all this anticipation and expectation comes Coates's Black Panther: A Nation Under Our feet, in which T'challa, recently returned to Wakanda, faces threats from two different factions that believe the nation is no longer best served by a monarchy. There's heavy, philosophical stuff here, discussed in stilted dialogue between action set pieces, and the volume sags a bit under all the burdens it has to bear. Coates has clearly mined the comic's history, but his references read as opaque to readers looking to get into the series (the inclusion of the issue of Fantastic Four in which Black Panther made his original appearance helped, as did some of the behind-the-scenes features provided by the author and artist), and while the slugfests are fun the pacing is bogged down by all the setting-up the author has to do.

Still, there's something to the ambition of the thing that draws you in, something about the complexity of the story Coates is preparing to tell. It may not have been enough to sell me completely on the first volume of his story, but he's certainly got my attention.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
The story begins with T'Challa, aka Black Panther, still reeling from the loss of his sister, Shuri. But he can't neglect his duties as king over grief, so he tried to bring his people together and show a united front. Unfortunately for T'Challa, a group called The People, led by a shaman named Tetu, is determined to start a revolution in Wakanda and overthrow the monarchy that has been in power for centuries. Will T'Challa overcome his inner turmoil and save Wakanda from a war that could tear the nation apart? Or will the rebels succeed and bring about the fall of Wakanda as we know it and T'Challa along with it? Overall, this book was very well written. I was very intrigued by Black Panther's inner turmoil and struggles. The art very well done as well. I can't wait to read Book 2!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
shawna stuck
A near-perfect marriage of superheroics and political discussion that only stumbles occasionally. Coates brings the heat here, deconstructing T'Challa's role as a monarch and the inherent problems of that system while also critiquing the tendency toward extremism in revolutionary spaces; every character is presented with depth and nuance, and the plot is complex and challenging. But also, there are superpowers and outbursts of cathartic cartoon violence in the mix. Its only issue is one of density - sometimes Coates gets so deep in the weeds with his analogies and metaphors and thought exercises that it can be hard to tease out his meaning. Overall, though, an excellent addition to any more intellectual superhero collection.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
ingrid thomas
I admit, I've been away from monthly comics for a while, Marvel in pIarticular. The Super Hero In Tights genre pretty much lost its appeal, even if I still like a lot of the movies derived from them.

This just changed a lot of my thinking. The drama is as real as today's headlines - not the supervillain with bottomless budget, but believable people with believable causes. (Compare that the the 1960s Black Panther reprint in this book. Wow, it really grew up.) I find the art competent, but with uncommon attention to the realities of how black people so often look. Combine that with Coates's strong and un-comic-y style, it makes for a distinctive reading experience.

It's not enough to rekindle my youthful love of the S-H-I-nevermind genre as a whole, but I expect to come back to this title.

-- wiredweird
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I strongly recommend this newer iteration written by Ta Nehisi Coates. Volume 1-3 in particular addresses the aspect of why Wakanda is still ruled by an absolute monarch. T’Challa is confronted by a number of forces - academic/philosophical, starving rabble, and subversive spiritual enemies - who all make him contemplate the justice of the traditional government. How can he put down a rebellion of the people he must protect, and would he be in the right? Beautiful, thought provoking writing. I love comics but not usually superheroes. I’ve read many of Coates’ other work, and this has been a wonderful extension of his oeuvre. I can’t wait to see what he does at the helm of Captain America.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
jordan halsey
A new era begins for the Black Panther! MacArthur Genius and National Book Award-winning writer T-Nehisi Coates (BETWEEN THE WORLD AND ME) takes the helm, confronting T'Challa with a dramatic upheaval in Wakanda that will make leading the African nation tougher than ever before. When a superhuman terrorist group that calls itself The People sparks a violent uprising, the land famed for its incredible technology and proud warrior traditions will be thrown into turmoil. If Wakanda is to survive, it must adapt--but can its monarch, one in a long line of Black Panthers, survive the necessary change? Heavy lies the head that wears the cowl!

