I really enjoyed this comic. I love the idea of a superhero who is also a king, a leader of a nation, a hero to its people. In this comic, we get to see the internal struggle this character faces – is he Black Panther, member of the Avengers? Or is he T’Challa, leader of his nation? And he knows he can’t be both. I found anything to do with Black Panther and his inner struggle very compelling because I found his character to be so interesting. Most of the subplots, for the most part, didn’t work for me, and I felt like there were too many at a time. If it just slowed down to focus more on T’Challa, I think it would’ve been a lot better.
I think one of the best and one of the strongest aspects of this comic was the world building. This was the first comic that we read in class that really nailed that difficult feat of curating a new, rich, and vast world for its characters, since All-Star Superman jumped from location to location quickly and abruptly, and Ms. Marvel took place in a real city. I loved how carefully designed everything about Wakanda was – from the character design, to the visual style of the comic, and even to the rich language and vocabulary of the people from Wakanda. Reading this comic, you get so immersed in its world, that you almost sort of forget that Wakanda isn’t a real African nation (or at least I did). You can even see the beautiful production design and world creating just from the Black Panther trailer. Africa is usually portrayed in the media as a land of jungles and wild animals and sacred tribes and immense poverty. This is undoubtedly the most amazing thing about the fictional nation; Wakanda shines as a nation built on technology and magic, without a trace of poverty or disease. This stark contrast between stereotypical Africa and the technologically and scientifically advanced nation of Wakanda and its people was something I noticed and loved. A term I recently discovered was Afrofuturism – art that retells the experiences and realities of black people through a sci-fi lens. Black Panther and Wakanda are an example of this sub-genre of fiction in which Africans (and African Americans) display expertise and understanding of technological and scientific advancement. People of colour are often excluded from sci-fi and fantasy worlds, and when they are included, it’s usually token roles. But not in Black Panther, which I loved.
All in all, I enjoyed this comic. I feel like I may have even enjoyed even more than the previous two comics just because I loved the world of Wakanda so much, and it was a place we’ve really never gotten to see before. We’ve literally only seen a live-action Black Panther in one film, and so his character just felt so new and refreshing and unique, especially when compared to a character like Superman where we’ve seen so many different iterations of his character and story over the last 40 years. With better pacing and fewer sub-plots, I feel like the comic could’ve been elevated into something even better.