Black Panther was a really good read that I enjoyed quite a bit. The story follows King/Warrior T’Challa as he battles insurgents and revolutionary’s trying to overthrow his rule of Wakanda (a fictional African country). I enjoyed the character development of T’Challa and found that he was a much more multi-dimensional character compared to Ms. Marvel or Superman.
The one problem I really have with this comic is that it is really hard to cheer or root for T’Challa because his enemies are kind of right. The Black Panther is a weird character because he has to install the rules enforce their punishment but also goes out and violates many of the rules. For instance in the beginning of the first volume Aneka who at the time is a Dora Milaje (an elite, all female group dedicated to the protection of the monarchy) executes a chief who rapes enslaves and kills the people under his rule. Now I’m not saying what Aneka did is justified but the fact that she is a high ranking official and that her king is doing essentially the same thing to people who have done much less, makes a great case for leniency. But she is ultimately sentenced to death. This just shows how T’Challa is above the law and essentially a vigilante under his own rule. Another reason that the revolutionaries may be right is that T’Challa isn’t a very good leader, he is constantly leaving to be an avenger and even admits that it isn’t for his country rather for personal interest. A king is someone who is completely dedicated to the rule of his people, T’Challa proves that he is not this time and time again. He is more interested in being an avenger or being a scientist than being a king and one can’t help but think that he should be just that. Maybe Wakanda has evolved past the need for kings or a monarchy. I’m not suggesting that “The people” are the right ones to replace them as they do some pretty horrific deeds too. I’m suggesting to hold democratic elections for somebody that can hold the nations best interests at heart all the time. I don’t even see why T’Challa wants the throne, maybe out of obligation, birthright or maybe he just wants the power trip. It seems to me that he would much better serve Wakanda as a ambassador, military leader, scientific adviser or some other position more related to his skill set and desires. Looking at the comic through the lens of T’Challa genuinely being an incompetent ruler makes the conflict both externally and internally of Black Panther that much more compelling and interesting.