COLLECTING: Black Panther 1-4, Fantastic Four (1961) 52
revolution is changing Wakanda
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
somaia elkilany
"“No one man.” The idea that an entire country shouldn’t, and couldn’t, depend on only one man, but the totality of its people. The consolidation of power is dangerous and while King T’Challa fights against this idea, even he can come to realize that the respect and love of his people is dependent not just on faith and belief but actual trust. A country is not for just one man, after all, but for all." It's like this is what the writer wanted T'Challa, the Wakandan citizens, the readers and even the long time fans of Black Panther lore to get. At times T'Challa represented a consolidation of power is multiple ways from always being in control to being the lone defining aspect of the nation and everything and everyone being an extension of him. With all that T'Challa and Wakanda had been put though faith and belief in the ideal could only go so far. Not perfect but I enjoyed the journey.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
I've never read BP before but I really liked this. I liked that it wasn't all booms and pows but it was about everyone else. I'm very excited to continue the story and be sucked back into the marvel universe. It was very easy to follow along with what was going on. Although there are some parts that refer to so me characters in not familiar with it was easy to understand. Highly reccommend.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Coates elevates Black Panther with dialogue that is thought-provoking about central issues like the necessary ranking of priorities for a a Black Leader: security, inspiration, equity. The renegade Dora Milaje addresses the struggle of minorities within minorities who struggle with waiting for their own security to be addressed in the typical, patriarchal nation state and hetero normative patrilineal society. That T'Challa struggles with these choices proves his human character is AS interesting as his superhero persona. I love that. That the excellent art is the second discovery is also a rare pleasure.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
melissa rueschaw
As Ayo, King T'Challa's sister puts it "Wakanda is in chaos...roads are infested with robbers. Farmers are cut down in their own fields. Villainy rules. Justice is a slave. Your daughter Shuri, our Queen has vanished. Our returned King rules from a shaky throne. This house has fallen. No one is coming to save us. And so we must save ourselves." Ayo's lover, Aneka is being sentenced to die for killing a Chieftan who was mistreating women and girls in a village and would not stop even after she had spoken to him about it. Ayo's mother is insisting that she be put to death as that is the punishment. Ayo, however, has other plans and breaks her out of prison using a prototype called Midnight Angel that gives the wearer protection as armor. She brings the other one that they have with her too for Aneka to wear and the two go on a hunting spree to rescue the women and children from evil Chieftans.

Meanwhile, T'Challa is dealing with the fact that his countrymen are turning against him and part of this is due to a deceiver who has somehow managed to bring out the hate and anger in his people. T'Challa, the Black Panter, can track anyone down, but this deceiver is proving difficult. The deceiver is working with the Nigandians who border Wakanda and want to take over. They need to topple the King to do this. The Black Panter goes up against the deceiver and has to walk away because she fights inside his head working on his darkest fears.

T'Challa is also trying to find a way to bring his sister back. She rests in a chamber in one of the labs. While she rests, she goes on a visit to Djalia, the plane of ancient memory with the Mother of all things. In this vision, she finds out her true purpose.

This book is very complex, plot-wise. There is a lot more going on than I am listing here and so many twists and turns you'll get whiplash. It's almost too hard to follow. Almost, but not quite. The colors are very vivid and leap off of the page. They are mostly dark which suits the mood of the book. The drawing of the scene when the Black Panther faces the deceiver for the first time is stunning. Overall this is an amazing comic and I can't wait to read volume two.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Coates is in love with his own mind and his mind is shallow. This comic is completely incoherent. It's attempting to be like Dune but this is marvel. Each issue needs to draw the reader to the next instead of assuming the reader will be reading the next issue. When it was over I was relieved. I hope the film is nothing like this. Coates has clearly been infantilized by everyone telling him constantly how brilliant he is. He's not brilliant. He's boring.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
julie thrapp
I thought that this story would be all show in respect of Mr. Coates. But I was wrong. Mr. Coates has what it takes to tell a story of this stature. It is adult and exquisitely written. Anyone that likes comics should read this.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Solid book with great art. Plot was okay and it was good to see where the new movie got a lot of its source material for some months characters i think. Sad that you don't have all the details from previous books but that is the life with comic books I guess.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
The Positive: I've read hundreds of graphic novels, and none of them speak in such beautiful African-style verbiage as this poetic collection.

The Negative: if you can't easily follow poetic language, you won't be able to understand anything that's going on in this graphic novel or the following ones. This book is not written for the standard comic book reader. It's written for the lover of african fantasy and culture, readers who can jump right into the mindset and discord of tribalism, and who can do so through the foggy medium of poetry.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
But i liked parts of it: the complex & colorful artwork, the polyphony of stories, the equality of types: blacks are as confused and ignorant as whites in other manga; women are respected... but as brutishly violent as men. But!: why does king (formerly chief) T'challah not have a recognizable face? Everytime he takes off his mask, he looks different. Why is there no plot? It's a conceit of serials to require readers to know backstory like fans, but what motivates ANY of the characters' discreet actions? Nothing. Random, brownian movements. I know Coates sees no system, but this betrays a nihilistic worldview. Granted, it's 1000% better than its 1969 predecessor (included), but...
P.s.: the frame by frame reading on Kindle works great.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This storyline in my opinion is better than the other storyline I read. This storyline is more relatable to me as well as using timeless devices of political intrigue and revolutions. Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an excellent story and I also admire the illustrations in the comic.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erika hayasaki
Just watched the Black Panther movie and was excited to find the comic on kindle. I found this volume interesting and fast paced. It would seem the movie is spot on. Loved it and I look forward to reading more black panther comics.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
linus kendall
I've always loved Black Panther, but Coates brought him to a new level. It's a deep and interesting story that could've been in a news article. He has to learn to be a king first and a super hero second.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
barbara brownyard
Good read and kept me interested. I would recommend to other comic book enthusiasts to read. Especially, if you are a huge Fantastis Four fan; this is a must read and be introduced to Black Panther and the kingdom of Wakanda.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
thanh h ng
Coates may be a celebrated nonfiction author but the only thing I'd celebrate after reading this is when he leaves the book. You would think that this being the first new Black Panther book in a while, this would be a good jumping on point for new readers. You would be wrong. You need to have read all of Black Panther's appearances across the Marvel U in the last 30+ years to know what's going on. I've been reading Marvel books since the 80's and I still didn't get some of the references.

