Marvel announced today that Ta-Nehisi Coates ongoing Black Panther series will relaunch with a new #1 in May as part of Marvel’s line wide fresh start. Coates, who had been working alongside artist Brian Steelfreeze, will be joined on the book by longtime Marvel artist Daniel Acuna as they work to take T’Challa to the stars as he discovers a mysterious alien empire bearing the name of his country.
The Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda was first introduced by Jason Aaron in Marvel Legacy #1 and according to editor Will Moss, T’Challa knows just as little about it as we do, making this new #1 a great point to jump on board with Coates’ Black Panther:
I can’t emphasize enough how clean of an entry point this is for new readers. Readers are going to be learning about this mysterious ‘Intergalactic Empire of Wakanda’ right alongside T’Challa, so everyone is going to be on the same page. And oh man, is Daniel Acuña delivering the goods! He ‘gets’ the character of Black Panther like no other, and his designs for the Intergalactic Empire are…well, they’re out of this world!
Coates, who began working on Black Panther last year sees this new arc as a change of pace from the previous one:
Black Panther fans should be excited because this is a true #1. It’s a new story—with connections to the old story—but it’s taking him into a different space…literally. And I think people will be excited about that. Black Panther #1 is a creative challenge for me. My first few books were more philosophical, and while that still rings true here, this is a fast-paced, high-octane story. And with Daniel Acuña’s art, I think people are really going to feel the energy and intensity here. I wanted people to feel like this is a really fresh storyline, and I think we succeeded in that. It’s meaty, it’s different, and it’s perfect for new readers just coming to the world of T’Challa and Black Panther.
As for Acuna, his job may be a little daunting. Not only does T’Challa have a long and fantastic comic book history, he’s also ascending as a cultural icon following the massive success of Marvel Studios Black Panther. Acuna, for his part, is aware of the challenge of defining the look of such an icon:
T’Challa has a life of his own—he’s full of personality and charisma. He can be a mysterious silhouette or a powerful warrior. It’s so inspiring. I really, really hope people can see this new and personal vision of Black Panther—and I’ll still follow the brilliant lead of Brian Stelfreeze’s design and settings. My inspiration is T’Challa’s legacy, the unique history of the character, and the amazing artists that have come before. I feel like I’m a part of something very different to what I’ve done until now. This is a very significant work that I hope lasts a long time.
With a new solo series set to take him to space and a spot front and center on the new team of Avengers, it certainly seems that Marvel is working some corporate synergy here with T’Challa in hopes that the film will inspire a new generation of readers to pick up a comic. Black Panther #1 will be in your local comic shop May 23rd; will you be picking up a copy?