Apparently, T'Challa hasn't been a good king and there are different factions planning revolutions. You'd think that would be interesting, but instead everyone spends all their time philosophizing and this book is a snooze fest. The only reason this book gets 2 stars is because Brian Stelfreeze provides very good art and it's nice to see him do more than just covers.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
Coates' Panther story is obtuse, frustratingly difficult to read, and frankly amateurish. Stelfreeze's art is delightful, and Coates' dialogue is admittedly poetic in its prose, but Black Panther does not feel like a professionally written comic book. The plot is deceptively simple in scope, but still horrifically presented, causing confusion page to page, as characters blend together and Wakanda continually contradicts itself. Every character sounds exactly the same, and none of them ever stop talking, heavyhandedly attempting to explain the plot through overwrought, purple dialogue. I don't know any of the new characters' names, I could hardly explain the plot without it sounding paper-thin, and I don't honestly know how the average Wakanda native feels about their king. I think Coates has some big ideas he would love to bring to the Marvel universe, but his lack of experience outshines his intent.

I was expecting so much more, and was really hopeful we could be seeing the best Black Panther story yet in Coates' hands. Instead, we get an inflated slog, and still manage to get robbed by Marvel with a four-issue trade published with some ancient material in the backmatter.

★ ★ ★ ★ ★
It ends the arc in such a promising way and introduces interesting new characters, but the main thing about this book is not only T'Challa but the reconstruction of the Dora Milaje. Initally created by Christopher Priest, they were mostly an "empowered" version of the normal eyecandy. Now they were given proper personalities and a compelling story of liberation of sistematic sexism and machism. I dig this book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
linda g
Trigger warning: sexual assault

-Black people as protagonists, villains, and side characters.
-Very complex and interesting characters.
-Aneka and Ayo, who are lovers, lead a rebellion against men in power abusing women.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
monica mathis stowe
Black Panther has been making waves in the past year since he's going to be the first major black superhero to get his own movie. Having a general idea of his history and knowing he was going to be written by famed political writer Ta-Nehisi Coates. I decided this comic would be worth a shot. So far, I'm not sold.

Black Panther's real name is T'challa, and he is the King of the fictional African country Wakanda. This country is home to a Vibranium mine, making it one of the wealthiest and most technologically advanced countries in the world. But Panther faces a massive politcal revolt from his people, with two different factions leading the way. One group called 'the People' is lead by a mystic, and is not afraid to use violence to achieve it's ends. The other is composed of some deserters from the royal guard, who are making an effort to take out Wakanda's warlords.

So, the good points of this series are obvious. The comic has good artwork, and Coates excels at capturing the voice of his characters. I'm legitimately impressed how easily Coates is transitioned from political analysis to comics, because this doesn't read in anyway different from your standard marvel fair. And I mean that in a good way.

But the series has one major problem, and unfortunately it's the comics basic premise. The whole plot of these first four issues revolves around Panther's attempts to be a good king, and I can only conclude that he isn't cut out for it. Wakanda, despite it's wealth, appears to have the same problems as the rest of Africa, IE warlords raping women and poor working conditions for it's people. While one of the rebel factions has been making good progress on these issues, T'Challa struggles to even talk to his own subjects. If he doesn't change quickly, I'm going to end up rooting for the 'villains' of the story, and that is never a good sign.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
j jorge
All the stars, plus more.. I teach and work - where kids deserve and need this sort of stuff. Not for nothing, I think of Coates as an educator first. It is entertaining, and thoughtful - and also complex and pollemical. You pick how to work your experience. And the graphics are AWESOME, they don't just support or illustrate a new world. The art communicates WITH the words, and transmits it to us.

If you appreciate this, are interested - look into Ta-Nehisi Coates, you can read so much of his work for free, you-tube appearances. He's a columnist for The Atlantic, writing at a load of other places. Author of Between the World and Me..This work - it can be a springboard for more exploration, for those knew to him.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
thomas aylesworth
Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the most brilliant and important writers of our generation. His take on Black Panther is a breath of fresh air. Prepare for action and some of the most intelligent dialogue you will read in a comic book.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
There is no homosexuality in African Culture, so the fact that we had two Lesbians in this book was very bizzare and disturbing. Black Panther is portrayed as a weak King. And the whole Technologically advances aspect is not portrayed well. There is more primitivity than Advanced Technology.
Please Rate Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet Book 1
More information